Wednesday, July 20, 2016

What to do in Penang??

I booked the flight tickets to Penang just a week ago after my mom bought theirs. Four of us met up at the rented residential home that provide a clean fully air-conditioned room with outdoor bathroom in a very convenient area within walking distance to Penang Times Square, New Lane hawker center, Komtar bus station, and so on. With RM50 per night, it was really great place to stay!

We reached quite late in the evening and we were welcomed with heavy rain on our arrival. According to the taxi driver - the Chinese uncle in his 60s who called his son to ask about our location instead of punching on GPS like what Singaporean taxi driver's doing - it'd been long time since it rained. Obviously, the rain season fell  right on the day we reached.

Four of us started our beautiful Sunday with hearty breakfast at De Happy Dim Sum. It's big and crowded. Round tables filled up the places. People walked towards a corner where the food were steamed and fried, while the other corner was a place to fill your tea pot with boiling hot water.

Breakfast at De Happy Dim Sum Restaurant - Penang, Malaysia 

My hubby was very exciting with varieties of food they offered. The taste was delicious too. Most importantly, the price was definitely much cheaper compared with what we paid back here in Singapore.

Penang Adventist Hospital 

After that we took a cab to Penang Adventist Hospital. My parents had their usual check up at this place. I often heard about it but this was my first time stepping into it.

Fyi, there were few things that made Penang a famous place to visit. This was purely based on my observation though. First, they had a good range of hospitals with many experienced doctors in house. The nurses and hospital staffs were helpful and friendly. They were able to speak many languages, such as: English, Malay, Chinese, dialects like Hokkian, some Thai, etc.

I tried their wellness screening package gold there. Check here for detailed information. It was quite complete and made you knowing your health and inner organs better. You should book in advance though as they limited the number of people screening the health each day. And when they knew my stay time was limited, they produced my check up result within the same day. Excellent service!!! :)

Delicious food in Penang

Famous Asam Laksa from Air Itam Market

Second, it's a food paradise!!! You could find any kind of food here from hawker center to restaurant. There were famous local dish like Asam Laksa, curry mee, char Kway Teow, fried oyster, prawn noodles, lo mie, etc. Among the famous hawker to go were New Lane, Gurney Drive, Chulia St night market, and so on.

Pastry from Ming Xiang Tai Confectionery- 26 Lebuh Victoria

There were many local pastry too that you could buy for friends and families back home. Many different brands were available. Instant coffee and teh tarik could be great gifts too.

Mao Shan Wang durian RM75 per kg (including shell)

They had many varieties of durian too! My father had eaten Mao Shan Wang almost everyday there. The seller was even providing vacuum packed bag if you wanted to take it away as the smell was so strong and many places had banned it, including public transport.

Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram (recliningBuddha statue) - Penang, Malaysia 

Dhammikarama (Burmese Buddhist Temple) - Penang, Malaysia 

Third, if you were Buddhist, you'd love to visit their varieties of temples available. From Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram (reclining Buddha statue), Dhammikarama - the Burmese Buddhist temple, the oldest temple in Penang - Kwan Yin temple - built in 1728, to the largest temple in Malaysia - Kek Lok Si Temple. 

Kwan Yin temple - the oldest temple in Penang, Malaysia 

Kek Lok Si Temple - the largest temple in Malaysia 

I first visited Penang back in October 2009 and managed to visit these 4 temples. And this time, I was very grateful for being able to visit four of them again. Thank Buddha for the good karma!

Hubby and I with its iconic street art murals - Little children on a bicycle

Fourth, it's famous for the street art murals. For complete information, click here.

Street art murals - George Town - Penang, Malaysia 

Apart from these four, there were other things too for Penang worth to visit. Just get yourself free maps before you exited from airport door where you could find valuable information there. The city was clean and arranged well. If you were not Buddhist, worry not, they also had variety of churches (one of the eldest Anglican church in southeast Asia - St George's Church), Hindus temples, and mosques. 

Nasi Kandar at Tajuddin Hussain- Penang, Malaysia 

Like Singapore, they also had Little India. We ate the famous Nasi Kandar  (rice with curry) at one of the restaurants there. As a fans of Mark Weins, my hubby went through one of his videos, which you could find in YouTube  (, and both of us tried the famous Nasi Kandar located at 51 Lebuh Queen, called Tajuddin Hussain. We ordered Ayam Ros (red chicken), fish curry, sotong or cuttlefish curry, Ayam Gulai (curry chicken), tomato rice, cabbage, roti canai (prata), complete with two cups of teh tarik. All that for only RM29.25 (after adding 6% GST) - if converted, less than SGD10 for two!!!

Free hop-on bus in Penang

Penang offered a good and affordable public transport, in this case, public bus. They even provided free hop-on bus for tourists (those Rapid Transit bus labelled CAT), which stopped at many places, mostly touristic areas. 

Taxi were everywhere too. They went by meter although many were not. Fare from Hotel Sunway area to Penang Adventist hotel was around RM18, while from the hospital to Kek Lok Si was RM30. From airport to Hotel Sunway was about RM46 - got the ticket fare at the counter and paid it in advance while returning back to airport was slightly cheaper at RM40.

Public bus fares were around RM1.40 to 2 per pax (you just had to tell your destination to the driver and he would tell you the fare. But prepare coins as they wouldn't provide change). You could just ask local who were waiting for the bus for which bus number you should take as there weren't clear bus numbers or routes available from each bus number. Anyway the people there were friendly and helpful so don't worry, you won't get lost!

Padang Kota Lama and Fort Cornwallis - Penang, Malaysia 

At our last day, it was again a heavy rain morning. After fulfilling dim sum breakfast both of us took the bus to pray at Kwan Yin temple and had a morning walk to St George's Church, sightseeing along Padang Kota Lama area to see the Penang city hall, Fort Cornwallis, walked along the seaside and inhaled the sea breeze. We took the free CAT bus back to Komtar and got ready to the PIA - Penang International Airport. 

Penang International Airport 

We reached there 3 hours earlier than departure timing as friend warned us about flooding at the airport the day earlier. Luckily no traffic jam and no sign of flooding or flight delay and cancellation due to the incident. The airport had changed since the last time I went and it had become much better now as there were lots of restaurants and cafés available. So three hours waiting were no sweat anymore! You could enjoy the last sip of good Penang coffee, enjoyed their noodles or western deli or junk food like McDonalds and KFC, opened and read your book, sat down on the massage chairs, and waited for your flight.

Overall it has been a wonderful short trip - 4 days 3 nights in Penang. We got our tickets at less than SGD160 per pax from Singapore using Airasia and you could move your butt in about one and half an hour time!!! If you never visit this place before, then there was no reason on why you shouldn't! With SGD1 equivalent to almost RM3, what else are you waiting for??

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