Yucky Poo Poo!! Woke to overwhelming pong - tidal mud flats full of raw sewerage - we barely dressed before bolting for higher ground! Drove around top of island and couldn't go past Batu Ferringhi's chocolate and coffee shop - immaculate store and displays, proudly make own blends, owner led us on his bike to best place on beach to park up tonight. We have found such a hospitable country, in spite of Travel Advisories saying "exercise normal cautions". Honest too; people have had opportunities to rip us off/ kids opportunities to steal, but haven't...
On to Snake Temple with a resident monk; didn't realise so named until BoyRob pointed out live vipers curled up high (apparently dedicated to Chor Soo Kong healer who offered pit vipers shelter from danger!) Think we hit our first con-man - asked for 2RM for parking, then drove off on motorbike!
The Botanical Gardens were disappointing (bromiliads and fern houses both closed, orchid house small collection) but had a good walk halfway up Mount Penang, watching antics of monkeys; one stole ticket bag from admissions woman, and three fellows came with sticks and cans to stand on, to retrieve it. Have been seeing bright flashes of blue on an elusive jungle bird (a kingfisher? a blue winged leafbird?)
The Tropical Spice Garden was fascinating, ornamental trails, beautifully presented, outstanding spaces (eg traditional sampan, Chinese gateway, stepping stones, spice globe) and displays (eg heliconia bank, cycad room, water garden, spice terraces). Saw turtles, carp, yellow frogs. Dinner at Monkey Tree on terrace overlooking beach, surrounded by magnificent shade trees as sun went down (ate Thai Tapas, rather than the expected Penang Curry). We came out to the spectacle of monkeys running along electrical cables on side of road! Then "home" to our new beach, sent the SPOT beacon “we’re OK” message, and had an evening swim (it’s amazingly lukewarm in the Straits of Malacca!!!)