Sunday, 24 March 2013

Penang


Author: Mellissa Seah

Article written for www.natastravel.com, copyright (c) 2013. 

Looking for a short getaway with your family or friends without burning a hole in your pocket (we know what Bangkok does to your wallet!)? Hop onto a plane (or bus) and head down to Penang, Malaysia! Singaporeans love food, and Penang is known as a food paradise, so why….. not?!

Stay

Book a dormitory bed with a shared bathroom (or a private ensuite room) at Old Penang Guesthouse! Old Penang Guesthouse is a pre-war building that has been restored into a lodging facility. Its old world heritage charm, coupled with modern facilities and top notch service, has earned it’s current ranking of #3 in Tripadvisor(R). Conveniently located on Love Lane, Georgetown, means that it is a walking distance from many attractions. This value for money accommodation for travellers has been tested and proven by yours truly. ;)   
    
A bed in the mixed dormitory with a shared bathroom starts from RM25.

Eat
Assam Laksa; The best Assam Laksa is at Air Itam hawker, which you will pass by on the way up to Kek Lok Si or Penang Hill.

Curry Mee; My favourite is at at Lebuh Chulia night hawker stalls. These hawker stalls are operated on makeshift push carts so you might be a little worried about hygiene. But hey, street stalls always serve the best food! My friend had to have it another time before heading back to Singapore!

Duck Kway Chap; Lebuh Kimberley is home to a famous push cart kway chap stall. Being featured in the media occasionally, this particular stall faces brisk business in the evenings. I’m usually not a fan of kway chap but I enjoyed this. Must try!

Cost of dishes from hawker stalls start from RM3.

Do









Look out for street art; Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharavic gave old walls around Georgetown a new lease of life in conjunction with Penang’s Georgetown Festival. These walls have since become visitors’ focus and top visiting spots. I  had so much fun exploring the streets and hunting down the different murals, and had fun taking photos with them. A pity though, that some of these paintings have faded due to the eratic weather.  Look out for steel sculptures too, made by Sculpture at Work!

Spend an afternoon at Penang Hill; Escape the heat in Penang and proceed to Penang Hill with cooler climate, approximately 833 metres above the capital of Penang. It is accessible by the Penang Hill Railway, costing RM8 for locals and RM30 for foreigners for a 2 way trip. You can chill out at one of the cafes with a book or get in touch with nature by checking out the flora and fauna. A good place to relax, recharge and rejuvenate away from the bustling town!

I spent 4 days 3 nights in Penang, which isn’t sufficient to explore all of Penang, missing out on Batu Ferriangi and  Gurney area. Total cost of the trip, excluding airfare was about RM250, which is a pretty good steal for a short getaway. Check with a NATAS Travel Agent!


The author is a student of University of Las Vegas (UNLV).

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