Penang : Backpack & Explore written by Go There

Starting off our backpacking trip to Penang, an adventure that we expected a street art tour but instead, we had amazing and exciting yet sort-of unlucky experiences that we thought "what are we doing here?". Let's go through another kind of story from 'Go There' here. We started out trip with th

Penang : Backpack & Explore

Penang : Backpack & Explore

 Monday, January 7, 2019 12:10 PM

Starting off our backpacking trip to Penang, an adventure that we expected a street art tour but instead, we had amazing and exciting yet sort-of unlucky experiences that we thought "what are we doing here?". Let's go through another kind of story from 'Go There' here.

We started out trip with the morning flight, which seemed perfectly normal. After the flight took off shortly, somebody farted in the cabin. It does not seem like a good start of a trip. T__________T

We arrived at Penang around noon, so we decided to have lunch.



After lunch, we were waiting for a bus to Georgetown. But 3 buses did not stop for us and we had to wait for almost half an hour for each bus. After more than an hour, we finally got a ride. For the bus fare, we need to prepare the exact amount of change.

ps. There are 2 kinds of bus;

  • Rapid Penang bus is a bus with fare, passing through important spots in Penang
  • Cat bus is a free bus, running only around Georgetown

After a while of riding (actually standing all the way), we entered Georgetown.

On the first day we planned to go to Tanjung Bungah which we had to get to another bus at Komtar building.

Komtar building is like a bus center which connects buses. If you want to go somewhere, you can start here. After waiting for a while, finally the bus arrived.

It was not far from Komtar building to our hotel in terms of distance, but it took so much time because the traffic was really bad. I would say that people here did not drive nicely.

And on the way, the bus that I rode was hit by a motorbike. The driver took about half an hour to solve the case.

Once we arrived at the hotel, there was another unexpected incident. We could not get into the room that we booked. And the atmosphere in front of the room felt like a horror movie. The light at the hall way kept going on and off. It felt scary.


We could not open the door no matter how we tried to push or pull. The door did not move one bit. We tried to listen to what was going on inside, and we heard people running around.

This was super scary. Who could be inside the room!?!

Finally we called the front office to get some help. When the hotel staff came, he could easily open the door and there was no one inside. It is impossible to climb up or down from the balcony either. The floor above was a swimming pool, so there should not have been a sound of people running.

What is wrong with this trip

After all, the first painful night passed. On the 2nd day, we moved to stay in Georgetown, but we stopped by to take some pictures.

The beach here can not compete with those in Thailand. If you would like to see the beautiful beach, you might want to change your mind.


After finishing taking pictures and packing, we began our journey again. We moved to Georgetown. The town has its uniqueness.


As the old architectures are still preserved, it is very enjoyable to take pictures of buildings, wall graffiti, and some arts hiding around.

For the 2nd day we planned to visit 2 spots; Kek Lok Si and Penang Hill.

Then we left our luggage at the hotel, and departed to Kek Lok Si temple, not knowing that there are unfortunate events ahead.

This temple situated on the mountain. Its area is very large, therefore, you should have a few hours to spare here. The atmosphere around the temple is good. You can walk around and take pictures.


But it seemed like there was still construction in the temple such as a large-sized Guanyin image which must be beautiful after completion.

It is very beautiful around the temple. You can take a lot of pictures.


So beautiful that we forgot the time.


After a long walk, we moved to Penang Hill which we can take a bus from in front of Kek Lok Si temple (but needed to wait for quite a long time.)

Once you arrived at Penang Hill, if you see a long queue, I would suggest you buy a fast pass ticket, or you would have to wait for more than 2 hours until you can get on to a Penang Hill tram. I was waiting in a queue and there were many frustrating thing such as people tried to cut the line, or the babies crying out loud. It was a real painful 2 hours in the line.

We planned to take a walk on Sky Walk, but again, unfortunately there was an event so we could not go there. But on our way down, we could see many dusky leaf monkeys. This proves that the nature there is still well preserved.


We were so exhausted, disappointed and hungry but we could not get down from the hill immediately due to a long queue again.

So we stopped for a rest at David Brown. This restaurant has a scenic view of the whole town down the hill but it was quite pricey.


After a while in the restaurant, it was about to rain. So we decided to get down from Penang Hill.

ps. You can upgrade your ticket to fast pass which made it much easier.

It was a right decision to get down then because it started raining right away we barely made it to the bus.

But we had to ride with 2 crazy people which was scary. It was a tiring trip till we could get down from the bus.


