Saturday, October 1, 2011

Wet Markets in Penang Mainland

The previous post covered on some of the wet markets on Penang island.
Lets cover some of the markets on the Mainland Penang. Mainland Penang covers Seberang Prai Utara (North), Seberang Perai Tengah (Centre) and Seberang Perai Selatan (South).

Seberang Jaya Market
This is one of my favourite markets. Prices are reasonable, and the folks friendly. What I like most about this place? The morning food stalls. You can get a variety of food here, from Roti Canai, Nasi Lemak, Roti Jala, Curry Mee, Tosai, Idli, and so on. In fact I notice that there are more people in the food court then in the market. You can get your normal vegies, fruits, egg, chicken and beef meat. Don't think they have mutton here.Parking, there is a main parking before and after the market, you can also park along the roadside. The morning breakfast stalls are before the market, just follow the crowd.

Bukit Mertajam (BM) Market
This is a pretty large market. I haven't really spent much time here, but you should be able to get nearly everything you want. Parking is along side the road, and also there are some parking areas along the main road.

Chai Leng Park Market
This market is located in the housing area of Chai Leng Park. You can get all your vegies and fruits here.

Market Sama Gagah
Is market according to my friend is a market with kampung prices. i.e the prices are rather cheap, especially for the breakfast. I haven't got a chance to head here, but sure am looking forward to the breakfast and marketing here. The map link above my not be 100% exact as its not available on the online maps.

Market Orang Kaya (Rich Men's Market)
I'm not sure sure what the name of this market really is, but even in Wikimapia it says market orang kaya. This is an evening market, you can probably go there 4pm onwards, but after 6.30pm, nothing much is left. You can find vegies, fruits, and fish here. It is mean mostly for the working crowd that can stop by after work before they get home.

As usual, there are many more markets on Penang mainland, which I myself am not familiar with.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wet Markets in Penang Island

Wet Markets on Penang Island

Yes, a rather interesting topic to write about isn't it. Pasar pagi / Pasar Basah di Pulau Pinang.  But yes I think this question has been asked by many many people. I myself, and many friends have asked the question
  • where do you buy fresh produce, vegetables, fruits, chicken, halal meat, lamb, mutton and beef?
  • And also, I go to this market, but it doesn't sell specific things, so how? Where to go
  • What's the timing of the market? Yes there are evening markets, pasar petang, that sells the above too.
Generally, again, I'm saying generally, things are fresher in the markets rather then super markets, and at times cheaper (very subjective). Let's start with the markets in Penang.Obviously this are not ALL the markets in Penang, but the ones I've been too.

Bayan Baru Market
This market is (obviously) located in Bayan Baru. It is located right next to the Bayan Baru market food Court, between the Bayan Baru Mosque and Sunshine Square. This market is one of more well 'arranged' market. There is parking on nearly every corner of the market building, and additional parking around that areas.You can get nearly all your market needs here, there are many of stall operators. Easily get vegetables, fruits, fish, meat like chicken and beef. I don't think there's mutton meat here though. Click here for a map of Bayan Baru Market

Sg Nibong Market / Taman Tun Sardon Market
This market is located in the Gelugor area. Also quite accessible to those in Sg Nibong area. It is located in the housing area. Parking is ample, if you cannot park at the parken next to the market, road side parking is easily accessible.This market is adjoined to a food court too, and you can get some nice breakfast here, including roti jala. Breakfast here is quite crowded. I would say the number of stalls are rather less, and also the meat selection is limited if I recall.. The plus point is it is very close to the residential area there and easily accessible to them. Point of mention is there if you like 'minum petang' / evening snacks and tea time, this place has a good selection. Options range from kuihs including one of the best Seri Muka, fried fritters (pisang goreng), capati and its curry and also roti jala. You can hangout there and have your snack or just pack it back. Try to go around 5.30pm or slightly earlier to have a wider choice of kuihs, the stall would be open until 6.30pm - 7pm usually. Click here for a wikimapia link.

Anson Road Market
It is located on Anson road, slightly after the Macalister road junction, before you get to Jalan Perak. The market here is pretty small, and caters for a smallers volume of customers. Parking, hard to get nearby one, but drive around there are a few spots which require some walking. Prices are pretty good here. Sells fish also. No halal meat here.

Pulau Tikus Market
This market is smack in the middle of Pulau Tikus. Landmark nearby is the Pulau Tikus Police Station, before Belleview Plaza.  Parking is little challenging on weekends as it does get quite crowded here. I found the prices slightly higher here, possibly due to this area being a little bit 'upmarket' with the relatively richer crowd shopping here. You can get your vegies and fruits here. There are quite alot of choices here, definitely more then the Anson Road Market.  Fish also. For meat, I'm not sure if they have Halal Meat. Anyone? Click here for a wikimapia map.

