Walao!! (Chinese slang of “OMG”). So you haven’t been to Penang, ha? Then don’t go because you just might not want to go back. I swear in another life I wish I was born and bred in Penang. If you have been there then you know what I’m talking about. If not, then Fat Mike here for you ma! (Read the last sentence in a nice thick Chinese uncle accent that had just had his breakfast and has nothing to do but read the paper.)
What do we have? 2 days and 1 night: Skip class. Let’s go!
This is not a history lesson. Very briefly for you history nuts: in the early 16th century, Portuguese merchants sailed to the Far East searching for spices. They came across a small uninhabited island where they could restock fresh water supplies and decided to name it “Pulo Pinaom”.
By the 1930s, Penang had become a busy port with ocean liners like the Titanic (lulz). Penang became an entertainment centre, the place to be for those who love cinema and gambling. Then Wall Street crashed and people went broke. Then the Second World War broke out and the Japs attacked Penang. After the war, Penang became part of Malayan Union until Malaya gained independence in 1957 and Penang became one of the 13 Malaysian states. YAY!!
You have ONE option: AIR or Road or rail. Look guys, take it from me; You will murder someone if you take the bus or decide to drive. The jams are ridiculous. There are so many tourist visiting Penang and it’s utter chaos. This isn’t a joke. Fat Mike learnt the hard way. Read the post Driving in Malaysia: Good idea or nah? to get a general idea. I would recommend to take the train but ain’t nobody got time for that.
So let’s fly! AirAsia is your best friend. It’s almost the same price as getting the bus and much cheaper than filling up your car’s tank to the max. The Penang International Airport is about 20 km from the city centre. You can use the taxis or you can Uber yourself into the city. For those who aren’t fussy, the Rapid Penang Bus 401E operates between the Airport and main bus terminal. The fare is RM 2.00.
Where to go
Penang Heritage Trail! There is so much more in George Town. The city was built by the Brits and this attracted not only traders and merchants but a lot of settlers from the neighbouring region to come to the island to seek employment. The British themselves shipped labourers from India to help in the construction. In the later century, there were wives of immigrants who settled down here because of the Industrial Revolution in Britain. All of them brought along their culture and religion from their homeland which were infused into the local scene and also intertwined with each other over the centuries to make the town to what it is today, a multi culture heritage establishment.
Thus, George Town has a lot to offer in terms of sightseeing. Even the food, the language and the architectural design of the buildings is influenced by these different ethnic culture and religion. A tour of this amazing town is a must.
If you are too lazy to walk, you can take a trishaw. Deemed as a major mode of transport in Penang decades before, the trishaws in Penang are still used as a daily mode of transportation and one of the most suitable transportation for touring George Town. Fat Mike was too fat to fit on these bad boys (sob sob!).
I know y’all don’t like to read a lot. Penang is so big. You will have to get maps at the airport before you go. There is so much to do. I have a Two day plan you can build around and make sure you go on the Heritage Walk. I will be mad if you don’t. You will notice that I am referring you try a lot of hawker food. Please don’t go to McDonalds or Pizza hut!
Penang hawker food – Char Koay Teow (Must try!!!!)
George Town Heritage Walk
Lunch – Hainanese Cuisine
Visit Reclining Buddha at the Wat Chayamangkalaram Thai Buddhist Temple
Dinner – Hawker food at Gurney Drive Hawker Centre
Breakfast – Penang Hokkien mee (Must try!! )
Trip up to Penang Hill and Kek Lok Si Temple at Air Itam (These two are close to each other so be early)
Lunch – Assam Laksa at Air Itam
Head over to Batu Ferringhi beach for some fun
Dinner at Batu Ferringi (So many places to eat at here)
Go back to the airport because class is the next day
Here are a few maps/brochures for you as well just in case you want to try some other adventures.
If you are planning on going later during the year, the Penang Bridge Marathon will be held in November! Sign up here: http://www.penangmarathon.gov.my/portal/
Be safe and never go somewhere unplanned (LOL!). If you have been to these places already or you have more time on your hands, you can always find out more @ http://www.malaysia.travel/en/places. Click “BY STATES” and select Penang you can see more attractions. See ya soon!