Penang is a very unique place with it’s own culture and amazing views. The three main ethnicities here are the Chinese, Indians and Malays. Penang is also known as “Pearl of the Orient”.
Here are a few things to do in Penang –
Kek Lok Si – largest budhist temple of southeast asia – combines Chinese, Thai and Burmese architectural styles.
The Goddess of Mercy Temple, also known as Kuan Yin Teng is by far the most intricate temple I have ever been to. This historic temple was built in the 1700’s and is located in George Town. Add this one to your list of sight seeing in Penang!
Penang Hill Railway – Launched in 1923. Penang Hill – approximately 6500 ft in height. It’s quite steep and I was a bit anxious but it’s truly an exhilarating experience. The views from top of the hill are incredible. You will be able to see almost all of Penang. I highly recommend going there before sunset so you are able to see the view during daylight, along with the sunset and also the city lit up at night. You won’t be disappointed!
I really liked cruising through George Town and spotting pieces of art work everywhere.
As mentioned earlier, Penang is also Malaysia’s food capital so if you’re a foodie, you’re in for a treat!
For those of you who don’t know this place – let me introduce you!
The Phi Phi Islands is a tiny island located in the KRABI district of Thailand. This island has beautiful turquoise waters and is completely secluded from the modern world. The streets are so narrow that there are no vehicles there.
5 Reasons why you must go there –
1. If you want to disconnect from technology and the urban life – welcome to Phi Phi Islands! Internet is not the greatest here. You will find wifi in some areas but the connection is not the best. Just relax and enjoy the beach vibes.
2. The viewpoint is absolutely stunning! It’s a 40 min hike and really worth the view!
3. Explore Maya Bay and the bioluminescent (glow in the dark) planktons! Maya Bay is an island close to Phi Phi. You can take a island hopping trip that takes you there. I have been to Maya Bay, however, only during the day. Definitely want to check out the planktons while camping in Maya Bay at night.
4. Nightlife is great! If you like music, people and entertainment then I recommend checking out the main beach at night. There are many bars lined up along the beach and each have their own entertainment. It gets pretty lively there!
5. It is close to many other islands, including Langkawi in Malaysia! You can easily take the ferry and hop on to the next island, making overnight stops and finally arriving in Langkawi (click here for blog on Langkawi).
My first time in Langkawi was in 2011, when I first stepped into Malaysia. I instantly fell in LOVE. I think Langkawi is what made me fall hard for Malaysia. I can’t really describe the feeling but it felt something like magic.
I have been here twice and both the times I have done different things and these are memories that will truly be cherished forever. I will share some of them with you.
I stayed at this hotel by the beach and both the times I stayed at the same place as it was super convenient; near shops and restaurants and right by the Pantai Cenang beach!
Shop Duty Free
Langkawi is the only place in Malaysia where you can shop duty free. Everything is unbelievably cheap, including alcohol and cigarettes. Given that Malaysia is an Islamic country, it is the only place in Malaysia where you can drink alcohol freely. It is indeed their domestic holiday destination.
My first activity in Langkawi was the island hopping tour. This is something I did on my own and it was so refreshing. This is why I encourage everyone to explore at least one place on their own.
Learn to love your own company and you will need nothing more in life. You will never feel lonely.
This island hopping tour holds a significant amount of value to my life as it gave me the chance to really focus on an unknown place without knowing anyone or having any technology (for the first time – I’ve done it tons since!). It made me appreciate nature, Langkawi and just the Earth overall.
This tour takes you to a lake where they throw fish as eagles come and pick em from water within a split of a second. It’s pretty amazing. Langkawi is known to have many eagles.
Then we went to the “pregnant” lake. Yes, that’s exactly what they call it! Apparently this is a myth, that if a woman is infertile or having difficulty being pregnant then swimming in this lake will make them fertile. Not sure if this actually works. Let me know if it did for you!
Next stop is this beaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaautiful island where you will see nothing but blue water. You can also see fish from the bridge, without even having to snorkel.
If you rent a car for the day, the driver will actually take you on a tour around the big island. There are some secluded beaches which are very gorgeous. They will also take you to this park and from there you can go to the skybridge.
The cable car will take you 702 m above sea level. When you get to the top, you won’t believe your eyes. It feels like a painting when you look around. It’s indescribable.
