places to visit: (click on the names to know)
About: Located in the island of Penang, once it was an important trade hub. The city is famous for its British colonial buildings, mosques and golden crowned Buddhist temples.
Penang Peranakan Mansion: An eye-popping experience wandering around this mansion. Interesting trivia is that a property developer turned this mansion into a museum dedicated to Penang‘s Peranakan heritage with over 1,000 Peranakan antiques. You get to understand the Pernakan culture and lifestyle, traditions and customs, art and craft. It is well maintained.
You don’t need a guide but still if you insist, do check whether he knows much about this subject or not. Many tourists have complained about having saddled with a worthless guide here.
Khoo Kongsi: One of the city’s major historical attractions, it is also the grandest clan temple in Malaysia. Khoo Kongsi meaning overseas clan association of the Khoos. The Khoos were among the wealthy Chinese traders of 17th century. In the 19th century, the clan complex where now the temple sits resembled a miniature clan village, with its own self-government, educational, financial, welfare and social organizations. The temple was built in 1906 when the Khoo clan reached its zenith in power and wealth in George Town. You get to know a good deal of Chinese culture and history in Penang and also the lives of people who were famous in Penang.
Dharmikarama Burmese Temple: A very clean and well maintained temple and the statue of the standing Buddha looks amazing. The temple complex has other interesting features like smaller shrines, a pond and some noteworthy sculptures. Definitely worth a visit.
Wat ChayamangkalaramThe Reclining Buddha Temple is located at Burma Road. The sleeping Buddha at the entrance looks grand. Behind the statue are countless niches with urns containing devotees’ ashes. The interior is decorated with Buddha’s images. It is just opposite to the Burmese Temple. Closing time 5pm.
Penang Hill: The hill to get the view of George Town. You can go up on train. For your tickets you have two choices, normal or fast lane. But beware of the queues, they are really long. Fast lane queues are bit small though. The view from the top is amazing, but be there before sunset or try to take the first train, otherwise the crowds and the incessant hawkers will leave you with a bad experience. If you are for hiking, try from mid-afternoon until at night. It will take 4 to 6hours to reach the top but you will have an awesome experience especially when the fog sets in. You can hike at day also..and if you are into botany, will be able to find various types of local plants. Locals go for a run on the hill too.
Armenian Street: A great place to shop for souvenirs, grab a coffee or munch on local delight. You will find several art houses, alongside cafés and trinket shops. It is particularly enjoyable to walk around 7pm when the street lamps and Chinese lanterns are lit. Not to mention the delightful wall paintings you will find gracing the walls of the buildings here.
Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion: This mansion featured in many award winning films like Indochine, The Red Kebaya, Road to Dawn and The Blue Mansion. This 19th century mansion boasts 3rooms, 5 courtyards, 7 staircases and 220 windows. What is the nicest thing is that the present owner along with her husband brought this house in 1989 to reconstruct from the ruin to today’s authentic state. And she runs the tour herself every week on Friday 11am. I must say she is the best tour guide you can have. Big thanks to the owners for preserving. There’s other tour guides available too.
The Camera Museum: Photography enthusiasts will love this museum. It’s all about the evolution of cameras from past to recent past. The collection includes from the earliest pin-hole cameras, spy cameras, Polaroid cameras, projectors for slides to expensive one like Leica. You can try out some of these antique cameras.
Penang Botanical Gardens: Also known as “Waterfall Garden” occupies a huge tract of land adorned with lush tropical flora and a rainforest. Its serene setting and vibrant ambience makes a great place for relaxation especially near the waterfall. It is well laid out and maintained. Free entrance.
Upside Down Museum: If you have kids with you, bring them here for some fun. As the name suggests, everything inside is topsy turvy. Great for people who loves to take own photos. However, this is one time visit, need not repeat visiting here.
Chulia Street: Just like the Armenian Street, this is again another iconic Penang Street with wall arts and pubs and cafes around. Those who are looking to try out local food go to the “Old Trafford Burger” and try their coconut shake with pearls.
Colonial Penang Museum: This is a privately owned museum. While the museum’s exhibits are a bit light on the real artefacts, the way they are represented are very stimulating and impressive. This museum gives you a great insight on Penang and its history.
Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Temple: You need to climb 513 steps to reach t he top altgoiugh it’s not very hard. But not recommended for elders with knee problems. You can have a panoramic view of the city from the temple. Best time to visit early in the morning (temple opens at 6am) or late evening.