Batu Lancang Market
This market is easily accessible from Batu Lancang, Jelutong or Greenlane. This is an EVENING Market. I'm not sure about the timings, but it probably should be open around 3pm onwards. Going after 6.30pm possibly most stalls would start to close or be close already. You can find vegetables, fruits, fish. There is mutton available here (Halal one should be available here). Overall the options are good here, and seems quite well arranged. The parking is also convenient, as there is a large lot next to this market. This market also serves other purposes, with the top floor being a hall used for ceremonies including kenduri (receptions) kahwin. To get here , if you are coming from gelugor round about, go straight down Green Lane. You cannot right turn at the main Greenland junction, so continue to go until you reach the flyover (overpass) to Lam Wah Ee hospital (the narrow flyover), take this, and take your first right and drive slowly. You should be able to see the Building

Chowrasta Market
Chowrasta, this market is smack in Georgetown. You get all the fun here, traffic, difficult parking and so on. Actually there is ample parking but it is rather far off, one option being the council's multi-storey parking on Hutton Lane. Chowrasta Market itself is a gem in itself, with alot of old' school nostalgia it seems. Here you can also get pickels / buah Jeruk. 

On the top floor, you there are actually shops selling clothes, shoes etc. And most wonderful of all, there are plenty of second hand book stores here. Most close by end of the evenings.
Now going back (and down) to the market it self. Choices are a plenty, you get it all here. You can even get fresh halal meat, chicken, beef, mutton and so on here. One of the main attractions here is you can get Ayam Kampung (Village chicken) which basically means fresh chicken reared naturally without all the inorganic additions in the typical chicken. You can literally choose  your chicken, alive and they will slaughter (sembelih) it for you there and then. As fresh as it gets and more natural.

All the markets above are morning markets unless mentioned otherwise (e.g. Batu Lancang Market)

This entry answers the following questions
  • Where can I find fresh markets in Penang Island.
  • Where to find fresh vegetables, fruit, fish, egg, chicken, meat, beef and mutton (Halal).
  • Where to find Ayam Kampung. 
  • Evening and morning wet markets.

Menjawab yang berikut
  • Mana pasar segar / pasar pagi di Pinang / Pulau Pinang.
  • Cari Ayam Kampung
  • Cari Daging Halal
  • Cari sayuran, buah buahan, telur.
  • Beli barang masakan dapur. 
Happy Fresh Marketing!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Price discrimination on the Internet


Business and Economic Analysis

This is my individual write-up for my MBA subject BEA, about the price discrimination on the Internet. If you find this reference helpful, please leave a comment. Enjoy, and questions feel free to post. Remember do no plagiarize and also remember this content is easily google-able for checking against copying. It is meant a guidance. Forgive the formatting, it is pretty hard to republish your work onto blog templates.

Price discrimination on the Internet


Executive Summary 4

1. Non-Uniform Pricing 5

2. The Internet as a Marketplace 6

3. Price Discrimination on the Internet (Net) 6

3.1. First degree 6

3.2. Second Degree 7

3.3. Third Degree 7

4. Price Discrimination, the Internet and Privacy 8

5. Asymmetric Information 9

6. Conclusion 11

7. Recommendation 12

7.1. Information is power 12

7.2. Government Interference 12

7.3. Internets' Social Networking Power 12

8. Appendix 14

9. Reference 15

Executive Summary

Information about individual consumers' demand curves can be used by organizations to increase their profits by setting up a nonuniform pricing structure. Price discrimination is a form of such nonuniform pricing; and is divided into three degrees namely perfect price discrimination, quantity discrimination and multimarket discrimination respectively. Price discrimination on a social aspect might be negative but could increase economic efficiency and enable better distribution.

The real world internet is not free from price discrimination. The internet has continued to grow into a marketplace offering benefits and challenges to the industry allowing easier distribution of digital information thus reducing marginal costs, but also facilitates piracy. The internet is now common with products and services which are characterized by high fixed costs and low marginal costs, suitable for price discrimination. All three degrees of price discrimination occur on the net, namely auctions, bulk or volume sales and price differentiation by market segments. Search comparison sites have produced Bertrand like outcomes in the retail insurance industry. But on the other hand, other organizations thrive by getting consumer information on the net, however posing concerns over privacy. Privacy is hard to maintain on the Net and has enabled firms to manipulate such information to price discriminate effectively. Firms also focus on providing asymmetric information to negate the downward pressure brought about by low search and switching costs, by affiliating to strong internet portals, advertising and tactics to increase switching costs.

The Internet marketplace will benefit most those that are technically savvy be it the seller or the buyer. Those that choose not to understand the workings of the internet and do not protect their privacy stand to loose out and get discriminated on price. The internet therefore requires its users to be well informed. Government interference should be kept to a minimum, and should step in when clear boundaries of law are broken. The emergence of social networking like Facebook will also shape the economics of the internet marketplace with its power to influence opinion on a good, service or firm altogether.

