After a painless border crossing into Malaysia, our first stop was the bustling island of Penang. We couldn't help but notice the very modern motorways in Malaysia, and the impressively long bridge linking Penang to the mainland. Our first impression was that Malaysia is a very modern country, possibly the most modern we've seen in our travels.

Our second impression is that the sun here is HOT! The air is very warm, and only a little humid, but when the sun is out it really sizzles the skin. Walking around for more than a few minutes carrying our packs is devastatingly hard work.

One interesting aspect of Malaysia is the mixed ethnic groups and religions. There are three primary ethnic groups: Malay, Chinese and Indian. Islam is the primary religion, but there are also healthy doses of Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity. This means that it is very easy to see diverse places of worship in a small area. Our short walk around Georgetown, the main town in Penang, showed this to be true. We saw a large, impressive mosque, colourful buddhist temples and some rather plain looking churches all on one short street.

One wonderful aspect of the mix of cultures here in Malaysia is the food! Indian stalls are everywhere, and their food is incredibly cheap. Nearly all the food on offer is Southern Indian, which makes a nice contrast to the food we had in Northern India. Chinese food is also prominent, and Malay dishes appear as well. Everywhere we look, there are small restuarants set up on the streets. They provide a wonderful way to try lots of different tasty foods at a very small cost.

We looked in Penang's modern and wonderfully air-conditioned malls, and took the elevator to the top of the tallest building on the island. From here the view was spectacular and we watched the sun set over the beautiful island of Penang.

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