Penang, an island located north west of Malaysia has preserved the rich heritage from the British colony to the Chinese cultures. Its a well-known tourist area with plenty of attractions in this bustling city. The rich heritage of Penang, delicious street food, the cozy cafe hiding in the traditional shophouse, the street arts make us fell in love with Penang. Here are few things to do in Penang.
Penang last handmade joss stick maker
I came across Mr. Lee Beng Chuan on discovery channel and I’m impressed by his joss stick making. He is well known for his workmanship and has been featured in newspapers, magazines and on the Discovery Channel. His passion for joss stick making has made him famous and often being invited to makes gigantic joss stick for temples. One of the main highlights of this Penang trip is to pay Mr. Lee a visit, looking forward seeing him in person.
His house which is also his shop is located nearby the Guan Yin temple and you can see joss sticks outside his house. He was resting in the living room while we visit him. At the age of 91 years old, he is very strong and energetic. He is friendly, humble and shares his joss stick making experiences with us. Mr. Lee makes joss stick outside his house every morning around 9 am and always look forward to people learning from him.
We were lucky to visit him 10 – 20 mins earlier as there are some other tourists waiting to see him. He mentions to us that he needs to rest early tonight as there is a media shooting tomorrow. It’s not every day that you get to meet someone successful and willing to share. Nice meeting you Mr. Lee and wish you good health and HUAT ah.
Address: 1, Lorong Muda, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia
Kek Lok Si temple
The famous Kek Lok Si temple is another famous attraction located at Air Itam, George town. The main attractions are the seven-story Pagoda and the 36.57m tall bronze Guan Yin statue.
While we are walking up to the temple, the turtle pond is no longer there and seems like there is an inclined lift up to the temple from the bottom of the hill. At the top, you will see the Guan Yin statue and the magnificent view of George town.
Khoo Kongsi (邱公司)
Khoo is the last name and Kongsi means company. It is a Hokkien word which translates to the Khoo company. Khoo Kongsi is a large clan association and is one of the well-preserved heritage I ever saw.
The opera stage is still as brand new with all the traditional stone crafting featuring the Phoenix and dragon on the rooftop. This stage is still being used during Chinese festival.
The clan association itself consist of a temple and the ancestor hall. It was rebuilt in 1906 after a fire broke up due to a lightning strike. I am impressed by the remarkable workmanship of this building. The stone carving on the wall is so beautiful, the blue color on the craving makes it outstanding. The beam on the ceiling is a full-length solid wood trunk painted with beautiful pictures on it. The wall painting that I love most is the “Paying three visits to the thatched cottage” 三顾茅庐.
You can also see the history of Khoo Kongsi and how the kitchen looks like in the olden days. It would easily take a couple of hours to explore this area.
Penang Street Art
It’s not hard to notice there’s plenty of street art in George town. The most iconic is the Kids on Bicycle. These street art add a different feel to the city and blends in well with the surrounding. Do get prepare to get into the queue to take photos of these street arts, some of them can be really popular.
Seafood at Balik Palau
Balik Palau is a little fishing village on the west coast of Penang. It’s a layback kampung famous for orchard plantation, seafood, nutmegs, and durian. There are a lot of private chalets as well. We are going to have seafood at this restaurant call Jia Siang Cafe. We saw a few durian plantations along the way and roadside stalls selling durian.
There is a seafood marketplace at the back of Jia Siang cafe, You can buy fresh seafood from the market and bring it to the restaurant. The staff will cook it for you according to your choice. The seafood is caught from the sea and not from the kelong. We are late and there are only a few fishes and prawns left, all the big fishes and seafood are not available. I would recommend going early to get the seafood to avoid disappointment.
To order the food, do proceed to the little counter closes to the kitchen. we queued at the cashier queue and end up wasting quite a lot of time. The seafood is very fresh and tasty. All dishes are delicious and wiped out after the meal. The flower crab is superb and recommended if you are going.
Penang is also famous for nutmeg and there are several nutmeg plantation in this area too. Nutmeg is highly beneficial to the body and often used as a medicine. Jia Xiang cafe sells nutmeg juice and it tastes so much better compared to the other stalls we have tired. The juice is squeezed from the fruits itself and mixed with water in the kitchen.
Clan Jetties of Penang
The clan jetties are unique residential houses on stilts. There are a total of 6 clans jetties in this area and each jetty is categorized by the last name. This place is clean and well maintained. You can walk to the end of the jetty and enjoy the beautiful sea view. Some of the houses sell drinks, food, and souvenir.