One of my favourite destinations in Malaysia is Penang. I was mesmerised by its unique country style beauty. In fact, there was a time, it’s been ranked by many travel reviews as one of the best travel destinations not just in the country or the region, but in the whole world!
Penang was known, once upon a time, as Pulau Pinang or the “Isle of the Betel Nut”. Also nicknamed as “Pearl of the Orient” and is fondly regarded as the food capital of Malaysia. More so, listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 2008 because this virgin paradise has no shortage of cultural sights and natural scenery.
We came here not just for holiday but basically to attend the wedding of our friend. Nonetheless, we had an amazing experienced on our weekend escape by going to these places:
Amazing ride on funicular railway.
One of the main attractions in Penang is the funicular train ride to the top of the hill. The Penang Hill Railway is a one section funicular railway which climbs the Penang Hill from Air Itam, near George Town on the island of Penang in Malaysia.
The railway first opened in 1923 as a two-section railway, and the system was overhauled in 2010. The total journey time can take between five and twenty minutes.
If you got time and love to trek, you may also choose to hike up the hill. Either way, you’ll be surrounded by lush greenery and minty fresh air. The top of the hill is home to a few restaurants, a souvenir shop, a temple, a bird sanctuary and a mosque.
Sip a cup of tea at Sky Terrace.
At Sky Terrace, you can unwind and relax whilst enjoying the cool breeze and the best lookouts in Penang, offering panoramic views of the island and mainland. With a total of 6 peaks and the highest standing impressively at 833 meters (2733 ft) above sea level. Also known as Bukit Bendera, one of the coolest (the temperature is literally cooler at the top of the hill).
Be in love with Mother Nature.
Apart from the fantastic views, immerse yourself in the lush greenery as you take a leisurely pace along the trails. As flora and fauna thrive in abundance all over the hill, discover exotic plants such as the Monkey Cup and Slipper Orchid, some of the most sought after plants in the world.
Enjoy the genuine beauty and magical natural kingdom of The Habitat.
Rolling hills, pristine rain forest, lush flora, enormous granite boulders and distant views make The Habitat on Penang Hill a must-see attraction.
The Habitat rainforest is called the lungs of Penang. Through photosynthesis, plants pull carbon out of the atmosphere, storing it in the root stems, leaves and branches, then transforming it into life-giving oxygen. Rainforests also help recycle and clean the water supplies.
Be amazed at heritage ambience of picturesque antique colonial- style buildings.
At Penang Hill, you’d appreciate those antique bungalows featuring a fusion of architecture from British colonial to Asian and modern architecture.
Here, you can strike a pose at the old version of funicular train.
Lock your love at Penang Hill.
You’ve probably heard the famous lock of love in Rome’s Ponte Milvio and Germany’s Hohenzollern Bridge. Well, Penang has found its place atop the scenic Penang Hill. Located at the open air observation deck of the Penang Hill Food Centre, visitors can purchase padlocks of various sizes and designs from the counter (prices range between RM10-RM30) and have it sealed at the 80 feet wide fence. Permanent ink pens, protective sprays and hands-on design are available to feed your creativity.
Experience the extraordinary blend of Malaysian culture.
Culture reflects our roots. It influences what we do, how we think, our way of living and much more. Penang shows a myriad cultural attraction that brings people from different background and promotes better understanding of each other.
There is only one mosque in Penang Hill or Masjid Bukit Bendera, erected for use by Muslims living and working on the Hill.
Just a few steps from the Mosque is the oldest Hindu Temple in Penang, called Sri Aruloli Thirumurugan, or better known as the Penang Hill Hindu Temple. It was built in the 18th century.
In Georgetown, you’ll find Buddhist temple and Catholic Church too.
Indulge yourself with signature Penang Street Food.
Penang is home to a hodge-podge of ethnicities, cultures, and religions, and its food reflects these different elements. Here, you’ll find the best of Malay, Chinese, and Indian street-food dishes. Throw away all your expectations of dining classily in Penang and head to places that seem less than perfect. It is easy to spot the famous store for there is a never-ending queue, especially for Char Kway Teow and Chendol. (Photos below are not mine)
Marvel at the Old Georgetown Streets.
The island manages to embrace modernity while retaining its colonial traditions; due to its well-preserved heritage buildings Penang’s capital, Georgetown, has been accorded a listing as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.
If you love art, definitely strolling through Georgetown’s streets would be exciting, a London-trained Lithuanian artist, Ernest Zacharevic made these old buildings one of the top attractions in Penang.
Be inspired by the enigmatic Bird of Prey.
If you like something educational, you can consider Penang’s Owl Museum — South-East Asia’s first museum dedicated to owl-themed art and craft. There are fascinating collection of over 1,000 exotic and unique arts and craft artefacts collected from 20 countries including Japan, South Korea, Uruguay, China, Vietnam, Thailand, England, Indonesia and France.
On a side note.
Visiting the Owl museum is educational albeit boring thing for me. The owls are crafted from a myriad of materials such as wood, stone, metal, glass, clay, plastic, buffalo horn, seashells, beans, plant fibres, crystal, porcelain, earthenware, paper and recycled items.
Nevertheless, Penang is a wonderful holiday island with loads to see, do and experience. It’s definitely worth-visiting!
❤️ s h a y