Then we roamed to Red Garden to find something to eat before we returned to the hotel nearby. There were many kinds of food available there. Our 2nd day of the trip was as exhausting as the 1st day.


Then it was our bright 3rd day. Let's hope that it would be our day.


After two adventurous days, today is going to get better because the spots that we want to visit are all in Georgetown. We started the day with famous Dim Sum place here.


The name of the place was "Tai Tong Restaurant". As it is so well-known, all the tables were full. What I found strange here is that there was no queue. If you just stand and wait, you would not get a table. If you see any table about to finish their meal, go wait near them so you can get the table after them.


After we got a table, the staff will get you an order form in Chinese. Do not mind if you do not understand. Go to the order queue at the counter and point at what you want. Give the order form to the staff there and they will fill it for you.

But if you are interested solely in dumpling, you can order directly from the dumpling cart which is pulled around. You can just point, take the dumpling and give the the form, very easy.

We were full and departed to walk around Georgetown. There were many cool graffiti.


Also other kinds of street art hiding around the corers. These are our targets today.


The atmosphere here is well harmonizing street arts.


Not just street arts, there are also some small shrines around. But at some of them, taking pictures inside is not allowed. Need to check the information first.

The first street art that we were looking for is called "Girl by the sea"

It is a graffiti of a girl standing and looking at the sea. Unfortunately, this piece was already gone. Not such a good day after all.


But it's ok. we still have many spots to visit such as the Queen Victoria Memorial clock tower.





But we found it disappointing there. There was nothing except a restaurant inside and a few canons.

We do not recommend coming here. It does not worth the walk.

A bit upset, we moved on to the next street art.


The weather was getting hotter and hotter but it could not stop our adventure.

The famous tourist attractions are vintage-styled buildings, street arts and tricycles.


And then the China town.


Lastly we went to Blue mansion or so called Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion.




Blue mansion was announced as the World Heritage and ranked 1 of the 10 mansions of the world.

It is painted with Indigo and decorated with colorful ceramics.


There are 3 times that you can visit here in a day; 11.00, 13.00 and 15.30.

Not just a tourist attraction that you can visit, part of the building is arranged as a hotel that the tourist can stay. There is also a tour guide introducing you the history of the mansion from the beginning till the Feng Shui, the Chinese belief of how to build the building. It was quite an interesting story.



After listening to the guide, he let us walk around inside the mansion (except the hotel part) which has 2 stories and many antiques were placed around.

Finishing the Blue mansion, we moved to the last hotel of this trip.


On the way, we did not forget to take pictures of beautiful street art.


There are so many street arts. Pictures posted here were just part of them.

Our last hotel of this trip was Container Hotel.


We would like to say that this is the best hotel of this trip because

  1. It is located in George Town so it is easy to travel around
  2. There are many great street arts nearby
  3. It is near the spot that we would like to visit on the next day

The downside of this place is that it is next to the street so you can hear some noises in your room.


And as it is a hostel, there is a good common space which has a reading zone and television zone. And the air conditioner works very well.


And that's the end of our 3rd day. The weather was quite hot but it was still ok to walk around the town. Before we went to bed, we came out to take a picture of Han Jiang Ancestral in the middle of the rain.


And then it was the last day of the trip. We woke up early and went to Tan Jetty.


It is one of the waterside village. We came here to take a picture of sunrise.

The sky was so beautiful during sunrise.

Not so far, there was a golden shrine which reflects the sunlight.


After taking picture there, it is time to hunt the rest of the street art.




We could say that there are so many street arts hiding around corners and alleys.

We went through alleys till we found Cheah Kongsi, the Cheah clan house.


They are Hokkien clan which moved from the Chinese mainland. The house now is opened as a museum now.

There is also a graffiti of cats at the wall in front of the house.


It felt like the Blue mansion inside.


The difference is on the 2nd floor, there is a shrine in the middle.

The atmosphere is pleasant and very beautiful.

After being impressed with the Chinese vintage beauty, we continued our trip.


Not so far away, we were walking around looking for remaining street arts. It was not even noon and it was hot already.

Some street arts are harder to find. Like this piece, we already passed it until we turned around and found it up there.

And we finished with street art hunting. Then we moved to the last spot...

which is Hin Bus Depot. We got down from the cat bus and followed google map.


It had been a bus center before turned into an art showcase.


Through time, there were changes in the exhibited artwork. You might get to see different stuff each time you visit.


And finally that's the end of our backpacker trip in Penang. It was exhausting, thrilling and disappointing at the same time. But it was a great experience learning different culture.


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