I have been asked a few times by friends, “how much time do I need to spend in Penang?”, “is 3 nights enough?”, “or, 1 week?”. This is a common question among us traveller when we visit a place for the first time. It is even more important if we only have a limited time off work and making the best of what we have got.
My answer for my friends who are or will be visiting Penang depend on what they like to get out of the trip. 3 nights and 4 days is probably enough if it is to visit all the heritage sites in George Town, sample the different cultures and food, and maybe a visit to some of the famous landmarks; like the Kek Lok Si Temple or Penang Hill, and even a night at the Batu Ferringhi’s street night market for some imitation goods shopping. But, personally this is too rush. I know because I have been there before. It is always a 3 days here and a 3 days there, and then soon the 2 weeks holiday is all over. I ended up feeling like I never have a good holiday at all. Why? Because it is always too rush. Sounds familiar? My guess is that you have been in that holiday situation yourself.
So, on my recent trip to Penang, my partner and I had 2 weeks. We spent most of our time in Penang, except 4 days in Kuching. I have, in my previous posts, shared the places I have been. In this post, I continue with the other things I have done in Penang.
A return visit to a well known Chinese tea wholesaler and retailer, Ten Yee Tea Trading, located at Beach Street. This company has been trading Chinese tea from China and Taiwan for over 2 decades, but at this beautiful premise for almost 8 years.
At Ten Yee Tea, they sell a very good range and selection of high grade Chinese tea, including the first flush white tea, and over 10 years old Pu-erh. The longer they keep and aged the Pu-erh, the higher it will fetch in price. We were lucky to spend almost an hour with the owner who shared his great knowledge of tea and served us 3 different types of tea – from green tea to Oolong to Pu-erh – before we decide which tea to take home. This place is worth a visit if you are into Chinese tea, and the health and benefits of Chinese tea drinking.
Be surprised by Penang, as a 3-4 days visit will not be sufficient to explore and discover the many interesting places Penang has to offer. In particular, old prewar terraces and mansions tuck away in narrow streets being restored into a fine collection of boutique accommodations, art studios, cafes and shops.
One excellent discovery that took my breath away is Number 23 Love Lane. It is one of the nicest and best restoration I have seen stretching 2 streets with different period buildings, including a horse stable, converted into a 10-suites boutique hotel surrounded by beautiful tropical garden courtyards, and eatable garden herbs.
We were very lucky to be given a private tour of the hotel by the GM and introduced to the small and very personable staffs. Imagine if we were the guests of the hotel, we will certainly feel very much at home with the warm and hospitable staff and service.
Every structures of the buildings and grounds were carefully restored to their original state over a period of 3 years. The place is mostly furnished with antiques and there are 2 glass cabinets showcasing broken pieces of straits Chinese porcelains and artifacts they excavated and salvaged inside the ground during the extensive restoration work. It is almost a private museum. The hotel is hidden and sheltered from the outside streets with the original high walls and gated with an ornate Straits Chinese entrance. It is surprisingly quiet, peaceful and layback once I stepped inside the property. I was taken back in time, almost like a movie set except this felt real with a missing costume to go with the period.
The heritage section of George Town is a compact little area which makes walking and cycling an interesting exploration and discovery of the past with interesting streets and artworks. It is fast becoming popular with investors and tourists.
If you have more than 3-4 days in Penang, there is beautiful discovery of Malay village and beaches, including fishing villages.
Penang people love their shopping malls and beauty pageants. I was lucky to come across the “Sarong Queen” beauty pageant at the Queensbay Mall.
This sums up my 2 weeks holiday in Penang.