Reaching Penang: We took the 8:00 am Scoot from Singapore to Penang. The flight is about 1 hour 30 mins and we were in Penang by 9:30 am. Local transportation: We were staying at Batu Ferringhi, which is a resort area in the North of Penang. The place is about 1-hour from the airport, but the scenic drive makes up for the distance.
Local transportation: Grab, the ride hailing app is a great way to travel around Penang. Not only it’s extremely affordable, it is very convenient as well.
Our stay: We stayed at Holiday Inn Resort, Penang. The hotel is located right at the beach and offers 2 kinds of room-views: hill view or the sea view. Since this was an anniversary trip for us, we booked ourselves in the sea-view room and trust me, it was worth the splurge.
Another highly recommended hotel was Hard Rock Hotel, which was about 10 mins walk from our hotel. While the property is highly rated, the rooms are quite small for the price you pay. But other things like the pool, the café etc. make up for the differential.
Day 1: Georgetown
Georgetown is known as the multicultural capital of the Malaysian island of Penang. After hearing so much about the food and the colorful murals, we started our expedition with the Penang Art Street. The first mural I came across was the kids on the swing wall painting and to be honest, I was quite disappointed to see the state of the art. It has been recognized as the UNESCO Heritage site, but it needs a massive makeover, or maintenance to say the least.
From here, we went to Clan Jetties of Penang. Heavily populated by tourists, this area forms a part of the Penang Heritage trail. These are old Chinese settlements on the island, who have been living on these floating villages for years. This place offers many Instagram-worthy moments for visitors, especially during the sunset.
After visiting a few Jetties, we made a small stop-over at the Jetty Food court, which is right opposite the Chew Jetty for some snacking. The place offers a huge variety of Malaysian food options, like Laksa, Char Kway Teow (traditional noodles), garlic butter prawns, Teh (Tea) and Kopi (Coffee). The place was very affordable, given that it had a stage for live performances every night.
From here, we went to Armenian Street, which was full of colorful shop-houses, artisan cafes, and street performances. You could soak into the culture of #Penang by just people-watching on this street. Love Lane was another interesting place, quite similar in the vibe, where you could just order a cuppa and watch people as they go about their lives.
Day 2: Batu Ferringhi
Batu Ferringhi is such a tranquil place that you’ll not feel like going anywhere else. So, after a long day of adventuring around George Town, we decided to take it slow. Afterall, traveling doesn’t have to be adventures day in and day out. So, we went to the beach for a walk, read by the pool at our hotel and explored cafes around.
One of the cafés I really recommend for a midday snack or high tea would be the Ferringhi Garden. It’s a fairytale restaurant with a tropical setting. Trust me, it’ll just pull you in. The menu is also quite extensive, from high tea to healthy cold pressed juices, they’ve got you covered.
We concluded this day by watching the sunset at Bora Bora and indulging in some margaritas. Another must-visit place if you’re looking for a laid-back evening in a pretty setting.
While coming back to the hotel, we also ventured into the night flea-market for some souvenir shopping. The market opens around 6:30pm and comes alive around 8pm. This side of the town is quite buzzing during the nighttime.
Day 3: Penang Hill
Getting there: Penang Hill is located at Bukit Bendera and you can take a grab to reach the lower station. We advise on taking the fast-lane tickets which are twice the price, but you skip the queue. This way, you might get the best seat on the train too. Tickets can be booked online, but you need to book a day in advance for online bookings.
From the lower station, you take the funicular train, which is by the way, the steepest tunnel track in the world to reach Penang Hill, featuring the best lookout points in Penang. With the total of 6 peaks, Penang Hill offers the panoramic views of the Island and the 2 bridges that connect the island to Malaysia.
If you can, then you must catch the early morning train and enjoy the sunrise or try staying on the hill till the dusk sets in. With George Town lighting up, the town provides a magical backdrop against the evening sky.
To sum up, Penang is not just about what you see, but also what you can hear and smell. It's more culture than a place and if you ever get a chance, you must visit the place.
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