After Langkawi, I took the ferry to Penang. Penang is both a Malaysian state and an island. I only visited the island and I can tell you, you should really go and visit Penang. It is so beautiful there. And there is so much to do.
First, there is Penang’s capital Georgetown. Georgetown is a big city, the city centre, however, is small enough to walk around and see everything in a day or so. And I would really recommend walking through the centre that is made out of Little India and Chinatown. All around the centre you will find streetart. And Georgetown is known for it’s streetart.
Close to the ferry terminal is Fort Cornwallis. You can visit the fort, it costs RM40 (~€7,90 or ~$9,40) to get in. They have free tours there every hour. Fort Cornwallis is nice but certainly not a must-see.
Not far away along the shore is Chew Jetty. You can also take the CAT there, a free bus going round the town centre. Chew Jetty is a jetty where houses stand and people are selling things. It is really a lovely place you should really visit.
Not far from the jetty on Church Street you can find Pinang Peranakan Mansion. The mansion houses two museums, the Chinese Jewellery museum and a museum for the Chinese that came to Penang. You have to pay RM21,20 (~€4,20 or ~$5) to go inside, but it’s really worth it. They also offer free tours that a really good as the explain the entire history of the Chinses families that came to Penang.
Not far from the Pinang Peranakan Mansion is St. George’s Church, the oldest Angelican church in Southeast Asia. If you walk down the road you will also find temples and a mosque. You can visit all of them for free.
Close by you can find Khoo Kongsi Temple. It costs RM10 (~€2 or ~$2,35) to visit but it really is worth it. The temple is gorgeous and for any fans of the 1999 film Anna and the King with Jodie Foster, Chow Yun-Fat and Tom Felton, it will be interesting to know that they shot parts of the film in this temple, as the Thai government did not allow the production team to shoot in Thailand.
Still in Georgetown but a bit further afield are Dhammikarama Temple and Wat Chayamangkalaram Temple. Dhammikarama Temple is a burmese buddhist temple and Penang’s oldest Buddhist place of worship. Wat Chayamangkalaram Temple on the other hand is the largest Buddhist temple in Penang.
Not far from these temples is a place called Penang Avatar Secret Gardens. It is only open at night and you should really go there. There is no entry fee and you can see the trees and the beach lit up with colourful lights. It is supposed to look like the forest in the movie Avatar but since I have never seen it I can not confirm that that is the case. It is a really beautiful place reagardless though.
Of course Georgetown is not the only thing Penang has to offer. There is Penang Hill, where you can take a train to the top of the hill and have a really good view over Penang and Georgetown. You pay RM30 (~€5,90 or ~$7) for a return ticket. They even offer a student ticket for RM15 (~€2,95 or ~$3,50), so don’t forget to bring your student ID if you have one. The view is really stunning and there are other things you can do as well when you’re at the top of the hill.
There is a mosque and a Hindu temple – though the Hindu temple was closed for renervations when I was there. You can visit an Owl museum, although there is only owl merchandise to see, which is why I did’t go in. If I want to see owl merchandise I can stay at home.
They also have a place called The Habitat there, where you’re supposed to hike a trail and sky bridges all the while watching wildlife. The Habitat only opened at the end of April 2017 and as of August 2017 is wasn’t even finished. The sky bridges were not ready yet, so I decided not to do the tour as the sky bridge was the selling point for me.
Close to the Lower Railway station of Penang Hill is the Kek Lok Si Temple. It is just a 30 minute walk away. When I was there, they were doing some renervations, so not all the gardens where open. The main thing, however, are two special places of the temple complex. Kuan Yin statue is a huge bronze statue and it costs RM6 (~€1,20 or ~$1,40) to use the lift to go up to the statue. There is also a nice pont there too. The other special place is the pagoda of ten thousand Buddhas or Pagoda of King Rama VI. Entry fee is RM2 (~€0,40 or ~$0,50). It is really a lovely temple complex and you can enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.
From there you could take a Grab to the Snake Temple or take a bus from Georgetown. Officially Snake Temple is named Ban Kah Lan but everyone knows it as Snake Temple, because they have snakes there. (Big surprise, I know!) The snakes are all around the temple complex although they’re usually sedated from the fumes during the day.
You should also plan a day of hiking at Penang National Park. There are two main trails, and it is advised to only do one trail. There is, however, the possibility of taking a boat from one of the two end points of the trail and visit the other as well. I was lucky enough to meet a lovely Irish family, who did’t mind me tagging along, so instead of having to pay RM100 (~€19,75 or ~$23,40) – the fee for the boat, no matter how many people are going – I did not have to pay at all. Whether you take a boat or not, don’t forget to bring enough water and food along, as hiking in the jungle in the heat is exhausting.
One trail takes you to Turtle Beach, where turtles usually lay their eggs. They have a turtle conservatory where you can see baby turtles. I asked the guy who works there and he told me that they only keep the baby turtles a week or two there and then bring them out to the sea.
The other trail brings you to Monkey Beach, where you are supoosed to see macaques. Personally, I only saw three monkeys and they where on a leash. A really cruel thing to do, if you ask me. They are getting fed and serve as some form of entertainment for visitors.
Of course, there are plenty of other things to to in Penang. I just did’t have time to do them as well. Have you been to Penang before? Did you enjoy it as much as I did? Tell me all about your time in the comments.