Penang – A Lovely and Interesting City
Having had a stressful workload for the past few months, (I’m talking about my travel partner), we decided to go for a short vacation. Our free time can only afford short flights out of Singapore, so, we chose to go to Malaysia. We have been to Malacca and Kuala Lumpur already. I was interested to go Penang and so Penang it was.
I have been reading blogsites about Penang and immediately fell in love with the place. There are few airlines which operates from Singapore to Penang. We were lucky to find a good price with AirAsia, two persons, round trip was SGD276. But then, with AirAsia’s reputation of flights being delayed, we got a taste of that bad rep. Our flight out of Changi was delayed for two hours!
We reached Penang International Airport at 3pm. We took a taxi as we were scared that we might get lost if we took the public transport. Our taxi fare was MYR42 from airport to our hotel. The taxi ride was smooth, roughly it took around 45 minutes to reach the lovely town of Georgetown.
Picking up a hotel has always been my favorite challenge whenever me and my travel partner goes for a vacation. Not only that we stick with a certain budget, I need to be sure that the hotel is in a good location too. Having Googlemaps as my only guide, (thank God for Googlemaps!), I chose Armenian Street Heritage Hotel, which is located at Lebuh Carnavon.
True as with the other blogs I have read, Armenian Street Heritage is probably the best hotel there is, when you are after a good location. We checked in at around 3.30pm, the staff were quite friendly. We asked for a high floor and was hoping for a good view. Our floor was on top level, 5th, and was overlooking the city.
The hotel was quite clean and was spacious. Nice and clean bathroom. Fresh sheets, some bottled water, coffee and tea were provided. There were toiletries in the bathroom as well. Having to pay SGD 110 for three days and two nights is not bad at all.
I booked the hotel through their website and added a breakfast set for MYR5. The breakfast was from their in house restaurant which I didn’t find that appealing, but breakfast for SGD1++ is well, tolerable.
Few weeks before our trip, I did my homework to research for all the attractions that we can probably visit during our few days trip. It was kinda easy as you can easily search for it in the internet. I think, the scheduling part is the challenging one, but of course, anything about vacation is challenge with pleasure. So, here is the account of our three days and two nights Penang trip. I hope you enjoy reading! 🙂
Our Day 1 itinerary was wandering around the streets of Georgetown. We hunted as much Street Art that our itchy feet can bring us. Luckily, our hotel was, I told you, the best location there is.
Here are some of the infamous street art we got lucky to find:
We stopped at this cafe for some refreshments as the sun was scorching hot that time. After taking photographs of the street arts nearby, we hopped into the Rapid Bus, oh and it is free! The bus took us to our next destination somewhere in Jalan Tun Syed Sheh Barakbah. We saw the Victoria Clock Tower, Fort Cornwallis, walked by Esplanade and the City Hall. It was a nice walk since the sun was cooperating with us. There was a convenience store nearby and we had some snacks and drinks.
We took the free bus back to our hotel at around 5pm.
Day 1 – Evening
Always on our bucketlist when visiting a place is to check out the night life! Who doesn’t anyway. There was a strip of clubs and al fresco dining at Upper Penang Road, just beside the Eastern and Oriental Hotel. We tried Olive Kitchen + Bar for some beers and pizza for dinner. Price was awesome and the staff were very friendly. Oh, and they had free wifi.
We walked around the area and how I loved that the place was very well-lit. Safety is always main concern when we travel and I can say that Georgetown is, the streets are well-lit. You can even see a post where you can call their police directly thru dialing 999. We took the last bus back to our hotel.
On our second day, we woke up early as we had a long day ahead of us. We have quite a list for our places to visit so we didn’t want to waste our time in the hotel. We had breakfast in our hotel, then walk our way to Komtar bus terminal.
Our first stop was the Penang Hill and we needed to take bus 204 to our destination. The ride was quite far, if my memory serves me right, was about an hour, but, thanks to the airconditioned bus, the travel was very comfortable.
The bus fare was around MYR2. Quite cheap, huh. So out and about we were off to Penang Hill, Penang’s highest point.
We got our tickets from the ticket booth, they have different pricing for tourists and locals. You can get the ticket prices from this website link, http://www.penanghill.gov.my/index.php/ticket-service
They offer an express pass, which I don’t think necessary, well, unless you are in a hurry.
