Admit it, some of us have been to Penang countless times but have never really explored it due to time constraint (especially those who are in the city for business trips and such). I was on a business trip to Georgetown, Penang in the mid of April 2018 when my colleague and I were given a challenge by our boss to explore the beautiful Penang only in 24 hours! Challenge accepted!
A multi-faceted George Town: Maximising Our Penang Experience
Penang is famous for its reasonably priced hawker/street food. With that in mind, on a sunny Saturday morning, we decided to kickstart our Penang adventure to feed our tummy with the help of our Penangite friend, Mark (who runs SimplyEnak – check them out at https://simplyenak.com). Also, our quest was to find awesome halal food where the locals usually eat. Read 10 best halal buffets in Penang below RM100.
#1 The Street of Harmony
We had our breakfast with a piquant taste at a stall in Little India on Queen Street! After stuffing ourselves with good roti canai, lamb curry, appom and so on, it was time for us to burn the calories! So, by foot, off we went to visit The Street of Harmony! As we strolled along the road, we tried sardine samosa (so delish!) at the Famous Samosa stall.
The Street of Harmony is where several places of worship – Masjid Kapitan Keling, Kuan Yin Temple, St. George’s Church, Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Cathedral of Assumption and Khoo Kongsi – line a single road (Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling). After all that walking, we were starving again so Mark brought us to a local food court (with many mini stalls) for lunch! They keep saying that your Penang travel experience is not complete without a freshly fried Fried Koay Teow and a good bowl of Assam Laksa so we ordered exactly that and we were floored by how delicious they tasted!
#2 Clan Jetties
Moving on, we had to bid farewell to Mark and continue with our journey to one of the most popular Penang travel hot spots, Clan Jetties. I am not exactly a fan of cendol but I couldn’t resist the cendol durian they have there and oh it was heaven-like experience especially under the hot weather! OH CENDOL DURIAN, I”LL NEVER FORGET YOU!
#3 Kek Lok Si Temple
Next stop, Kek Lok Si Temple. The Kek Lok Si Temple in Penang (also known as the Temple of Supreme Bliss) is the largest and one of the most popular Buddhist temples on Penang Island. Located in the rolling hills overlooking a suburb of Georgetown, Air Itam, the temple began construction in the early 1890s. The seven-storey Pagoda of 10,000 Buddhas, a mixture of Chinese, Thai and Burmese styles, was built in 1930. It was raining heavily when we were there but that didn’t dampen our spirit from exploring the monumental temple.
Tips: You do not have to pay to enter the temple grounds, but you have to pay RM2 if you want to visit the Pagoda and RM 6 (to-fro) to use the inclined lift to the top.
#4 Penang Hill
After touring the temple, we were excited to explore Penang’s most talked about tourist attraction, Penang Hill! While there are myriad methods to get to the peak of Penang Hill, we chose to go to its lower station by car and hop on the cable car to its peak. Expect a spectacular panoramic view of Georgetown, the mainland, Penang bridge and the Straits of Malacca from the top of this awesome Penang Hill!
#5 The Habitat
We were feeling adventurous and decided to go to a world-class eco-tourism attraction called The Habitat. Located on the fringes of a 130 million-year-old virgin rainforest on Penang Hill, The Habitat features a historical 1.6km nature trail, Canopy Bridges and Canopy walk, Ziplines and TreeTop Walk. It was a wonderful experience to be able to walk through nature and listen to nature’s own choir (I never knew the crickets could really make noises THAT loud!).
Tips: Before you embark on the nature trail, it is advisable to use the restroom at the Ticketing Office for there are no restrooms along the trail itself.
After a long, fun-filled (and wet) day, we ended the day by joining the Penang crowd at Penang International Food Festival! We were fortunate enough to be able to witness such a magnificent event where there were long rows of food stalls with all types of food spread for us to try and experience yummy delicacies!
Phew, so it is possible to experience Penang culture in 24 hours! We documented our experience throughout the journey so take a look at our video to see it for yourself.