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Penang Travel Guide - Penang Tourist Attractions
With its diverse mixture of cultures and history, Penang, an island in Malaysia, features a wealth of landmarks and monuments that are a testament to its varied past, and these include temples such as Kuan Yin, Kek Lok Si and Snake Temple. An effervescent escapade on the Penang Holiday Package!
Many of Penang's landmarks, such as Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, provides insight into the notable characters who played a role in building the island's wealth, and in particular, the Clock Tower provides a reminder of Britain's place in the island's history. Komtar is well-known and important as it houses government departments, commercial offices, shops, department stores and restaurants, for modern Penang. Tourists would be fascinated to discover the Penang Botanical Gardens, the country's oldest gardens that transformed an old granite quarry site into three Experimental Gardens, which presently include forested hills at the back. The objective of these is to offer programmes and knowledge enrichment to visitors on the historical and cultural heritage of the gardens, flora and fauna collections and natural landscape. For recreational purposes, the garden is a popular venue among the locals and tourist for jogging, walking, jungle-trekking and aerobics exercise.
There’s a place in Penang, south of Little India in Georgetown, where you can find good food, sports on the TV, a pretty temple and somewhere around the corner, the soul of the island.To your south is a Chinese assembly hall and most of these are scattered all over Georgetown and Penang , but ‘assembly hall’ or halls are a part of the neighbourhood association centre, part temple, part community foundation, and mostly decorated in coiling dragons, paintings of immortals, Confucian sages, Taoist demigods and Buddhist scriptures, photos of ancestors and inlaid classical Chinese script.Indeed, tourists may wander in the courtyard of the average assembly hall and get the sense that Chow Yun Fat is about to break out of the walls in a spectacularly choreographed fight scene. Just around the corner, is the Khoo Kongsi, another most spectacular assembly hall, a testament to the influence that the Chinese have had on this island’s culture. Reversely, the impact other cultures have had on the Chinese, among the guardian statues standing sentinel over the entrance to the hall’s incredibly pastiche of Chinese architectural styles and decorative arts, is a stone Sikh warrior, a reminder of the time when sub-continental soldiers provided security in this former jewel of the British Empire.
North of this island, there are other testaments to Chinese wealth, including the Pinan Peranakan Mansion. It serves both, as a great example of the result when colonial and Chinese architectural styles blend, and also a monumental evidence to the entrepreneurial skill, posturing that, to this day, they animate the local `Baba Nonya’ community, who were descendants of those Chinese merchants settled in the great Malay and Indonesian archipelagos. Drown your senses in the knowledge of Chinese heritage and legacy on the Penang Holiday Package!
The tourists as they wander, get another slice of Penang, Little India, where the spice is shaped into little mountains, the gold jewellery is sold on poker tables and the Bollywood music is cranked. There may be no place here, where you have a sense of being so palpably somewhere else, and the atmosphere is so redolent of adventure. Pick up some milky sweets or eat a nice, hot curry off a banana leaf, and see some stunning examples of Tamil temple architecture at the Sri Mariamman Temple, whose four walls enclose both the holy space of worship and, to the faithful, the universe in its entirety. Even among the Hindu faithful, travellers may notice there are statues of Chinese deities like Kuan Yin that are decorated with the same garlands draped on Shiva and Ganesh, another testament to it’s cross-cultural appeal.
At the risk of painting with a very broad brush, it would be safe to say that the Malays have a zest for food, especially good street food, and as such a great place to be most relaxed and happy within the area. Georgetown’s many hawker stalls with the pushcart affairs can be found anywhere, – at the east end of the backpacker ghetto on Lebuh Chulia, in the Red Garden centre behind the Hotel Continental,or on the seafront esplanade. There is literally thousands of food stalls that usually serve one signature dish, often a recipe passed down through generations as some stalls are known as the best simply because they have had that reputation for years. If street food frightens you, try New World Park, a spic-and-span modern hawker ‘mall’ where you can often find families eating out for the night, always a sign of good hygiene and food from across Malaysia! The most frequently served dishes are char kwey tiaw (fried noodles in soy sauce with egg and additions), asam laksa (Penang’s famous, indescribably good curry noodle soup), rojak (fruit and veggie salad in a sweet dark shrimp paste) which goes down a lot easier than heavier Western foods. The tourists would inevitably find themselves ordering an ubiquitous tasty simple meal called nasi goreng (fried rice), also enjoyed across Indonesia and Singapore, prepared by stir-frying rice with chicken or seafood, vegetables,eggs, and a sweetish soy sauce, which is found practically all over Malaysia but is best sampled within the wonderfully crowded hawker centres that dot the island of Penang! Feed that gurgle in your tempted stomach on the Penang Holiday Package!
The island is adorned with shops selling batik, sarongs,kebayas, songket,pua kumbu and tekat which would catch the tourist eye, in vibrant colours and woven fabrics, bags, shoes, accessories, perfumes, cosmetics and electronics. Being a part of the shopper’s paradise, tourists could find shops containing ornaments in silver, gold, precious gems and semi-precious stones. Handicrafts, sculptures and curios in wood, stone, metal and semi-precious studs with their exquisite style and designs are abundant to make the visitors indulge in their passion for collectives.
The temperatures in Penang are lower than the cities or plains on a clear day, but entail stunning views down into the valley, and may be swathed in rolling clouds, with rain showers. Otherwise a moderate climate without extreme summers and decently cold winters! Perfect for a holiday throughout the year!