It’s a day I’ll never forget. I flew to Phuket that afternoon and would ride into Penang, Malaysia via the bus that following morning. Everyone I’d met in Bangkok kept raving to me about how amazing the Island of Phuket would be so the plan was to stay in Penang for one day and ride back to Phuket. Plans quickly changed shortly after I finished taking care of some visa business in Penang.
I needed to renew my passport which was the purpose of me even being in Penang in the first place but I didn’t want to ride back on the bus it was infested with…. ROACHES. Even now as I type this, I’m chuckling to myself and I’m also feeling chills remembering that day because if you know me you know my fear bugs are like no other. I actually jumped on some random guy’s lap after seeing a roach crawling in my chair. I don’t even know how or why roaches would be in a vehicle.
So after I renewed my visa, I opted out of riding back on the bus and decided I would fly back to Phuket instead. The driver said okay and everyone else boarded the bus.
So, now I’m in this small, unfamiliar town by myself. I didn’t know where I was going but I had the entire day to spare since I’d booked an evening flight. I started walking down the street and there was just something about the energy of Penang that felt so beautiful to me. It felt different than the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, which is where I was living at the time.
I stopped by this little store and exchanged some Thai Baht for Malaysian ringgit and kept it moving.
Within a few steps, I saw a really nice hotel with a tour van. The lady at the front desk handed me a brochure and asked me where I wanted to go. I picked my places and within minutes I had a driver touring me around Penang, Malaysia for the day.
Hiap was my driver for the day. He was so sweet and in between drives to our destinations, he shared so many stories about the Malaysian culture. One story I’ll never forget is when he told me Malaysians love to buy singing birds. He said they’ll pay top dollar for a bird who can really sing because they can compete against other birds for money. They even offer voice training for birds. lol So super cool to me.
First stop: Penang Hill
There’s a short train ride to get to the top and the picture above was my view. Once you’re there, you can eat at the restaurant at there, grab some coconut ice cream (which is soooo yum!) or admire the gorgeous scenery. I did all the above. I’d never seen anything like this so I took a while to take everything in. From the beautiful flowers to the potent earthy smell, I enjoyed every single second.
After about an hour or so, I met Hiap back at the Van, and we were off to our next destination. I wanted to visit the Spice Garden but it started raining pretty badly and he didn’t think it would be a good idea so we went to the Chocolate factory instead.
When you walk into the factory, the employees are waiting with chocolate in hand guiding you from section to section and giving you samples eat. It was like chocolate heaven! I ended up buying the chocolate set in the picture above. Not only were they some of the best chocolates I’d ever tasted in my life, the packaging and overall aesthetics of the chocolate were so beautiful. You can tell they put a lot of love into each bite.
*Note: This is a tourist shop so it’s their job to sell to you. Some tourists don’t like this but I didn’t mind it at all because it was a really great experience and my “NO” game is mighty strong.
After the chocolate factory, we visited a fabric factory where you can pretty much get anything made by hand. All you do is pick the fabric and tell the seamstress what you want. I didn’t get anything made because I had limited time.
After Hiap and I left the Fabric factory, he took me to meet what would soon become my love. Most Malaysians know him as Georgetown but I call him George. It was love at first sight. This little town completely stole my heart the moment Hiap dropped me off.
So, for clarity’s sake: Georgetown is a small little area in Penang. There are streets filled with souvenir shops and street markets full of food stalls, stores to buy clothes, artists painting on the street; it was a Creative’s dream come true. Every corner I turned was filled with so much color. There were murals on the walls and temples on the street corners. The smell of smoky Asian incense filled the air.
As I intentionally took in every single sound and smell, I began hearing acoustics just a few steps away. As I walked closer I see a small crowd starting to gather and then I see a man playing some sort of instrument.
I can literally close my eyes and feel myself back in this beautiful place. Penang, Malaysia has a special place in my heart. The day before, I'd fallen in love with this little town and decided to stay an extra day to explore instead of going back to Thailand. Everywhere I went I saw so many different skin tones from the lightest to some of the most beautiful darkest blue. The people would smile and greet me. Oh and the music!? It was amazing! I know I'll be back sooner than later. ❤️
There were so many beautiful people with various skin tones – from the darkest blue skin to the beautiful brown hues. Some people would stare at me but most smiled and even engaged in conversation.
I think I spent a little over an hour in Georgetown before I had to be at the airport but that was one of the best hours of my life. I’d visited Georgetown two times after that and each time, I fell more in love with this beautiful, charming town. Thank you George, for stealing my heart.
I don’t know if Georgetown would be everyone’s vibe and have heard some people say they didn’t like it (particularly nomads). Because it’s a small town, one of complaints I’ve heard people mention was pertaining to the wifi not being the greatest but if you’re strictly vacationing and not working, give George a shot and let me know if it had the same effect on you as it did me.
Check out some more of the pics from other visits to Georgetown