How far can your USD10 take you? In this series of blog posts, I’ve challenged some of the travel bloggers based in different corners of the globe to tell me what’s the best way to maximize USD10 as a tourist from where they currently are. Today, I’m featuring George Town in Penang, Malaysia submitted by Darlene of Point and Shoot + Wanderlust.
Named after King George III, George Town is the capital of Penang, Malaysia. Located in the northeastern side of the island, its historical core was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. George Town is also a cultural hodgepodge, brought about by trading with the East and West, and its British colonial past.
USD 10 = 42.77 MYR
If you’re coming from Penang International airport, just take one of the bus leaving to George Town every 30 minutes. Depends on where you’re getting off, the bus ride ranges from 2 – 3 MYR.
If you arrived in Penang via Butterworth bus or train station, you just have to take the ferry to George Town, which costs 1.2 MYR. The ride back to Butterworth is free. Note: Butterworth is also a part of Penang.
Thanks to the free Rapid Penang CAT (Central Area Transit) Bus, you can go around for free! You can catch it from the bus terminal near Penang Jetty (Weld Quay) or at one of the 19 stops around George Town.
Aside from being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, George Town is popular for two things: Street Art and Food.
Wrought-iron sculptures depicting the streets’ histories adorn the city’s building walls. This is thanks to a design idea competition initiated by Penang State Government in 2009. But the street art culture shot to fame because of Ernest Zacharevic’s larger than life murals for the George Town Festival 2012. Many more street art soon followed, with the aim to celebrate the heritage of George Town.
You can easily do a Walking Street Art Tour of your own by getting a free Street Art map from your accommodation or from the airport.
As for the food, you can try eating your way around George Town and I promise you, you won’t be disappointed. There is food everywhere! Just from the hawker centers and street side stalls, you’d have a hard time choosing everything you want in your tummy.
Classics that you can try include, Char Koay Teow at Heng Huat Sisters (5 MYR), Chendol from Penang Road Famous stall (3 MYR), Air Itam Assam Laksa (5 MYR), Wantan Mee (5 MYR), and Deen Maju Nasi Kandar (6 MYR) among others. One of the most famous hawker centre is right beside Gurney Plaza Mall, known as Gurney Drive Hawker Centre.
Coffee shops are aplenty, and some are worth the look even if you are not a coffee lover. Like the longest heritage café called China House which is famous for their bakery (slice of cake from 10 – 18MYR). Inside you can also find a wine bar, art gallery, and library among others. If you want trees inside your cafe, head to Awesome Canteen at Sekeping Victoria. Another café located inside a shophouse is the very hipster Narrow Marrow.
Aside from Malay, other major cultures in Penang include the Chinese and Indian so wander around Chinatown and Little India and get your fill of aromatic spices in the Indian shops or marvel at Chinese shophouses with their five-foot- way pavements. Remnants from the British occupation also linger in some of the buildings found in the historical core.
Explore the Street of Harmony where the four main religions in Malaysia can be found – St. George’s Church, Kapitan Keling Mosque, the Chinese Goddess of Mercy Temple, and the Hindu Sri Maha Mariamman. To catch a glimpse of Penang’s history, you can also visit the clan jetties (water village on stilts), of which the Chew Jetty is the most famous.
For nature lovers, a beach is easily accessible. Just board the 101 Rapid Penang bus that will take you to Batu Ferringhi (2.70 MYR from Weld Quay). Penang National Park is also free for those up for a bit of hiking. A bit because Taman Negara Pulau Pinang is the world’s smallest national park (Take the same 101 Rapid Penang bus (3.8 MYR from Weld Quay). Another one you can visit is the Penang Botanical Gardens for its diverse flora and fauna. (Rapid Penang Bus 10 for 2 MYR from Weld Quay).
George Town is a very budget-friendly destination so for sure your 10 dollars will go a long way!
All photos are submitted by Darlene. If you’re a blogger and would like to submit a guest post in this series, drop me an email at pinayflyinghigh(@)gmail(.)com