Penang, you beautiful, beautiful Island city! I probably haven’t been in love with a place to this extent in my life that wasn’t my hometown. The moment I got off the plane the city took me by its simplicity and soul and unpredictability. Yes, I lost a day to the most erratic rainfall but I even enjoyed that because that led to some impromptu plans and rain soaked walks by the beautiful streets.
Penang is a beautiful island in Malaysia known for its mixed cultures, beaches, fresh seafood and rich history from the colonial era. I spent a day exploring and wandering about the island – went to different beaches and the main city – Georgetown, which is famous for its artistic street art, evidences of the Colonial history and some great eateries.
So, first things first – the climate … as I already said can be moody. But, mostly it is like other islands. The afternoons are hot and sunny and evenings slightly cooler especially when it rains. We stayed in the tourist area of Batu Ferringhi and from here, the transportation and connectivity is pretty much great. It is a little far from Georgetown and Penang hill but the bus networks make it easier to get everywhere smoothly and the beach is closer. The buses are available at certain time intervals. Batu Ferringhi is a balanced combination of peacefulness and life. It has nightlife and solitude for those who are seeking it. The area is lined with amazing cafes and I have to say my favorite was Enca Cafe, right opposite to our hotel, where the staff is extremely friendly and the food was delicious and decently priced. At night the beach area usually shuts down and that’s the time to go to the Night Market for some sovenir shopping and yum-worthy gastronomic delights and the freshest of seafood!
We hanged out at Long Beach Cafe and it’s an amazing food court area with all you can name Malaysian food available. The juice bar girls are a special mention – they are jolly and keep the environment’s energy up!
In the daytime I went down to Georgetown. The free shuttle bus that goes around the city makes it extremely easy to explore. There are also bikes you can hire as you go exploring around Armenian Street and nearby areas – where the street art are. This was my favorite place in the entire island and the culmination of cultures here is such a rewarding experience. The European architectures, the colorful rickshaws, the scattered and abundant Chinese temples – everything!
To explore the street arts it’s best you go by foot (the weather isn’t very humid, so it’s doable), as every corner has something that catches the eye. We did get there thinking that its a long street with all the street art at one place but that is not the case and they are quite scattered around the area. There’s no map for it – go out there and discover! That’s the whole point anyway. You’ll find the famous art pieces have quite a queue of tourists lined up waiting for their turns to take pictures.
On my way back to the hotel I just randomly hopped off the bus to explore a few other beaches in – like Miami Beach.
This beach was more tourist-free than others and quite secluded. While it was quite small in area, the white sands and the view of the island and green cliffs along the horizon make it a nice place to be at. If you are avoiding crowds and just want a beach to yourself – this is your place. The water is cool and there are a few shops lined along the beach.
My stay in Penang was brief but Penang stole my heart with its seafood, the best of traditional Nyonya cuisine and it’s eclectic mix of cultures and art. Oh and the White Coffee! Loved that. I’d love to return again to catch up with what I missed and explore a little more. Maybe sometime in future.
How to Get There:
Enca Cafe: Jalan Teluk Bahang, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Near: Hard Rock Hotel
Long Beach Cafe: Night Market/Batu Ferringhi Beach