Thursday, August 4, 2016

My Penang Diary- Part 1

The best way to be lost.....
And found.....
All at the same time...
        ~Brenna Smith~
Sometimes you need to travel to understand more about yourself.
Each new destination brings out some new avenues to explore.We were doing exactly that, when we were visiting Penang in Malaysia. I have mentioned Penang in this post, never realized that I will be soon visiting this place. 
Penang is a great representation of a living testimony of multi-cultural heritage and traditions of Asia. The co-existence of various faiths together, with beautiful amalgamation of Malay, Indian, Chinese and European cultures and also UNESCO world-heritage sites, makes it even more vibrant, diverse and colourful.

I didn’t plan it this time as much I used to do for past outings. The only criteria for this itinerary was to unwind ourselves from a hectic and fast paced life that we were experiencing during past couple of months.
We took a relaxing coach bus service by Aeroline, that had a pick-up and dropping point from Corus hotel. I guess there are other commercial coach services available also. On the day of our departure, we arrived early and had our breakfast in the hotel. The journey from Kuala Lumpur to Penang took approx. 4- 4/12 hrs, roughly .And in between the journey ,me and dear husband dozed off, while dear daughter caught on watching ‘Zootopia’.A short halt in Ipoh was a relief. And after that the journey from Ipoh towards Penang Island became very scenic. As we passed the Cameron Highlands, the lush greenery, small mountains and scattered thin clouds over mountains, were very refreshing to watch. We crossed Penang Bridge to enter the small island Penang.
Our final stop was Bayan Lepas, a sub-urb in Penang, where we rented a small apartment for our leisure visit this time. The owner, a Chinese gentleman was friendly and courteous. The views from our rented property were really nice and refreshing, and to top it all, the balcony view where we used to sit with my morning cup of tea was rejuvenating. 

One fine day I was awake early, and watched a beautiful sun-rise as well. These are precious little things which comes free to us and perhaps some of the best as well.
We short-listed some of the places to visit, keeping in mind our slow-paced journey motto.
On the first day we went to Visit George Town, capital of Penang. George Town is also a UNESCO world heritage site and perhaps it is one of its kind in the East and South –East Asia. In 2008, George Town was awarded the coveted World heritage sites. This was once a British trading post and named after British King George III.

Our first stop was Queen Victoria memorial clock. We then took a leisurely walk towards Fort Cornwallis and then towards the waterfront/Esplanade, passing in between a Hindu temple. As it was mid-day and the heat was getting unbearable, we sat under the cooling tree- shadows for a while. 

I bought a chicken nugget stick and a refreshing chocolate drink from this street-vendor.
Khoo Kongsi – Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi, is a clan house built some 600 years ago, is part of five big clans that formed the initial backbone of Hokkien community in olden Penang. 

This is a clan house of Khoo family. Beautiful interior decor took our breath away.

Actually some of the scenes from a famous Hollywood film – ‘Anna and The King’ were shot here.
We had our lunch in a local café near Khoo Kongsi – Ben’s art café .The Fried rice and grilled chicken was delicious. And so was local coconut rice Nasi Lemak. The interior was well kept with antiques and lanterns.We found them fascinating as well.

After wards we started to roam around in old George Town streets. We saw Kapitan Keling mosque from outside. The mosque was built by initial Indian Muslim immigrants who came here for work. 

This year they are celebrating 215 th years of establishment. The architecture is alluring and so is the well-kept garden outside.
We also saw Cheah Kongsi- another clan house .It is set by Cheah Yam who came here in Penang way back from southern China. 

Cat is a universal thing here in Penang I guess.

We also happened to hire one of these, trishaws on left , and paddled across the interiors streets.

The street arts in George Town are cute and amazing and some of them are little eccentric (Well I have a thing for eccentricity)

 Like the boy on the bike (where actually ahem, the bike is real) 

and ‘little children on bicycle ‘even the bicycle was real. 

These eccentric artworks were painted by artist Ernest Zacharevick. 

We came across many such cute art works. 

And a fine street performance by this group, all instrument made out of rubbish, now that’s what I call real recycling process.We also spotted Bruce Lee in action as well, I mean street art.

We also strolled in the streets of Little India, where there were hordes of stores selling nick-knacks specifically everything Indian- Sarees, suits, home décor and what not.
After paddling through the old city streets with our trishaws, we were tired and had our coffee in Armenia House. Ipoh white coffee was refreshing. 

What is this with white coffee in Malaysia, I really don’t know, but this is getting like an addiction for us. The interior was laid back and the atmosphere was also relaxing. 

One can come here and spend hours, reading a book over a cup of coffee or perhaps write a blog entry. And yes - life begins after coffee.

May be next time when I am in Penang, this will be my to-do-list.

We also visited Gertak Sanggul, a laid-back quaint fishing village. And we had all the beach to ourselves. The beach is not at all touristy, and in fact very quiet in the morning. 

But come in evening time and the place is alive with lots of local eateries/hawkers selling fresh seafood. The Hai Boey Seafood restaurant is a very famous food-joint in Penang. There is a bus ~ 308 by Rapid Penang taking people to this beach, but frequency is very less and the drivers are not in rush also. 

We waited for about 40-45 mints for the bus and the driver also. It’s better to have your own conveniences.
As we find mid-day to afternoon perhaps the hottest part of the day, we decided to come back to our rental property for some rest.

In the evening we took the funicular to reach Penang Hill. We had a clear –blue sky and the crowd was less as it was a normal working day in Penang. Weekends are no-no for us, this place becomes overly crowded during weekends. 

We sat there up on the viewing podium in the restaurant (They even had some nice songs playing in the restaurant over hill top) with a glass of chocolate shake, watching the entire Penang skyline lit up brightly. That was really a very breath-taking view. 

We also saw a temple and a mosque side-by side in one place. And believe me people do come to offer prayers here. The temple resembles many south-Indian temples in India, felt like I am in Rameshwar temple. The temple is dedicated to lord Murugan. 

While I also spotted these heart locks over there, I couldn’t stop wondering the motives of people doing these- countless heart locks, god knows how many are still together or have parted their ways, but their heart locks remained together here forever. In this conflicting time of chaos, this looks so pretty and calming. Yes, we need love to prevail, more the merrier.

And while we were there, we took a leisurely paced stroll towards the hiking path. The view from stop-over points are really nice, one can keep on walking till Monkey Cup garden. 

We couldn’t make it to the last bit, but the walk was still very refreshing.

I will write more in next part, as Penang visit is incomplete without Buddhist temples and Batu Ferringhi , and not to forget those crazy shopping malls.See you next week with second part.....


  1. Jaya...koto din pore elaam aar kii bhalo laglo eyi post ta pore. As always simple, warm and pure-hearted!! Beautiful travel journal hoyechhe, khub bhalo laglo. Sharodiya shubhechha roilo for you and your family :-)

    1. Thanks Joyeeta
      So glad you liked the post. .tumake O sharodiya shubecha ..hugs and smiles


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