Published: April 27th 2010March 25th 2010
Along the Coast
Fishing boats dot the water along the coast on our way to the Tropical Spice Garden.
We arrived in Penang this morning about 8:00am and by 9:00 we were on a coach headed for our excursion, Penang’s Spice Trail. Locally, Penang is known as Pulau Pinang, and is the northern gateway to Malaysia. It is the country’s oldest British settlement. The word “Pinang” in Malay refers to the areca nut palm, which provides the betel nut, an essential ingredient in a delicacy chewed by millions in the Far East.
Penang is an island state off the west coast of the Malay Peninsula with the capital being Georgetown. It is a major vacation destination and in July 2008 was formally inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Known as the Pearl of the Orient for its natural beauty, Pulau Pinang has a mixture of very gracious colonial architecture, vibrant Chinese communities, Indian temples, mosques and very nice beach resorts. The population is primarily Hokkien Chinese, with a sizeable Indian community, plus many Malays. Georgetown was built on swampy land that had to be cleared of vegetation, leveled and filled. Georgetown was founded in 1786 by Captain Francis Light, a trader for the British East India Company, and was named after Britain’s King George III. It has a
Hard Rock Hotel
There are many nice hotels in the Georgetown area. This one opened recently.
population of 220,000, or about 400,000 including the suburbs. In 2007, it was voted the 10th most livable city in Asia.
As we left the pier, we drove through Georgetown and along the beach road to the Tropical Spice Garden. On the way, we drove past a new Hard Rock Hotel and several other high-end hotels along the beach.
When we arrived at the spice garden, our guide took us on a nice walking tour and explained the spices they grew, as well as some of the trees and plants on the property. After that we were treated to an outdoor cooking demonstration from a lady that prepared a Malay-Indian chicken marsala dish. Some of us got to participate in the preparation using traditional grinding stones and secrets of how to maximize the flavor and aroma of the spices. It was fun and quite tasty! We didn’t leave without buying a few spices and some natural mosquito repellent.
It was then back to the ship as our stay here was short. We cast off at 2:00pm for three days at sea and our arrival at Male, Maldives on the 29th. Another place in this world that we
Tropical Spice Garden
The entrance to our excursion. It is across the road from the shore.
could spend more time enjoying!
There are more photos below