Non-Uniform Pricing

Monopolies (and other non-competitive firms) can use information about individual consumers' demand curves to increase their profits, i.e. instead of setting a single price, firms use nonuniform pricing: charging consumers different prices for the same product, thus raising profits (Perloff 2009). Carlton & Perloff (2005) explain several types of nonuniform pricing exists including prices discrimination, two-part tariffs, and tie-in sales. A market with theoretically perfect information, perfect substitutes and no transaction costs or prohibition on reselling to prevent arbitrage, price discrimination can only be a feature of monopolistic and oligopolistic markets where market power can be exercised (Daripa & Kapur 2001; Krugman & Obstfeld 2003)

Price discrimination is broken into three types or degrees. Perfect price discrimination (first degree) is where the firm sells each unit at the maximum amount any customer is willing to pay for it. Quantity discrimination (second degree) is when the firm charges a different price for large quantities compared to smaller quantities. Finally the third degree price discrimination, i.e. multimarket is where the firm charges different groups of customers different prices but it charges a given customer the same price for every unit of output sold (Perloff 2009).

Though price discrimination sounds negative and may be viewed negatively by society, Bakos (1998) highlights that it is a powerful tool that allows sellers to increase profits, reduce consumer surplus, and service buyers who would otherwise be priced out of the market, an outcome that increases economic efficiency.

It can be deduced that for firms to price discriminate, especially for the first and third degree type, detail information, characteristics, and the socio-economy status of each customer or group of customer is required.

This paper will discuss the theory of price discrimination in the real world internet business, its implications and recommendations.

The Internet as a Marketplace

Besides personalizing product offerings, the internet has enabled (Bakos 1998):

  • Digital information such as music allow perfect copies to be created and distributed almost without cost via the Internet.

  • Search - it lowers the buyers' cost to obtain information about price and product features as well as sellers cost to communicate such information.

  • Facilitation – the cost of logistics has been estimated at more than 10% of Gross National Product (GNP). Electronic marketplaces improve information sharing, helping lower cost of logistics and promoting quick, just-in-time deliveries reducing inventories, compounded by information systems replacing physical systems.

  • Enables new types of price discovery like auction of last minute un-sold airline seats and emergence of intermediaries like Priceline and e-Bay auction.

The decline of online privacy has been a boon to organizations' increased ability to price discriminate (Odlyzko 2003).

Price Discrimination on the Internet (Net)

The ability to customize products and prices greatly improves sellers ability to price discriminate (Bakos 1998). All three types of price discrimination are more common in markets which are characterized by high fixed costs and low marginal costs – a situation endemic on the Net (Koch & Cebula 2002). The three degrees of price discrimination are evaluated in the internet sphere.

First degree

The first degree price discrimination which involves a firm selling each unit of good or service to the individual who values it most, has witnessed success in auction websites namely eBay (Guttman & Maes 1998; Koch & Cebula 2002). However one limitation exists being the seller generally cannot prevent Net users from reselling the units they just purchased (Koch & Cebula 2002)

First degree price discrimination, in which the buyer is charged his maximal willingness to pay, has long been treated in the literature as an unattainable ideal, however the erosion of privacy and improved IT systems will enable a close approximation to this ideal to be achieved (Odlyzko 2003). Though, Odlyzko (2003) argues it could lead to an Orwellian economy in which a package of aspirin at a drugstore might cost the purchaser $1 if he could prove he was destitute, but $1,000 if he was Bill Gates or simply wanted to preserve his privacy.

Second Degree

More common is second degree or non-linear dependent on the volume or units of purchase, for example internet calls through Voice-Over-Internet-Protocol (VOIP) rates offer flat rates upon certain quantity or for a month of unlimited calls, and different rates for one time calls, refer Appendix-1 (Sykpe 2011). It is noteworthy that Deneckere & McAfee (1996) demonstrated that all parties of these transactions may be better off because there is a possibility that without second degree price discrimination, low quantity / low quality consumers might not be served at all, e.g. Skype would only cater to larger customers only.

Third Degree

Third-degree price discrimination is as common, for example how Dell using its online portal sets different prices for different segments between private, government and individual buyers (Riley 2006).

Therefore the internet has resulted in a veritable orgy of Pigovian price discrimination (Koch & Cebula 2002). Differential pricing is a natural outcome of profit seeking forces and may easily contribute to economic efficiency, and as such forcing a policy of flat pricing in an industry where it is inappropriate due to the nature of the technology may have perverse consequences (Varian 1996).

Price Discrimination, the Internet and Privacy

The internet has opened a new opportunity for commerce, bringing along its own challenges in maintaining privacy. With the reduction in search and switching costs on the net, would a Bertrand-like competitive outcome where firms select independently the prices they charge for the product and that every firm has to supply all the forthcoming demand at the price it is setting be expected (Vives 2001, p. 117)? This does hold true in some sectors where intense online competition has exerted downward pressure on prices, for example in the retail insurance and computer industry (Brown & Goolsbee 2000; Daripa & Kapur 2001; Goolsbee 2000).

