Penang in 48 hours.

Penang is probably one of the best weekend getaways given it is just about an hour away by plane from Singapore. With budget airline carriers always having last minute flash sales, it’s quite easy to plan an impromptu getaway.

Despite my numerous visits to Penang, Malaysia, there are a few reasons why I keep getting drawn to visiting “The Pearl of the Orient”.

1. Local food

What is a visit to Penang without enjoying char kway teow! Along Lorong Selemat, Kedai Kopi dan Ais Kacang, boasts possibly one of the best, if not, the best char kway teow in entire Penang. I hear this coffee house is famous for their ABC (Air Batu Campur i.e. Ais Kacang) as well. Not a huge fan of Ais Kacang, I gave it a miss so I could save space in my stomach to try out other local food.

After char kway teow, chendol in Penang is probably the next item you have to try! This famous roadside stall is a stone’s throw from Lebuh Campbell, along Lebuh Keng Kwee. Under the sweltering heat, having a ice-cold chendol, before continuing your rest of exploration around Georgetown is definitely a good idea.

Hokkien Char

Lorong Baru is one of the many streets in Penang that morphs into a “food galore” with plenty of push carts selling local food when dusk sets.

With Penang’s food scene buzzing round the clock, for sure you will never get hungry no matter how late into the night it is.

2. Georgetown

Georgetown, capital of Penang, was listed by UNESCO in 2008 as a World Heritage Site. True to this accreditation, today, you would see many shophouses still well-preserved and it’s colonial roots intact.

Colourful shophouses along Lebuh Campbell

Big Expressions Gallery, Lorong Macalister

Street art and quaint cafes littered along entire Georgetown area bring back many fond memories, even for tourists visiting Penang.

Mugshot Cafe

As the cafe culture scene in Georgetown is also growing, spending a lazy afternoon over books and coffee would be just perfect as well.

3. Religious Sites/Historical Buildings 

Apart from Penang Hill and Khoo Kongsi, which are probably the more visited places of interest in Penang, there are a whole load of places to head to as well.

Wat Chaiyamangalaram, a Thai-style Buddhist Temple is known for a 33m long reclining Buddha, one of the longest in the world.

 Queen Victoria Clock Tower at sunset

Kapitan Keling Mosque

photo11Masjid Terapung, Floating Mosque of Tanjung Bungah 

Travel through the history of how cameras have evolved since 20th century in The Camera Museum. Sure to blow you away if you are a fan of photography.

4. Batu Ferringhi 

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Perfect for watersports and sunbathing, Batu Ferringhi is a very popular haunt for visitors to flock to when in Penang. Also, it’s night market is a huge draw to both locals and tourists.

5. Nightlife

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China House is one of the top places for nightlife in Penang at the moment as it caters to anyone and everyone. Be it a simple dinner over cakes, to just chilling with a book in the Library, to chilling with some drinks in the Courtyard, to some music and jazz in the Canteen; you really have it all in China House!

 All images belong to Solosingaporean unless otherwise credited for. Please give credit where it’s due.

 

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Travels for the year 2013!

2013 saw me travelling quite a fair bit. Bali, Melbourne, Sydney, Cambodia  Penang, Yogyakarta and then concluding the year with Sri Lanka. My highlight, of course, will be overcoming my inhibitions and attempting my first solo travel to Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Although, it was a short 4D3N, the trip taught me a lot on solo travelling.

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Sunset at Seminyak beach, Bali

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Post lunch smiles, Bali

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Kuta Beach, Bali

Bali, May 2013: A 3-night getaway with a couple of friends. Beach, sunset and laughter over cocktails. Got ourselves inked only for it to last not more than an hour. Also, my slippers that almost sailed away in the waters while at Tanah Lot. Oh, the fun times.

