A week in Penang, by Emelia.
4 September 2019.
Today we are going to George Town in Penang. Did you know that George Town is a
UNESCO World Heritage Site.
“Hurry Hurry” shouts Mum, “We are going to miss the ferry!”
Noah, Libby and I grab our bags and race off down the dock to get to the ferry. Just as we start running down the dock we see the ferry pulling out of the marina.
Darn! We missed it.
It was 8.45 and the next ferry wasn’t coming until 9.30. Our plane to Penang leaves at 11.30.
Let’s hope we don’t miss it!
We waited for another half hour and then the ferry people asked us to hop aboard the little, wobbly ferry.
As we drove over the glassy ocean to the airport island, halfway through the channel dad spotted little otters, playfully splashing in our wake. They were so adorable.
Shortly after that our boat pulled alongside the dock and we hopped off.
We got a taxi from the ferry terminal and arrived at the airport with loads of time to spare… and then our flight was delayed even longer! We had a very long wait at the small airport!
Dad sat with the bags while Noah, Libby, Mum and I went to go get some churros from a little churro cafe in the food court.
I got a long cinnamon churro and Noah and Libby got long chocolate churros.
The cinnamon was epic but the chocolate ones were even better!
Finally the time came and we walked over to our gate and got ready to board our plane bound for Penang.
Our flight only took 40 minutes, it was weird, we literally got on the plane, took off and then were coming in for landing again!
After checking into our Airbnb, we headed out into the city to find the famous Penang Street Art.
Penang has an Arts Council that approves people to draw amazing things on the walls of the old city. There is a whole collection of paintings and a map to follow to see them all. We found SO many. My favourite was the Kids on Bicycle and a cat one called Skippy.
As we wandered the streets in the old town of GeorgeTown we stumbled across a Mexican restaurant. We all LOVE Mexican food and so stopped in as we were ravenous after all our walking.
I had the best enchiladas and we had an awesome 5 layer dip! Yum.
After dinner we wandered the old crumbling streets some more before we finally got a Grab back to the apartment and flopped into bed. We were all tired after our day of excitement and travel!
I opened my eyes and looked outside. The golden sun was peeking over the ocean and making its way into the sky.
My belly rumbled. Time for some breakfast.
I ran upstairs to where my parents were sleeping and shook them awake. “Where are we going for breakfast?” I asked them as they opened their eyes.
They both got out of bed and we all got organised for the day, then we headed to a delicious restaurant called ‘Yin’s Sourdough Bakery and Cafe’.
Mum and I ordered the traditional Kaya jam and a very soft poached egg. Noah, Libby and Dad got the french toast. It looked EPIC! We finished breakfast and then walked to the mall down the road to go shopping.
Noah had a doctors appointment set for today and so he and Mum got a taxi to the hospital.
Dad also had a mole check in an hour, so we spent a little bit of time in H&M shopping for t- shirts and shorts. Libby conned dad really good by saying that she needed shorts and t-shirts when she already had hundreds of them. I got one black t-shirt and that was it.
The hour had zipped past and before long we were sitting in the doctor’s office at the skin check clinic. There were loads of people, a line out the door even. It was a pretty popular place obviously.
Finally, Dad was called and we went into the room and sat down. While dad had his skin check Libby and I played on his phone.
After that we went and had lunch at a place called ‘What The Duck’. I got BBQ duck and it was the best by far.
When we finished lunch we walked across the road to a soft serve ice cream shop. We had walked past it earlier and then we looked at it on Instagram and it had mega reviews! Their ice creams were special because they were 2 flavours in one and in a charcoal cone!! I got cup tho.
I got mango and lime and it was so good.
Then mum and Noah and Libby and I went to see the park by the water called Fort Cornwallis. It was a historical site and we explored it and saw an amazing cannon that was left from war hundreds of years ago.
We then went back to the hotel and swam in the pool.
