Penang, Malaysia

When I think of Penang, I think of temples, wall murals, coffee and old shophouses masquerading as 4 – 5-star hotels.

And it’s been a long, long while since I stepped into Penang, but the city didn’t disappoint with its hipster wall murals and cafes.


I stayed at a shophouse (Coffee Atelier) that’s been remodelled to become a 4-star hotel. For the fact that it’s clean, it has air conditioning, cable television, warm and cold water, clean towels and bedsheets…it was a serviceable apartment. The pictures also look appealing enough:


However, all the cons you can think of by staying in an old shophouse comes true. First, there were lizards calling chirpily to each other and they venture out to greet you in the middle of the night when you are on your way, barefoot across the open air courtyard to the toilet. Second, the smell of mould from rotting walls lingers overpoweringly in the air. For the price I paid, it was not a good deal at all. I believe you can find Airbnb apartments that would be much nicer! My travel companion had to work around the lizard problem by switching on a lizard repellant app on her phone that emit a squeaky sound to scare lizards away. Imagine how bad the problem is!

I stayed in Georgetown which is in close proximity to famous hipster delights like 3D coffee. Unfortunately, as I was in Penang during the Ramadan month, many places closed as early as 5 pm and I didn’t get to try much of the local food. Still to me, that wasn’t disappointing as I was happy to binge at the many cafes dotted around Georgetown. It was really a case of coffee-baked goods-rinse and repeat!


I visited Gurney Plaza and well, shopping in Malaysia is fantastic because the shopping malls are huge, they’re clean, and service is always good. I don’t have much to say because I must confess! Besides shopping, I did nothing else in Penang. My best kind of holiday actually!

If you are a fan of wall murals, then Georgetown is full of camera-ready wall murals for your IG needs:

Uber is your best friend when travelling around the island. Uber fares are not too expensive, and service is safe and reliable. Just be careful when going to ‘ulu’ places if you’re a single traveller!


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