Every year, my highschool friends and I plan a trip to catch up on each others lives and of course explore outside Manila. For 2015, we decided to visit Penang, Malaysia. We booked one year in advance (got the tickets at a super cheap price from Cebu Pacific!) and still ended up not having an itinerary for the trip. So we just winged it, which turned out to be not so bad after all.
See our 6D5N Itinerary
Trip dates: August 21 to 26, 2015
Trip budget: PHP 12,000 only!
GeorgeTown, Penang is one of the most interesting and colorful cities in Malaysia. It is famous for its street food and street art. It was named after King George III and walking down the streets of Georgetown is like walking through the paths of history.
How to get there:
Manila to KL:
- Plane – Took a Cebu Pacific flight to KL
- Train – Took the train to the center of the city and then walked to Hotel 1915
KL to Penang:
- Uber – Since we had to be at the airport by 7am. We took an uber to the trainstation
- Train – Took the train to KLIA2
- Plane – 50min flight to Penang then took the Bus waiting outside the airport to go to the center of the city
Penang to KL:
- Bus – We took the 5hr bus ride back to KL and went straight to the airport since our flight was at midnight. Check out Bus Schedules for bookings.
- Train to Airport to Manila
Where to stay:
In Kuala Lumpur where we spent our first night before flying to Penang, we checked in a boutique hostel– Hotel 1915. It’s located in the historic downtown area of the city, walking distance away from the train station. Loved the combination contemporary décor, natural materials and muted shades of grey and white. This boutique hostel has very reliable security and wifi! The receptionist was very helpful in suggesting places to visit and was nice enough to go with us to the nearest 7eleven store to buy beers for our midnight work session at the lobby (we had a whole last minute work session before heading to Penang!). We got 3 superior double room and paid PHP 500 each.
In Penang, we stayed in Wassup Youth Hostel hostel on Penang Road in the heart of George Town, Penang. It offers clean basic accommodation with a fun common area where you can meet fellow travelers and a computer station where you can do your research for your itinerary. My friends and I stayed in a 4-Bedroom dormitory type with 2 bathrooms for P550 a night.
Where to eat:
Penang is a food paradise. It has a cultural fusion of different South East Asian countries—very tasty and the best part is it is cheap and affordable (average of PHP 50, 5 RM per meal)! You can check out Red Garden at night for a food trip experience.
A few of my favorites are:
- Char Kway Teow ‘stir-fried rice-cake strips’- Usually served with prawns (hello, seafood lovers!)
- Oh Chien- Chinese omelette with oysters
- Cendol- a traditional southern asian dessert with coconut milk, jelly noodles, shaved ice and palm sugar.
- Snow Ball
- Chicken Rice
- Teh Tarik, Horlicks
Char Kwayi Teow
What to do in George Town, Penang:
Street Art Bike Tour
George Town is famous for being a UNESCO heritage site because of the street arts that you can find around the city. There are over 30 murals and art structures around George town– A combination of the paintings of Ernest Zacharevic, Natthapon Muangkliang and Malaysian artists Louise Low and Tang Yeok Khang’s 101 kittens to create awareness towards stray animals, and the 52 iron structures around George town that tells the history of the street it is located on.
Here is a link of the map of the street arts around George Town.
Coffee Shop Hopping
There are a lot of interesting cafes in George Town. We were able to visit a few in between our street arts hunting.
We were fortunate enough to catch the GeorgeTown festival while we were there. We got to attend a Music and Skate festival and interact with the locals.
Blue Mansion or the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion located along Lebuh Leith street George Town is a boutique hotel and a museum. We took the 45 min tour for PHP 200.
Chocolate and Coffee Museum
A museum full of 60 different types of high quality chocolate from Beryl’s. The Mansion is divided into various chocolate rooms with different themes including Tiramisu, Fruits, Health, Sweetheart, Coffee, Panned Chocolate and Malaysian Collection. They offer free taste to make it easier for you to decide which ones to buy and take home to your country.
Nightout at Love Lane
PHP 500 – Hotel 1915
PHP 550 – Wassup Youth Hostel (per night)
PHP 100 – per Meal
PHP 200 – Entrance to Blue Mansion
PHP 350 – Train
PHP 100 – Bike rental
- Rent a bike early in the day since it is a per day fee.
- Learn how to bargain! They usually still lower the price of the items if you insist.
- Wear Sunscreen and bring an umbrella. The sun can get too strong for an afternoon stroll.
- Go during the Penang festival month so you can catch the activities happening around the city.