In historic Penang, cultural treasures, rugged national parks, secluded beaches and delicious dishes await
Start with the UNESCO World Heritage site of George Town, an incredibly beautiful historic town with an amazing food scene. There’s a fascinating mix of buildings here, including prehistoric shop houses, Little India and mosques standing next to malls and skyscrapers. George Town has a thriving arts scene, plenty of tempting cafés, Indian and Buddhist temples as well as mosques. Discover the history of the Blue Mansion, an old hotel decorated with stained-glass windows, eye-catching tiles and super-bright blue walls. To see a different side of Penang, head to Penang National Park, which is perfect for easy jungle-trail strolls, or Batu Ferringhi, a popular stretch of beach for locals and tourists with exciting water sports activities. Explore the lively daily night market where you can have fun walking through the stalls selling wide range of goods.
Visit the Tropical Spice Garden, where more than 500 species of flora bloom. Go hiking in Penang Hill, which has trails for all. Go on a street-art tour and be amazed at the colorful works that decorate Lebuh Armenian, Jalan Penang and the tangled streets in between. Take a trishaw ride through the historic streets of George Town – these ‘man-powered’ local vehicles are a fun way to explore the city at your own leisurely pace.
Try Penang’s iconic street food dish, char kway teow (stir-fried flat rice noodles) at the street food stalls in George Town. One of the best places is Lean Joo Sean’s stall outside the Sin Guat Keong coffee shop on 86 Kimberley Street. There’s a reason for the long lines outside the stall from 5.30pm til midnight. Feast on dim sum at De Tai Tong Cafe in Chinatown, where waitresses wield trolleys piled high with har gow (shrimp dumplings), chee cheong fun (rice-flour rolls) and lor mai gai (glutinous rice cooked with chicken, black mushroom and sausage). Sink your teeth into a Pasembur salad, Mee Goreng Mamak and Penang Laksa on Gurney Drive, then finish on a sweet note with an egg-custard tart. Sample delicious, ridiculously cheap noodles from Kedai Kopi Sin Hwa, a coffee shop that’s a short stroll from one of Asia’s longest reclining Buddha statue, Wat Chayamangkalaram.
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