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Sightseeing Holiday for a weekend PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator II   
Monday, 21 September 2009 15:09

Penang’s Gastronomic and Sightseeing Holiday for Singaporean or short holiday tour in Penang

Why Penang?

For those who are looking for a short breakaway, Penang is the right and great place to unwind, enjoy and relax. It is just a short one hour flight away, with many interesting sites and fabulous food.

Most Singaporean feel very comfortable, at ease and relax visiting Penang as they are quite  familiar with Penang’s rich multi ethnic culture, food, lifestyles, languages and the friendliness of the people. They don’t seem lost unlike when travelling to other holiday destination.


The charm of Penang has always been interesting to Singaporeans. Unlike Singapore, which is now a super ultra modern city, Penang is still a little lacklustre but maintaining it’s quaintly and charming old school way of life. Most Singaporeans coming here tend to experience a nostalgic feeling especially when they start exploring George Town. They feel it is like taking a step back yesterday once more and able to get a small peep back of what they used to know Singapore as it was during the 50’s and 60’s. It not common for Singaporean visitors to say “Oh we use to have this. What a shame we pull it down”. Well, it’s always nice to recall those treasured sentimental memories when seeing something that made you think back.

For those interested in eco tourism, Penang’s lush green tropical gardens, parks and hills offer some fascinating sights like those at Balik Pulau and Teluk Bahang. The beaches at Batu Feringgi are also attractive and well developed.


When it comes to Penang street food, Singaporean probably won’t find any problem fitting and adapting to it. In fact, many Singaporean come to Penang for their annual “food pilgrimage”!!! Most would agree that Penang hawker food is more authentic and the hawkers are able to dish out the full flavours of the foods. This is because many of the hawkers here still keep to their originality in the preparation and the usage of the ingredients.

The exchange rate is another reason why visiting Penang is always worthwhile. At RM2.45 to a Singapore dollar, visitors from Singapore only have to pay $1.40 for a bowl of noodle that cost RM3.50. It means Singaporean will automatically get a discount on whatever they spend in Penang!!!

The open sky policy now practice by both governments has seen several budget airlines getting into the lucrative Penang-Singapore route. Joining in after AirAsia was JetStar, Tiger Airways and SilkAir which fly in directly at rock bottom prices.
Penang is a beautiful and enthral place to take a short holiday. Being so near, it is possible to make several short trips, each time exploring different places and tasting different food. Visitors will be able to enjoy themselves with a short two to three days holiday break.

Coming Into Penang
Coming into Penang by air for Singaporeans is probably the easiest. All the flights from Changi Airport fly directly to Penang International Airport in under an hour.

From the airport, there are several ways to get to your destination. You can hire a car/coach, take the taxi or use the public bus known as Rapid Penang. The booth for car rental is just on the right side of the arrival entrance whereas the main taxi booth is on the right in front of the exit.

If you prefer to drive, use the North-South Highway which will lead you straight to Penang. The journey takes approximately eight hours. An alternative would be by rail with an interchange at Kuala Lumpur. This journey will take up to twelve hours.

What to do in Penang


The living heritage of George Town reminds Singaporeans a lot of their place during the 60’s and 70’s. Walking down the old reminiscence streets like Acheen Street, Armenian Street, Muntri Street, Market Street all with individualist atmosphere is like stepping back in time. Within these enclaves there are a few exquisite building like the Cheong Fatt Tze (commonly known as Blue Mansion), Pinang Peranakan Mansion, The Sire, E&O Hotel, Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi and Han Jiang Teochew Ancestral Temple and Moorish like Kapitan Keling Mosque. Some of the building have turn into small scale museums that exhibits artefacts of antiques and collectable of old Penang that were once used commonly by the locals. Another spot worth visiting is the Clan Jetties, settlements built on silts by the shores.  Away from the town is the famous pagoda in Kek Lok Si Temple at Air Itam, the reclining Buddha in Wat Chayamangkalaram Thai Buddhist Temple at Pulau Tikus and the Snake Temple at Bayan Lepas.


