Saturday, May 28, 2011


I gathered most of the data from the Penang tourism brochure and some from my friends and of course, my own outlook of the place and my photos...
I only had a day to go around Penang. I really did not expect the place to be really big and with lots of places to go to. But Penang is a State of Malaysia and it had its own special character. 

It was also my fault not to have researched much about Penang before going there, but my mind was set on the other purpose for the trip (continuing education!) and that I was alone abroad and I thought I couldn’t be too adventurous... must be signs of age showing!
But I did go around...first, because my tourist guide was very knowledgeable and second, I was able to contact my friends in Penang.
Penang is made up of Penang Island and Penang Mainland. Penang Island is where Georgetown (the capital), the airport and where Batu Ferringhi, the resorts town are located. We cross to Penang Mainland via the ferry or through the Penang Bridge. In Mainland Penang is Butterworth, where our friends, Cholo and Let stay and also where Kepala Batas is, where Cholo works.
The day started with breakfast at the Holiday Inn Batu Ferringhi (Penang Island). Didn’t want to start too early because I had a three flights the day before and arriving in Penang late at night.
Holiday Inn is composed of two buildings, the beachside part and
the Ferringhi Tower which is connected by a bridge...
      a street divides the two buildings... 

Mr. Cheok fetched me late in the morning as we agreed. We started from Batu Ferringhi, where lots of resorts are located and going down to Georgetown, then off to the ferry to Butterworth in Penang Mainland to see my friends, Cholo and Let. From Butterworth, we went to Kepala Batas where the Medical School, ACME located. After which, we crossed the Penang Bridge and went around the other sights of Penang Island. 
These are the places we passed by and also visited...
BATU FERRINGHI is a world renowned beach retreat with a beautiful coastline, budget inns and five-star hotels. The beaches are described as golden with interesting beach activities and ocean sports such as jet-skiing, parasailing, horseback riding and of course, swimming. 

A night bazar is the other attraction in the streets of Batu Ferringhi, although, it wasn’t a good time when we were there because of the rain every time. This is equivalent to the "tiangge" in the Philippines, but what is interesting is that there is more than a kilometer of these little stores lined in the main street of Batu Ferringhi and is convenient for tourists who may not have the time to look for the souvenir shops in the City. 

NORTHERN BEACHES. Along the way, we could appreciate the coastline, with resorts and million dollar villas sprouting up. One of the places I saw was Miami Beach... Miami in Penang! 

We saw a vehicular accident, a not so common occurrence in Penang.

usually drivers are very careful in Penang...wasn't able able to pry on what happened here...
FLOATING MOSQUE, the Masjid Jamek in Tanjung Bunga is Malaysia’s first floating mosque. This is intended as a floating mosque but since there is frequent low tide, the mosque doesn’t appear floating.
The mosque accommodates 1,500 worshippers and features a blend of local and Middle Eastern architecture with a seven-storey minaret. 
wasn't able to go down to take a photo of the mosque surrounded by water...
ESPLANADE is a seafront promenade bordering an open field where festivals and events are often held. Located along the winding stretch are a War Memorial to fallen soldiers, a hawker food court and the ancient Fort Cornwallis.
GURNEY DRIVE looks like Roxas Boulevard, and the place really now shows the urbanity of Penang, with lots of tall buildings and hotels on one side of the drive. An upscale mall, Gurney Plaza with international boutiques is located here. This is also the most popular hawker center for locals and tourists. The drive is named after Sir Henry Gurney, a High Commissioner of Malaya. 
However, I saw a sad state of the beach/sea front at Gurney Drive, which they say was affected by the tsunami in Indonesia (Ache). The sand has fissures and the shallow coastal area is very wide with some herons appearing to have their fill of mudskippers. The area looked depressing and is the aftermath of natural disasters (weird that the disaster was from a neighboring country) and some environmental issues.

GEORGETOWN is a historic city which was founded 200 years ago, thus, has an impressive collection of historic buildings representing Penang’s various ethnicities: Chinese, Indians, Arabs, Malays, Achenese, Siamese, Burmese and Europeans. On July 7, 2008, George Town  was awarded the UNESCO World Heritage status. 
CITY HALL was built in 1903 and is the headquarters of the Penang Island Municipal Court. A World War I monument for fallen soldiers is also located here.

ST. GEORGE'S CHURCH is the oldest Anglican church in Southeast Asia and modelled after a church in Madras, India.
such a white church except for the had its own unique architecture.
QUEEN VICTORIA MEMORIAL CLOCK TOWER is a 60-foot clock tower, commissioned by the wealthy Cheah Chen Eok. This was built in 1897 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. Each foot represents a year of Queen Victoria’s reign.  
the clock tower
As Queen Victoria ruled for 63 years, the clock tower also was built 60 feet high


WAWASAN OPEN UNIVERSITY is an institution of higher education based in Malaysia that allows adult students to pursue tertiary level qualifications through OpenDistance Learning (ODL). 
a modern structure in Penang
LITTLE INDIA is a little quarter of South Indian Culture where early Indian immigrants settled down to make Penang their home. It is the island’s epicenter of Indian music, savory cuisine, exotic spices and authentic goods. 
the India quarter
KUAN YIN TEMPLE is one of Penang’s oldest Chinese shrines believed to be built in 1728 and completed in 1800 by the first group of Chinese immigrants who settled in Penang. Devotees throng here daily to pay respect to Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy. (Open 9am to 6 pm)

These are some of the other roads and buildings we saw along the way to the Ferry service . I didn't get to know what these buildings were, but they showed the varying architecture and culture of Penang.

this is a kopi (coffee) house

PENANG FERRY SERVICE began its operations in 1920, making it the oldest ferry service in Malaysia. The ferries ply between the Seberang Perai mainland and Penang Island, carrying both passengers and vehicles. 

