Malaysia, Travel

8 Things You Must Do to Experience Penang

8 Things You Must Do to Experience Penang

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The heart of Penang lies in Georgetown where most of the attractions are located. Like Singapore, you can mainly cover the main attractions in the city in 3 days. To make your time in Penang worthwhile, what are some of the local experiences you got to try?

1. Try Penang Assam Laksa

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Start your day with a hot bowl of Penang Assam Laksa. This rendition of Laksa is unique to Penang, and it is ranked 7th on CNN’s list of World’s 50 Best Dishes. How could you not try it? It is a sourish spicy dish consisting of mackerel-based soup which is spiced up with a lot of local herbs like lemongrass, ginger and mint. The broth is packed with such a rich and distinct flavour that would leave a long lasting impression on you.

We like Joo Hooi Cafe’s version (Penang Road Famous Laksa) of Penang Assam Laksa. Their traditional Assam laksa is based off a family recipe, so it tasted very authentic. We also tried Laksa Bisu’s Assam laksa at Air Itam which is favourite among the locals. It was tasty but not as rich and fragrant as Joo Hooi Cafe’s Assam Laksa.

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Penang Road Famous Assam Laksa

5 Lebuh Keng Kwee

10100 George Town

Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Laksa Bisu

Annex Pasar Air Itam

Air Itam

Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

 

2. Try Penang Durian Chendol

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You probably have tried this local dessert in Singapore and Malaysia before but have you tried chendol with durian? I enjoyed this version of durian chendol at Durian Haven along Armenian Street. It cost only about a couple of bucks if I can remember and that dollop of durian flesh just gives the chendol that oomph.

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Durian Haven

16 Lebuh Armenian

10300 George Town

Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

3. Feast on Durians

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This supposedly pungent fruit is the king of all fruits in Asia. How could you not love this fruit with sweet, creamy flesh? The Durian season in Malaysia starts in June and during this period of time, you can get the freshest durian from the Durian stalls located almost everywhere in Penang.

4. Visit Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion ( The Blue Mansion )

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The visit to The Blue Mansion was indeed an eye-opening and fantastic experience. The story behind this mansion comes alive as the guide explained the history of Cheong Fatt Tze that probably resonates with most Chinese and Peranakans.

Do join their free guided tours if possible as it is the best way to understand the historical significance of this mansion and also about the Peranakan culture.

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This mansion is also an iconic boutique hotel in Georgetown. The hotel rooms are housed in another part of the mansion.

On the second floor of the mansion, there’s a viewing gallery which showcases all the artefacts and information boards on the history of this mansion and Peranakan culture. There’s also a restaurant on the second floor where you can enjoy fine dining in a beautifully Peranakan-inspired dining setting.

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Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion

14 Leith Street

10200 George Town

Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

5. Check out the Penang Street Art

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Penang has definitely set the trend of street art within Asia with it’s creative and vibrant wall murals which make great background drops for Instagram shots. The iconic artworks are the children on bicycle and children on the swing.

Penang Street Art

316 Beach Street

10300 George Town

Penang, Malaysia

 

6. Visit Pinang Peranakan Museum

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Like the blue mansion, this is another must-visit museum in Penang as this is one of the most elaborated Peranakan museums in the world.

This was my second time here in this museum and it just never fails to amaze me once again. During my first visit, I did not manage to cover all the different rooms in this huge mansion.

Do join their free guided tours to get a better understanding of the Peranakan culture in Penang. The guides there are very knowledgeable, and they are great at unravelling all the stories passed down from the past.

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Don’t be alarm if you spot a guy armed with a gun in this Jewellery exhibit room. He is just a watchman stationed there to watch over the jewellery which worths thousands or even millions of dollars.

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Pinang Peranakan Museum

29 Church Street

10200 George Town

Penang, Malaysia

 

7. Visit Penang Hill

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To be really honest, the only worthy thing about heading up to Penang Hill is to experience the Penang Tram ride and to enjoy the cooling weather from right above. Other than that, there aren’t many attractions up on the hill which is worthy of checking out. There’s a new treetop rainforest trail called the Habitat, but you will need to fork out another $20 to $30 to just walk along the elevated skywalk.

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I was surprised that the air temperature up Penang Hill is so much colder than ground temperature. The air is fresher here too.

From the observatory deck, you can get a bird’s eye view of the whole of Penang. You can also visit Penang Hill in the evening to get a view of the glimmering city against the night sky.

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There’s a food court-style eatery called Cliff Cafe where you can order some local Penang food like Assam laksa. I also spotted several stalls selling fancy Instagrammable cold desserts which are similar to the favourite Korean dessert, bingsu.

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‘Lock your heart’ away at this love lock bridge which seems to be a common sighting now in across many locations in the world. Whoever came up with this ‘love lock’ concept, you’re the trendsetter.

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8. Take Local Public Transport

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Penang is one of those tourist-friendly destinations in Asia because most of the attractions are highly accessible via car or bus. You can even book a Grab car to take you from places to places at very affordable prices.

If you want to get yourself immersed in their way of living, you can try hopping on their public buses too. It is also one of the most convenient ways to get around Penang for a couple of RMs. You would just need to get up the bus and inform the bus driver. He will charge you accordingly, and you just need to pay on the spot for a bus ticket.

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You have more or less covered Penang once you manage to accomplish all these 8 things mentioned in this list. The other pockets of free time could be spent in checking out some of the modern museums in Georgetown or checking out the trendy and chic cafes in Penang.

For more travel recommendation in Penang, check out this article below.

8 Food You Must Try at Kimberley Street in Penang
Take Me to Penang : 4 Day 3 Nights Itinerary

 

Watch my Penang vlog here!

 

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