By Timothy Tye
What’s so special about Penang? It’s a question I often ask myself, when I see foreigners coming to buy properties here, or deciding to make Penang their second home. They would tell me that Penang is one of the most liveable places in Asia – blessed with a low cost of living, friendly locals who welcome foreigners and a high number of population who communicate in English. They tell me about the things I take for granted. Here are five of the top five places you need to visit in Penang.
1. KHOO KONGSI CLAN HOUSE
The Khoo Kongsi clan house charts the Khoo genealogy through the generations and also houses a museum and opera stage. Visit during its monthly open nights, when the lanterns are lit up in the courtyards and Chinese performances are held.
2. STREET ART TRAIL
Georgetown’s street art trail has grown since its inscription as a World Heritage site. From Ernest Zacharevic’s murals to the steel rod caricatures of everyday Penang life, don’t miss the famous ‘Two children on a bicycle’ mural on Armenian Street.
3. PENANG HILL
Take the new funicular train up Penang Hill and look out onto fantastic views of the island. Also known as Bukit Bendera, it is the oldest British hill station in Southeast Asia and is now a popular jogging, hiking and recreational site.
4. CLAN JETTIES
The Clan Jetties is home to a distinctive community who dwell in wooden stilt houses above the sea, many who were immigrants from 19th-century China. Take a walk around the Lim and Chew Jetties and admire their unique way of life.
5. BATU FERRINGHI BEACH
This popular beach resort is situated along the coastal road north of the island and is lined with a string of international five-star hotels. Take a drive up the winding road, soak up the sun and enjoy shopping at the nightly bazaar.