Penang: The Land of Exotic Food and History
January 1, 1970
Nestled in the Northwestern part of Malaysia, Penang welcomes tourists from all over the world who visit the island known for mouth-watering dishes. On Penang Island, the most commonly visited place is George Town which is home to historical landmarks, pretty cafes and traditional street food. So let us go on an exciting trail along this fascinating island rish in food and history!
Try the traditional Nasi Lemak
Nasi Lemak is rice made together with coconut milk and served with anchovies and sambal belachan. The traditional ones are wrapped with pandan leaves into a triangular shape that resembles a pyramid. They can be found in a number of cafes and food stalls along Penang Street. Not only are they cheap, they are so tasty that you would definitely want to get one more!
Visit the S-s-snake Temple
If you are up for a little unconventional experience, the Snake Temple is a great place for you to visit. Filled with pit vipers who have been de-venomed, this temple has been home to the snakes since its construction.
Take a photo with a slithery friend, the python, and of course, you get to pat him too. Out at the garden area, you can play “I Spy” with the green tree snakes hidden among the trees and bushes.
As you walk, you will come face to face with the temple itself where you can spend some time in solitude.
Uncover history at Fort Cornwallis
Fort Cornwallis, as its name states, is a fort that was built by the British East India Company in the late 18th Century. It is the largest standing fort in the country and a historical landmark in Penang. Despite its menacing size, the fort was not used for combat during its operation. Take a slow walk amongst the big canons, admire the chapel and be in awe of the long-standing great walls and roofs. It is also a superb place for photos, especially alongside the canons that overlook the sea.
Try the Penang Road Famous Chendol
Satisfy your sweet tooth with this iced sweet dessert that comes with green rice flour jelly, coconut milk, palm sugar syrup and red beans known as Chendol. Although Chendol is a common dessert that can be found almost everywhere along Georgetown, it is strongly recommended to try the one at Penang Road. The service is quick and they also have other food options that are worth trying such as Char Kway Teow and Carrot Cake.
Get adventurous with Jungle Tracking
Pack your water bottles, caps and sunglasses as you gear up for a hike on Tanjung Bungah Hill. It is best to go early in the morning before sunrise or in the evening before sunset. If you choose to go in the afternoon, the scorching sun will make your hike less enjoyable. Likewise, if you go after sunset, it would be too dark and dangerous as you may not be able to see the path in front of you clearly. The journey is approximately three hours and you will be greeted by the famous Monkey Beach or the magnificent Muka Head Lighthouse, depending on the path you choose.
Get some toasty Breakfast in the morning
After your hike, you definitely deserve a hearty breakfast! You can check out Toh Soon Cafe which has charcoal butter and kaya toast that melts in your mouth. You can have it with a cup of coffee, tea or even milo.
If that is not enough for you, do try their raw egg which blends really well with the toast. Feel free to ask for soy sauce and pepper for the egg if you would like to eat it on its own. For those of you who enjoy spice in your meal, you would be glad to know that they also serve the traditional pandan leaf nasi lemak and trust me, one is not enough.
Treat your tummy to a Curry-filled Delight known as Roti Canai
A very common (and delicious) breakfast in Penang is Roti Canai. It is essentially thinly stretched dough that is fried and served with spicy curry. It is commonly referred to as the “Indian Pancake”. The curry melts into the fried dough (the roti) and the results are pure bliss. Roti Canai can be found in many places and they unfortunately only have it for breakfast. So remember to rise early and make your way down if you want to get your hands on it!
Take a hike up Penang Hill
Penang Hill is one of the most commonly sought after tourist destinations and most of them take the Skytrain to the top instead of hiking. This trail is not easy and it requires some endurance to make your way to the top. If you are someone who has gone trekking before, this would be great for you. If you are an amateur and want to give it a try, you still can but remember to get proper hiking gear and bring enough water with you. The view from the top is beautiful and it is best to go up early to catch the sunrise.
There is a temple at the peak that you can visit and also a lock bridge similar to the one in Paris where you can take a romantic shot with your partner. There are other mini trails near the top that you can explore and also an owl museum if you would like to pay a visit to our statued winged-friends.
Visit the Nostalgic Chew Jetty
Chew Jetty is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is a settlement of wooden houses built with stilts on the water. Deeply rooted in history, this mesmerising historical passageway was built by poor Chinese immigrants who worked near the port during the nineteenth century. It is a pleasant walk to the port where you will pass by shophouses selling vegetables, fruits, snacks and most importantly, souvenirs along the way. It is amazing to see this kampung (village)-style of living and it would bring back memories of the olden days. When you come out to the port, you will be greeted by the sea where you can enjoy the serenity and ambience of this picturesque place.
What are you waiting for? Book your flight tickets to Penang now!