As the sun dipped toward the ocean and the air cooled from the heat of the day, we went out for dinner at a restaurant across the carpark from our apartment called Spicy Lemak.
I ordered Char Kuey Teow. it was soooo spicy! Even mum thought it was spicy and she eats really hot food. We had a quick dinner and went to bed.
Boy! Penang is tiring.
Today we are going to a delicious little cafe called Bean Sprout cafe. When we pulled up in the taxi, the doors were shut and the sign said closed. Rats! We were too early.
On the other side of the street were little stalls selling beautiful little flower garlands. People buy these for special occasions like weddings, anniversaries or funerals, or to take to the temples for offerings.
“Never mind,” said mum, “We can go to another cafe right here that is meant to be amazing”. It was called ‘Toh Soon Cafe’. I had spicy glass noodles with dried onions and garlic and mum and everyone else had eggs and Kaya jam. It was really delicious.
As we walked out of the restaurant mum asked the man at the counter which way was the best way to get to Penang Hill. He said any old Grab would do so without further ado, we got a Grab to the bottom of Penang Hill.
When we arrived we jumped out and got in line for the funicular train.
As the line got shorter, we were asked to take a picture but we said no and just continued through to the train. The train took about 2 minutes and in that time we went up 833 metres. Wow, that is pretty high in such a short amount of time.
I felt scared when it went up and I asked mum what happens if it slips down the rail. Mum said we would likely shoot down the hill and crash into the buildings and people and probably die so I held on really tight!
When we got to the top we hired a buggy and a driver to take us around Penang Hill, to give us a little tour and show us all the sights. We saw lots of beautiful hibiscus and other flowers. We also saw some of the old houses from when Sir Francis Light took over Penang Hill. They were built from bricks and stone. Some of the houses were over 100 years old.
We also saw the oldest mailbox EVER!
We were walking along the road high above the ground when we went past a local artist drawing portrait pictures of other people. Mum said she wanted us to get a sketch of us three sitting together on stumps. I look the best. By Far! Hahaha.
When we came down from Penang Hill we were all starving, so we decided to go to a sushi train restaurant and ate 30 plates of sushi between us. Now that is crazy! I also left my absolute favourite hat there by accident, I am so sad about it.
For dinner we went to the Hawker Street Market next to Gurney Plaza. This place was my absolute favourite place we went for dinner in Penang.
The market was buzzing with people and the smell of spicy delicious food. There was so much choice.
After much decision we ordered Asam laksa, Char Kuey Teow, Dumpling soup and Sate sticks.
My favourite was the laksa and the dumplings from the soup. They weren’t too spicy but they were delicious. I like the Laksa because it had a spicy and tangy flavour to it.
When we arrived back at the apartment I dove into bed and slept peacefully.
Today we went to the’ Bean Sprout Cafe’ – when it was open this time! The menu looked great! There was so much to choose from!
Finally after much deliberation, I decided to order the Big Breakfast B with sausages, eggs, bacon, baked beans, toast, pickled veggies and avocado. The bacon was crispy and delicious and everything else was good but not the best thing I have ever eaten. I would probably order something different next time.
After that mum and all us kids went to the Buddist temples. There are 2 big ones over the road from each other but they are completely different cultures, one it Thai and one is Burmese.
The first temple was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my life. They were the cleanest things ever and it was so colourful.
When we walked into the temple we had to take our shoes off and speak very quietly.
We decided to buy some little candles shaped like a lotus with a leaf and light them and pray for something that is important to me, to show respect to the temple and the monks inside it. I prayed for help to stop biting my nails. I don’t think it worked though.
The entire place was filled with different sized flickering lotus candles and huge statues of buddha and all other gods.
As we walked along through the gardens of the temple we saw a wishing pond where you had to throw your coin into the moving bowls and whichever bowl your coin lands in is the one you get. I landed in Good Luck. Noah landed in Prosperity and Libby landed in the middle so we just said she gets all of them. Lucky her.
