Last bank holiday we spent three days visiting the beautiful Malaysian Island of Penang. To be honest I knew very little of Penang before moving to Singapore but I’ve heard so much since we’ve been here that I couldn’t wait to visit, especially to explore Georgetown which is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site and has a fascinating mixture of East and West, beautiful colourful temples, colonial style buildings and traditional shophouses, not to mention the world renowned food.
We stayed in Traders Hotel right in the middle of Georgetown which proved to be an excellent base for exploring, and had the added bonus of a free daily shuttle bus to Batu Ferringhi on the other side of the island. This meant that we could use the facilities at Traders sister hotel, the Golden Sand Resort (gorgeous pool!) and enjoy the beach and night market. We split our time between the two areas and managed to squeeze in most of the main sites as well as a nice bit of relaxing by the pool time.
One of the highlights of the trip for me was a visit to the Kek Loh Si Temple which is one of the largest Buddhist temples in South East Asia. It’s a stunningly beautiful and peaceful place, full of bright colours, detail and pattern and with fantastic views of the island. I particularly enjoyed climbing the pagoda; the richly decorated interior contains 1000 Buddha’s in its statues and tiles.
Georgetown has little points of interest at every corner, all of the streets have so much character, it’s worth spending time just wandering. Here are some of my best bits…
The Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion or Blue Mansion is really beautiful, the whole of the outside is painted in a bright cobalt blue and the detail inside is beautiful, it’s been recently restored and is now a heritage hotel. You can only go inside at certain points of the day as part of a guided tour so it’s worth checking the times before you get there.
These wire caricature sculptures by artist Tang Mun Kain were dotted all over the town on street corners and other strategic places, they are great fun and also tell you a bit about the history of the place. I loved spotting all the characters.
Every shophouse in Georgetown has a covered walkway in front of it to offer protection from the tropical heat. I really liked the tiles and colourful painted buildings in this walkway.
Finally here is a picture of me enjoying one of my favourite things – walking barefoot in the sand.