First, I’ll tell you a bit about Penang. This is an island in Malaysia with direct flights from Ho Chi Minh City. From Ho Chi Minh City, it only takes about 2 hours to fly to Penang. Very close, reasonable for a short holiday right? Here the atmosphere is good, the people are gentle, happy with their small joys, so coming here, you will suddenly leave all the habit of living in a hurry behind, forgetting the daily business, worries, to practice the way of living slowly and peacefully. Although the landscape on the island was not natural beauty and the beach was not as beautiful as many islands of Vietnam (but honestly, the more I travel, the more I realize that our country is so beautiful. It’s only because we don’t know how to exploit the beauty nature, but this is another story, if we continue to discuss, it will take a lot of time), on the island, there were quite a lot of artificial amusement parks and nature reserves, many cultural heritages recognized by UNESCO and the island was a paradise of extremely interesting museums. Just come here, walk slowly, follow the roads, and feel with your own senses!
- DO WE NEED TO APPLY FOR A VISA TO GO TO PENANG?
Malaysia waives visa for Vietnamese people, so you just need to book the flight ticket and make a reservation and then depart. Penang is an island in Malaysia, so you do not need a visa.
- HOW TO MOVE?
Although Penang is an island, the sea is not as beautiful as the island in our country, so there are only a few beaches to bathe, and you will see some roads along the beaches but the beaches are rocky that people cannot shower, and some beaches are the harbors for boats that people can only watch from afar. So the most interesting place to me was George Town – the old town of Penang, a place with a beauty similar to Hoi An in our country.
After leaving Penang airport, come to the taxi counter to tell them your destination, get a taxi voucher, and pay the money at the counter. Go straight to the gate that the taxi counter’s staff tell you. There will be people to collect taxi vouchers and arrange a taxi for you. Or you can call Uber or wait for the bus. The price of moving from the airport to George Town and vice versa by Uber is 1/3 cheaper than the taxi price (in my experience). It will take about 30 minutes to go from the airport to the center of George Town.
The cutest slow way to go around the old town of George is …to walk. You will be free to find beautiful corners to take pictures. I kept shouting when I saw the doors, the bricks, the paintings on the walls, and the shops …
The second way less slow is to cycle around. There are many places to rent bicycles in the old town. Here comes LINK BIKE – bicycles for rent by hour/ day/ week/ month/ year, managed by a phone app (See more at this link: https://www.linkbike.my). In the old town, there is a third way to move is to take a cyclo whose price will be higher than Uber, but watching the street in a special way is also very interesting! In addition, buses running all over Penang are modern and clean, but it’s only good if you travel for a long time, for short trips, taking the bus is not very convenient because you will have to study the time of the bus and bus stations and bus stops; while Uber is the cheapest, fastest, and most convenient vehicle when you need to go from one end of the old town to the other or from the old town to the beach or to other areas, so I chose Uber.
- AND STAY WHERE?
My hotel was the Reunion Heritage House. The front of the hotel was located on Victoria Street, which was facing the sea. Just walking across a road, I could go to the big road running along the coast with many restaurants and food court. The back opened to Beach Street, facing the center of the old town. The hotel had a modern and classic style renovated from a house with over 100 years of age, small rooms but fully furnished and very lovely. The room price was over 1 million/ night. From here you can easily walk to Street Art – the area with many wall paintings, to the beautiful cafes along the way, to the road along the sea with many shops like I just mentioned, to the largest market of George Town where along the way there were many good restaurants. There was also a super delicious ice cream shop located on the ground floor.
As for the last trip, my mother and I spent 5 days in George Town and the whole trip was mainly to … eat, eat, and eat so I will tell a lot about places to eat and drink, after helping you visualize more clearly about George Town.
George Town, Penang – the old town with beautiful ancient shop-houses like Hoi An but much more peaceful. The shops were open late at 10 am and closed early at 7 – 8 pm. The largest market of George Town was only open from 7 am to 12 pm. There were very few restaurants and cafes that were open late. Penang people are very gentle. Tourists walking around, holding up their cameras to capture someone sitting on the porch, will receive a very gentle smile. There was no place of begging customers. But looking at the type of business of opening late and closing so early, we know that people here don’t try hard to earn money from the tourists or from the locals, just living slowly and leisurely. The Street Art area was a place that attracted art lovers with lively wall paintings, made-in-Malay souvenir shops that had better quality products than Thailand products. There were many interesting museums such as glass museum, camera museum, 3D picture museum, upside-down museum, etc. Among those museums, Wonderfood Museum must be my favorite place with hundreds of fake foods/ dishes that looked like real foods, helping the tourists understand clearly about Malaysian cuisine. Durian which makes you fall in love with after just one bite. Super delicious Indian curry on the street in the Little India area. Far better Chinese food than that of Cho Lon…
Those might not be enough to make you imagine such a place, but enough for you to mark it on your to-go-list.