The internet allows sellers to collect a remarkable wealth of information about their existing and potential customers, giving retailers some market power, enable better price discrimination, and retailers will find devices to raise switching costs organically from within the product, through loyalty schemes and deliberate product differentiation, allowing them to discriminate in the future (Daripa & Kapur 2001). Electronic marketplaces support personalization and customization by using consumer tracking providing relevant demographics, consumer profiles to estimate their specific preferences, and also information-rich products lend themselves to cost effective customization like delivering an electronic newspaper tailored to the interests of an individual need not be more costly (Bakos 1998)

So since price discrimination requires market power, to what extend would growth of online price comparison services corrode this market power? Daripa & Kapur (2001) comment that existing technology allows retailers to distinguish between customers referred by price-comparison sites and those that access them directly, to the extent that the former are to be more price sensitive, it could set a lower price for those referred by shopping agents and charging higher for the latter.

According to the famous 1993 Pat Steiner cartoon in The New Yorker, "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog."But in practice, there are many who not only know you are a dog, but are familiar with your age, breed, illnesses, and

tastes in dog food" (Odlyzko 2003). Net firms utilize the massive experience data they collect on the Net to tailor products to specific customer, offering lower prices if we haven't purchased anything, or sending related offers e.g. travel discounts after buying a book on a tourist destination, or even offer a higher price if our characteristics suggest to them our demand for a particular good is less price elastic (Koch & Cebula 2002). So, the Internet offers not only the possibility of unprecedented privacy, but also of unprecedented loss of privacy, and so far privacy has been losing (Odlyzko 2003).

Search is far from perfect and sellers can sometimes reduce the efficiency of price search services through deliberate obfuscation, secondly the Internet makes it easier for retailers to track their rivals' price and reach rapidly, possibly even making implicit collusion likely, resulting in higher prices (Daripa & Kapur 2001). Clearly, the internet has increased the information available both to the consumer and the seller, and as such depends on how each side makes the best advantage of the available information. But on a whole the answer is not straightforward, as part of the difficulty lays in that the Internet increases the information available both to sellers and buyers, therefore depends on the relative ability of each side to manipulate and use that information to their advantage (Daripa & Kapur 2001).

Asymmetric Information

As discussed if search costs continue to fall, sellers are worse off since buyers can find the lowest-cost seller, while buyers benefit from the lower prices and their improved ability to find products that fit their needs. The dynamics of friction-free markets are not attractive for sellers that had previously depended on geography or customer ignorance to insulate them from the low-cost sellers in the market (Bakos 1998).

Therefore sellers have responded in a number of ways, through further advertisement on the web and using referral from highly regarded websites trying to get the upper hand in providing asymmetric information. Asymmetric information is likely to generate price dispersion (some consumers paying higher prices than others) and the mean price paid by all combined could be higher (Bryjolfsson & Smith 1999, 2000). Some sellers make it difficult to compare the price of alternative product offerings, and they attempt to collect information about buyers that allows more effective price discrimination. Airlines, for example, have implemented extremely complicated and ever-changing fare structures, flight restrictions, and ticket availability, sometimes offering hundreds of fares for travel between certain pairs of destinations (Bakos 1998).

In certain cases where quality may be uncertain and/or experience goods are involved, a comfortable branded portal (e.g Yahoo!) may signal consumers that a good or service advertised therein is reliable and of high quality (Kihlstrom & Riordan 1984; Nelson 1974).

Therefore significant asymmetric information is achieved through heavy marketing and affiliation. In 2001, firms were expected to spend $8.1 billion advertising on the Net and by 2004, it was projected that this spending will have risen to $24.5 billion, or 8% of all advertising expenditure (Lawrence 2001).

Basically even though some net advertising diminish search costs because they supply factual information about price and quality to consumers therefore exert downward pressure on prices, the opposite is true for advertising focusing on branding a good or service which is to diminish price elasticity of demand so that sellers have an enhanced ability to raise prices and / or retain customers (Koch & Cebula 2002)


It has been discussed that price discrimination requires some pre-requisites to work in markets and such characteristics were observed on the internet as a marketplace. Interestingly most consumer have taken the internet for granted and assumed that it always offers lower prices compared to brick and mortar shops, but the research quoted has indicated that this is not true in every case.

Instead it is those who are internet savvy, knowing how to guard their privacy that would get the best o the internet. In fact, those that can tweak their own internet profile can disguise themselves and get the best of bargains. On the other hand, the same applies for the seller, of which can best manipulate such information on the net and provide an asymmetric layer of information will likely be better off in reaping profits and market share. Interestingly though as discussed price discrimination brings out economic efficiency, and is not always a bad thing.

So the question that arises is governments role in this area which has been vague. The problem is that price discrimination often does provide real measurable gains for social and economic welfare and is not just a measure for increasing profits of sellers, as is often suspected (Odlyzko 2003). Increased price discrimination is often associated with increased competition as well as increased economic activity, and works to decrease profits (Odlyzko 2003) but Perloff (2009) states that in a perfect price discrimination compared to competition, total welfare is the same, consumers are worse off, and firms are better off .


