Penang Suggested Itinerary Day 2
Note the charcoal as fuel.
Start by having breakfast at one of the ubiquitous food lanes. Luckily we were at Lebuh Kimberley and had pancakes with peanuts or corn and char kway kak, Penang’s version of fried carrot cake, that was wrapped in leaf into a conical shape. Madonna would be proud. I couldn’t get used to the slightly sourish taste of char kway kak but the rest of RERG team seemed to like it.
If you want, take a walk along Lebuh Cintra for the weekend morning market. Very crowded.
Quickly go to Pinang Peranakan Mansion (29 Church Street, between the intersection of Lebuh Penang and Lebuh Gereja, 9.30am-5pm daily). We heard that it is really worth the visit, a real Peranakan house built a century ago, but we didn’t go as there is a Peranakan Museum in Singapore. We should have gone there! Regret.
After the museum, walk north along Lebuh Pantai and you’ll see Queen Victoria’s Memorial Clocktower. Donated by local Chinese millionaire in commemoration of the Queen’s diamond jubilee, each feet represents each year of her reign–a total of 60 feet.
Further north is Fort Cornwallis, named after Charles Cornwallis who surrendered to George Washington at the battle of Yorktown. There is a bronze statue of Captain Francis Light, founder of Penang, who is said to first set foot in Penang at Fort Cornwallis. But since there were no pictures of Light, the statue was modeled after his son, William, who was the founder of Adelaide, Australia.
After the fort, walk along the sea to reach the colonial center where the Town Hall and City Hall stand. Hokkiens nicknamed the Town Hall “Ang Moh Kong Kuan” (White Man’s Club”) during colonial days.
Then walk along Lebuh Farquhar where you see St. George Church, built in 1818, the first Anglican church in Southeast Asia. Beside it are Guan Yin Ting, built in 1728, a Chinese temple, and Penang Museum.
To be honest, I wish we had skipped all those boring colonial nonsense and just visited the Peranakan Mansion and Penang Museum, both of which we had no time to go but heard they are worth visiting.
For lunch, explore Love Lane. Love Lane is named because rich men used to house their mistresses on this lane, and lovers could come to this lane to make love. If you’re tired of local food, try Steak Frites (23 Love Lane, +60-4-262-1323).
By 2.45pm, you should reach Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion (14 Lebuh Leith), also known as The Blue Mansion. You can only enter with an English guided tour at 11am, 1.30pm and 3pm. The mansion is also available as a boutique hotel.
Whoever named it “Blue Mansion” must be a straight man because it obviously isn’t blue; it’s periwinkle. Cheong Fatt Tze, Hakka, left China as an impoverished 16 year-old, married a rich woman, and used her money to build his empire, trading with the Dutch and British. That is why the mansion is a mixture of Western and Eastern designs. I need a sugar mommy too!
After the hour-long Blue Mansion tour, while your afternoon away at the Mugshot Cafe (320 Lebuh Chulia), a hipster cafe, raw and industrial, quite like any cafes in Singapore.
For dinner, go to New Lane Hawker at the intersection of Jalan Penang and Kg Malabar. All food blogs seem to recommend the mixed pork porridge (chu chap cheok), said to be best in Penang, which, though not fantastic, was a welcomed respite from the oily food. The mixed pork porridge had pig’s brains. We ate it for the first time and we liked it. Very yummy, like tofu. We are certified zombies! We eat brains!
We also had curry mee (assam-tasting, very nice with pig’s blood), mee goreng (not nice) and satay, which had a special satay of pork intestines.
In general, the food at New Lane was only so-so to us. If you know of a better place, go ahead. But don’t go to Gurney Drive. Locals tell us it’s a tourist’s trap and it’s overpriced.
After dinner, take a cab to Batu Ferringhi Night Market (too far to walk), known as pasar malam to us. The night market is catered for tourists at exorbitant prices. So you may give this a miss.
Then visit the Boat Quay of Penang for some partying at the northest end of Jalan Penang. Huccalily said, “Wah, seeing how empty this place is on a Saturday night, I have so much respect for our Boat Quay.” Haha.
Since the partying area was empty, we decided to go to Farquhar’s Bar at the prestigious E & O Hotel at Jalan Penang and Lebuh Farquhar. Still very colonial, the place had mostly old white people.
We ordered a few drinks with the name “Farquhar” in them. Do you know the correct pronunciation for “Farquhar” is “f*cker”? Go ask a Scot. So Huccalily ordered, “Can I have a F*cker’s Street?” The waitress didn’t even flinch. It was hilarious.
Penang Suggested Itinerary Day 3
Take the chance to visit the Peranakan Mansion or Penang Museum if you haven’t. On the way to the airport, either stop by (1) P. Ramlee’s house (4 Jalan P. Ramlee, 10am-5.30pm), where the most famous Malay actor-singer of all-time was born or (2) the iconic Kek Lok Si Temple, a cornerstone of the Malay-Chinese community. (If you have time, do both.) In the temple, the Ten Thousand Buddha pagoda represents Burmese at the top, Thai in the middle and Chinese at the bottom. There is also a cable-car that brings you to a 36.5m Goddess of Mercy who will bless you on your safe flight home. As you approach the airport in a taxi, watch out for the Penang Bridge (13.5km), longest in Malaysia, fourth in Southeast Asia, designed by a Penangite, built by Koreans.
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.