The queue was still short when we reached the place at it was early. The only problem was when we reached the waiting area, sort of like a small lobby before you go out for the train, was very packed. There was no proper queue and people were pushing each other upon exit.
So, I guess, this is one area that they should improve.
The Penang Hill’s main adventure (for me) was riding the funicular. Funicular, as per Wikipedia is an inclined plane or cliff railway. It was exhilarating to be pulled up and get the view from above the hill. It got scary though, when you reached the top and you started to feel the gravity below your feet.
The hill has another nice attractions by itself. Probably, the weather was 2-3 degrees Celcius cooler than downtown. There were binoculars that you can use for a MYR1 charge for three minutes. The view was very nice as you can see the entire city from there. The place was packed with visitors, but I guess, that was good, at least we have others to take our photos for us.
We spent like an hour or two in the hill, taking photos here and there and enjoyed the cool weather. There was one restaurant, the view from their location was fantastic but, we did not eat as we were not hungry that time. The coffee was expensive! Hehehe
Our next stop was the Kek Loh Si Temple. We took bus 204 to go there. Going to the top, you will have to go through steps of local stores selling local delicacies, souvenir items like shirts, trinkets, post cards. It was a good idea as you will not feel getting tired because of the sight of the shops. And the steps were covered so, no sun!
The temple was a sight to behold on its own. I saw a lot people offering the joss stick. There were few begars when we went there, they were lying in one of those foot paths leading to the temple. Once you reach the end of the temple, there is a vertical elevator that will bring you to the top. You just have to pay around MYR2, well that was better than walking your way up! Once you reached the statue, you will be amazed at how big it was. It was very huge! You can also see the city from there.
If you want to see these two attactions, suggest you go early morning so you do not have to be toasted with the warm weather. I saw from others’ blogs that they went in the evening, however, the queue might be very long at Penang Hill.
We took the bus again going back to Komtar, bus number 204.The wait was very long, so we ended up having light snack from the bakery near the bus stop.
Our next stop, lunch! From Komtar, we rode the bus going to Gurney Drive. We had a (very) late lunch at Morganfield’s. The Gurney Paragon is a new upscale mall in Penang. From my assumption, this is where the rich people of Penang stay. The community was very peaceful and quiet. There were two high rise condominium buildings on top of the mall.
Since it was still early to go to Batu Feringghi (our next stop), we had the chance to see a movie at Paragon. Oh, the happiness it brought to pay only MYR15 per movie ticket!
The movie finished around 6pm, but the waiting time for the bus was eternity. From Gurney Paragon, the travel time to go to Feringgi, was around 1 hour and a half. The bus ride going there was quite nice, the view was good to see.
Sadly, we missed the sunset when we reached the city centre of Batu Feringghi. But, not to fret, we scouted for dinner instead. There were so many food choices in this part of Penang. There were restaurants, of different varieties, food courts everywhere. We opted for this food court which was widely popular among tourists.
After an affordable and sumptuous dinner, we head out to the beach area to look for a place to chill and to have some beers. (Always on our bucketlist)
We saw places like Long Beach but we settled at Bora Bora. The location was very nice as you can go barefoot, feel the sand in your feet while relaxing. Oh, isn’t always liberating looking at the openness of the ocean?
We headed back to our hotel right before the last bus going back to the city. We didnt want to end the night just like that so we walked around Upper Penang Road to search a place to have our midnight snacks. To our delight, we found this cafe, The Safe Room. It was such a great coffee shop and their nitrogen ice cream was to die for.
Our flight back to Singapore was lunch time, hence, we opted to check out earlier. We took the bus from Komtar to airport and we were glad we did. The travel was quite far as the bus took a different route. It was like a road trip as we got the chance to see the other side of Penang. We also saw the bridge leading to Butterworth. It took us perhaps an hour and half but it was a good one.
Our trip to Penang was unexpected as my partner’s schedule is very erratic. My itinerary was based from other bloggers but was tweaked here and there, but it came out better!
I usually thank God for a wonderful travel partner, no tantrums, no dramas, just all good fun. Always short but always sweet. Penang is a very nice place, not to mention that it was voted 2nd in the best places to retire in Conde Nast Magazine’s 2016’s list and gobankingrates.com’s list at 20th. But having someone to share good and beautiful memories in a lovely place tops it all.
There you go and til my next one! (Oh, and we will be back on May 20, with a different itinerary in mind!)
PS. Please don’t hesitate to ask me, I will do my best to answer back. 🙂