Cultural explosion and food capital of Malaysia! Penang is another island near the coast of Malaysia. The island is smaller than Langkawi but while Langkawi only has 35,000 people, Penang has 1.5 million. High rise condos are littered all over the coasts and you can see the mainland of Malaysia in the distance. We only had 2 ½ days to explore so we spent our time in George Town, the main hub. The town is picture perfect with a mix of cultures and history woven throughout.
It happened to be the Chinese New Year during the few days when we were there, so the city was full of decorations. We wandered around little India and Chinatown, ogled at all the colonial architecture, popped in to a mosque, and visited the Clan Jetties with stilt houses built over the water.
George Town has interactive street art throughout the city. If you pay attention to the crowds, it’s easy to spot. We paused for photos, wandered in and out of shops, and stopped to refuel with coffee, ice cream, and seafood. Penang has Food Courts and Hawker Stalls everywhere, so it’s easy to find excellent, cheap food.
We visited an old Chinese mansion and jewelry museum and learned about craftsmanship and traditions from the 19th century home. Everything was ornate and well preserved. Later in the day we visited a Chinese clan house and temple.
We made our way to Kek Lok Si Temple, a Buddhist Chinese temple on top of a hill. I believe it’s the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia. The crowds were intense as it was a weekend and the Chinese New Year when we visited. The temple is ornate, massive, and sprawling. After taking the funicular to the top, you have fantastic views over the city.
After a few days in Penang, we took a bus back to Kuala Lumpur. It was only supposed to take 4-5 hours but ended up taking 8 due to traffic. We enjoyed one last night in Kuala Lumpur, eating street food and wandering in and out of malls. It was so fun introducing my parents to southeast Asia and exploring a new country with them!