Paradise in Penang

Noor Ashikin Abdul Rahman
The New Paper, Singapore
Jan 10, 2017

We are only 10 days into the new year, but if that all-too-familiar feeling called wanderlust is already creeping in, its not your fault.

Besides, it is never too early to start planning your next getaway.

If a short vacation that will not break the bank is what you are eyeing, consider Penang.

The Malaysian state is not just steeped in culture and tradition – it is also a haven for foodies.

The best part? We have done the calculations for you – the airfare will set you back less than $100, while decent accommodation will cost less than a $100 per night.

Cost: Approximately $82 for a return flight on AirAsia
Where: You Le Yuen Boutique Bed and Breakfast, 7, Love Lane, George Town, Penang
Cost: From $95 for a North Studio Suite from

This quaint two-storey building located in George Town was a colonial pre-war shophouse that has since been restored.

If you are into Peranakan decor, ornate wooden furnishings and traditional charm, this option might tickle your fancy.

If you have cash to spare, opt for the Skywell Suite, which has a bathtub for you to soak in after a long day of sightseeing.


For many Singaporeans, food is serious business. Penang is the perfect place to sample a good mix of delectable local fare – Chinese, Malay, Indian or Peranakan, you name it – and cafe grub.

The famous Gurney Drive Hawker Centre is usually a one-stop destination for Penang assam laksa, char kway teow, Penang rojak, chendol and more.

If you want the really good stuff, positively-reviewed favourites include the Tiger Char Kway Teow from Kafe Ping Hooi at Lebuh Carnarvon, and the Pasar Air Itam Laksa.

If you prefer cafe nosh, you will be happy to know that Penang is not short on such options.

Cafes such as Awesome Canteen, Kota Dine & Coffee and ChinaHouse are not to be missed.


Penang’s George Town is a Unesco World Heritage site, so do not forget to look up and around.

At each turn, you can find impressive street art – in the form of large colourful paintings and wrought-iron caricatures – adorning many of the walls.

The caricatures combine witty humour and historical facts to share stories from the days of early settlement, as well as shed light on how the popular landmarks came about.

Most of the murals are the work of Lithuanian-born artist Ernest Zacharevic. They include famous ones such as those of children on a bicycle and a boy on a motorbike.

Since then, many independent works have sprouted outside of George Town to bring even more colour to Penang.

You might have vowed never to be like your Instagram friends with their endless posts posing with the street art in Penang.

But they have a point – you have not seen Penang until you have explored its art.

A map is available at for you to plan your art appreciation adventure.

  1. #1 by good coolie on Wednesday, 11 January 2017 - 1:26 pm

    Do not forget the boat that would take you to the Pearl of the Orient. If you care to be below, at the head of full rows of cars, at the ferry’s mouth, you’ll find your magic tune in the ferry’s reassuring drone, and spray of sea on face. How many the marriages made, as boy met, and followed girl, from here!

    Two bumps, and berth. That is the formula to tell you when to get up safely from your seat. But I have come across captains who have docked with out bumps at all, with the touch of silk at the harbour’s sides.

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