After taking the ferry off the islands we waited for a bus back to the main town. And we waited some more. And we had to shoo away taxi drivers who asked us every 20 minutes or so where we were going. Eventually we broke down and took a bus that wasn't going to the town we wanted but was at least getting us away from the taxi stand in Kuala Besut!
Where the bus took us was the town of Kota Bharu in Northeastern Malaysia, right on the Thailand border. When we got off the bus we couldn't go 10 feet without teenagers harassing us. One group followed us to the ATM and then the Pharmacy and we had no idea what they wanted. Turned out they wanted to practice their English. They went to a private English school and had an assignment to find English speakers. We chatted with a couple groups of them. I thought it might be a scam, but we left without being pick pocketed or anything else happening and in fact we got some presents from them in return.
We caught an over-night bus to Penang, but the bus got in two hours early so we were dropped off at 4:30AM. We shared a taxi into town with a woman from New Zealand and then got to sample some of the left-over nightlife of Penang. There was a drunk Irish guy who said we could stay at his hostel - he ended up taking a taxi three blocks when we finally got him to leave us alone. And there was a really nice bar owner who let us rest in the back of her bar while we waited for any of the hostels/guest houses to open up.
Luckily a guest house nearby opened up fairly early and let us check-in around 8:30, where we took a nap before hitting the town. The main town of Georgetown on Penang is Malaysia's second-largest city it seems to be quite popular with both tourists and locals for vacationing. We took the bus out to a huge temple complex, Malaysia's largest Buddhist temple, Kek Lok Si Temple. It was quite beautiful all lit up at night:
Although we loved the street food in Georgetown, the city wasn't all that exciting so we heading along the coast of the island out to a smaller town of Batu Ferringhi, where there are some beaches. There are some foreigners here, but it seems very popular with Malaysian vacationers. The beach reminds us a lot of our trip to Mexico a year ago; there are people selling things along the beach and offers to do all sorts of water activities.
Tomorrow we take the ferry out to Langkawi.