A month ago in Penang … a wistful look back at my Malaysian holiday (via Instagram)

It’s been a month since I returned from my fortnight in Penang and I freely admit that I miss it. Everyday life has been a bit hectic lately and if someone handed me a plane ticket back to Malaysia right now I would be on it, pronto.

I’ve got lots of posts planned to tell you all about my Penang experience but before I do, I thought a quick pictorial overview was in order, partly to inspire you but mostly to appease my longing to return … yes, travel bloggers can be a selfish lot! It was timely that I came across Instagram Travel Thursday, too, so I’m taking part and sharing some Instagram and travel blog love.

One Penang day in food (and Milo)

First up: it didn’t take us long to acclimatise to life in Penang. On our first full day there we got through all of this food and drink (and more). I got a taste for the local Milo, and Mr3 began an addiction to noodles and freshly-squeezed juices. All made easy because my lovely ex-pat friend was there to give us tips.

Lion dancing competition in Penang

But we didn’t just eat. We did local culture too. Right in the foyer of the apartment building where my friend was staying, they held a wushu and lion dancing competition spread over a couple of days. It was brilliant. How do those lion dancers do it – especially the poor fellows who have to be the bottoms? Hard work!

Reclining Buddha Temple, Penang

Some proper sightseeing was on the agenda too. I was thrilled that Mr3 loved (most) temples. This was one of his favourites – the Reclining or Sleeping Buddha Temple (depends who you ask; also known as Wat Chayamangkalaram). Of course some of the niches filled with ashes aroused some tricky questions but Mr3 still left happy.

Street art in George Town, Penang, by the talented Ernest Zacharevic

In one of those curious blends of cultures, it’s the art of a Lithuanian bloke named Ernest Zacharevic that left the biggest impression of Penang’s capital, George Town, with us. Throughout the city there are little surprises like this amazing street art; we walked and walked and walked to seek out more.

Ubiquitous Chinese New Year decorations in one of Penang’s shopping centres

We were just a couple of weeks early for Chinese New Year – but we still got some benefit because during our stay all the decorations began to go up. Mr3 was especially enthusiastic about them and pointed them out constantly.

A mirror selfie? The four of us in George Town

I love to travel by getting to know the locals and this trip was a twist on that – my friend from Perth who grew up in Penang was going to be there on an extended holiday, which is why we decided to visit. You can see the four of us in this reflection of George Town.

Street art souvenir seller and resident of the jetties of George Town

We strolled the jetties of George Town where people actually live – it’s pretty weird that you can often look right into their living rooms! And some of them take advantage of the tourist traffic with a little shop, like this lady with various products all spun off from the street art.

A coconut to throw during the Thaipusam festival

And while we might have been too early for Chinese New Year, we were just in time to catch the Thaipusam festival before we flew back to Perth. The first day saw us gathering in the streets of George Town to help throw coconuts on the street before the chariot (wending its way from one temple to another) drove past. Lesson learned? You have to throw coconuts down really, really hard to crack them open!

Departures board at Penang’s Airport

And all too soon it was time to leave again. Side note: aren’t departures boards inspiring? I could stare at them for hours daydreaming about where in the world I might fly to next.


  1. I really enjoyed your photos of somewhere so different- tho much is the same 🙂 Loved the street art!

  2. Amazing images, especially the food looks so delicious. It must have been fun throwing coconuts to crack them open!

  3. Thank you for joining us for IGTT – I loved seeing all of your pictures!

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