Mar 13, 2017

Things to do in Penang

I always suggest that people take a hop-on bus tour first. There were two options: Beach Tour and City Tour.  I liked the fact that the tks are good for 24 hours from the time it is stamped and the buses run until 7pm. John and I chose the beach tour which took us to the Entopia Penang Butterfly Museum.  It had recently been completely remodeled. It was more than butterflies. The self-guided
walking tour included the world of bugs, waterfalls, hands-on activities and more.  I would like to go back.  The next day we went back on the bus and visited the Spice Garden – the world of spices in a beautiful garden setting. The trail wanders and climbs over eight-acres of secondary jungle with over 500 species of flora and fauna. Penang was on the Spice Trade.  There is a giant swing perfect for picture taking and at the end a gift shop and a restaurant that has an excellent menu and view.

Penang is on the Straits of Malacca and, at least while we were
there, the water was very calm.  John decided to pass on kite boarding this year and go parasailing. There are several operators along the shore – some where you can go tandem, some single, and there is the choice of takeoff and landing on the beach or on a boat. The boat option didn’t seem to go very high so John opted to take off from the beach.  He went with the instructor mainly because the instructor was afraid that John, because of his age, would not be able to run on the landing and would topple over or something.  The instructor was wrong and was impressed with John and his skill with the kite. Duh! Parasailing and banana boat rides are popular with all ethnic groups including those in Islamic dress.

The evenings were for relaxing and shopping.  We enjoyed the Filipino singing duo who sang all of our old favorites. It amazes me that the music of the 50s through the 70s is so popular in Asia.  In the evening the street in front of the hotel was lined with stalls for about a mile. The vendors would drag them out about 4 pm and then drag them away about midnight. They sold a variety of things from T-shirts to watches to leather goods. 

One day we explored Georgetown, a UNESCO World Heritage
Site.  Some of the pristine white buildings of the colonial era remain along with some traditional shop houses. There were many interesting murals – some three-dimensional – in the city. The Clan Jetty is where the Chinese settled years ago and many still live there in traditional homes. I never tire
visiting the ornate Buddhist temples of which there are many. Gen. Cornwallis surrendered to Washington to end the American Revolutionary War but he continued to serve the British.  The fort in Georgetown is named after him. 

The Americanization of the world sometimes depresses me as our culture takes over other culture.  Next to the hotel was a Starbucks which was always busy. So busy, in fact, that cars kept circling the parking area waiting for someone to leave so they could park. And, nearby is a McDonald’s and Hard Rock Café Hotel. There is a lot to do so I hope to return next year. I especially like the diversity of culture and things to do.