I had a chance to roam the streets of George Town for a second time this year during a company workshop in Penang last week.
Nothing much has changed, really, except that this time I wasn’t on my own – I had 2 side kicks, for better or for worse.
I met colleagues Alan and Max at our hotel lobby. We were wearing berms and flip-flops.
The time was 9am and the morning was cloudy. We took a cab straight to Armenian Street or Lebuh Armenian.
Since we had a full day to spend, we simply decided to venture out there with no expectations.
Lebuh Armenian is the most popular street in the inner city of George Town and within the core zone of the George Town Unesco World Heritage Site.
According to the locals, the street derived its name from an Armenian family who once stayed at the junction of the now Armenian Street and Beach Street in the early part of the 19th century.
It was Alan’s first trip to Penang. He was very impressed by the architecture of George Town and the mishmash of its food, people and culture. He nearly left his sole behind.
Max was also visibly on cloud nine.
He was more than willing to pose for a shot or two, like a runway model.
These creative street arts have inspired him to a great extent.
The 3 of us decided to rent a 4 wheel bike. It turned out to be a wise decision and a good investment.
Max turned on his charm and bargained for a good price. We paid RM40 for 1.5 hours of leg exercise.
Max took charge of the wheels and took the left seat.
Alan, holding a map, was the V-Comm, on the right. Both must paddle nonetheless.
I sat on a little seat in front of the bike, looking kinda foolish like a human bumper.
But I was feeling thrilled, clicking my D750 at unsuspecting strangers and random works of art.
We spent our morning whizzing past Chinese temples in Little India, mosques and street arts on the walls of crumbling shophouses.
With Alan’s superb map reading skills, we arrived at many popular street arts.
It was no doubt that we were sweating at 30 degrees celcius.
Still, fun and merriment were plenty with the two jokers, who nearly drove me right into drains and incoming traffic, while laughing like hyenas.
As it was a Sunday, there were many locals and tourists.
Many of them rented the 4 wheel bike too.
Most of the tourists were Chinese.
They came in big tour groups and really enjoyed posing. Even their photographers can pose well.
Of course, there were also Thais, Taiwanese, Koreans, and Malaysians from other states.
Some were wearing hats, many were fanning themselves, but despite the heat, all wore excited expressions.
Next, we entered a gift shop and picked souvenirs for friends.
There were traditional toys of different sizes and colours. I bought 2 wind-up toys for my friends.
After a few steps outside, we decided to have a short break, again, and seeked refuge inside a traditional coffeeshop. The coffee aroma was tempting.
I like the natural ambience of Penang’s coffeeshop. From the washout walls to old posters and paintings to the lovely Teresa Teng’s classics.
I saw some old faithful customers.
Of course, there were new visitors like us, eager to experience the much talked-about coffee and charcoal toasted bread that Penang was so famously known for.
Thankfully, nobody was hunting for seats or taking cover from this humid weather.
Alan and I ordered Teh Ice. Max had Teh Ice Kosong.
Feeling half-empty, we stopped by at Chillax, a mini cafe by a quiet alley.
The 3 of us looked at one another, nodded and instinctively sat down as if we can read one anothers’ minds.
The owner, a young local my age, happily took photos for us.
I told him I would give him a short mention of Chillax here in my blog and he smiled from ear to ear for the rest of the day.
But he hastily turned down our request for a free Milo!
Chillax lah, bro!
We happily ‘chillaxed’ for the next 20 min before searching for the Upside Down Musuem at Kimberly Street.
Here everything is Upside Down, or Terbalik. In Chinese its called 颠倒博物馆
Everything is well organize. For tourists, the entrance fee is steep at RM30 just to see things upside down. If you are a local, you only pay half.
We queued for about 30 mins. There were lockers for shoes.
It wouldnt do justice to visit Upside Down Museum without loading your camera or phone battery to the fullest.
What’s the point of appreciating the artifacts without taking photos?
Their staff will help take as many photos at your request.
It is an interesting place to go in groups, but I don’t think you would go again for the second time.
We had Char Kway Teow and Nasi Kandar for lunch at Lorong Baru.
If you are lazy to travel all the way to Gurney Drive, this is where you can find tasty – but not necessarily cheap – street food. The place is especially crowded at night, when all the stalls are opened.
According to Max, “The dirtier the place, the tastier the food”. All I know was he was formerly a Chef and I heard his food was unusually tasty…
It was hard to find a seat here and the queue for some stalls was very long. I think Bro Hong (not in picture) queued a good 20 mins for his roasted duck.
After lunch, we hit the streets in search of the potent Penang durians.
We came to Ah Teik durian stall and bargained (unsuccessfully) . Still we put on the gloves, pried open our Musang King and Butter Durians and forgot all our table manners.
We took a 30 min walk back to our hotel.
Along the way, we saw the common everyday sights of Penang, which most tourists would not have noticed.
I walked beside Alan and Max, I could still smell the top grade Musang King from their burps.
That’s the end of our half day adventure. We retired to our hotel and went our separate ways for dinner.
Thanks for dropping by! Selamat Jalan!
Yep! That’s a short one, that’s really all, folks!
To see more pictures of Penang, click here