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Mt Buller Ski Resort, Melbourne

Melbourne, June 2013: A week of adventures with the sister. Tried out skiing for the first time. Amidst all the crashings and butt-aches was a memorable stay at Mt Buller. Watched 3 movies over the span of a week I was there. Felt like a local rather than a tourist. No surprises there, given my frequency in visiting Australia. Myriad of asian cuisine range conquered: Indian, Chinese, Vietnamese and Japanese. Survived -10 degrees for 30 minutes in Chill On Bar. Relived bits of our childhood watching Circus Oz.

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Sydney Harbour Bridgeclimb: Check!

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Skydiving: CHECK!!

Sydney, August 2013: Sole purpose of this last minute travel was to conquer the Harbour Bridge Climb. Ended up, I conquered one of my biggest fears as well – tandem skydiving! At times, I still cannot digest the fact I went through with this decision. Plus given the fact I was alone, I must be quite brave I think. After all that adrenaline rush, spent the next 2 days in Manly just chilling. Manly is such a perfect beach town, you can just wake up, stumble into a coffee house and laze the day away, without feeling any tinge of guilt. Most spontaneous travel decision ever. And also, by far, my most favourite trip to Sydney.

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Ice ball making in process, Penang.

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Roadside chendol, Penang

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Street vendor selling banana pancakes, Penang

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Dim sum buffet for breakfast, Penang

Penang, October 2013: Nothing but a 3 day galore of food, food and more food. And I mean, GALORE. I’m sure my pictures are a testament to it.

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Borobudur, Yogyakarta

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Borobudur, Yogyakarta

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Borobudur, Yogyakarta

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The stranger who literally saved my life, Yogyakarta

Yogyakarta, November 2013: Highlight #1: My first (real) solo travel. Highlight #2: Catching sunrise at Borobudur which costed me nearly SGD 100. Was definitely worth it though. I won’t forget how I was almost stranded on Parangtritis Beach, 5 hours before my flight. The stranger (pictured above) showed me what kindness truly is and brought me back home for a nominal amount.

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Background of Sigiriya Rock from Hotel Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

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Scenic boat ride, Sri Lanka

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Footsteps in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka

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Chaaya Blu Trincomalee, Sri Lanka

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The Golden Temple of Dambulla, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka, December 2013: 10 days, 10 pax, clocked 1800km on the road. Truckloads of memories. Nothing beats the euphoria of scaling Sigiriya Rock (Lion’s Rock) despite the bad weather condition as we started our ascend. Waking up in Kandy at 6am to a full moon amidst the mist. Watching sunset at Galle. Will be doing up a full post on Sri Lanka very soon.

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Amidst all my travelling, I juggled a new job that has taught me so many things I love and hate about the real world. Obviously more hate, than love. But anyways.

Also, I decided to give accounting a shot and enrolled myself in ACCA. Have completed 3 papers till date.

Got myself a basic rock climbing certification.

Did a couple of runs. Conquered my first 10km at Sundown.

2013 has been by far the toughest year to get by. I’m glad I’m still surviving and standing strong. I recall that fateful span of 3 days in July where I lost 2 very dear people. There are days I just wanna crumble and disappear out of this world. The void is so indescribable that I have quit writing. But, there are other days I wanna live to make you’ll proud. Those days help me get by.

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I will live to make you proud.

I’m planning to march in to 2014 without any expectations whatsoever. I’m gonna quit wishing for things to happen and take things as they come along.

Keep writing your goals for the year ahead and, if necessary, re-write them as you go along. After all, we have got another year to get it right. Have a blessed year ahead folks!

Till we meet again,

Sights and sounds of Penang.

Cambodia blew me over and so, I booked tickets to Penang almost 24 hours before my flight. MOST.IMPROMPTU.TRIP.EVER!

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IMAG0391silhouette of khoo kongsi

IMAG0411chew jetty

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IMAG0428roadside chendol

IMAG0438sweet corn pancake for RM0.40 by the apong guan man

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All images belong to Solosingaporean unless otherwise credited for. Please give credit where it’s due.