We then went to the other Thai temple across the road. It was quite different from the Burmese temple. It had no gardens but it had a huge statues of Buddha sleeping or standing. It was cool because there were huge dragons made out of coloured mirrors.
There we also bought candles and placed them in front of the buddha of our birth year. I am the mouse and my buddha meant i will have peace and happiness throughout my life. Then we got a Grab to meet dad at the mall where we had a bakery lunch.
For dinner we went to the hawker market again. It was even busier than yesterday which I thought was impossible. There was this guy down by the satay sticks with pumping music and he was singing Rojak! Rojak! All night long. We got the same as last time and another laxsa and another few dumpling soups because dad was with us this time.
We went home and went to bed. I savoured my final sleep in Penang.
Day 5 – The Final Day
Today we are leaving Penang. We have to check out of our AirBNB by 11.00 am. So that meant we had time to pack our bags and say our goodbyes to the aircon.
For breakfast today we went to a delicious cafe called Wheelers.
I looked at the menu and after a lot of thinking I chose the salmon and cream cheese bagel with Libby. Mum got a salad, Dad a breakfast burrito and Noah the big breakfast. YUM!
Wheelers Cafe was right next door to where we had dinner on the first day.
When we had all finished our breakfast and paid we took a walk along to Love Lane to find some more amazing street art.
We found one more piece maybe 40 m down the road and then got a grab to the mall.
When we arrived at the mall the aircon beconned us in. We walked inside and found a place to sit.
Mum and dad were on a mission to find a place to buy computers for us for school. We use their ones usually and they are sick of us mucking up their settings. We wandered through the mall and finally found a little store that sold computers at an acceptable price. We walked around some more to see if anyone had better prices but this was the best price for the computers they wanted to buy. We paid for the computers and waited while some guys set them up for us. I was the most excited person on earth! A new laptop!! We couldn’t stop running around and being happy in the empty part of the mall.
While that was being done mum and I went to get some noodles from the little food court by the shop. Very soon the noodles were done and it was time to go to the airport.
When we arrived at the airport we went over to the gate and waited to board our plane. Soon we were walking down the aisle of the plane to find our seats. The plane took off and as soon as we took off we were coming in to land. That is how quick the trip is.
We then took a taxi to the ferry and drove home to our beautiful boat.
I loved Penang and the traditional food, the culture and art. Penang was a beautiful city which mixes the past and the present with so much hope. I would definitely visit Penang again.
Wow Emelia! Thank you for such a fantastic story about your week in Penang. I loved reading about the street art, the temples and all the different food you tried and enjoyed. The way you wrote about your time in Penang was very evocative and I could almost feel the heat and smell the spicy food while I read it. I hope the new laptops are great and that the school work is all going really well. I am looking forward to reading anything you write and if you are happy to email us, I’m sure Hannah and Abby would love to receive news from Waterhorse. We took Aquilon to Sydney Harbour for a few nights this week. We spent the nights anchored between Mrs Macquarie’s Point and Bennelong Point (where the Sydney Opera House is). We had lots of friends anchored nearby and so it was great fun paddling or taking the dinghy to other boats to play and visit. The New Year’s Eve fireworks were great to see too. It was not nearly as exciting or exotic as Penang sounds and I’m sure you will have many more adventures in 2020. Happy New Year. Emily & the Aquilon crew
That is a fab dairy of Penang cafes and eateries and would go well in any travel guide for boaties and travellers to locate the best spots. Thanks Emelia.
Love your descriptions. Divine commentary on the tradiitons the culture and the art. photos excellent too !
And you had a happy holiday there away from the Waterhorse galley for a while.
Thanks for sharing Lou Lou & Parji xx
Wow, what a fabulous account of your time in Penang.
We were there in October last year, and had a great time, but it seems like you had an even better experience.
I love reading your writing – you have a great gift of bringing the whole experience to life. Looking forward to reading more.
Pete and Jen
S/V Steel Sapphire