Penang is small island off the Western coast of Malaysia, famous for its colonial capital Georgetown and for its street food. Malaysian cuisine is a conglomeration of Chinese and Indian, plus Penang has it own unique “Nonya” cuisine. It is supposed to be one of the best places to eat in the world. However, the fact that a noticeably high proportion of the locals’ cars are displaying “McDonalds Drive Thru VIP” stickers rather undermines this. Our food is perfectly palatable but nothing special. Now, Hoi An – that’s a city with great cuisine. My mouth still waters at the very mention of it.
On our first day we start off with a walking tour of the capital Georgetown, checking out the colonial buildings, mosques, temples and Chinese clanhouses. The highlight is Pinang Peranaken House, which used to belong to a wealthy Nonya (Malay-born Chinese) trader. The guide was very enthusiastic and insisted on our posing by the opium bed.
The next day we went to Penang National Park. We hiked through the forest for a couple of hours to reach a beautiful beach (some other people were also on the beach having got there by boat – the cheats!).
Turtles lay their eggs on this beach, so bits of it were cordoned off and there is a conservation centre where you could see some of the babies.
We also saw lots of wildlife in the forest, which can be divided into;
Animals which frightened Mr Beet:
A lizard that looked like a snake
What we thought was a crocodile, but turned out to be a water monitor -it was huge!
Animals which did not frighten Mr Beet:
On our final day we went to Kek Lok Si Temple, built into the side of a hill overlooking the city. The temple is huge and designed on the principle that “more is more”. Since preparations for Chinese New Year were underway it was “even more is even more”. There were, at a conservative estimate, a gazillion lanterns decorating the temple.
Mr Beet hanging a prayer ribbon wishing for safe travels.
More pictures of Penang on Mr Beet’s flickr page.