Based on the above, recommendations are made as below:

Information is power

Consumers need to be educated and need to be aware that the internet is not free from price discrimination, and must possess the knowledge and tools to determine what information is shared and what is private. They will need to know how to safe-guard their private information, and be aware of their rights. The objective is to prevend a shift of consumer surplus to producer surplus (Bailey 1998).

Business alike will need to be aware of consumer patterns, preference and characteristics. Undeniable, providing fast, easy access to products required by customers of which prior to purchase can be checked for reviews regardless of demographic difference is one of the boons to the internet business. Customers value and prefer this convenience, and sellers will need to have such technology to continue to provide and enhance such. This is the true value of the internet, and continuing to provide such services will see further growth in the industry.

Being the 'average consumer'

Consumers may develop a strategy that while not perfect, would result in them being treated like and "average consumer" which conteracts a retailer's price discrimination strategy. Consumers can use anonymous gateways (hiding their Internet Protocol (IP) address), to create a virtual identity, as such with no information about the consumer, the retailer can only set a price for an average consumer (Bailey 1998)

Internets' Social Networking Power

The consumer now has a strong force that previously did not exist. Social networking sites like Facebook and Youtube has enabled a window for consumers to create significant impacts to companies, by either liking, complaining or demanding changes from companies, which has had snowball effects, to extent where governments are also vary of such power of the social networks. If used properly, such networks provides a strong yet free consumer powered mechanism to drive sellers to provide the best of their goods and services or risk major market share losses.

Ad-hoc institutions of Regulations

The internet community must continue developing and maintaining ad hoc institutions such as chat sites, community review sites like tripadvisor, that circulate information and provide the leverage for public pressure against inappropriate cyberspace behavior (Weiss & Mehrotra 2001). Online ventures like TRUSTe which operates much like the better business bureau, stamping its seal of approval on those digital enterprises that conform to established privacy principles should be given more prominence. The consumer should demand such seals of approval before deciding on a purchase or service (Weiss & Mehrotra 2001).

Government Interference

Government interference should be kept at a minimum and as a supervisory role. However strict regulations and determinants should be set to ensure no un-authorized sale or sharing of user information happens, and companies be liable to safe-guard such information what was provided by the customer if and when privacy was requested. Some websites have fine-print which by default opts-in a member into sharing of private information with other parties, and similar dubious tactics should be policed. However the overall sales and purchase on the internet should just be governed by the laws and norms that already exist. Putting too much pressure on online sales could dampen the industry on a whole.


Appendix 1


Bailey, JP 1998, 'Internet Price Discrimination: Self-Regulation, Public Policy, and Global Electronic Commerce', University of Maryland.

Bakos, Y 1998, 'The emerging role of electronic marketplaces on the internet', Communications of the ACM, vol. 41, no. 8, pp. 35-42.

Brown, J & Goolsbee, A 2000, 'Does Internet Make Markets More Competitive? Evidence from the Life Insurance Industry', NBER Working Paper 7996.

Bryjolfsson, E & Smith, M 1999, 'Frictionless Commerce? A Comparison of Internet and Conventional Retailers', Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Bryjolfsson, E & Smith, M 2000, 'The Great Equalizer? Consumer Choice Behavior at Internet Shopbots', Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Carlton, DW & Perloff, JM 2005, Modern industrial organization, 4th edn, Pearson/Addison Wesley.

Daripa, A & Kapur, S 2001, 'Pricing on the Internet', Oxford Review of Economic Policy, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 202-16.

Deneckere, R & McAfee, RP 1996, 'Damaged Goods', Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 149-74.

Goolsbee, A 2000, 'Competition in the Computer Industry: Online versus Retail', in Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.

Guttman, RH & Maes, P 1998, Cooperative vs. Competitive Multi-Agent Negotiations in Retail Electronic Commerce, Springer Berlin / Heidelberg, Cambridge MA.

Kihlstrom, RE & Riordan, M 1984, 'Advertising as a Signal', Journal of Political Economy, vol. 92, pp. 427-50.

Koch, JV & Cebula, RJ 2002, 'Price, Quality, and Service on the Internet: Sense and Nonsense', Contemporary Economic Policy, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 25-37.

Krugman, PR & Obstfeld, M 2003, International Economics - Theory and Policy, Addison Wesley.

Lawrence, S 2001, 'Online Advertising Growth Cools in 2001', Industry Standard, vol. 4, no. 79.

Nelson, P 1974, 'Advertising as Information', Journal of Political Economy, vol. 82, pp. 729-54.

Odlyzko, A 2003, 'Privacy, Economics, and Price Discrimination on the Internet', paper presented to ICEC, Pittsburgh, PA.

