Malaysia - Penang

I don't think that I've ever been so gutted to have to leave a place as I was when I left Penang. Something about that place completely stole my heart. The town has so much character and there are so many places to explore you just physically can't get bored. I loved it! 

Penang is famously known for its food and street art, something that now having visited the place, I completely 100% agree on! It's incredible. The food is just insane. I ate at some absolute cracking places that without hearing how good they are, would have probably just walked past on the street and not even considered going inside. One place that you have to check out is 'Kapitan'. It's an Indian place that is open 24 hours a day and every time I went past it was full of people. They did some of the best food I've ever eaten, and it's all so cheap. The most I paid for a whole meal was the equivalent to about £2.50! You can pick absolutely anything off of the menu and you can just trust that it's going to be incredible. Seriously, go there. It's wicked. Also, there is a wonderful coffee shop called 'Mug Shot' and they do the BEST hot bagels that I've ever tasted. I'm dribbling just thinking about them now! 

Georgetown is full of beautiful street art and it doesn't take you long wondering round until you will come across some. They're really spectacular to see. We spent a whole day just exploring the town and seeing what we came across. I loved it because everything was so well thought out and the pictures were really beautiful. They're really worth seeing if you're in Penang (not that you can avoid them anyway), as it's one of the many things that make this place so unique.

Penang hill was totally worth the visit. You can take a monorail up the hill which is 735m above sea level, and once you're up there you get an absolutely fantastic view of Georgetown and the surrounding areas. It costs 30R for a return journey up the hill which is under £6. There is a Hindu temple and a mosque up the top which you can visit, an owl museum, a wonderful woodland walk called 'the habitat' which we loved (beware the monkeys though as they were having fun attacking people), botanical gardens and a lock bridge. There is also various places to eat from food stalls to a restaurant. We spent most of our day just looking around up here and taking in all of the views. This place was really great and we both really enjoyed it.

Penang has its own national park and we also spent a whole day just exploring here. There are two walks that you can do in the park; one to turtle beach where there is a turtle rehabilitation centre and takes 1 hour and a half to walk, or one to monkey beach which takes about 1 hour. We wanted to visit both, however if you do that then you have to walk all the way back to the start and go on the right trail. We went here in a group with some people that we met in the hostel we were staying at, so when we got there we booked a boat trip to take us from turtle beach around to monkey beach. The price of the boat was 80R which is about £16, so in a big group of people this worked out to be really cheap when we split the cost. It was so worth it! You got to see the park from a totally different angle and we saw so many monkeys and monitor lizards (they were so big they looked like alligators). I would 100% recommend getting a boat trip here. It just made the day for us. The whole park was very beautiful! Once again, it's probably best to wear trainers and of course I made the mistake AGAIN of wearing flip flops. I probably won't ever learn! 

You can see the tail of the monitor lizard here... It was the best picture I could take as they run so fast! After this was taken, it was gone!

The buses are so easy to use here, and very cheap. Seriously, don't bother with the taxis! If you want to go to Penang hill, just jump on the 204 (we got on in Georgetown) and it the very last stop. If you want to go to the national park, then get on the 101 and it's the very last stop again. The most we ever paid for a journey (which was about an hour long) was 4R, which is under 80p! The bus drivers and locals are always very helpful though and will give you directions to let you know how to get somewhere if you're unsure. They also have a bus called CAT, and this is a free hop on hop off bus that anyone can use to get to places.

I am going to visit Penang again at some point in the future. There were far too many museums and features that I had to miss out due to time, and the place was just so spectacular that it definitely needs to be explored again. Hands down, this is one of my favourite places so far on this trip. 

Sasha x 

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