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Published: September 17th 2022
We had wanted to catch a 3 hour ferry from Langkawi to Penang but unfortunately due to the pandemic and less business the ferry company closed so we took our shortest flight ever (30 mins) to Penang. Our Langkawi taxi driver was very chatty and before we knew it we were at the airport, boarded and landed on time in Penang. We knew Penang was a much bigger, built up island and on the way to our hotel we could really see it. We were staying in the heart of UNESCO world heritage listed Georgetown and opposite Chew Jetty. After check in we took a stroll around Georgetown and took photos of the old Chinese shop houses and small alleyways, and of course the street art! We ended up back at the coastline near Fort Cornwallis, an old British colonial fort. That night we ate like the locals do at one of the many street hawker stalls.
The next day we set out to explore Georgetown more and went to Chew Jetty. Along with many of the jetties that sit on the periphery of Georgetown, Chew Jetty (all the jetties are named after families) is the largest and is comprised
of wooden houses on stilts where some of them are still used as houses today but most are small shops and there is a small temple at the end. Next stop was Fort Cornwallis – while a relatively small fort, its a relic of the British colonial rule and there are still quite a few cannons still there dotting the fort. We then proceeded to Cheong Fatt Tze ‘The Blue Mansion’ which is a heritage-listed mansion turned luxury hotel built by a penniless Chinese migrant in the 19th century. Today it’s a luxury hotel and tourist spot so we had to join a guided tour (which was rather long) but we enjoyed the magnificent treasure troves and the giant open air courtyard in the middle which has been featured in many films including most recently Crazy Rich Asians. After the tour we enjoyed a drink in the spectacular bar. That night we decided to try out the local Indian food and finished the night off with a nightcap in Love Lane which is the bar street.
The next day we took a Grab (Malaysian Uber) to the Kek Si Lok Chinese temple complex up the Penang Hills. It’s so
grand and incredibly large – the highlight was the giant Kuan Yin statue at the very top as well as the tall Pagoda. Very beautiful and you can spend hours here. We were on a time frame and got back to our hotel to meet our food guide Tiger for a 5 hour food tour! He was a very nice and knowledgeable local who took us out of Georgetown to let use experience how a local ‘Penangite’ would eat their 6 daily meals! First stop was a street side eatery somewhere outside Georgetown where we had a lunch of Nasi Kandar – rice, curry meat and veggies and of course eat like a local with hands! Afterwards, we went up into the hills and hiked around the dam and into the world’s second oldest rainforest (130 million years old!) where we strolled around and Tiger showed us various plants and leaves that can be used if one got lost in the forest eg. Furry leafage to use as toilet paper, fern that glows in the dark and leaves the can be turned into drinking cups. Next we had a little picnic where we were served mid morning and mid afternoon
snacks and drinks which consisted of Milo, Malaysian ‘stir fried’ coffee and various glutinous rice cakes and sweets. Oh and my favourite Otak-otak (Brain Brain) which is like a spicy savoury curry fish cake with herbs but it has more of a egg custard consistency and wrapped in a banana leaf. Very delicious and no actual brains involved! To burn off all that, we climbed 512 stairs up to the largest Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Murgugan outside India. The Balathandayuthapani Temple was a magnificent temple and Tiger was very knowledgeable on the history and religious significance of the temple. Next stop was pre dinner and dinner! Another street side eatery were we ate dumplings and various noodle soups! On the way back to the hotel Tiger got us our final meal of the day ‘supper’ a Malaysian famous Ramly burger, which is a spiced burger wrapped in a thin omelette and covered in various sauces. We had it back at our hotel. Suffice to say we were very, very full! Tiger was a wonderful food guide and it was a really enjoyable way to discover Penang.
The next day, and our final day we went to ‘The Top’
Penang’s tallest lookout and skywalk. At level 68 was an open air observatory deck and the world’s largest curved glass walkway (notice how many worlds largest there are!) Another spectacularly sunny day gave wonderful views over Penang and the sea. Back on level 65 I did the Gravityz skywalk – the world’s highest skywalk! I did the full challenge- walking along the skywalk platform, sitting on the raised platform, zip lining, walking backwards, laying on a deckchair and standing on another raised platform. So exhilarating!! So glad I did it. Afterwards we enjoyed cold Calsberg beer back on L68 while enjoying the view. Back on the ground, we had a Penang speciality Assam Laksa, which is very different to a typical curry Laksa where it’s a fish tamarind base with no coconut milk and udon type noodles. Very delicious. Later that evening we treated ourselves to a restaurant dinner and coconut liquid nitrogen ice-cream in a coconut! Then some drinks in Love Lane while people watching on our last night in Penang. What a perfect end to a lovely visit
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