Penang is not all old charms. There are lush green parks and garden that’s worth venturing. Penang Hill, Tropical Spice Garden, Balik Pulau durian plantation, Penang Botanical Gardens and The Butterfly Farm are all within reach from each other. For the sun and beach, Batu Feringgi offers some fascinating and gorgeous beaches with plenty of water sports.

There are also celebrations of various ethnic communities’ festival and annual events organise by the state government. The Penang International Dragon Boat Festival, Penang Bon Odori Carnival, Penang Bridge International Marathon, Thaipusum, Chingay Performance, Hungry Ghost Festival, Nine Emperor God Festival, celebration of the Jade Emperor on eight day of Chinese New Year, the Feast of St.Anne and “open houses” during Hari Raya are all held with great prom and on a grand scale.

What to Eat in Penang
Though what we have here, probably Singapore will have it too but usually Singaporeans will get all excited about our fabulous food. Take our famous char koay teow, hokkien mee (prawn mee), rojak, Indian pasembur, mee udang, loh bak, assam laksa, hae ko chee cheong fu, roti canai will tickle your gastronomic desire. For dessert there are the all time famous Teochew cendul, refreshing coconut jelly, freshly blend nutmeg and ampala juice. For lunch and dinner try the Hainanese, Peranakan (Nyonya), Mamak (Indian Muslim) and seafood restaurant which serve a great range of scrumptious authentic cuisines.


The Gurney Drive Hawker Centre with over ninety stalls gives you different varieties of street food in one area. This is a popular multi ethnic food centre which enables visitors to eat all sorts of Malay, Indian Muslim and Chinese food. The other is at the Esplanade Hawker Centre. Here you find mouth watering and delectable mee udang, mutton soup, fried mee, mee java and pasembur.

For durian feast the best time will be in late May till early August. The best durian plantations are located Balik Pulau. The road leading to the town is absolutely scenic and serene and at some points you able to look down at the lowland and the shoreline with the horizon and beyond. As the road winds towards the edge of the slope you catch glimpses of durians hanging in the tree and nettings down below to catch the falling durians.

Getting Around Penang
Most of the interesting sites and popular food stalls are within easily reach. Though with a private car is the most convenient, the Rapid Penang bus covers intensive parts of the island and Seberang Prai (mainland). Taxis are available and are usually available at the entrance of major hotels and shopping malls.

If you are coming in group of five or more, it is worthwhile to consider hiring a minivan/coach with a driver from the tour companies. You can also arrange for them to transfer you from the airport to the hotel.  

With so many places to visit and food to try, choosing can be a daunting task. We plan a sample itinerary; base on three days and two nights stay with an idea on how to go about sampling the food and at the same time visiting the interesting sites of Penang.


Day One.
Penang Hawker food – Char Koay Teow
George Town Heritage Walk conducted by the Penang Heritage Trust
Lunch -  Hainanese Cuisine
Visit Reclining Buddha at the Wat Chayamangkalaram Thai Buddhist Temple
Teatime - famous Penang Teochew cendul and other delicacies
Dinner -- Hawker food at Gurney Drive Hawker Center

Day Two
Breakfast – Penang Hokkien mee
Trip up to Penang Hill and Kek Lok Si Temple at Air Itam
Lunch - Assam Laksa at Air Itam
Buy native product - Tau Seah  Pheah and pickle nutmeg
Visit the Butterfly Farm or Tropical Spice Garden.
Teatime at Padang Brown
Dinner at Peranakan Restaurant (Nyonya food)

Day Three (if leaving in the afternoon)
Breakfast at Pulau Tikus and visit its wet market
Visit Pinang Peranakan Mansion
Lunch - Beef koay teow

Last Updated on Friday, 04 June 2010 09:15

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