COMMENT | There is still a lot of room for improvement in Penang.
While I received a lot of thumbs-ups from Penangites for my letter, titled "The Pearl of the Orient is glittering once again" there were also some who criticised me for being biased.
Yes, I was impressed. Because of the eight-year gap between my visit in 2009 and in the last few days of December 2017, I could see a lot of positive development in Penang, that perhaps even most Penangites may not have noticed.
When I look at Penang’s development these past eight years against a backdrop of 42 years since my first visit to Penang as a child in 1975, and many subsequent visits thereafter, I am simply mesmerised. Therefore, biased as I may be, it is based on very honest opinions.
However, I feel Penang still has a lot of room for improvement. To balance up my earlier comments, I have put together this piece.
Transportation for tourists
Being an island which attracts a lot of tourists, both domestic and international, Penang needs to improve on its network of buses to serve the visitors.
Yes, although I only found out later that Penang does have a Hop On, Hop Off double-decker bus service similar to those in South Africa’s Cape Town, it is either that they are too infrequent or our paths just never crossed.
We would have at least considered using the services given that finding a car park is always a hassle in Georgetown. My other question would be: “Can we afford it since we are on a shoestring budget?”
On this trip, we found a nice carpark just in front of the Made in Penang Interactive Museum. We used Grab and Uber to get around to the other museums. It has not struck us how much it would cost us if we depend on just Uber or Grab to get around, should we decide to take the electrified train to Seberang Prai on our next trip.
This is why I have strongly suggested to the Land Public Transport Commission (Spad) that there should be designated buses for tourists on a shoestring budget.
By this, I mean the designated buses should be painted with brilliant colours to differentiate them from other buses.
In places like Berlin, for example, it is so convenient to visit all the interesting tourist spots using these buses. If I recall correctly, it is just one ticket; you can hop onto the bus and stop at any interesting tourist spot...