Georgetown, Penang – Endless Street Art, Great Coffee and Amazing Food
Before visiting Malaysia, in all honesty I had never heard of Penang. Before our trip to South East Asia, visiting Malaysia was not even close to being top of our list of places we were excited to visit or even recommended to visit. On reflection, I really do not understand why. Malaysia is a beautiful country and Penang ended up being very high on our list of places we would recommend others to visit! Georgetown is a charming, picturesque town and is also a UNESCO World Heritage site and it’s not hard to see why. There are three things we particularly enjoyed while in Georgetown, and they were – you guessed it – the fantastic street art, the delicious food and the aromatic coffee.
Places to Eat in Penang
Curry getting a mention yet again? Well, there’s a reason I mention particular places to eat in this blog and that’s because the food was exquisite and it just so happens there were a lot of curries I absolutely loved in Asia.
Georgetown’s Little India gets a special mention and one restaurant in particular – Ros Mutiara. Their speciality is Tandoori Chicken, which they are renowned for (deservedly so) and it’s easy to understand why once you taste it. Mains will set you back around 8-12RM ($2-3).
Red Garden Food Paradise
This is an outdoor, but sheltered food market with a large group of permanent food stalls. The market sells most kinds of food you can imagine, from Penang local specialities, to other Asian dishes all the way to Western favourites (if you need a break from all that Asian food). The cost of mains from each stall does vary, but the general price seems to be around 5-15RM ($1.25-3.70) per main.
Tai Tong Restoran
While I was in Asia, I really wanted to get a taste of some authentic Dim Sum. The manager at our hotel recommend a restaurant called Tai Tong Restoran (45 Lebuh Cintra, Georgetown, Penang). It can be a slighty confusing experience, or it was for me anyway. A local woman comes round with a metal trolley with hot servings of Dim Sum. It was a bit of a guessing game for me, as I didn’t have a clue what anything was and the woman did not speak any English. The guessing game paid off anyway and it was absolutely amazing, what a place to get my first taste of authentic Dim Sum!
Coffee in Georgetown, Penang
The Mugshot Cafe
Our go to coffee shop whilst we were in Penang was The Mugshot Cafe (159, 63 Muntri Street, Georgetown, Penang). This cafe is the perfect place to grab some breakfast, the bagels or the yoghurt and fruit jars would be my recommendation. A large latte will set you back around 12RM ($2.95), not the cheapest coffee you’ll find, but I’d say they’re worth the price. Excellent coffee shop with a modern, young vibe.
The Daily Dose
Another coffee shop/cafe we grew fond of was one called The Daily Dose (36 Lerong Stewart, Georgetown, Penang). This place was really unique. Their coffees as with The Mugshot are up there with the best the best coffees we tasted in South East Asia and they have an ever changing menu listed on a chalk board behind the counter, so you won’t be getting bored of the food/drinks if you go back.
Street Art in Georgetown, Penang
There is a huge amount of incredible street art around the streets of Penang. If there’s one thing I would say to do in Penang, it would be to rent yourself a bike and spend the day cycling around (in awe at all) do the different paintings and sculptures.
I Want Pua Mural – Painted on the side of the Ming Xiang Tai Pastry Shop on Armernian Street, just by the junction with Lebuh Victoria.
Little Children on a Bicycle Mural – Also located on Armenian Street
The Awaiting Trishaw Paddler – Covers the wall of a building located on Penang Road.
The Little Girl in Blue – Fascinating art which can be found on Muntri Street.
Tok Tok Mee Sculpture – China Street. One of the many steel rod sculptures around the streets of Georgetown.
Escape Sculpture – Installed under a window of an old jail building on Acheen Street
Spy Sculpture – Another steel rod sculpture on Kampung Malabar, near the junction with Cintra Street.
The Boat Man – A huge, eye-catching mural painted on the wall of the side of a house along Klang Street
There’s a massive amount of street art dotted across Georgetown. It would be a challenge to see it all, but if you’re up for the task, like I mentioned, rent a bike, grab a street art map and spend the day exploring.
Other Things To Do in Penang
Penang National Park
Jump on the 201 bus at the main terminal and ride it until the end of the route, this will only cost 4RM ($1) per person. The park entry is free, but you must register at the entrance before entering the park. There are plenty of routes you can choose from which mostly lead to different beaches around the national park. We chose to take the route to Turtle Beach, the trek wasn’t too hard, so it would be OK for people who don’t regularly hike and it took us around 1 hour 30 mins. If trekking isn’t your thing, you can arrange for a boat to take you to and from the beach for 35RM ($8.50) each way. The beach was superb and there was also a turtle sanctuary there with lots of tiny baby turtles.
Again from this destination can be reached via bus from the main bus station, but this time take the number 204 bus. This route will cost you 2RM ($0.50) each way. The bus takes you straight to the hill station. You can either take a monorail to the top of the hill – 17RM ($4.20) one-way or 30RM ($7.40) return per person – or you can decide to walk. We decided to walk back, of course we were unprepared and wearing flip flops, which can be uncomfortable when you’re walking constantly down hill, its fair to say our calves were aching when we reached the bottom. Penang Hills offers magnificent views all around Penang island from the top, the views even stretch as far as the main land on a clear day.