Penang Botanic Gardens

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We spent a morning at these botanic gardens which are free to enter. Many of the trees were planted in colonial times and hence have matured into magnificent specimens from all around the tropical world. Several of them were labelled but we could not find out the names of all the ones which interested us. I think probably some varieties which were in several areas of the gardens only had a name on one specimen. Not that this mattered to us as we just enjoyed looking at them. The paths are well kept and the grass is also pleasant to walk on.

The orchids and cacti were in “cages” presumably to stop the monkeys destroying them. To western eyes it seemed strange to have the plants in a cage and the monkeys roaming free! There were quite a number of groups of different types of monkey which kept several feet away from the humans – when we were here about 30 years ago troupes were rather a nuisance grabbing packet of nuts or crisps quite aggressively, now it is forbidden to feed them and the numbers of them around added to our enjoyment of the gardens as did the lizards and birds.

There is a little “train”, costing less than 50p, which takes you round a part of the garden, quite fun but not far to walk anyway. There is also a small shop with gifts and icecreams as well as toilets nearby.

Our only problem was getting back to the main town – we had arrived by taxi. No taxis came up to the entrance and a request in the shop to call one for us did not result in one arriving. We saw a bus some way down the hill from the gardens so assume that they can be caught by walking there but we finally got a taxi by walking part way down the hill and having a drink in a cafe whilst the owner arranged a taxi for us – which came within 15 minutes. I think it might be better to ask the taxi which drops you off to come back at a specified time – I suggest 2 -3 hours later. This minor hassle did not spoil our enjoyment of the gardens as we had plenty of time.

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