Believe it or not, I am one of a handful of Singaporeans who rarely explores Malaysia as a travel destination; I can count the number of times I’ve travelled across the Causeway on one hand.
Anyway, when Traveloka, an online travel e-commerce site in Southeast Asia, invited me to check out their flights and hotels from Singapore to Malaysia and Indonesia, curiosity got the better of me and I did a quick search on their flights from Singapore to Penang for the month of June. Holy smokes! A one-way airline ticket goes as low as RM 82! What have I been doing all these long weekends?
So, I’ve decided to do something different this time: instead of chronicling all the places I’ve travelled to, I’ve created a travel bucket list of all the things I want to check out if ever I hop on a quick 1.5 hour flight from Singapore to Penang.
I’m a foodie, so trying out Penang’s local flavours is a must. While it’s the second smallest island in Malaysia after Peril in terms of land mass, Penang more than makes up for what it lacks in size, with a rich street food culture that’s teeming with stalls at least decades old.
Street Food Glorious Food
It’s hard not to find myself salivating over just thinking about the famous assam laksa!
Ranked No. 7 in world’s 50 best foods by CNN, Penang’s Assam Laksa requires an acquired taste to appreciate. A bowl is filled with thick rice vermicelli, finely sliced onions, cucumber, red chillies,mint, ginger flower, shrimp paste and cilantro. Then a mixture of hot tamarind and poached mackerel broth is poured over resulting in spicy sour sweet concoction which ticks all the boxes for a great soup and leaves you with running nose. . . . . . . . . #penang #laksa #assamlaksa #soup #lpfood #lonelyplanet #meettheworld #travel #streeteats #georgetown #malaysia 🇲🇾
And of course, settling the debate on whether Malaysian or Singaporean renditions of traditional dishes like chendol, kuey teow, and kuay chap – all in my belly! Cafe Hopping: Penang Edition Penang has not missed out on the third wave coffee movement either. And with cafe trips in Singapore costing up to $20-30 per meal, it would be a waste to miss out on a cheaper, perhaps more value for money hop in Penang. Old school, nostalgia themed places like Awesome Canteen and Junk Cafe are at the top of my list!
ถ้าเดินทางมาถึงปีนังบอกได้เลยว่าคาเฟ่ร้านนี้เป็นอะไรที่ห้ามพลาด ด้วยบรรยากาศและการตกแต่งร้านที่ดูดิบๆ ทำให้เห็นถึงความแปลกใหม่ ทีทั้งอาหารคาวหวานรวมทั้งเครื่องดื่มให้เลือกทานหลากหลายอย่าง เอาใจคนชอบตะลุยคาเฟ่ไปแบบเต็มๆ 🚩 : @awesome_canteen , Penang #eatindeedxpenang #awesomecanteen ➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖ Sharing your dish by @eatindeed or #eatindeed
The Photo Worthy
Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion aka Blue Mansion
Penang has no shortage of photo ops for your #OOTD and #wanderlust shots, both indoors and outdoors. Personally, I’ve always been fascinated by Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion aka Blue Mansion; its distinctive, outer indigo-hue stands out from more generic buildings, and the traditional interior screams both eclectic and elegance!
The Dark Mansion
For something with a modern touch, the Dark Mansion (not to be confused with an otherworldly counterpart of the above mentioned property), a 3D glow in the dark trick art museum, also looks to be a fun, indoor space to test your visual skills.
Psst, I hear you can put on some glow in the dark paint for that Avatar effect!
The Clan Jetties are another place that often shows up on Penang travelogues, and it’s not hard to see why. With stunning sunsets accompanied by the calmness of the water, settling on the wooden boardwalk makes for a picturesque escape from city life. Tan Jetty seems to be the most popular spot, with its iconic red hut in the background.
While my visit to Penang was brief, it was filled with many fond memories and some lasting impressions. From the grandeur of the Peranakan Museum to the warm disposition of the locals who had helped with all my questions, I was completely charmed by the city beautiful street arts and culinary experience. Bidding adieu for now and I intend to return some day. #penangview #clanjetty
Fun Fact: Like Lorong Buangkok in Singapore and Bukchon Hanok Village in Seoul, the Clan Jetties are still occupied by local residents. Georgetown, the OG of Street Art And of course, there’s not forgetting Georgetown, the OG of street art and building murals in Malaysia! The bikes are the most Instagrammed, but I would definitely like to discover the rest, if the weather’s not too hot.
The Been There; Done That
The Camera Museum
Housed in a straits eclectic style shophouse, the Camera Museum holds a special place on my travel bucket list since I picked up photography in my school’s photography club years ago. The range of old school, vintage cameras, which were set in reverse chronological order during its opening, would make for a nostalgic trip down memory lane for me.
With flights from Singapore to Penang this cheap on Traveloka, there’s definitely no excuse to put off flying to this diverse state on the northwest coast of Malaysia! What other places should I add to my Penang travel bucket list?