The Seven Falls
The driver will also take you to the “seven falls” where you can go walk on a trail that leads to the waterfalls. Along the way you will see many monkeys. Those monkeys are everywhere in Asia, really. Very cheeky but very cute.
The last time I visited Langkawi, I went paragliding and this was the highlight of my trip. I must admit, I was so scared that I prayed the entire time I was up in the sky. BUT, it was THE most amazing and exhilarating feeling EVER. The boat was pulling me and the parachute kept going higher and higher. I was above the sun, looking over the sunset. It was beautiful. Feeling the breeze, flying above the sea, looking over the seashore and the sun on the other side. It was breathtaking. I would do it over and over again.
At night though, I loved being at the beach. Since there isn’t much traffic there at this time, you can hear the silence, the winds and the waves of the sea. To top it off, you can feel the lukewarm water touching your skin while you sit on the soft sand.
And there you have it!
Ohhh and a little tip if you are ever in Asia! There are ways of getting to Langkawi from the Thai islands. Koh Phi Phi is an amazing island and you can certainly take the ferry from there. I prefer getting to Langkawi from Thailand and then making your way to Kuala Lumpur, if you are planning on traveling that part of the world. It is much more preferable than going to Langkawi from KL and then back. Trust me, you will save yourself a journey and a half!
A beautiful sunset in Langkawi can be viewed here:
What can I say about this place? In 2011, I instantly fell in love with Malaysia when I first stepped in. I have been there thrice since, 2015 being the last time there.
Let’s start with the trains from the airport. What a nice and clean train with air conditioner in it. It only took forever long to get where we are today but a “developing” country such as Malaysia had already had this established. I was amazed. WiFi. Let’s talk about that. Malaysia has WiFi everywhere! Like literally. Everywhere! I love it.
Usually I’m not much of a shopper while I’m traveling but the malls in Kuala Lumpur, also known as KL, has many shopping centres which consist of a lot of pretty things. Shoes. OMG. Shoes! So many amazing shoes! I think every time I go there, I end up buying at least 2 pairs of shoes or sandals.
Cyberjaya is one of the outskirts of KL. I stayed there the first couple of times I visited, mainly because I had friends staying there. Cyberjaya is so beautiful. It is quite different than Kuala Lumpur. Personally, I really like Cyberjaya and Putrajaya because they are the prettier cities of Malaysia that have everything you need.
The very first thing that caught my attention there was the little trees which were nicely cut and shaped like mushrooms. I found that so cute!
They have a bridge in Putrajaya which lights up. It switches colours every few seconds. You can walk around on the sidewalk of the bridge and hangout. At night, there’s a nice breeze by the lake and you have a satisfying view of the city.
Kuala Lumpur is just like any other city. Their downtown is very commercial with all brand named stores with lots of people and lots of traffic. What excited me the most there was to see Sephora! I couldn’t believe it! Had a girl moment there.
The Pavilion is a very colourful place. It won’t feel like you’re in a developing country at all. Of course, like any downtown, KL’s is also not so clean. It’s very polluted. This is why I liked Cyberjaya. So neat and clean with less people.
The Petronas Towers
The Petronas Towers, or as they call it the “twin towers” are also downtown. I’ve actually never made an effort to go to the top but it looks beautiful from KLCC.
China Town in Bukit Bintang is a place you can go to for affordable shopping. You can even bargain. Most things are fake brand named products. If you are into that then it’s a great place to shop. Alternatively, you can also buy souvenirs from there. There is a place called Jalan Alor behind Bukit Bintang, where you can go for local food. This place has really good food! If you are looking for an authentic experience, I highly recommend this.
Batu Caves is a train commute away from KL. It’s not a bad journey as you can take the local trains. You can see the temples there and finally climb up the stairs to see the Batu caves. I haven’t seen any bats but mainly monkeys. They are quite amusing so you won’t be bored there! The climb is steep so you will get a workout but its nice to go up to the caves. You will also see many statues there.
Genting highlands is a bus ride away from KL. You will have to take the cable car to go up the hill (1865 m above ) where they built a casino and a theme park. I was a bit skeptical about going on those rides, so I just did some sight seeing and amateur gambling.