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Penang - a vibrant island well worth visiting

Yorkshire
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Penang - a vibrant island well worth visiting

Penang is a wonderful holiday island with loads to see, do and experience. The guided heritage tour of Georgetown (Unesco World heritage site) is a must to truly understand the different cultures and religions that live in the town and on the island. A wonderful lady called Theresa did our tour and she gave us a real insight in to the area. There is so much history here that needs to be preserved for future generations to enjoy. The Edelweiss cafe on Armenian Street is a nice place to have a cold drink and lunch after the tour. The staff are friendly too which helps.

You should also take time to visit the Georgetown museum, Fort Cornwallis and Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion. At the mansion we had a wonderful guide who brought it's past to life for us.The bridge to the mainland is also worth a view and why not come back across on the ferry to get a real feel for life on this wonderful island. I can also recommend the E&O Hotel and The Shangri las Rasa Sayang hotel for a bite to eat with very good views. Take the time to visit Penang Hill (Aug 2010 -currently only accessible in a 4X4, but the refurbished train starts again soon) to watch the lights come on below you. Make sure you have a table booked at the wonderful David Browns restaurant for a very nice meal with excellent views.Cherish your time in Penang because it is worth it!!!

Norfolk, United...
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for Chaweng, Ko Samui
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1. Re: Penang - a vibrant island well worth visiting

Sounds like the quintessential trip to Penang to me!

Glad you had a great one.

Glasgow, Scotland...
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2. Re: Penang - a vibrant island well worth visiting

I would disagree on this im afraid, I find Penang boring with not much to do and nice restaurants and bars are few and far between, its also quite dirty. Its quite a grubby little island and even the beaches at BF and beyond are nothing special. I would go elsewhere...sorry

Edited: 06 September 2010, 09:46
Nelson Bay...
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3. Re: Penang - a vibrant island well worth visiting

To each his own.

Manchester, United...
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for Pangkor
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4. Re: Penang - a vibrant island well worth visiting

penag is not a party island with loads of bars, there are plenty good restaurants to be had,

there is a multitude of things to do from sight seeing to canopy walks to boat trips to heritahe walks how you can say theres not much to do??

i must say though i did think BF was a little grubbu since i went the year before with a lot of places closing down, maybe youd of been better going to thailand?? more bars and restaurants there

Brisbane, Australia
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5. Re: Penang - a vibrant island well worth visiting

Thanks for that window to your experience of Penang. Can you please tell us where you arranged for the guided heritage tour of Georgetown? Sounds great.

Many thanks.

Yorkshire
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6. Re: Penang - a vibrant island well worth visiting

Try the link below for more info on the heritage tours in penang.

www.penang-traveltips.com/heritage-sites.htm

Also the lady at the Edelweiss cafe does walking tours, the link to her cafe is below.

http://www.edelweisscafe.com/

I hope it goes well!!!

Perth, Australia
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for Penang, Kuala Lumpur
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7. Re: Penang - a vibrant island well worth visiting

Go glad you loved Penang!

We agree with Gaja's comment "to each his own" regarding Paul_A1980's feelings about Penang.

Our two cents worth...

When Subbi first visited Penang in 1997 she came home and said to Peter "I'm very glad I've visited Penang, but I don't think I need to go again"... Since then she has been another 10 times (including this August, for a total of 11 visits to date, with another already booked for February 2011). I have so far been to Penang 5 times and am returning with Subbi in February 2011!

I was always the type of person who couldn't understand why people went back to the same place over and over again... That is until I became hooked on Penang (and Kuala Lumpur). There is something about the island that just draws you back again and again, and I would happily make Penang at Chinese New Year my "annual trip".

We might refer to Georgetown as a little "grotty" but certainly wouldn't call it dirty. Yes, the buildings are a bit grimy but that is because of the age (towns don't get heritage listed when they are still in their infancy) and being in the tropics. We used to live in Darwin in Australia and many of the buildings encountered the same griminess.

The "grottiness" in our opinion contributes to the beauty of some of the little side streets and back streets around Georgetown. Georgetown wouldn't be Georgetown if it wasn't for narrow streets, old buildings - some gloriously restored and some ramshackle and run down, history, food, vibrancy!

Our most recent visit we spent two days simply strolling the streets of Georgetown and had a wonderful time! There is something to see around every corner, whether it be an old Chinese Temple or Clan House; a row of shophouses; a grand colonial mansion or building; the facade of an old building retained while work goes on behind to create a new home/shop/restaurant; a colourful Hindu Temple; a domed mosque; small restaurants with glorious smells floating out on the smoke from the wok; delicious hawker food centres; fairy lights lining the streets at night... We could go on...

Then of course you have the resorts, beaches, small bars and restaurants along Batu Ferringhi - great to unwind and watch the sunset on one of the beach bars... We love to end our stay in Penang (starting in Georgetown) with a few nights out at Batu Ferringhi. We enjoy the night markets, even if we don't buy! We love the food at Long Beach Hawkers, especially the greeting from our friend Komala who has been feeding Subbi for 10 years!

There are nature hikes through the National Park, including a canopy walkway for just RM5 and only about 1km in... There are longer hikes (we're too unfit for these) up to the lighthouse, to monkey beach, to the meromictic lake - so much to see if you have the stamina!

And of course there are some great temples and sights out of Georgetown like Kek Lok Si (awesome), Bukit Bendera (Penang Hill - with the new funicular railway soon to open), the snake temple (some like it, some do not), the bird park on the mainland (again some enjoy, some do not) and more.

Sure, there are not huge numbers of pumping nightclubs and raging bars... But frankly we don't want that in our holiday - if we did we'd holiday on Patong in Phuket or stay on Khao San Road in Bangkok... Don't get us wrong, we enjoy a drink or three of an evening, sometimes even more... But we also like to remember our holiday, avoid hangovers, sightsee with clear heads, and not lose our voices yelling to each other over pounding music. On our last trip we had some great evenings watching the world go by over a few beers at the Mona Liza Bar on Chulia Street with maggieomx then feasting and imbibing at the Red Garden Hawkers - and are very much looking forward to doing that over again in Feb 2011!

All you have to do is do some research, open your eyes and mind, relax, and look past the dirt or grime or grot or whatever you want to call it to see a beautiful old, historic, heritage city on a beautiful island!

Lise & Sabrina

Manchester, United...
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8. Re: Penang - a vibrant island well worth visiting

hiya lisa and subbi roll on feb 2011 cant wait to get back to penang missing you already xx

Penang Island...
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9. Re: Penang - a vibrant island well worth visiting

Thank you for promoting Penang!

We were tired of people saying that there is nothing to do, or there is nothing happening in Penang, so we created a blog called "Capturing Penang", at http://capturingpenang.blogspot.com/

Also, since there doesn't seem to be an organized, updated event calendar, we created a CapturingPenang twitter account to to post event news every day (http://twitter.com/CapturingPenang).

You'll be as surprised as us about how much is actually going on in this laid back island.

Thanks,

Reese & Mark

Malaysia
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10. Re: Penang - a vibrant island well worth visiting

I am from Penang, Thank you for writing such a wonderful comment/review on Tripadvisor. :) I personally think Penang is a very colourful place with our multicultures, I travelled quite frequent and was not staying in Penang during my teenage (that was more than 15 years!) but since I moved back to Penang, I found myself fall in love AGAIN with our small little lovely island! There are so much things to see (and eat!!) here as mentioned in your article.

Thanks again and you are always welcome to visit Penang every now and then ~~

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