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Back in 2010 I visited Penang as part of a backpacking trip with a friend and I have such fond memories of the place so wanted to visit again and this time for CLB to experience it too. We chose to stay four nights in Penang so we didn’t have to rush our visit before moving on to Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur.
There is a ferry which services a route between Langkawi and Penang however after reading the reviews of the journey during rainy season we were immediately put off, especially after having food poisoning, so a day before leaving the island of Langkawi we ended up booking flights to Penang.
Having visited Penang before I knew we should stay in Georgetown as this is where most of our time would be spent exploring. Therefore we opted to book Hotel Chennai in Little India which was pretty much walking distance from everything we wanted to see. Our room was a little rough around the edges and the advertised hot tub on the roof was not fit for purpose but that said as a place to lay our heads it was all we needed, and the black out blind was much appreciated!
With plenty to do in Georgetown alone this is where we would centre our sightseeing. As we were still a little under the weather from the food poisoning we experienced in Langkawi, we decided to take things slow.
As you’d probably gathered by now, we love a lie in and a brunch where possible, and Penang was no different. Our day started at Black Kettle with delicious eggs and a chai latte in air conditioned heaven, what more could you want?
Around the corner was Cheah Kongsi, which was the first stop on our sightseeing agenda. Located off Armenian Street, where you’ll find various cultural gift stores and street art, this is the first of Penang’s five Hokkien clan houses.
Every day at 11am, 2pm and 3.30pm there are English speaking guided tours around Cheong Fatt Tze – The Blue Mansion, a stunningly beautiful heritage house which has now been turned into a a hotel and it is so worth visiting. You can only take a look around as a non-guest on these tours and book in advance as they are super popular. We joined the 2pm tour after earlier in the day accidentally turning up for the Chinese one; neither of us speak Mandarin, oops! I tried to convince CLB that we should stay there for one night but alas we’ll have to save that for the next trip to Malaysia!
After some more mooching around Georgetown we decided on an early dinner at Bistro Tang located inside the beautiful Ren i Tang Heritage Inn before collapsing into bed in a heap thanks to the heat!
The Mugshot Cafe was our venue for brunch today, and CLB was elated by the English Breakfast Tea on offer and couldn’t wait to sample his first ‘proper cuppa’ in 8 weeks!
Street art is a big deal in Penang and I had the idea of using a street art guide to see Georgetown in all its glory so we spent the next couple of days working our way through this map. We found all but three on the map alongside others not listed, a pretty impressive effort even if I do say so myself!
We started our route on Love Lane taking in a great number of pieces before the heat became a little too much and we just needed to stop for a refreshing juice at Mr Flacko.
Once refreshed and back on the streets we continued our hunt for more street art pieces, of which we found many, before culminating our day exploring Chew Jetty.
Following a rest from the heat and freshen up we made our way back to Love Lane to catch a Rugby World Cup game in a local bar and shelter from the impending rain shower before dining at Woodlands Vegetarian Restaurant which is up there with some of the best Indian cuisine I’ve ever eaten.
China House, the longest cafe in Penang made up of a number of heritage buildings, was our first port of call for the day where we had morning coffee and cake to set us up for more street art spotting.
Later on in the day we visited Fort Cornwallis, which unfortunately was impacted by the surrounding construction work and as a result it didn’t live up the hype from my previous visit.
I have a real soft spot for Georgetown and have a feeling this won’t be my final visit to Penang!