The nerd and I planned a short getaway to Penang a few days after our finals to get some much needed down time after such a busy semester. We had a really good time as the change in environment was really refreshing! People were generally very friendly and nice; and I don’t know what it is about the air, but something makes Penang hawker food so much more delicious than in Singapore. At first I was pretty skeptical that Penang could surprise my palate and surpass Singapore’s hawker food but I think it’s safe to say it sure did.
We went to just Penang island itself, and I tried to do things that were less typical of a Penang trip, relatively unexplored things and I think those were so much more fulfilling and fun than the usual georgetown foodie experience for us because Gab and I aren’t big foodies in that we won’t travel all the way especially just to try food. So read on to find out more (:
Upon reaching the airport we heeded the advice of Tripadvisor and the airport’s official site, and looked for the official taxi to avoid getting scammed. BUT I felt that through all my cab rides, the price quoted by the cabbie uncles seriously aren’t that far off from the meter and might even end up being less than the actual meter price. So I don’t know how true is the scamming part, especially since we look Chinese and you can tell from our accent we are Singaporeans. Plus the cabby that fetched us to our hotel from the airport drove us through this windy hilly road that made us sooo carsick we didn’t really feel like exploring much after checking in.
We stayed at ParkRoyal Penang Resort for the entire duration of our trip.
When we arrived around 2, we had to wait a while because check-in was 3pm and they served us welcome drinks at the lounge area.
Grabbed a quick light lunch at the hotel restaurant as my tummy was still queasy from the horrendous car ride.
The room was pretty clean and roomy, and the bed is extra large! Complimentary red bean cakes and water were provided. The TV selection was decent as well.
Went for a quick dip by the pool after checking in. Taken by the kind hotel staff – the pool towels are super thick and fluffy!
Went to check out the beach after swimming. Our hotel is located at the Batu Ferringhi area and it is linked directly to the beach! The beach looks especially pretty at sunset! There’s also some water sport activities like parasailing and jet skiing but we weren’t really interested.
The nerd and I ♥
Then we walked to the Long Beach Food Court which sells bomb food, and I am seriously in love with the food there omg. We had satay, char kway teow, BBQ chicken wings and prawn mee. Gab had a chicken chop from the Western stall to have some protein. EVERYTHING WAS SO NICE. EVERYTHING WAS SO AFFORDABLE! 5 – 6 RM per dish. I think we spent about 69 RM in total.
Char Kway Teow is a must-try! It’s really, really delicious and one of my favourite hawker dishes I tried in Penang. It’s pretty different from the one in Singapore cause it’s really dry and charred, and it is more eggy and there’s less dark sauce.
The prawn mee was pretty unique as it has the little dry prawn instead of the big prawns, and had bee hoon as well as the yellow noodle. It’s more spicy than peppery as well.
How’s my attempt at food blogging so far? LOL try my best…
Afterwards, we walked around the night market which was just loads of fake goods and repeat stalls but I managed to get a pair of flippers slippers!
Spotted a BOOST juice bar at the Holiday Inn hotel next to PARKROYAL and I was like, I need some milkshake to help me shit after all the heaty food. So… I got a large cup for 10RM!
Went back to the hotel and thus concluded my first day.
The next day, we had booked a driver Mr Morgan, who’s really really good and affordable, to drive us around Penang for 6-7 hours. Seeing as how attractions in Georgetown are manageable, we chose to go to Air Itam and the Kampung Sungai Burung area which are further from our hotel area.
We went to the Reclining Buddha Temple, Burmese Buddhist Temple,Kek Lok Si Temple, Penang Hill, Air Itam Laksa, Air Itam Dam and Countryside Stables Penang. It was basically a cultural + countryside day!
Thai Reclining Buddha Temple
The temple was so shiny, it spoke to my inner glitter nerd
The huge reclining Buddha
Burmese Pagoda; the two temples are directly opposite each other and it was pretty interesting to see the differences in their religious art. Another plus side was that they are FOC but Gab always donated money in each temple anyway.
Wishing well of sorts where each bowl represents something like “happiness”, “health” etc. Gab and I were neither happy or healthy sadly.
