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Apr 132014

Georgetown street art- painted 26

Gurney Hawker Centre 5
Gurney Hawker Centre

Hot, sticky, and named after a chewable seed that gives you a mild high, what’s not to love about Penang?

Modern Penang was founded by the British in the eighteenth century. Its name derives from the Chinese word for betel nut. It’s not normally on the must-go lists of SE Asian spots of people from the Philippines (where I’m from), but I’ve been fascinated by it since I read about its food, history, street art, and architecture.

weld quay at night
Weld Quay

I went there October 2013, and it was hotter and muggier than Manila, despite it not being summer. I normally avoid places even hotter than my homeland so the last few Southeast Asian places I went to before Penang had climates cooler than my hometown- like Chiang Mai and Bali, and I definitely did not go during summer.

Georgetown street art- painted 31
Georgetown street art- painted 18 Georgetown street art- painted 30 Georgetown street art- painted 16 Georgetown street art- painted 33 Georgetown street art- painted 21 Georgetown street art- painted 23 Georgetown street art- painted 19 Georgetown street art- painted 20 Georgetown street art- painted 13 Georgetown street art- painted 25 Georgetown street art- painted 12
Please click on the thumbnails to view gallery in lightbox.

Georgetown, a UNESCO World Heritage site, lived up to my expectations and more. I spent three days going back there to take photos of its street art and installations. A free shuttle bus takes you around Georgetown proper, and you can also rent cheap bikes to go around, which definitely helped with the scorching heat.

indian men at work

I loved how Penang architecture, named after a style called Straits Eclectic, was well preserved and still in active use today by existing businesses like dry goods shops, auto shops, and hardware stores, just like they were decades and decades ago. They weren’t just repainted and made to stand static as a tourist attraction.

Straits Eclectic architecture  02
Straits Eclectic architecture  50 Straits Eclectic architecture  07 Straits Eclectic architecture  54 Straits Eclectic architecture  36 Straits Eclectic architecture  58 Straits Eclectic architecture  04 Straits Eclectic architecture  10
Please click on the thumbnails to view gallery in lightbox.

The Penang Botanic Gardens had monkeys that were more territorial and photo-averse than the monkeys in Bali‘s Uluwatu Temple and Ubud Monkey Forest. I couldn’t get too near without them snapping and lunging at me.

Dusky Leaf Monkey/ spectacled langur monkey monkeys 07 monkeys 23 Dusky Leaf Monkey/ spectacled langur monkey monkeys 27
Please click on the thumbnails to view gallery in lightbox.

Other highlights (Please look at this Flickr album for more, like Penang Hill, Camera Museum, temples, etc.)

added these Penang pay phones to my Phone Booths of the World collection (phone booth album 1, 2):

Penang pay phone Penang pay phones 8
Penang pay phones 2 Penang pay phones 3 Penang pay phones 7 Penang pay phones 4 Penang pay phones 5

stayed at the 1926 Heritage Hotel (yes, built in 1926, originally housed mid-level staff the British government sent over)
1926 Heritage Hotel 3 1926 Heritage Hotel 1

and of course, Penang food: (Please click on the thumbnails to view gallery in lightbox.)

pumpkin porridge from Zhou restaurant noodle soup ice kacang fried rice poh piah meat rolls vegetables and curry at Hai Nan Town curry

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