TANJONG CITY MARINA  is Malaysia’s first inner city marina which is open to the public. Spanning 1.6 hectares, the marina is adjacent to the Penang Ferry Terminal and formerly known as the Church Street Pier.

And of course, we also viewed the Penang Bridge from afar.
my friends are excited to go the Penang for the Penang Bridge marathon every November

We crossed the ferry to reach BUTTERWORTH to see friends in Penang, Cholo and Let Fernandez from ZC! They gave me a better appreciation of the place because it always helps to see its beauty in the eyes of those who live there. 
We passed by the Fernandez’ home.

Some of these places are seen in BUTTERWORTH to KEPALA BATAS.

no..not Cholo's clinic
Police headquarters near the medical school in Kepala Batas
the Syariah court also near the Medical School

I think this is a mall...
We also when to ACMS, Allianze College of Medical Sciences in Kepala Batas where Cholo and other medical academicians are now working to start a legacy for the college turned university!

We also passed by the HAWKERS in Butterworth.
they say even people of high stature go to the simple hawkers place because of the delicious food.
there is the laksa (noodles)...rojak...sugarcane juice...etc. etc.

fruit rojak...

Going back to Penang Island, we passed by the Penang Bridge.

PENANG BRIDGE stretches over 13.5 km and is the longest in Southeast Asia. The symmetric fan shaped centre span that rises to a height of 225 meters makes the bridge unique. It took 5 years to build the bridge which opened in 1985. (Open 9 am to 6 pm)
The Penang Bridge is the other way connecting Penang Island to Penang Mainland.

WAT CHAIYAMANGKALARAM is a majestic Thai Buddhist wat (temple) with its unique blend of Chinese, Thai and Burmese architectural designs built in the 19th Century. Inside the temple is the third largest Reclining Buddha in the world, which is gold-plated and  measures up to a staggering length of 33 meters. (Open 10 am to 6 pm)

DHARMIKARAMA BURMESE TEMPLE is located in Lorong Burma. This is the favoured venue for the Songkran festivities - Thailand’s traditional New Year Day, which is celebrated in April (Open 8 am to 5 pm). The temple’s serene surroundings feature a Bodhi tree, wishing pond and pagoda.
I am amazed by the intricacies of the design and also distinct 
this temple is across the Thai wat 

PENANG HILL offers a panoramic view of the city, 830 m above the sea level. Getting to the top is a fun choice of hiking or travelling in the funicular train. At the time we visited, the train was closed for renovation (upgrade project to install a new and faster train) but was opening back very soon. It was expected to be finished earlier in the month
At the summit, there is a flower garden, mini bird park, bungalows and guest houses.

KEK LOK SI TEMPLE means “Temple of Supreme Bliss” and was built in 1886. This is one of the largest and grandest Buddhist Temple in Southeast Asia. In the temple compound is a 30 meter seven-storey handcrafted “Pagoda of the Ten Thousand Buddhas” which was completed in 1930. (Open 9 am to 6 pm)

The Kek Lok Si Temple is one of Penang’s beautiful architectural wonders with its Chinese octagonal base, Thai middle tier and Burmese crown. 

The Kek Lok Si temple is really very large and in several layers and so we had to ride to a higher level to be able to see the gigantic  30.2 meter Kuan Yin bronze statue was completed in 2002. 
must be one of the guards of Kuan Yin since this is at the entrance of the higher levels

the huge Kuan Yin bronze statue
other structures at the upper level
view of Georgetown from the temple

looking down, we can also see the other parts of the temple
AIR DAM is a very beautiful place up in the hillocks, next to Penang Hill and overlooking Georgetown and the island. This dam was opened in 1962. Lots of folks also walk or run in the place and is a popular recreation and picnic venue. Going up Air Dam, you see a lot of athletes either running or biking. In Penang, one gets a tax deduction from engaging into sports.

that's Cholo in the reflection...

well manicured side of the dam...

see the beauty of the place...very ideal for walking, running, biking and for picnics
the dam itself
view of Georgetown from the Air Dam
PENANG BOTANICAL GARDENS covers an impressive area of 30 hectares of gardens, waterfalls, ponds and varieties of tropical plants. It was created in 1884 by the British to collect botanical specimens from the surrounding hills. Two must-see attractions are the Japanese Garden and the Bamboo Setum within the arboretum. (Open 8 am to 5 pm)  
It was raining so we weren’t able to go around this beautiful nature park. It was an unusual weather in Penang (according to them) that every afternoon, it was raining... 

STATE MOSQUE is one of the most beautiful mosques in the country. It was constructed in 1976 and completed in 1980. The mosque is located on a 45 hectare land and easily accommodates 5000 worshippers. (Open 9 am to 5:30 pm)

INDIAN TEMPLES are seen in many places around Penang and also have the distinct character with a different color scheme and different dieties.

Actually, this is indeed just a bird's eye view of Penang...and there is a lot more to see in each of these places.

A friend told me you can divide the tours into three main groups: the historical tour, the nature / outdoor tour and the temple/ mosques tour. Therefore, if you really want to get to know Penang deeply, it may take about three days or more.
In each of these tours, you have to include Penang cuisine as part of the tour because they have varied food choices owing to the Malay, Chinese and Indian influences.  

I know I have to go back to Penang...why don't you try to visit this lovely place, too...


  1. very very good.
    rojo im glad u enjoy yourself here.
    thank u

  2. Hi Inday! so many nice photos and insights of Penang... I'm so glad you posted the link in your FB - at least now I know what to expect when we go there for the Marathon this November. Thanks

  3. You'll definitely have a greater experience because you'll be stepping on the Penang Bridge and by now, Cholo already "belongs" to Penang.

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