Penang, Malaysia, admittedly wasn’t my favourite place. I spent a lot of time walking around feeling rather underwhelmed at the sites- this was largely because I decided to spend 10 days here and ran out of things to do when it rained (meaning I spent 90% of my time in the hostel waiting for the storm to pass). As I visited during the elections, there was a lot of intense emotions flying around and I definitely didn’t plan to get stuck in the middle of it all.
However, The milder days were well spent exploring Penang’s beautiful sites and watching the waves of the ocean. My first and favourite day was spent at the peak of Penang Hill- it’s definitely one of the more exciting day trips you can have in Penang.
Penang Hill is the best place to see the island and mainland from a height and admire the greenery. Its Funicular Railway is also home to the steepest tunnel track in the world and is also longest track in Asia making it worth the visit, even if it’s just to reel off these facts and gloat about!
When you reach the summit, you walk into a tourist-packed vantage point. This is where all the selfies happen for that all important social media moment, so if you’re looking for some quiet, try visiting early morning or at dusk- if you’re lucky you’ll get to watch the sun set over Georgetown too!
From here, you’re free to enjoy the walking routes at your own pace or take a tuk tuk around the paths- though this is considerably more pricey! There’s plenty to see and do around, including making friends with the Dusky Leaf monkeys, hanging out in the little village or admiring the residential area and questioning how the heck people live up here!
I’d recommend taking the pink route around if you have the time, it’s fairly flat to walk around and dips in and out of the rainforest area. When covered by the trees be careful (especially if you visit during the rainy season like me), there are thousands of midges and mosquitos flying around so make sure you pack insect repellant! There are also some incredibly strange insects that you’d never see around the streets of Georgetown and although they’re intriguing, it’s obviously best to look and not touch.
The same applies for the monkeys, I met several groups of young lads who found it hilarious to spook the local monkeys and disrupt their homes- and if you’ve never seen a monkey angry before then you’re in for a shock! They do, quite frankly, run right at you and they do bite! To my knowledge, the monkeys in Penang are placid unless provoked and don’t care about flash cameras but I met too many people on my trip that said they’d angered a monkey and ended up getting rabies jabs afterwards!
Another section to check out is the the love lock bridge. Unofficially set up by tourists that travel in masses to leave a lock without a key in the name of their love for one another, it’s a mesmerising display of yellows and pinks with an untold story of romance behind each lock.
This brings you back into the centre where you can opt for some food, endless merchandise or have a chat with an innocent clown who looks just like he came out of The Purge movie set.
Despite having my doubts about Penang, this day trip made all of the rainy and politically charged days seem worth it. It is a beautiful place to visit: cast from both natural and man-made sources, it;’s one to put on your bucket list- just make sure you time it right to get the most out of your trip!
Have you visited Penang or Malaysia before? I’d love to know what you think! As always, comment below or tweet me x