Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia – Chinese New Year (CNY) is perhaps one of the biggest cultural events in the world and the best way to experience the festivities is to go where the festivities are held. Well, besides going to China (for obvious reasons), here in Malaysia, you have an option to go to Penang, Melaka or Kuala Lumpur‘s China Town as these places have large Chinese residents population. As for us, we chose the colurful city of Georgetown, Penang (also known as Pulau Pinang).
Situated in the Northern West coast of Malaysia, Georgetown, Penang was listed as one of the World Heritage Site by UNESCO in South East Asia. With its well-preserved cultural and historical heritage, this place is worth the visit not only for Chinese New Year, but at anytime of the year.
How to get there?
By road, travel to Penang from Kuala Lumpur may take 4 – 5 hours via North-South Highway, depending on traffic. From KL Sentral, we took the bus to Sungai Nibong Terminal, Penang. We took the Nice Executive Coach and it was our most comfortable bus ride ever (so far).
Ticket costs 74 RM (~ 22 USD) one way but it was worth the price. There’s a full on-board services hosted by a stewardess giving you an ‘airline’ feel throughout the journey — minus the presence of an on-board ‘toilet’ (which we’re ok with as there were stop overs on the way). Services includes refreshments, individual LCD screen with digital movies which you can watch using headsets (also provided individually), and pillows/blankets. But, if you’re not in too much comfort, there are also other bus services you can take from KL Sentral or Pudu Sentral. Visit Bus Online Ticket for more info. From Sungai Nibong Terminal we took taxi to our hotel. Taxi fare is 30 RM (~ 9 USD).
For other transportation:
- By air, the Penang International Airport receives direct flights from major capitals in Malaysia. Airlines such as Malaysia Airlines and Air Asia operates more than 20 flights a day to and from Penang. From the airport, you can easily take a taxi to Georgetown. Whether you insists the driver to use the taxi meter or negotiate with a fixed price, 40 RM (~12.30 USD) should be a reasonable fare.
- You can also take the train from KL Sentral Station to Butterworth. From there, you can take the ferry to Georgetown. You can buy tickets from KL Sentral or check Malaysian Railway Official Website for train times and fares to book online.
Where to stay?
Georgetown has plenty to offer when it comes to good budget hotel. Most of them are within walking distance of the major tourist sights of the city.
Here are some:
Location: Muntri Street
Nearby locations: Campbell Street, Camera Museum, Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, St. George’s Church
Red Inn Court
Location: Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling
Nearby locations: Goddess of Mercy Temple, Kapitan Keling Mosque, and Camera Museum
Location: Love Lane Street
Nearby locations: Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, St. George’s Church, Fort Cornwallis
Since its a peak season, most of the hostels were either fully-booked or above our budget. Thus, we ended booking Tune Hotel in Downtown Penang. Location and price were not bad considering we booked one week prior to our scheduled visit.
What to do?
- Stroll around Georgetown
- Street Art Hunt
- Indulge yourself with the best foods in Malaysia
- Take a ride in Penang trishaw
- Enjoy the panoramic view from the top of Penang Hill
If you’re looking for a unique fusion of cultures, art and flavors, this is the place to be! Since it was a long weekend, we stayed there for 3 days and 2 nights which were enough to see most of the must-see places but more reasons to go back and see more.
See our next posts for more of Georgetown, Penang. 🙂