Penang, Malaysia (February 22-March 1, 2017)

Penang: a place where amazing street food, historical sites, friendly people, and incredible beaches blend together into this giant island of surprising scenery and days that go by way too fast. Pete and I arrived late at night from KL on the 22nd. From our 14th floor Airbnb apartment, the city looked incredible.

February 23, Day 17: Our first day exploring Georgetown took us to Khoo Kongsi by way of Uber with an adorable elderly Chinese woman. She offered us creme puffs and told us about the many cities in the US she loved visiting. This set the tone for an amazing day!

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So much history. It was rad.img_20170223_114323_1

Georgetown is known for a collection of cool street art. Pretty much every side alley has a pleasant surprise art piece. This one was particularly adorable. img_20170223_121356img_20170223_121921

As we walked to the Chew Clan Jetty, the rain started to pick up and we experienced the first of many Malaysian rain storms that would come and go on our time on the island. Good thing Ubers cost $0.50-$1! img_20170223_123421

That evening we tried out some street food hawker stalls on Chulia street. Juice in bags, $1 for flavorful dishes with Malay, Indian, and Chinese influence, and endless options!

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February 24, Day 18: The next day we got up early to take advantage of the no rain forecast and get in a long hike through the Penang National Park. Following the muddy, mossy trail from the park entrance, we set out to find Monkey Beach.img_20170224_111320img_20170224_112158img_20170224_113248img_20170224_113555

Some of the trail was a little questionable but we pressed on.photo-from-stephanie-fluegeman

And we made it! Clear water, white sand, hardly anyone around.img_20170224_113732

Pete was a good sport about being my personal photographer. He patiently waited for me to swim out to this big ol rock.16864566_10154852216400042_7409239174272245048_n.jpg

This was sadly the only monkey we saw on Monkey Beach. He was the pet of the boat owner and enjoying an afternoon swim.img_20170224_125134

After a long day in the sun, relaxing on our balcony to this view was pretty amazing. img_20170224_150526

February 25, Day 19: I think the next day we did some cultural sightseeing. A Burmese temple, a giant reclining Buddha… it all starts to blend together. img_20170224_152751img_20170224_153713img_20170224_153943img_20170224_154214img_20170224_154259_1

Little gold stickers everywhere! img_20170224_154948_1

Later that night we got a little fancy with a dinner at a 360 degree revolving restaurant, maybe unofficially being the first time a reservation was made under “Dr. Kvam”. Cheers to this guy finishing his PhD! The perfectly timed fireworks show was definitely for you.img_20170224_221208

February 26, Day 20: Having so many days in Penang meant we got to take our time exploring and doing pretty much every touristy thing you can list. Although we picked a cloudy day to visit Penang Hill, it was still so beautiful up in those clouds.img_20170225_125149

You can almost see the water line, almost. Our apartment is one of those tall buildings!img_20170225_125317

Obligatory contemplative artsy photos.img_20170225_125519img_20170225_125759-panoimg_20170225_131624img_20170225_132654_1img_20170225_134647img_20170225_134746

After our descent from Penang Hill, we got smacked with another downpour of rain but eventually made it to Kek Lok Si Temple. img_20170225_151559img_20170225_154006

February 27, Day 21: Another day, another delicious round of eggs benedict. I shamelessly could eat eggs benedict for every breakfast. img_20170226_095540

Today was deemed beach day. img_20170226_104838img_20170226_110901

Only an hour in the Malaysian sun with no sunscreen was a bad choice. But, look at these views!img_20170226_124708

We paid a visit one day to the Peranakan Mansion and toured the incredible rooms. Wealthy Chinese in the 1800s lived it up.img_20170226_150859

Please order me a pair of these. snapchat-492211843

There’s quite a few famous street art installations around the Peranakan Mansion. Pete and I were on a mission to hunt down a few well-known ones, like “Boy on a Bike”.img_20170226_161220

This one was an adorable little hidden gem.img_20170226_161330

“The Cat and Bruce Lee” reminded me of a high school physics teacher with a dislike for cats. I can imagine this mural as a sadistic story problem involving solving for the velocity of the cat being kicked. img_20170226_161414img_20170226_162313

Later that evening was another hawker stall dinner. img_20170226_191834

February 28, Day 22: Our last morning together started with some cute cups of coffee and some last glimpses of street art.img_20170227_095912img_20170227_100000img_20170227_102911img_20170227_103226

Sadly, Pete had to return back to Australia and I was on my own again. I checked out the evening’s meetup for Couchsurfing and stopped by for some beers with a collection of interesting characters. The location itself was a story I tell over and over again in my travels. This ‘bar’, Antaragansa Enterprise, is really a liquor store with little plastic tables and chairs set up outside. Anytime you want another drink, simply walk in and pick out your can of choice, hand over a few ringgit to the shirtless Chinese man smoking a cigarette, and find a group of travelers and locals to drink with on the streets. Need to use the toilet? Easy. Just walk in the store, hop over the bucket of turtles, shimmy across the broken rusty washing machine, hop over the case of beer, and there’s your glamorous squatty potty tucked in the back room.

Sadly, this is the only photo I have from that night. However, it’s a special coincidence because of the guy pictured here. I’ll get to that story soon! You never know when it’s the last time you’ll see someone or if they’ll pop up again 🙂

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March 1, Day 22: I left Penang in the morning on a bus bound for the Cameron Highlands. Next chapter: tea plantations, mossy forests, and perfecting the art of hitchhiking with a crazy group of Lithuanians.

 

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