Perloff, JM 2009, Microeconomics, 5th edn, Pearson Addison Wesley.

Riley, G 2006, Markets and Market Systems, Eton College, viewed 10 April 2011, <>.

Sykpe 2011, Skype Unlimited Calls, viewed 8 May 2011, <;.

Varian, HR 1996, 'Differential pricing and efficiency', First Monday, vol. 1, no. 2.

Vives, X 2001, Oligopoly pricing: old ideas and new tools, illustrated, reprint edn, MIT Press.

Weiss, RM & Mehrotra, AK 2001, 'Online Dynamic Pricing:Efficiency, Equity and the Future of E-commerce', VIRGINIA JOURNAL of LAW and TECHNOLOGY, vol. 6, no. 11.

--> ps this entry is the 5th in my series of MBA written assignments. The previous one is titled What Makes Someone A Better Business Leader which you can read by clicking here.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Pangkor - Trip Planner Series

Pulau Pangkor / Pangkor Island

Usually when planning a trip, I refer to trip advisor and other blogs on places to visit, directions, reviews and also hotel recommendations. However one thing I noticed is that though most of them provide helpful information, the challenge I have is putting everything into a 'plan', i.e planning an itinery of my trip. For example I know what are the nice places, but where do I go first, what time do I go somewhere and what do I do next. So in this entry for our trip to Pangkor, I'm going to blog in a chronological method with suggested timings and locations.

How many days to spend in Pangkor?
Ideally I would say on Pangkor Island, 2 days 1 night would be sufficient to cover the island. If you are going for a relaxing trip and have the time (and money) definitely Pangkor is relaxing and you can spend more time there.

Getting to Pangkor.
Frankly I was a little worried on figuring out the best route to Pangkor, as some friends have taken different route. I am driving south from Penang. For driving directions, I found the most helpful. If you are driving from North to South, you don't have to take the Ipoh exit as it is further. Take the Changkat Jering exit and follow directions to Lumut. After the Highway exit at Changkat Jering, it took around an hour plus to get to Lumut.

The road condition on the trunk (non-highway) road here is quite decent, however it is rather winding, and as it cuts across oil palm plantations, your journey can be slowed due to slow moving trucks. However the drive is scenic and cool.

Getting to Pangkor Island (Pulau Pangkor), there are actually a couple of options, however the one we used would probably the most common one i.e Lumut Jetty. If you are going to hotels like Pangkor Laut, you would need to get on another jetty which the hotel operator would advice you.

A nice traditional house on the way to Lumut

Parking in Lumut
There is a government (city council) multi story parking which is walking distance and a shaded walk to the Jetty / Pier. It cost me around RM10 per day to park there. Reasonable to me, as it seemed rather safe and convenient.

Shaded Walkway from Multi Story Parking to Jetty

Arriving at Lumut
Once you arrive in Lumut town, you will be greeted by the Waterfront Promenade. There are a number of shops there selling souvenirs, batik and of course, Pangkor's famous fish / sea products, namely all sorts of crackes. A must try.

Lumut Waterfront Promenade

The jetty is well done, and a return ticket (remember to keep your ticket for the return trip) is RM10. It seems though there are a couple of booths selling tickets, they have 'joined' and regardless of which booth you buy your ticket, you get onto the same ferry.

Lumut Jetty

They've got basically a closed deck ferry and an open deck ferry. Getting on the open deck ferry is an experience on itself, having an open view of the sea and islands. Getting an open deck or non-open deck is basically a matter of timing & luck. If the waiting ferry for the next trip is open deck then you are lucky. As going to Pangkor we didn't get the open deck ferry, on our return trip, we waiting for an open deck ferry before getting aboard as we were not in a hurry.

Inside the closed deck ferry, yes you see the life jackets readily there. That's good. The ferry ride to Pangkor takes approximately half an hour, and frequency is around once every 30 to 45minutes. I'm not sure if you can pre-buy tickets, but on off peak days you should easily get tickets for the immediate ferry.

Lumut is also one of Malaysia's naval base, so on your ferry ride, you will be able to observe some navy ships. There are also shipyards there (owned by Bousted Shipyards I presume?) which constructs / repairs ships.

Naval ships.

The ferry basically first stops at the Sungai Pinang Jetty in Pangkor island, a jetty mostly used by locals.

Fishing boat near the first stop

So get down at the 2nd (and final) destination. If in doubt just ask one of the locals.

Arriving in Pangkor Island

I would suggest to arrive in Pangkor latest by 5pm. Why? Well, Pangkor offers some pretty amazing evening activities, among others hanging out by the beach, playing in the waters, and enjoying the sunset.

