Pulau Pinang – George Town

An Impromptu long weekend plan took us and a couple of friends from work to George Town,  Penang island. The historical town made us miss our very own Pondicherrry and Goa. The long walks in the old town and passing by the heritage buildings leaves one wondering the splendour of the city during the good old British Raj :). While we couldn’t cover all of the attractions in Penang, we barely managed to scrap the surface of this beautiful island city. With each part of the island guaranteeing a unique experience, i am sure we will be having our tryst with Pulau Pinang very soon before we head back home from KL.

Our trip was quite a short one for just 2 nights during the very end of the annual George Town Festival. We stayed at Cititel which is almost in the heart of the town providing easy access to almost all of the walking trails around in George town. If the weather gods aren’t crazy pouring us over, the walking trails provide for a truly amazing and romantic experience.  Few of the places which we covered in George Town – The Camera Museum on Lebuh Muntri.. one of the best places i would recommend for any camera and photography enthusiast. We did our walking trails around Lebuh Muntri, Love lane, Armenian street, Chulia street, the Chew jetty. Do not miss the wonderful street art by Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic and several others. I found this interesting read and map for the trails covering the street art tour and also a background to all the works of the artist.

Take a walk around the Eastern and Orient Hotel lawns for the lovely atmosphere and view of the coast during the setting sun.  We even visisted the Hainan temple and the nearby Chocolate museum for a free tasting session of the wide range of yummy chocolates. We then realised it was more of a sales gimmick than a museum tour. The chocolates were extremely pricey compared to the prices we paid for similar ones in Central market in KL. We visited the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion or the Blue Mansion for a photo op tour but  the hour long tour turned boring coz it only gave a tour of 2 rooms out of the 30+ rooms in the mansion and turned out that more than half of the original items and furnishings had been shipped off to Australia to the owners heir. While the mansion itself is quite beautiful, definitely not worth paying RM16 to visit two rooms. Give your taste buds a culinary treat in the various restaurants and shacks all around the town. Its a food lovers paradise. Drive through the night on Gurney street or visit the numerous fancy shopping malls. But if you are already in a city booming with malls at every corner, you can give it a miss and do something instead.

For the evening no better place than the hustle and bustle of Batu ferringhi for the fresh sea food and the crowded night market. Though the traffic from George town could be a killer, we didn’t mind it and went there on both the nights. We even got a caricature drawn for ourselves by a local artist Blee Tan. Damn, the guy had an amazing knowledge of the Indian culture, the Bhagvad Gita and Bollywood.. We were awestruck.

What we realised is that one would need atleast a good 5-6 days to cover the whole of Penang island and soak in the rich culture and historical significance of the city.  We wanted to cover Penang Hill and also the beaches and the national park hiking trails but i guess thats gonna be for another visit. We wound up our trip with a lovely brunch at Muntri Mews Cafe on Muntri street. lovely and romantic ambience outdoor cafe, must try the amazing pasta. And a slight drizzle making us feel the trip never ends.

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