On Penang Island, we went to George Town. It is a very nice city, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
For two days we walked the streets without ever getting tired. Between street-art of all kinds (painting, sculpture, metal figurines…), temples, Chinatown, Indian district, rue des backpackers and others, the city is immersed in a pleasant and friendly atmosphere where life is good. Not to mention the huge 6-storey shopping centre that Malaysians love!
We spent several hours looking for the paintings on the hidden walls all over the city. Among the most famous, that of the two children on a bicycle. In fact it is a bike that is half in the wall and the children are painted on top which gives an impression of relief, frankly it is well done! We still passed it twice without seeing it! Although the drawings are beginning to fade for some, they are pretty and we really enjoyed hunting for street art!
Among the other things to see in the city, there are the “jetties”, which are houses built on stilts along the riverbank but they are beautiful houses with all the necessary comfort. There is also the Geoge Town fort to visit but we didn’t do it because it was not free and in reality there is not much to see.
We tasted a Malaysian “specialty” and it was written on the panel that it was a very famous thing here but in fact we only saw it once, it was iceball. It is actually crushed ice that is worked to form a large ball of very hard ice, we plant a stick in the middle and water it with the syrup of our choice. How do you eat it? So we didn’t find the technique right away, we tried to lick the ice and even bite into it but it wasn’t tiptop! Finally we were shown the technique: we have to suck one side of the ball to get the syrup (meanwhile the syrup that we don’t suck flows on the other side of the ball) and then we turn the ball over and start over! It was fun, we liked it!
Penang Island was not planned in our base itinerary, we were supposed to go directly to Langkawi Island a little further north but finally we didn’t regret it! We just had a little trouble getting out of there. As usual, we had quickly found out about the buses and we thought we would see at the bus station. Except that in Penang, the station is not very close to George Town, you must first take a local bus to get there and with traffic it takes about 45 minutes. And there is no luck, once we arrived at the station, the bus we wanted to take was already full and the others only left in the evening (it was 9am). We were briefly told that there was a free ferry from George Town to the mainland where there was another station with buses to anywhere and anytime. We took the local bus again to go back from where we came! In total we lost 3 hours before moving from George Town whereas if we had known right away about the ferry it would have been easier! But it’s part of the adventure and anyway it’s hard to always plan everything!