Once you arrive in Pangkor, you can either rent a bike or car, or get a taxi (which happens to be Pink colored vans). Once you walk out the jetty, you will see a couple of guys offering vehicles for rent. I rented my car from Zaq, you can probably call and pre-book 017 -5390565. Point of note is most cars (not sure maybe even all) are manual transmission (manual clutch type gear box) against auto transmission. Car rental would probably cost you around RM60-70 during off-peak season

My advice is if you are not that familiar driving manual transmission car, give car rental a skip unless they can offer you an auto transmission car and just pay for a taxi. The roads are unlike Langkawi, here the roads are steep and rather winding. So same consideration goes for renting motorbikes (mo-pads). The back road, from Pan Pacific through the airport is probably the most steep.

Tricky Roads

Pangkor island is relatively on the West of Malaysia, and has a good view of the sunset on the beaches on the west coast of Pangkor. We initially headed for Nipah bay for the sunset, however due to the current sun location it was blocked by the island ahead. We found Teluk Ketapang to offer the best Sunset view during our visit. Sunset time usually ranges from 7pm onwards. A good benchmark would be to find out Maghrib prayer times, which you can google or check out and select Pangkor, Perak. So you basically want to reach your sunset viewing location at least 30 mins before to start enjoying the progression of the sun setting.

There are a number of viewing points which you might prefer to enjoy the view of catch sunset.

View from Viewing Point

The viewing points have a nice look to it, but not that well maintained.

View of Viewing Point

The stairs are rather steep and winding (hmmm, something like the roads here). So not suggested for elderly or those that get dizzy fast?

Here's how our sunset experience started when we reached Ketapang Bay (Teluk Ketapang). This beach is not that crowded, and has nice sand and a great view.

The sunset has its own beauty and glory. Changing the color of the sky, clouds, combined with its reflection on the sea water.

You will definitely enjoy many shades of colors.

With the looks of a blazing sun and burning sky.

With the sun glaring right into your eyes. Closing on into the horizon.

The effects of the sunset even somehow adds a classic view to the beach and the trees (almond trees?). Which accentuate the beauty of the red leaves and the leaves drying on the sand.

And the sun starts to bid farewell.

And we also get a nice experience of the fisherman coming on shore, and pulling in his fishing net.

Pulling in his net

Going through his catchings of the day. Alas, doesn't seem bountiful.

Picking the fish out

He did catch this squid. An amazing sight to me.

Looking at squid looking at you

Sun has set. Now what? As we hadn't checked in yet, we headed to our hotel, Anjungan Beach Resort. As I mentioned, when I plan my trip, I usually go to a number of websites and read the reviews. What matters most is user / travellers review. And I have to thank Trip Advisor and the many travellers who recommended this place Trip Advisor Anjungan Beach Resort (and Spa) Review. Initially I was a little worried, as eventhough this Hotel was highly recommended (#2 in Pangkor per TripAdvisor) there were some negative reviews. However I decided to go with the majority of reviews and also the reviewers that had traveled more. And I was not dissappointed.

Accomodation at Pangkor - Anjungan Beach Resort

There are a variety of hotels to choose from depending on your budget. You can get started here with a summary of the available hotels in Pangkor.

When we arrived at Anjungan Beach Resort, few things came to mind.

1. It is really strategically located, i.e at Teluk Nipah. What this means is no worries on dinner as there are many stalls and restaurants nearby. Do note some other hotels are located far from restaurants, so double check on in-house dining and also consider having a transport.

2. Entering the hotel perimeter, the view was breathtaking.

Below is a view of the hotel during day time.

Wondering how I managed this 'ariel' view? Well I climb up one of the buildings and took this fabulous picture. The pool is shaped as a ship's hull with the rooms surrounding the pool.

The view to the beach is rather blocked due to some stalls being built by the local council, probably to house the shops and restaurants. However the beach itself is still easily accessible.

The interior was spacious and nice. It had a homely feeling. It doesn't give you a 5 star hotel feel, and as I talked to the owner he did mention this place is around a ~3 star. No complains. by the way, it is a family run business.

If your room is on the ground floor, you can drag your rattan chair by the balcony and enjoy the pool.


Nice queen size bed.

Overall we were happy with the room, only concern would be some cobwebs and little paint worn off in the bathroom.

The front lobby is well setup and cozy. They've got some nice sofa with small bolsters and if you look carefully in the picture below, a bookshelf by the stairs. So you can actually just relax here and enjoy reading a book or use their free WiFi available at the lobby.

The lobby is also where breakfast and lunch is served. Note breakfast is not inclusive, and cost me around RM12 plus for a nice breakfast. There would be a rolled ordering print out you fill up and they will collect and prepare accordingly. Getting your breakfast would take little time due to little staff. We found breakfast wholesome and nice.

Would I come back and stay here again? Definitely I would, it is value for money, owners are friendly, the pool is really nice and even during nights its nice to sit by the pool. Location is a sure plus as well. You can check out Anjungan Beach Resort, Pangkor by clicking here.

Nipah Bay at Night

It is quite happening, a number of souveniers and shops. Quite lively, with stalls offering karaoke etc. Below a chap doing writtings on key-chain at the souvenir shop.

