My Favourite Things To Do In Penang by Dave Lane
When you live here as we do you may have a different outlook on what to see,anyhow here goes!.
1. Georgetown. Probably the most authentic historic city in the world. Lots of "tourist sights", The Reclining Buddha Temple, The Burmese Temple just opposite, Khoo Kongsi, Fort Cornwallis, Weld Quay, The Stilt Houses, The Blue Mansion, Komtar etc. The list is endless. Just by wandering around you get a feel of the place.Stop for a bite to eat and a fruit juice or coffee anywhere and watch the world go by!.Never be worried about eating from hawker stalls or cafes.You could easily spend a few days just wandering and browsing and have enough memories to last a lifetime.
2. Kek Lok Si Temple. A magnificent sprawling Chinese temple set on a hill at Air Itam. Like most tourist sites on the island no charge except 2RM to climb the Pagoda.
3. Penang Hill and Canopy Walk. Can be done on the same day as Kek Lok Si, as the Funicular station is within easy reach from there. For views of Georgetown and the mainland head for the Belle View hotel and enjoy the sights from the terraced lawn at the back. As you walk through look for the snakes in the overhead shrubs!.You can get snacks from the numerous stalls,before walking to the canopy walk,or take a lift in a land rover. It is well sign posted,and around a 40 minute walk from the station. The walk through the tree tops is the best new attraction in Penang.If you go up the hill its a must!!.The fare to the top of the hill is 4RM return.The alternative way down is to walk. Start at the steps by the police station and in around 2 hours, including stops on the way,you will come out by the entrance to the Botanical Gardens.
4. Penang Bridge and Ferry. Most visitors see the bridge but never go over it!.For a different day out,either with a taxi or hire car,go over to Butterworth by ferry from Weld Quay,and come back via the bridge. There's good shopping over there too, Makro and Carrefour are worth a visit!.All you pay is 7RM to get on the island..nothing to get off!!.
5. Nine Emperor Gods Temple in Butterworth...This place is a must if you go over to Butterworth,so can be done as part of the above trip.Its a fairly new temple but so beautiful. Its relatively unknown to most tourists and could certainly do with being photographed by Kayes!.
6. Botanical Gardens and Municipal Park. Places to get away from it all!.The Botanical Gardens are best visited early morning or late afternoon. Flowers,plants,shrubs and trees in abundance in a beautiful cool setting. There are still a few monkeys wandering around, though most have moved further down the road.The Peoples Park or Youth Park as it was once known is nearby,and is worth a visit.Try the reflexology stones walk!!.Also from here you can climb one of many walking trails up the various hills.The one from here is the easiest to do,bringing you out on a plateau, overlooking the Tanjong Tokong area. Walking these trails is very popular here,and at any time of day you will see plenty of activity.
7. Butterfly Farm. Situated on the outskirts of Teluk Bahang.Full of so many different species of butterflies,that even settle on you.The kids will love this place too.
8. Tropical Fruit Farm. A few kilometers further on around a twisting road up the mountainside.The tour that they give is very interesting .Seeing all the tropical fruits in their natural state.The plate of mixed fruit you get at the end of the tour is yummy!.Don't forget to try durian if its in season.
9. The Morning Markets. There is nothing like a visit to a wet market in the early morning.You really do get close to the way of life here.Fish,meat,fruit,veggies,clothes,household things etc etc.The best is Chowrasta market,but others worth a visit are Fettes Park,Pulau Tikus,and Tanjung Bungah.Be sure to have breakfast there,its different and good.
10. The People. Not a sight as such,but its the people here that make the island what it is.Mix with them,make friends!.Its alot easier to do here than it is back in the UK. Always a smile and a sincere greeting from everyone.
11.Yes I said Ten,but you have to mention my favourite....Food. As I have said before on this board, there is nowhere on earth with such a diverse menu!. And the quality is always good, from the top hotel on the island to the one man hawker stall .I have eaten at all and I know what I prefer!.I have also mentioned a few of my favourite places, so here's one more. Swatow Lane,just behind Giant Supermarket..Some of the best hawker food in town, try the fried oysters,and I also rate the rojak and ice kachang highly. Perhaps the best advert for food is this..eat where you see locals eating ..I do. One day I will get round to writing a book on it.