At the main bus station next to Ancasa Hotel in Kuala Lumpur we purchased our one way tickets (approximately five hours) on a luxury bus-line to the Butterworth bus terminal. You can also take the train, however during the busy holidays you need to get your ticket well in advance. The train ticket-master told us everything was booked for a month in advance. We thought it would be neat to take the train..maybe next time.
From Butterworth we took The Panang Ferry approx 30 minutes and arrived in historic Georgetown… named after Britain’s King George III. Georgetown is the capital of the island and state of Penang, on the west coast of peninsular Malaysia. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A fascinating fusion of the East and West, Penang embraces modernity while retaining its traditions and old world charm. These are reflected in its harmonious multiracial populace and well-preserved heritage buildings. Georgetown is regarded as the food capital of Malaysia, Penang also entices visitors with its beautiful coasts and scrumptious cuisines.
We booked budget accommodations at the Red Inn Cabana hotel which was centrally located among historical sights and restaurants. Next to our hotel is a beer garden with live music and good food plus The Chocolate Boutique which has handmade chocolates and a free walk-thru museum describing the origins and manufacturing of coffee and chocolate. A great place to purchase some local chocolates and souvenirs and how about the exotic chili chocolate to excite the taste buds.
We took the recommended city tour by rickshaw and is an excellent way to become accustomed to the cities historical sites and landmarks. As you meander around historic Georgetown your rickshaw driver will stop at several museums with great photo opportunities and point out many of the historical building and architecture unique to Georgetown.
The following day we took a local bus to the Panang Botanical Gardens also known as the waterfall gardens. It comprises a 30 hectare park with excellent jogging treks and hiking trails… which makes an excellent day outing among the lush vegetation and ancient trees. One of the highlights was watching a group of monkeys go up to the water tap on the lawn turn on the facet and get a drink of water and not one monkey took a selfie or texted on their cellphones.. After returning to Georgetown,we ate dinner at a fine Japanese sushi Restaurant Sakana and toured many of the historical sites which have been registered as one best historical regions in all of Asia.
The following day we toured the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion that belonged to a wealthy industrialist. It has been painstakingly restored displaying 18th and 19th century Chinese antiquities and architecture with a tour guide explaining some of the interesting history of the mansion and region. The Chinese museum has fine collections of antique pottery and great examples of handcrafted wood-works and dress of the area. History buffs and tourists of all nations will certainly appreciate the Mansion tour.
After walking most of the day and choosing many eateries to satisfy our hungers we discovered a sign pointing upstairs off one of the main streets offering foot massages from the blind therapists. The foot massage was so good we returned the following night and applauded the energy and good will of these hardworking blind massage therapists.
So there you have it. If you like to explore history, eat some of the best food in the world, prepared by a mixing pot of ethnic groups and tour the local beaches and nature parks…Georgetown could just be your cup of tea.
QUOTE:”Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.” -Anne Frank a quote from Street Art
THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:Take a stroll down Penang’s Armenian Street on any given weekend or public holiday and it is impossible to dodge the long queues of Malaysian and international tourists. They line up patiently, waiting to get a photo with a realist painting of two kids laughing and riding a bicycle, which is painted on a public wall. This iconic piece of street art was created in 2012 by 27-year-old Lithuanian Ernest Zacharevic, who was inspired by the Old World charm of George Town. The artist produced a series of six murals, all of them commissioned by Mirrors, an art project that was part of the 2012 George Town Festival, which celebrates Penang’s World Heritage induction every August with a full month of cultural and art events. As locals and tourists swarmed to the locations of the paintings, things soon went viral on social media and Zacharevic’s bicycle mural went on to be selected by the Guardian as one of the world’s best pieces of street art of 2013.
THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Historical Landmarks…once destroyed they are like extinction in the animal world… gone forever.
ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Travel Malaysia now before some arse of a blogger shoots off their big mouth about what a great place this is. There’s always the rugged mountain trail of Outer Mongolia for the more adventurous traveler. Get packing grasshopper what are you waiting for.
From here to Infinity and Beyond is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on. Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free.