Cross Island - Wading to Pulau Giam

After breakfast, suggest to quickly head off to Coral Beach, around 5 minutes walk from the hotel. An unforgettable experience is to wade across the low tide to a nearby island Pulau Giam. Once at Coral Beach, check with the locals or beach boys on how'fs the tide and around what time to head back to Pulau Pangkor. Obviously you don't want to loosehotels in Pangkor track of time and get 'stuck' in the island once the tide picks up. There are many people wading across so just take note of the crowd movement as well when to head back.

I would suggest to start walking when the water is 'ankle level' or slightly higher. It is enjoyable and you will come across some beautiful coral during your walk.

Here's the destination Pulau Giam. Around a nice stroll of 15minutes journey.

Some of the pristine corals, below one was some seaweed (?) floating across.

Here's a nice one. Has a striking red color one it.

Below is a sea cucumer variant, locally know as Gamat. Gamat oil is known to have medicinal properties and is sold in nearby shops. Langkawi Island would be more famous for Gamat though, not to mention its beautiful corals by Pulau Paya in Langkawi. Gamat is said to have among others tissue repair properties, refer to Fatty acid compositions in local sea cucumber,Stichopus chloronotus, for wound healing

Arrived at Pulau Giam. Now what? Just relax, take pictures and enjoy.

Pulau Giam...Possibly a hangout for monkeys so don't leave your belongings un-guarded.

Here's someone you probably know, posing in Pulau Giam, the background island is Pulau Pangkor.

Some people looking for some sea food. :)

Once you have had your time in Pulau Giam, you could head back and go to Teluk Nipah and enjoy the water rides, or chill at the beach. There are people bathing / playing in the sea. On average the sea is rather calm. Play in areas away from the jet skies though just to be safe.

Actually one of the most fun activities at the beach is FREE. Yes, the locals have made a number of swings, from plank swings to rope swings and so on. Just ask them and usually they would be more then happy to let you have a go at it.

Here's a go at the below swing. Little bit hard to take off and hang on, but definitely enjoyable. Just look at the wide smile (tersenyum lebar)...

Next you can just drive (or get a taxi) to go around the island. Below is another Jetty, believe the private jetty for Pulau Island Beach Resort (formerly Pan Pacific Resort).

Beow is probably the only and rather small round-about in Pangkor.

A chinese temple.

Deep sea fishing ship building.

The Dutch Fort. The actual fort is in the backdrop. The front bricks look 'revitalized'.

The Dutch Fort Story:

The bike below next to the Dutch Fort looks more antique if you ask me. :)

Also go to the Fish Satay Factory which has an abundance of sea by-products snacks and crackers.

Next is Daddy's Cafe. This place is also highly regarded at TripAdvisor . Definitely the ambience is nice, and during some time of the year, it would have a direct view of the sun setting.

We ordered some food however found it average. Probably we should have ordered some other dishes and the Curry Prawn was to spiced up, even to an Asian taste. Price middle to high.

But look here what we saw. Yes, the majestic HornBill. We have travelled to Langkawi, and Sarawak (land of Hornbills right?) but never saw a hornbill in the open. Really nice. Somehow looks like a plastic replica, but this is the real thing. It flew away. Locals say best time to see these birds would be in the evening when people feed them. Check again with the locals. So yes, in your trip to Pangkor, find out when and where to get a glimpse of this animals.

Heading Back to Lumut

Yes this time we waiting for the open deck ferry. A really nice experience.

Zooming back...

After reaching Lumut, we drove off to Teluk Batik, around 15minutes drive from Lumut. We stopped by the road side to enjoy some Durian first.

We couldn't find our Hotel, Teluk Batik Beach Resort, but reached Teluk Batiks' esplanade. And guess what, the sun was setting.

We ran off to the beach to enjoy.

Burning skies.

Actually the Teluk Batik Resort was just few minutes drive from the esplanade, we checked in. It is a Service Apartment type of concept.

If you are planning a trip, frankly Teluk Batik Resort is a place to just laze. Nothing much. I signed up for a package for Teluk Batik as below with some freebies thrown in.

Rooms are large and spacious. There is a wash basin and fridge, but no cooking.
Bedroom and hall divided.

Bathroom. Some leaking water from the shower.

The pool looked nice.

Breakfast was complimentary. Nothing to shout about.

We had free tickets to the Man Made Marine / Snorkeling Park.

Man Made Marine / Snorkeling Park

Mr Turtle there to great you. It's located at Notty Resort, opposite Teluk Batik Esplanade. There is also a restaurant that's nice to hang out there at night.

Basically the man made snorkeling is a large pool with marine life (mostly or all just fishes). Nothing great, but if you never snorkeled and want a basic experience can give it a try. Snorkels and life jacket are available.

Then we lazed at the beach. Though hot, the shade from the tree was ample.

Beach chairs for rent.

Also had free tickets for sea shell museum. Decent experience. Recommended if you are really into sea shells.

Heading back home.....


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