Penang is a popular destination for tourists traveling throughout Malaysia. It’s located in the North-West and is also called the Pearl of Orient. This island is easy to reach by a jetty (ferry).
Most tourists stay in George Town, a real backpackers Whahala. We really enjoyed our stay in George Town. It’s a fantastic place to stay. The diversity in cultures makes this city vibrant and relaxed. This capital city of Penang has many Chinese and Indian influences. You can find throughout the city temples form both cultures and the best food.
George Town is less modern than all other major cities in Malaysia. It’s famous for it’s colonial architecture. The old city center is lively with all the vibrant colors. Since 2008 the centre is part of UNESCO World Heritage. The best thing to do in Georgetown is finding all the street art. We really made an expedition; finding all small parts of street art, even in the smaller streets. Ernest Zacherevic, a Lithuanian artist made most of them.
As I explained before, the city has many temples to visit. This is really worthwhile. The Goddes of Mercy Temple (Chinese) is really impressive when all inhabitants are singing together, a kind of mantra. Really inspiring to hear. Other temples like the Mahamariamman Temple (Indian) are also worthwhile visiting.
At the Red Garden Foodcourt, Chulia street or the little restaurants and food stands you really can enjoy a nice dinner. The foodcourt at Lebuh Leith as a rich diversity of influences; sushi, vietnamees, indian, western, curries, etc. Would you like to treat yourself? Buy a fresh cake at China House. I would also like to recommend this restaurant for lunch and dinner. Please be aware you will pay Western prices here. Wauw… I’m still getting hungry when I think about the cake!
Chew Jetty/ Clan Jetties
This is a little fishing village is located next to George Town, close to the jetty (ferry). This place is popular among tourists, but still worth visiting. The jetty has beautiful views over the sea, has many souvenir shops, authentic fishing houses and friendly inhabitants.
On top of Penang Hill you can enjoy the beautiful views of Penang. In the distance lies George Town and the sea. On a clear day the view is endless. We rented a scooter in George Town to visit Penang Hill. Parked it a the bottom and took the train up the mountain. We made a nice hike on top of the hill. It’s all about tourists, a bit disappointing according to us, however we have enjoyed the amazing views and would recommend it still to everyone.
As we are really sportive, we had to go down hiking. Luckily, since there is an enormous cue at sundower to go down with the train. The hike down is nice, but steep some parts. Google maps will help you finding the way. On our way we saw some monkeys and a big snake! We are glad with our hiking shoes, and are all sweaty when we are back at the scooter.
Kek Lok Si Temple
On the same day we visited Kek Lok Si temple on the scooter. It’s located at the opposite of Penang Hill rail station. If you wouldn’t like to travel by scooter, you could always tak bus 203 or 204 in Greorge Town. It’s free to visit Kek Lok Si Temple. The best way is to start at the bottom of the hill and work your way up through all temples. While this you can enjoy your views from the surrounding area. The temple is the biggest Boeddhist temple in Malaysia. The complex contains several temples, gardens and prayer rooms. In 1833 they started building the whole complex and till today it isn’t ready.
The Spice garden is located on the north side of the island, just 15 km’s aways form George town. It’s a beautiful ride by scooter along the coastline. We stopped in one of the smaller villages to have lunch. We arrived early in the morning and the Spice Garden and enjoyed the quiet gardens. You will learn a lot through the audiotour and by seeing all the herbs, spices and beautiful trees and plants.
Please make sure you will use their free repellent spray and the entrance to project yourself for all the musquitos. We made a nice hike through the gardens. At the end you can have lunch or dinner in the restaurant. It’s also possible to join the cooking workshop, but make sure you make a reservation in advanced.