Went to Penang Hill next and took the tram up. I was imagining us sliding backwards the entire five minute trip lolol
Beautiful view of Penang
It was very cooling as it’s at a higher altitude, and a little misty as well! Thankfully the weather was really nice for our entire trip. The weather forecast was all doom and gloom, and I was expecting thunderstorms but it only rained once when we were outside, which was when we got off Penang Hill!
With the love locks, and no we didn’t.
Went to Kek Lok Si temple next, which charged us entry fee and the lift fee. Saw the famous Guanyin statue.
The view from the temple also quite legit!
Wrote a wish for us to be together forever hehe (this wish only cost us RM1 LOL)
Lilies in the garden
My new friend the hedgehog! This temple has loads of cute stone statues like Minnie, Donald, Pluto and cute animals.
Up on the Pagoda
We then went to eat the famous Itam Laksa. This is SO DIFFERENT from Singapore Laksa. It’s really spicy and sour, and there is a lot of vegetables to give a refreshing crunch to balance the sour soup. There isn’t any meat, just loads of chili and vegetables. When we went, there wasn’t a lot of people and we immediately got a seat. As this is located at the open air market, it isn’t very hygienic. But sometimes I feel the dirtier the hawker centre, the nicer the food leh. I won’t say this is the best, it’s just different. But it’s pretty good nonetheless. Didn’t get to try other food items as I was pretty full from this and my accompanying sugar cane juice.
Next up, we drove to the nearby Air Itam Dam. Mr Morgan seemed surprised as I don’t think this is a spot most tourists would go to. However I saw on Google map it was nearby and it looked beautiful so I decided to pop by. Best decision as I was so full after lunch so I could walk it off!
We walked around the entire reservoir. It looks pretty big but it’s actually only 2.8 km so it’s very manageable! Loads of elderly go up here to run and jog. There are some monkeys running about so if you decide to visit, please do not bring any food. It was pretty cloudy and the area is rather shaded so it was very cooling and I did not get any mozzie bites but bring insect repellent if you want to be extra careful.
The wall was actually too high for me to climb so Gab had to lift me up so I’m not that fat lah ok hahaha
Super gorgeous view!
Selfie by the reservoir after our “hike” LOL
Next, we went to Countryside Stables Penang. There is an entry fee, feeding fee and riding fee. But I think it was around $10 SGD in total.
Cutest baby deer ever hehehehe *heart eyes*
LOL the ponies are sooo greedy
Initially I was pretty scared that the horses would bite me because they had signs that said “BEWARE HORSE BITES” all over the place and was reconsidering my decision to ride a horse. That’s why I didn’t get a nice selfie with the horses because I was too afraid to go close to them. ): I did feed them but Gab did most of the feeding.
But I decided I shouldn’t waste the opportunity and overcame my fear in the end! Also because when I was really little, my parents took me joyriding but the photos showed me bawling and giving a really ugly face because I was really scared. SO I DECIDED TO CHANGE MY FATE. Ugly crying face no more!
With my pink helmet and cutie horse! It’s not really horse riding, but joyriding where the stable staff will guide the horse to move because we don’t have any riding experience. It was pretty disorienting at first, and I took a little time to adjust and get my balance on the horse. The horses are actually pretty obedient and the stables are very clean and well-kept! And because the weather was pretty cool, the horses didn’t smell at all! Also, you have to be lighter than 80 kg in order to ride the horse.
The stable owner also quite nice, help us snap loads of photos so I think it’s quite worth it!
By then we were really tired so we told Mr Morgan to drive us back to the hotel so we could freshen up and get some rest. Mr Morgan is really nice and friendly, and I would really recommend him if you’re looking for a driver in Penang! His email is firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested!
Went back to Long Beach food court for dinner!
Sizzling prawn was the most expensive and the most disappointing. Did not like the sauce as it was those Western food mushroom sauce.
Delicious Hor Fun
Fried po-piah that reminded me of spring rolls! Recommended by Mr Morgan, and it’s really goooood. We also re-ordered items we loved from the first night.
Went back to our hotel and concussed after a long but fun day out! Really loved the cultural and nature part of the trip.
That’s the first part of our Penang trip! Stay tuned for part II soon 🙂