Penang, The Beautiful Island of Malaysia

Exciting Journey to the Beautiful Island of Malaysia

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Although this is my first time to Penang, I was confident enough to bring along my wife Carla and 2 of my kids along. Of course, I did many preparation before hand like getting information about Penang (The beautiful island of Malaysia), where is the nice place to visit, where to stay and what are the activities that is available here.

It was still daylight when we flew into the coastline of Penang. We are lucky enough to get the seat near the mirror so that we could have a bird eye view of this magnificent beautiful island of Malaysia such as the mountainous bush clad interior, the exotic coastline and of course the huge and beautiful Penang bridge.

We touch down at Bayan Lepas Airport at 6pm that day. The 12 hour long flight from John F. Kennedy as well as another 4 hour waiting for the transit plane in K.L didn't bother us as much as we slept most of the time throughout our journey. The trip from Penang airport to Batu Ferringhi takes about an hour along the heavily traffic road (clash with the crowd going back home after office hour).

We stayed in Golden Sands Resort, a luxurious 4 star hotel near the fame Batu Ferringhi beachfront. It has a sprawling gardens dotted by charming parasols contrast with the gentle Penang sea while beautiful palm trees sway to the cool sea breeze. The friendly staff provides outstanding service, taking hospitality to a whole new level. I'm starting to brag a little but it’s true.

After check into the hotel and unload our luggage, we stroll out to look for FOOD. Yes! Penang Food. It will be a worthless trip if we did not mention food in our story.

Penang as the beautiful island of Malaysia is well known for its multi racial communities and good food. Here, you can find food from all taste, Chinese, Indian, Malay, Korean, Japan, French and even the rare ones such as Nyonya food. We ate at Jasmine's Kitchen, an open kitchen where you can watch them cook while you eat. Service is excellent and their food (especially the Indians) is fantastic. We also ate at some of the seafood restaurant located nearby our hotel.

On our second day, we did the usual tourist thing and visited some of the famous Penang tourist attractions. As our hotels is near Batu Ferringhi, we decided to first visit some of the astonishing places around the area such as butterfly farm, orchid farm, fruit farm, spice garden and etc.

Exploring The Beautiful Island of Malaysia (Day 2)
Tropical fruit Farm is located along the hilly terrain of Teluk Bahang. The farm is quite a distance from Batu Ferringhi and entrance fee is RM30 per person including transport. We were issued with huge fruit hat and introduce to our guide at the farm. The tropical fruits at the farm range from apple and pears to the more exotic ones such as figs, bananas, cacti, dragon fruit and some others fruits that we've never seen before. Our guide was brilliant, informative and amusing at times. Others tourist from our group is an Australian couple, a Saudi family and couples from
Sabah. At the end of the trip, each of us gets to eat a huge plate of mix tropical fruits - A great thirst quencher.

Next we went to Penang Butterfly Farm is located about 15 minutes drive from our hotel. We caught a taxi from our hotel to the farm that cost about RM10. As there are 4 of us, I guess taking taxi will be more practical. The entrance to the farm is RM15 for adult and RM7.50 for children. There is additional charge for camera or video camcorder. We enjoy the surrounding inside the farm. Beautiful butterflies are everywhere! Others insect that caught our attention is centipedes, lizards and scorpions. There is also an air condition mini zoo where many insect are put on display. Outside the mini zoo are a souvenirs shop and an art/gallery shop. Thumbs
up! for this place.

Further down is an Orchid farm which is open for viewing. Entrance is RM2 for self tour. My advice is that if you like to know more about orchid, opt for the guided tour. As my 2 kids is an Orchid fan, I have no choice but to stayed there for about 2 hours, viewing the flowers specimen and taking photos.

Exploring The Beautiful Island of Malaysia (Day 3)
We start our trip in the cool morning to Tropical Spice Gardens which house a living collection of over 500 varieties of tropical herbs and spices - A perfect retreat for nature lovers. Entrance is RM25 for self tour and RM45 for guided tour. Children cost only RM5. The surrounding area is just amazing. My advice to you is to wear sports shoes as walking on the hilly garden can be quite a challenge.

Penang Toy Museum is our next stop. Largest of its kind in the world (I guess), the museum is highly recommended. Well, my kids love it. In the afternoon, we visited Prangin shopping mall to do some shopping. Upon returning to our hotels at night, we stop at the Gurney Drive to fill our empty stomach. The food is great and cheap. I order Char Kway Teow and Best Penang Rojak. My wife order Penang version of prawn noodles (Hokkien mee) and two of my kids ordered Asam Laksa and Lok Lok.

Exploring The Beautiful Island of Malaysia (Day 4)
The forth day is the most tiring. We visited Penang Hills, Kek Lok Si temple and Botanical Gardens. Visiting these 3 places in the same day is very taxing indeed. While the cool Penang Hills is filled with adventure, the impressive Kek Lok Si temple is filled with excitement. The splendor and grandeur of this place makes it a "must see". We climbed the pagoda of 10'000 Buddhas and took in the magnificent view. By the end of the tour we were hot and tired (it takes quite a while to get through the entire complex) but overall we're satisfied.

Next we went to Penang Botanic Garden. The first thing that struck our mind was the number of monkeys around! We expected to see some but not quite this many! The park was crowded with children and we were entertained by the sight of the monkeys stealing their ice creams and creating havoc - most amusing! The plants and flowers were attractive but they were all locked away in cages which made viewing them difficult, I guess that had to be because of those pesky monkeys!

We did not stop at Gurney Drive this time as we're very tired after enduring the heat whole day. Went straight to bed as soon as we finished out meal.

Exploring The Beautiful Island of Malaysia (Day 5)
As this will be our last day in Penang, we decided to visit the historical city of Georgetown. We visit the award winning Cheong Fatt Tze mansion, magnificent Khoo Kongsi, Fort Cornwallis and do some quick shopping at little India and Chinatown. It’s a very rush day as we need to get back to our hotels after this to pack our bags. We will be heading back home tomorrow morning.

Beautiful Island of Malaysia (Day 6) - Going Home
Next time we are in Penang (and there will be a next time), we might stay some of the time in Georgetown rather than going straight to Batu Ferringhi. We felt that we didn't really explore all that George Town had to offer and it was inconvenient to travel there all the time from Batu Ferringhi.

All I can say is that Penang was our best holiday ever and truly deserves the name "Beautiful Island of Malaysia". The people were remarkably friendly, the shopping was good, the food is amazing and attractions are great. What more could you ask for?


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