Backpacking Southeast Asia 2012: Destination no. 6 – Penang, Malaysia (Part 1)

After spending a few days in Langkawi, we headed to our second destination in Malaysia and the sixth in our Southeast Asia Backpacking trip, Penang. We were just supposed to stay here for 3 days and 2 nights, but since we cut our stay in Langkawi short, we added that day in our stay here. This will be a two-part post, the first one which is this one will cover our sightseeing in George Town and the second one will cover our sightseeing outside George Town. By the way, George Town is the capital city of Penang which is located in the island’s north east corner.

There are 3 daily ferry schedules from Langkawi to Penang. We took the ferry that leaves at 2:30 PM, the ride took almost 3 hours for 60 MYR. It was already almost 6 PM when we arrived at Penang’s ferry terminal.

Tip no.1, there would be cab drivers and private owned car drivers that would ask you for a ride when you get there. The ferry terminal is at George Town, so if you’re staying at any of the guesthouses near the Love Lane, you can just opt to go to your guesthouse by foot, it will be around 10-15 minutes walk.

We stayed at Old Penang Guesthouse which is located along the Love Lane for less than 15 USD per night. It’s walking distance to this hawker center called Red Garden, where you can enjoy eating and pigging-out after a whole day of sightseeing and walking around town. A bus stop and convenience store is also just around the corner. Location wise, it’s perfect! But if you want peace and quiet at night, if you’re unlucky and your room is located at the front side of the guesthouse, that would be quite difficult to achieve as there is a bar beside the guesthouse and the partying there sometimes last until dawn.

Our Itinerary:
For our first stop at Penang, it was Red Garden. This is also where we had almost all our meals during our stay in Penang, especially our dinners. Yes, once you get inside this place, you would want to try everything! From satay chicken, beef randang and sea food laksa to nachos, tacos, burgers and fries, and from fruit shakes and sodas to ice cold beer, frozen margaritas and mojito on the rocks, name it, they have it! Sometimes there are also some bands playing at night. Perfect place to chill after a long day. After having our fill and hanging-out a little, we headed back to our guesthouse and took a rest to condition ourselves for the next 3 days of adventure that we have here in Penang.
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The next day, after having breakfast (by the way our guesthouse offers free breakfast, sweet!), the first thing that we did was to walk around George Town. Looking around the city, no wonder why it has been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has a very rich, diverse and well preserved culture.
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Tip no.2, if you don’t want to do a lot of walking like we did, since the weather can really be so hot especially around noon time, you can opt to make use of the CAT (Central Area Transit) Free Shuttle Bus provided by the city of George Town. This will take you to around the UNESCO heritage site of George Town. Below is a downloadable map of the CAT’s route and here’s more information about CAT.
CAT-route-and-heritage-trail

The previous day, on our way to a convenience store we saw few photographers taking some photos of this some kind of a wire art along Love Lane. We asked them of why are they taking photos of it. They told us that there are various street arts around the city and gave us a copy of the map where we could find them, it was given to them by their guesthouse, Cocoa Mews. They challenged us to do the street arts hunting as well. So the next day, after walking around George Town and having our fill for lunch, we went and did the hunting challenge. Below is the map of where the street arts are located. And here’s the link specifically about the mural paintings: Wall Paintings at Penang.
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We weren’t lucky to find them all but here’s a few of what we saw. It was fun doing the street arts hunting. There were a lot of tourists doing the same and some of them even took a photos with the mural paintings. The whole city is just like a big museum, cool!
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So that’s it for our day of leisurely walk around the city of George Town. For the second part of our stay in Penang, I’ll share the places that we visited outside of George Town.

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