With the bad economy, shortage of holidays and long weekends etc., your wanderlust seems to dissolve in your tears while you repeatedly inspect your wallet and the calendar. But fear not, as Malaysians can enjoy domestic holidays too! No, I’m not talking about trips to 5 different shopping malls in one day (though the prospects of it does sound fun to me). Believe it or not, Malaysia is a beautiful country (while not full of the world’s most amazing food, it is amazingly, full of most foods in the world)..(yeah you may need to read that twice). So here’s how my weekend trip in Penang happened last week, which started on a very early *groans* Saturday morning.
I woke up at about 5.30 in the morning and I wasn’t proud because it only left me with 15 minutes of to get ready. Needless to say, the only thing that kept me awake was the fear of missing my flight, which I had purchase along with my friends mostly out of impulse at RM122.76 (which is rm4 more than a return train ticket on the ETS, but also cost 8 hours less in total). It turned out that I was the earliest to awaken and ended up with me, waiting for my friend to transport us to the KTM while my mother reminded me (repeatedly) that the possibilities of missing my flight loomed ever so close above my head. In the end we went straight to KL central and reached the SkyShuttle 10 minutes before it departed. I guess the loud droning and violent vibrations from the bus marked the start of our trip, as I dozed off again for another 45 minutes.
Since we had already checked-in online, all that was left to do was to eat breakfast, get up the plane and get down. The flight was supposed to take an hour, but really, it felt like 5 minutes to me. We then took a the 401 Rapid Penang bus (RM2.70) from the Bayan Lepas airport to Lebuh Carnavon (KOMTAR area) and reached at approximately 11.30am. It was too early to check in, so the first thing we did in Penang was to go down Macalister Road to eat Penang Char Kuey Teow.
When you only have two days to taste Penang, the LAST thing you want to do, is to order one bowl of the same thing for everyone. It’s just a waste of tummy space, and you leave no contingency for bad food choice. Hence we ordered one plate of Char Kuey Teow, one plate of Oh Jien (mussels fried with egg and other things that you will fail to notice because you’ve finished everything too soon), and 2 bowls of ice kacang. Yes, two, because it is that good. Then later we went to a place selling prawn noodles (har mee) and the owner said he sold a special version with yee mee (thick yellow noodles) in a claypot with egg. (basically yee mee with prawn noodle broth) and the conclusion: NOPE. It was a big nope. My heart broke a little more everytime I placed another mouthful of substandard prawn mee into my mouth, which didn’t even taste like prawn mee OR yee mee. Bottom line = if a shop has nice marble tables and chairs (claims to sell prawn mee) with no one inside, don’t you dare step a foot unto that shiny tiled floor.
Before I forget, the location, price and tips for all the places and food we ate are far at the bottom, so if you’re in a hurry to plan your trip just scroll straight to the bottom.
On the way back, we passed by New Lane Hawker Center and I instantly recalled that there was a certain apom stall I used to love in front of Sunway Hotel Georgetown, and sure enough there it was.
they sell apom manis, pandan, banana, corn and mixed flavors as well!
He asked if we were from KL. Then proceeded to tell us that we should look after our face at this age, that we should protect our skin from the Sun but NEVER put heavy makeup because it’s bad for the skin. The word Bio-essence came up, and all was full of laughter and fun until he mentioned he was 47 this year and still available. That took a funny turn, but I still love the apom, so we promised to come by the next day as well.
So the second thing we did in Penang was to check-in at:
The 3 of us shared a room with a double bed for roughly RM50 per person. The room had good air-conditioning, functioning shower heads, hair dryer, chair, table and essentially, no complaints. All three of us slept like pigs for a few hours before realizing how much precious seeing and eating time was lost. So we finally got up to go to Armenian Street, which obviously was just round the corner, to hunt for famous street art!
and more peculiar things round the corner.
If you want to find as many of these beautiful sights in two days, I suggest you look for maps showing exactly where these street arts or fancy buildings are (ask your concierge). Finally we decided it was getting too tedious to walk around with our stubby legs and manage to find bicycles with cheap rental, somewhere further down from the orange cat mural. The aunty was really nice as she was the only place that allowed us to return the bikes after 9.30pm but also directed us to other street arts and food havens. So we set off as it was getting late already.
Off to New Lane Hawker stalls along Jalan Macalister we went, and after many turns and stops and turns, we finally reached our destination, locked up the bikes in front of a small mart and OMNOMNOMNOMNOM.
Thinking back on all the food we ate really makes my eyes water (mainly because I’ve been staring at this screen for 2 hours). We had nom-ed (unfortunately we finished some of the food before anyone remembered to take a picture of it) a plate of wonton mee with a bowl of sui kau, a bowl of curry noodles, a bowl of assam laksa, a plate of Penang chee cheong fun, four bowls of air mata kucing, and when we were asked of we’d ordered a big bowl of ice kacang my friend turned around and said:” Takde, tapi boleh kita ambik?” (No, but can we take it anyway) and so, we ate our 3rd big bowl of ice kacang for the day. Filled and happy, we went back to return the bikes. By that time, it was already close to 9pm.
And so, came the end of our first day in Penang. We showered and slept. Even though normal tradition of travelling with friends would include talking to each other until the wee hours, we were too tired. After 3 questions, we decided we knew enough of each other and that sleep was so much better than talking.
Total cost of the trip will be calculated tonight and stated in tomorrow’s post (part 2)
AirAsia return ticket= RM122.67
One night stay at Armenian Heritage Hotel= roughly RM50
Bicycle rental: RM8 for about 5 hours.
Cafe Heng Huat: 108, Lorong Selamat, George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Walk along Jalan Macalister Road. Walk towards the UMNO building, and Public Bank should be on your right. Turn right after you see Sun Yet San Memorial Center and Sin Chew Daily building. The lady frying the Kuey Teow wears a red Cap
- Char Kuey Teow- one plate for RM10 (range from RM8-12)
- Oh Jien – RM12
- Ice Kacang- RM3.50
New Lane Hawker Center Lorong Baru Georgetown George Town Penang Malaysia.
Walk along Jalan Macalister until you see Sunway Hotel on your left (if you’re coming from public bank and facing towards the UMNO building direction). The road is just in front of Sunway Hotel Georgetown. Below are rough estimates for the stuff we ate.
- Curry mee- RM5.50
- Assam laksa- roughly RM5
- chee cheong fun- they have small for RM3.50 and large for RM5.50, but my math suggest that its 50 cents for every roll + RM1 to the total.
- Air mata kucing- one for RM3.50 if I’m not mistaken, and two for RM4.
- Ais kacang- RM3.50
- wantan mee+Sui kau- RM10.
- apom- RM3.50 for 5, I’m not sure if it’s more expensive individually. It used to be 50 cents when I was little. *sniffles and sighs*To be continued…