This was rather impromptu. Seats were running out. Ticket prices were twice they were a few weeks ago. But I really needed to take a break. And so I did. But was it worth it? Well, yes. Anyway, I’ve always wanted to visit Penang. Georgetown, specifically. Being someone who’s passionate in history and the arts, the city is like the perfect city to pay a visit. Plus, I heard about the food.
I took a 1.5-hour evening flight onboard Scoot from Singapore to Penang, and from the airport, we took a Grab cab to our hostel in Georgetown which took another 30-40 minutes. For the next two days, Grab was our main mode of transportation since it’s the most convenient way to pay for and book a cab. The hostel we booked was The Frame Guesthouse, and it was a pretty awesome place to stay in, especially for just $12/night. By the way, the pictures for this place online don’t do justice. Props to a certain someone who’s good at finding places like these.
After unpacking our stuff, we headed over nearby next to the Kapitan Keling Mosque for some late-night Nasi Kandar with some Papadams at the side. It was delicious but I was stupid enough not to take a photo. I’m sorry.
Streets of Georgetown
For the first day, our objective was to go for all of the street art since all of them were within walking distances from our hostel. After breakfast, we set out at 9am and navigated our way through the streets in search for all of the street art we marked on our map.
While street art were our main destinations, along the way, we had a nice glimpse of the streets and typical life here in Georgetown. Once in a while, you’ll see Trishaws coming around the corners, hear trumpets and bells from Chinese temples, smell whiffs of spices as you pass Indian tuck shops, and once in a while, you’ll hear the call to prayer from different mosques across the city.
It’s no wonder that this city is one of the most “Instagrammed” cities in the world. We actually had a really fun time coming up with creative poses with the street art here. And there was plenty of street art so you can only imagine how much spam there is in our photo albums.
After covering all of the street art, we walked over to Chew Jetty which was a Chinese settlement on stilts. There was a narrow boardwalk walkway with shops mainly selling souvenirs and snacks as you walk further towards the sea.
At the end of the boardwalk, you’ll get a view of the channel between mainland Malaysia and Penang Island, and in the distance, you’ll be able to see Penang Bridge.
Kek Lok Si Temple
After having a hearty lunch nearby at an old-school eatery, we took a Grab to head over to Kek Lok Si Temple located at the side of a hill overlooking Georgetown. The temple was huge and impressive with tons of lanterns hanging by the ceilings and intricate Chinese art lining the walls and columns. There weren’t that many visitors that day so it was really peaceful and quiet. Inside, you were able to see worshippers conducting prayers as well as an area where you were able to write your name against colourful streaks of fabric.
You were able to climb to the higher floors of the temple where you would be able to sit down, relax, and appreciate the view of Georgetown.
I have to admit that prior to moving off to Penang Hill, we actually spent quite a while debating on whether we should actually visit Penang Hill since we already had a nice view of the city from the temple, plus we were also tired. However, we made the decision to move off towards Penang Hill that evening, and we never regretted that decision. To get to the top of Penang Hill, we had to take a tram ride which cost around $10 2-way per person.
Other than the cooler environment, at the top, we had breathtaking views of the city, and it was more breathtaking when the sun started to set.
As it got dark, we concluded the day with street food at a street somewhere near our hostel.
On the second day, we decided to visit some historical sites including the mansions that were around the city.
Our first stop was the Peranakan Mansion which also was a walking distance from the hostel. By the time we got there, there were already quite a number of visitors. On top of that, there was some shooting event as well so the place was a little busy.
For someone like me who has never been to a Peranakan-styled mansion before, as you enter, you’ll be amazed at how grand it is. From the furniture to the tiles to the things on display, you’ll find loads of things that you’ll associate with being owned by someone of a higher-status. Attached to the mansion itself, you would find a museum where they housed a number of historical items belonging to the previous owners.
After spending some time here, we had some mandatory laksa somewhere close to our next destination.
The Blue Mansion, was built by Cheong Fatt Tze, a prominent Chinese businessman and politician, at the end of the 19th century. In 1989, the mansion was then purchased by a group of local Penang individuals in a bid to preserve the building. Since then, it has won a number of awards from UNESCO. This place was also known as where they filmed a scene in Crazy Rich Asians.We bought tickets for an awesome group tour which was about $6 per person. Sally, the tour guide, on top of being entertaining, she provided us with a lot of interesting information about the mansion. Just like the previous mansion, I was amazed at how grand it was as well.
The visit to the Blue Mansion was pretty much our last major activity of the day (and of the trip). After getting some local lunch nearby, we collected our bags at the hostel and headed back to the airport.Overall, we had a really pleasant and fun experience in this town. From the sights to the food, everything was pretty awesome. The only thing that I dreaded was the fact that we had to return to work the day after 😂
For more photos, head over to my EyeEm!
For the video montage, head over here!