Pulau Penang – Malaysia
The lack of stunning beaches or isolation in Penang is more than made up by fascinating culture and history of the place. Chai vendors with shiny convoluted brass urns, market stalls selling clothes, arts and crafts, food, drink and herbal remedies, prostitutes, all jostle side by side on the pavements plying their trade. For me the food markets, stalls and restaurants are better and more diverse than those in KL and a lot cheaper. Chinese, Indian and Malay, French, Italian, and mainstream Western – it’s all good.
But it is the old colonial quarter that I am constantly drawn back to when visiting this island. Old Georgetown is full of character – tumbling run down colonial houses, buildings restored to their former glory, ancient temples and mosques, a pretty little square in the middle of it all, quiet back streets. A really nice place to wander around and happen upon things.
When I’m exhausted by all that walking in the heat I catch a bus to the end of the island and take a walk through the Penang national park. Here you will find the empty beaches – bar a few schoolies who are in the know. There is a basic camping site a couple of toilets and a shower and that’s it oh and the odd butterfly or too