Jan 27, 2012

Penang, Malaysia. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun..!

Traveled in November, 2011

It’s crazy how work (and play) has taken up so much of my time, I finally found time to write about my trip to Penang! *fist pump*

So. I had been to Georgetown, the capital of Penang, a few years back. I didn’t have enough time to explore it, so when Cici and Vindhya informed me there was a promo on Air Asia for return flights between Jakarta and Penang, I didn’t think much further. I was in! And we dragged Renny to it as well :D


It was no ambitious travel. All the 4 of us wanted was just having a relaxed and good time, no crammed itinerary, and we made room for improvisations. But of course, we wanted to sleep good, so lodging was booked quite long before departure date. We fell for RED INN, and it turned out to be satisfying. A small inn with clean sheets, friendly staff, okay breakfast, and only RM 30 / night / person in a 4bed girl dormitory.

Getting comfy once we got in our room at RED INN

We assumed these 2 backpackers were waiting for vacant beds
Where we stayed

Located on Love Lane, I read that the street name could derive from the history of the street, which was where brothels and houses of mistresses located. It’s not something certain until this day but it’s quite interesting, no? *gossip mode: on*

S H O P  &  E A T

We didn’t do much shopping in this trip. I don’t think Penang is really known as a shopping place anyway. But I did go crazy in the CHOCOLATE BOUTIQUE, which if I’m not mistaken was located on Lebuh Leith. I spent a total of about MYR 150 ‘only’ for some packs of chocolate (sesame oil flavor, dark choco, mango flavor & some others), a pack of teh tarik sachets, and a pack of peppermint white coffe sachets.

It was so hard to pick a few from the whole option in the store, cos almost all were yummy! We know that almost all of them were yummy because we tasted the samples for almost each kind of the products. A friendly service too they’ve got there. Remember, the store closes at 6 pm. Don’t miss your chance to experience the chocolate heaven.

Hm.. what to buy? So confused...!

As Jakartans, we’re really used to shopping malls. But we heard that some brands were cheaper here in Penang, so we tried our luck in the GURNEY PLAZA, on Gurney Drive. It’s located along a shoreline, it would be nice to sit out and enjoy the night lights across the beach.

Gurney Drive sidewalk 'stores'

And yes we shopped a little at the mall and at the sidewalk shops, but it was the food bazaar that really made our Gurney trip. The GURNEY DRIVE HAWKER CENTRE was just next to the mall, packed with food stalls ranging from snack to big meals, ie. rojak (fruit salad with spicy sauce), oyster omelet, char kuay teow, sugarcane drinks, and sooo many more. Some stalls were so famous that I didn’t even wanna join the long queue, no thank you. I want my food fast when I’m hungry.

Would you like fries with that? oh whoops, they're all fried :P

Dining under the stars

Dinner and me

As for our other meals, we weren’t being so picky. Wherever and whenever we felt hungry, we just hopped in the closest diners that looked affordable and decent enough. Stressing on that ‘affordable’ factor, we had to cancel our plan to eat and relax at DAVID BROWN restaurant on Strawberry Hill aka Penang Hill (used to be named Bukit Bendera). Even the waitress at the entrance knew we were too cheap to eat there, she didn’t even bother to smile when we asked about the menu. Oh well, to the commoners’ food court we went.

Fried rice at Penang Hill foodcourt

Random ice cream with yummy and quite rare flavors, in front of the Chocolate Boutique

A diner where we had our first meal in Georgetown 

Our last supper in Penang, menu: nasi kandar

Nasi Kandar, an Indian cuisine


PENANG HILL is a (literally) high place where you can view the whole Penang island – so to speak – and a tip of the main land from bird’s eye view. Apparently it’s a very popular tourism site that the viewing point was packed with tourists from every age and ethnicity. I’m glad we took the buggy tour around the hill (I think it was about RM 30 per buggy) cos the rich people’s houses and villas were so nice to look at and, well, I just really liked the buggy ride. I wish I could have one to ride around in every city I visit. Hee hee…that would be fun!!

The ambience reminded me of a neighborhood in Bandung :P

Knock knock!

