This post is about the highlights of spending two months and a half in Penang. It includes famous places and hidden gems, my favorite food and favorite sunset spots, and what made me stay in Penang for so long.
Thank you, thank you so much for these two months and a half that we’ve spent together.
I’ll truly miss you.
I’m so happy and so sad at the same time. So happy because these months have completely exceeded my expectations, they’ve been some of the best I’ve had while traveling. So sad that it’s time to go, not because I want to, but because my tourist visa is for 90 days.
When I think that, at the beginning, I wasn’t even planning to visit you! It was a last minute decision because a local couchsurfing friend was moving abroad and I wanted to meet him before his departure.
And what started as a one week visit became a two months and a half stay. Penang, you have become my new home away from home. I have so many great memories…
Street art and temples in Georgetown
The first week in Georgetown was about exploring. Even though I had already been in the city two years ago, everything felt like it was “new”: the weather, the crazy traffic, the colonial architecture, the food, the trishaws.
I enjoyed walking around, looking for the famous and not so famous street art murals, and visiting several Chinese temples (I never get tired of them!).
Beach party at the Spice Garden beach
That party was the beginning of everything, the day I started meeting new people.
We had food and saw the sunset. At night, we swam to see the glowing plankton. The sky was cloudy and dark, the sea completely black. The water was warm. And while moving the hands inside the water, I could see many sparkling lights. The glowing plankton.
It felt magic. I felt so happy and thankful for being there, living new experiences and making new friends.
Teluk Kumbar, a fishermen’s village in the South
After Georgetown I moved to Teluk Kumbar for one month.
At the beginning it was strange. I was the only foreigner in the village so every time I went out, someone would shout “hello hello! where you from?”. Most people couldn’t speak much English, and it was far from Georgetown.
As you know, it grew on me. I liked its quietness, the colorful fishing boats and the friendly people. In addition, I enjoyed having a routine. Having lunch at the same restaurant, facing the sea. Working in the afternoon at home. And my favorite part: going to the hidden sandy beach in the evening to watch the sunset.
The Snake Temple
I’ve been there three times and I still feel a bit dizzy when I enter the Snake Temple.
Yes, I know, they’re sleeping during the day, but still… they’re venomous vipers!
Even if a bit scary, it’s cool to see the snakes from close. They’re inside the temple, in specially arranged branches, and also on the trees in the rear garden.
I asked if the snakes are devenomed and was told that they are not. They’re free to come and go since there are no windows. The temple is a sanctuary for them, a place to have food and be safe.
Hiking in the Penang National Park
Something I like about you, Penang, is your diversity. You have everything: city life, small villages, beaches and sea, hills and jungle.
I enjoyed hiking the National Park, being in the jungle. The sounds were amazing! We hiked for about one hour and a half to Kerachut beach. Such a beautiful beach! It was just a bit disappointing that it’s forbidden to swim due to the jelly fish (but yeah, I agree, no kidding with the jelly fish).
By then it was very hot so it was cool to take a boat instead of hiking back.
Bukit Genting, Penang’s hidden gem
On my last day in Teluk Kumbar two friends of my Airbnb host took us out for lunch.
I thought we were going to a restaurant, but it was much more than that.
Bukit Genting is a hill in the South West of the island. On the top there is a Thai restaurant surrounded by a beautiful decorated garden. Best of it? The views.
Since it was facing west I thought it might be a great place for sunset, so one week later I went back with a couple of friends to watch the sunset. And yes, it was gorgeous!
Batu Ferringhi, a beach destination in the North
The last weeks in Penang I stayed in Batu Ferringhi which, guess what? is also next to the beach!
Teluk Kumbar and Batu Ferringhi cannot be more different though. One is non touristic, the other touristic. While one has small houses, the other has high condos. One has a secluded small beach, the other a long beach with plenty of people offering massages and water sports.
I liked Batu Ferringhi too, in a different way. It’s more lively, with more food options and a daily night market. In addition, it’s closer to Georgetown, where I used to go 2-3 times per week to meet my friends.
On my last day in Penang one of my friends said she was free to go around.
“Is there any place you haven’t been yet?” she asked.
“Mmm yes, Penang Hill”.
Penang Hill is one of the top attractions in Penang, and in more than two months I hadn’t been there!!
Since we were too lazy to wake up early to hike, we took the cable car. It was a cloudy and foggy day so the views from the top were not the best, and it just cleared by the time we had to go back, but it was still nice and fun. Definitely a place to go back!
Did you know that food was one of the reasons why I chose to come back to Malaysia? Malay, Chinese, Indian… so many choices, love it!
I’m not even sure which is my favorite… I’d say char kuey teow, though I also like asam laksa, prawn noodles, roti canai, popiah, ice kacang, dim sum, lassi, and some others whose names I don’t remember. I also love that fresh fruits and juices are available everywhere!
In addition, there was a food festival in April! There were daily events but we went only to the big ones on the weekends. All the famous street food stalls and restaurants put together, so we could taste so many different specialties. Could it get any better?
Oh my… Penang, I completely fell in love with your sunsets! So colorful, so magical, so gorgeous. I have no words to describe them.
I have many great memories, but the best of it was people. My time wouldn’t have been the same (and I wouldn’t have stayed that long) if it were not for the new friends I made.
Thanks to my couchsurfing friend, who I met two years ago, I met other couchsurfing members who became my friends, and I had many great experiences thanks to them. We even started a Spanish conversation group and met once a week for six weeks. It was so fun!
Honestly, the local couchsurfing community in Penang is the best!
In addition a blogger friend was there for one month. Anna from Slightly Astray and me had virtually known each other for about two years, so it was great to meet in person and hang out together. We went to the beach, to the night market, to visit the island, to the Spanish classes, to try new food. And we talked, talked, talked. That month went so fast.
My time in Penang went so fast.
Penang, I know that traveling life is full of hellos and good byes.
It is the life I’ve chosen.
But… I cannot stand telling you good bye.
I can’t, not yet.
So… I will be back.
See you soon,
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