PEARL OF THE ORIENT

PEARL OF THE ORIENT

There is no reason to not visit Penang in Malaysia, especially if you are looking to revisit your history books or even an adventure-filled vacation. Nafisa Lokhandwala explores this tropical paradise through her lens.

Penang, on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia, is a popular tourist destination for a reason. With a one-week holiday at my University, I headed out for a three-day, solo trip to visit Penang during the Chinese New Year. I didn’t want to miss all the festivities that Penang is known for during this occasion, attracting tourists from all over the world. But the New Year celebrations may have been just incidental for the adventure freak in me, for I couldn’t help but make plans to discover the scope of adventure sports here. And I wasn’t disappointed.

1. After checking in at the guesthouse where I had booked into, I headed to the Batu Ferinnghi Beach in George Town, around noon, to indulge in my favourite water sports—parasailing, jet skiing and banana boating. (Photo 1 & 2)

2. Like an adventure starved explorer I headed to my next stop, Taman Negara, a National Forest, where I trekked until I reached Turtle Beach. The sight of the waters had a calming effect on me. (Photo 3-5)

3. For all the adventure I wait to explore, I am still a foodie to the core. So in the evening, it was time to head out to discover the food joints. And what better place than Gurney Drive, a popular seafront promenade well-known for its eateries. (Photos 6-10) Anticlockwise: An assortment of chicken meatballs, beef meatballs and chicken meatballs, pork meatballs, BBQ squids, coconut ice-cream and mutton chops.

4. After a goodnight’s rest and packed with a good breakfast, I stepped out into the second day, which was all about exploring the streets of George Town. The vibrant and colourful buildings in the city set it apart from anywhere else in the country I had yet been to. (Photo 11-16)

5. These streets behold some famous, life-like murals that bring travellers from around the world. (Photo 17-18)

6. With a map in hand, I walked on, marvelling at the heritage buildings like (Anticlockwise) the High Court of Penang, Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower, the famous George Town World Heritage Incorporated, St. George’s Church and the Kapitan Keling Mosque. (Photos 19-23)

7. The evening was reserved for a visit to the Buddhist Temples, including the most famous of them, Wat Chayamangkalaram Thai Buddhist Temple. (Photos 24-26)

8. Then, I visited the smaller shrines too, like the Sima Shrine, which are right across the road from the Wat Chayamangkalaram.
(Photos 27-29)
9. Certain that I wanted to end my three-day trip on a high, on the third morning, I first visited Kek Lok Si Temple, one of the largest temples in south-east Asia. (Photos 30 & 31)

10. It was then time to go hiking, right up the Penang Hilltop, for the panoramic views of George Town it offered. It was only befitting that I ended a soul-enriching vacation thus. (Photo 32)

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