Monday, May 20, 2013

Twenty-four hours in Penang

Renowned for its delicious street-food, pristine beaches and multicultural historic attractions, Penang, packs quite a bunch as a vacation destination. If you have always had Penang on your travel bucket list, then given below is a sample twenty-hour itinerary to help you on your way.
9 am
When in Penang do as the locals do, and indulge in a dim sum feast at one of the oldest and reputed to be ‘the best’ dim sum restaurant in Penang,  Tho Yuen restaurant on Lebuh Campell in the Chinatown area of  Georgetown.  However, if you are vegetarian, you may prefer to grab a bite at the Madras New Woodlands Restaurant at Lebuh Penang in the Little India area of Georgetown.
10.30 am
Soak in the views from atop Penang Hill
Access  the summit of Bukit Bendera( Penang Hill) situated at a height of 823 meters (2750)feet above sea-level via an exciting, ten minute ride aboard a funicular and be rewarded with fresh, cool air and stunning vistas of the city of Georgetown, tall hills and the sparkling seas. Once at the top you can stop for a cup of tea or refreshing drink at one of the many cafes located at the summit.
 If you are truly adventurous and energetic, you can actually try walking up Penang Hill, using one of the many routes located in and around the Penang Botanic Garden located at the foothills of Penang Hill. However, this walk up to the top generally takes two to three hours so it is only recommended if you are spending a few days in Penang.
12 pm
Pay your respects at the  Kek Lok Si Temple of Supreme Bliss
This temple located on the lower terraces of Penang Hill is the largest Buddhist temple complex in Malaysia which features Chinese, Thai and even Burmese decorative accents.  Founded in 1893, the temple is a definite must-see attraction in Penang adorned as it with several attractions like colorful frescoes, gardens, water bodies, a seven-storey Pagoda of Ten Thousand Buddhas and a 30 meter(90 feet) high statue of Kuan Yin(the Goddess of Mercy)
1.45 pm
 Have lunch in Little India
Indulge in a variety of Indian influenced eats like Paper Thosai, Roti Canai, Nasi Biryani at restaurants like Jaya, Kashmir Restaurant, Sri Ananda Bhawan Restaurant, all located within Penang’s Little India. This colorful enclave was established by diverse Indian immigrants who arrived in Penang in the early 19th Century as plantation workers, spice traders and even money-lenders. After lunch you can perhaps walk around the area and take in its various sights and sounds including the many sari and jewelry shops and the Sri Mariamman Temple which dates back to 1833.  You could, if you wish, also squeeze in a quick tour of Chinatown located close by.
Visit the Penang Butterfly Park/ Penang Bird Park/ Penang Toy museum
The above mentioned are the most family-friendly attractions in Penang. So if you are visiting Penang with your children in tow, you may want to pencil in a visit to either one or all three of these attractions in order to keep the kids happy, especially if they are weary of being dragged from one sight-seeing attraction to the other.
Visit the night market at Batu Ferringhi
Penang’s famous white-sand Batu Ferringhi Beach hosts a wide variety of resorts and offers a multitude of water sporting activities. However, this gorgeous beachfront also hosts lively night market populated by numerous vendors who offer products like t-shirts, DVDs, accessories, toys, souvenirs and a various other knick-knacks favored by tourists. The night market at Batu Ferringhi is a cacophony of sights, sounds and tastes in the fashion of most south-east Asian markets and is great fun to visit.
End your day indulging the  delicious eats of Gurney Drive
Gurney Drive./‘Persiaran Gurney’ is famed as Penang’s most famous street- food destination.  Situated on the Georgentown’s waterfront, Gurney Drive is home to countless restaurants and hawker stalls that serve a multitude of delicious, Penang eats like Penang Laksa, Fried Oyster, Wantan Mee, Penang Rojak, ABC( Ais Kacang) late into the night.

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