That's the David Brown's Restaurant up there
Penang view and the tram that takes you up the hill

The way up to the hill was by tram. Getting to the tram station by bus was quite a long trip, we fell asleep on the bus. It was probably about half an hour or more.

The bus station at KOMTAR
Trying to find out which bus we should take

Georgetown seen from a normal eye-view is no less attractive. The town is much influenced by the Chinese, Malay, and Indian. It’s obvious by looking at the buildings, food, and well, the people. And my doors and windows photo fetish was satiated * very wide grin *

A street art, sort of, illustrating the "tok tok noodle"

The typical backpacker profile, drawn on the terrace of a hostel

One of the very famous heritage – if I may say a landmark – in Penang is called the CHEONG FATT TZE MANSION (not to be mistaken with his relative’s house the Tjong A Fie mansion in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia). The history goes way back to the 19th century at the time of Cheong Fatt Tze, a successful merchant with 9 wives (I just had to highlight that), was at the top of his game. It’s not allowed to take pictures in the house, so just imagine a Chinese house with furniture of the rich and famous back then.

The tour around the mansion with our guide lady was like listening to an epic Chinese story because of the narration-alike intonation of the lady. Everyone in the group was engaged to her stories. But forgetful me, I don’t remember the details though I found it an interesting story (especially because it was true according to history), so I recommend you guys to search about it yourself on the net :D

Much to our surprise, the mansion is also a guesthouse  with only 8 rooms to rent, one of them being named “Batavia” (Batavia is the old name for Jakarta). If only we researched better, we would’ve stayed there at least for a night. Hm, that leaves a reason to come back to Penang someday.

Location: Lebuh Leith (Leith Street)
Admission fee: RM 12 / person

And then then next day we continued our touristy sightseeing to the PERANAKAN MANSION. This house used to belong to another rich Chinese man.

Having seen the Cheong Fatz Tze mansion the day before, which was designed very much similar to this one, I honestly wasn’t as excited, except for the fact that here you may take as many pictures as you’d like. Plus, growing up watching so many kungfu series made these houses felt somewhat familiar to me.. hahaha..

More on the mansion, have a visit here.

Location: on Church Street.
Admission fee: RM 10 / person.

-       B A T U   F E R I N G H I

Aaaaannndd here comes the main attraction of Penang (for us)… *drum roll* …It’s the TOY MUSEUM..!!! *audience cheering*

They claim to be world’s largest toy museum. Maybe it is, I don’t know. What I know is, seeing action figures of Kurt Cobain and The Corpse Bride characters really made my day though they’re only a few inches tall. It doesn’t take a lot to make me happy, does it? :P

The New York Unplugged version and the Smells Like Teen Spirit version \m/

Creepily romantic <3

The museum was being renovated, so the toys weren’t displayed really well (though I’m not sure how they’d be displayed normally). But where else could you see Goofy and Uncle Scrooge standing next to Lara Croft’s long legs, and what’s Cheshire Cat doing next to Batman’s knees? Yes, you heard me read it right.

Admission fee: RM 20 / person
Closing time: 8ish PM.
Location: Tanjung Bungah, Batu Feringhi. In front of Copthorne Orchid Hotel. 

Walking towards the Toy Museum after an early dinner

Batu Feringhi is an outskirt of Georgetown, a beach town if you may. Hotels, apartments, and villas lined up along the beach including the Toy Museum and Hard Rock Café / shop. It took us about 1 hour to get there by bus from the heart of Georgetown.

Just before falling asleep :P

We went to the Hard Rock shop just to accompany Vindhya to get some stuff for her friends or family. But oh dear, I could not resist myself from purchasing a calm-colored pullover that cost a fortune (meaning I had to use my credit card). But no regret, it’s really comfy :D

To the shop, we go!

All in all, this was a super fun trip and at the same time relaxing and simply just silly-fun. Whatever that means…hahahaha… Yes it was tiring because we filled up our days with walking, sightseeing, and riding the bus to places, but I came back happy to my routines afterwards J


  1. Eat...Eat..and Eat...
    Wonderful adventure...haha

  2. Would want to backpack, but never had the time and never done it before. -_-

    1. maybe now is the time you can start!