📸 — Georgetown, Penang Island, Malaysia

Our Little Detour🌏✈️ 👫
A Little Detour
Published in
12 min readMar 25, 2019


We learned a lot the last few days. Georgetown it is the first British settlement in all of South East Asia. The old town of Georgetown (the 2nd biggest city in Malaysia) is a UNESCO world heritage site since 2008 and has architecture that dates back before WWII. The culture mix here is very diverse: Chinese, Indian, Malay and a ton of expats who all live together peacefully, respectfully (at least from what we’ve seen) and religiously.

The heat was pretty intense, +37 degrees but feels like 40 with the humidity made it hard to go out in peak heat hours of the day. But we enjoyed exploring in the later afternoon and took advantage of all the great street food markets with a long list of local food to try.

Penang is often filled with local tourists on the weekends, driving up from Kuala Lumpur or surrounding around to enjoy the food capital of the country. But as of this past Friday… it was a school holiday so the city went from pretty empty to packed in the blink of an eye.

See more on our website www.alittledetour.ca🌏✈️👫

Fun Fact: Maeghan’s mom spent a few years in Penang as a kid growing up (left is Grandma & Mom!). So as we boarded the boat to Penang Island — Maeghan was stoked to try and live a bit of her family’s childhood adventures.
Ferry ride across was 1RM (3RM = $1 CAD)
Welcome to Georgetown
Food was first on the agenda: and we did lots of street food. It is common that you sit in these open food courts and all the street vendors come up to you with their menus to order from.
Our favorite coconut treats.
Love lane is where all the tourists go, because there is beer! Malaysia is a majority muslim country so it is common to not find beef, pork or alcohol in most areas.
Penang is also famous for its street art. Every time you turn there is something new, beautiful or creative.

It was crazy hot during the days, so most of our adventures started after 4 pm… we would park in a cafe and work on some stuff to keep busy.

Our 3rd day in Georgetown, Maeghan had to go to the hospital for some antibiotics. The Gleneagles hospital was the nicest hospital we’ve ever seen! Beautiful glass and wooden design everywhere. The pharmacy, laboratory, doctors, and payment center were all on different floors, so you run around the hospital quite a bit.

Two interesting things happened there:

  1. When we arrived at the hospital, they took out a brochure of all the doctors and their specialties and I was able to pick the one I wanted.
  2. They asked what religion I was to best help me (Malaysia has many religions here, so it makes sense that they would ask but caught us by surprise).
Once you are out of the old town… the high rise buildings are incredible. So many stacked beside each other… 40+ stories high!

I didn’t take any pictures of it.. but they are working to build a new beach — they (what looks like..) imported sand from another location and are building a beach that connects to a bunch of new high-end beach resorts that are being built. The occupancy is mostly vacant in these big beach apartments and high rise buildings… but it is foreign investment from outside the country that sit on these properties… as no one in town can afford them.

On some days, we went to one of the many malls to walk around. Mainly because their food courts are awesome. And when it’s 40 degrees outside, some AC is always welcome. That’s probably why shopping is Malaysia’s national sport.
Maeghan got her first 3D Latte art. Everyone at the cafe got something different, bears, lions, cows etc… but it was so cute, she didn’t want to drink it!
Hotpot! We found a stellar Chinese restaurant that has amazing spicy dumplings and soup dumplings.

We were walking back to the house one night when we stumbled upon an open art gallery where you can come in — and just paint! There was lots of artwork to be enjoyed and because they were just about to close — no one was there.

Our guest house had 5 cats that all would come to our room because of the air conditioning. Maeghan was annoyed because they would beg her for attention, then she would give it… and then they would want nothing to do with her and angry for touching them. Cats… so moody!
Beautiful Chinese temple.
Maeghan also had a rough time
More food courts.

The doors and windows in the old town were so different, colorful and fun. Maeghan wanted to do a photography series of doors and windows.

There was this small house that opens up in the evenings for community karaoke. It was special, to say the least.

Indian food was on point!

We decided to check out Penang hill.. you ride a trolly cart all the way to the top. But when you are waiting to get down… they show you a documentary about the time where the trolly car you are about to go on crashed due to a massive storm that caused a landslide …. which was only 3 years ago!! But the view from the top was worth it…even if the ride down was more stressful than it had to be.

Kids, this is what happens when you don’t have a tri-pod and refuse to buy one.. your photos turn out weird.

Maeghan’s mom loves gold, so we tried to find the best place to buy it.. turns out it was not as easy to find… until you get to Little India and it is everywhere!

This is what they call the sidewalk. But it's hard to walk on it as there are often motorbikes, plants, and homeowners personal belongings.
More of the door and window series.
No filter, just walking home and blown away by this pink sky.
The way the old town is built is that you walk in front of everyone’s house since the roads are filled with cars. right in front of the houses, is the sewer system… and it smells rancid! One day it rained and the streets flooded — along with all the sewage. Note: this is the most encounters we’ve ever had with rats.
The Jetty Clans became a meeting place for the Chinese immigrants that came to this part of the world to escape the poverty in China during the 19th century. Each clan is identified by the family name and only those with that surname were allowed to stay there. There are a total of seven jetties still intact today.
A huge lizard jumped off the dock and into the water… it started swimming in between the houses. Dogs were also jumping in as it was 40 something degrees this day! The water was gross, but I am not going to lie, we also considered jumping in.

We’ve been doing lots of planning for Nepal but thought our last few days we should check out some more of the temples/churches as they have so many. Across the street from each other, you have a Chinese Buddhist church and a Bernese Buddhist church.

I’ve seen mosaic design before, but this place had reflecting colored pieces, which was wild.
Laying down Buddha
A girl and her dragons.
The Burmese temple
The woodwork was incredible.
We met Lizzy in Kuala Lumpur at our guesthouse, and she was in Penang the same time as us! We might even catch up with her in Nepal since we apparently like to do the same traveling things.
Went to the cheapest place in Penang to buy beer, costs 5Rm = less than 2$ to buy a cold one.

We went walking around when the sewers were on fire… a lot of stuff hides in there, and the vents along the street were all smoking and it smelled terrible. We decided to leave in case anything decided to blow up or get out of hand.

Some malls are nicer than others… this one was definitely an experience.
Maeghan’s favorite food is Mexican… and we found the best Mexican joint that we have had outside of Mexico!
We spent a lot of time at the Black Kettle for their faster wifi and good coffee. Also, it seemed to be the only place that was mosquito free
Last day, we made way to the Kek Lok Si Temple — the largest Buddhist temple in South East Asia. They are still building it and it was quite the site to see.
We hung a ribbon for safe travels. We’re on to the next place!

See more on our website www.alittledetour.ca🌏✈️👫



Our Little Detour🌏✈️ 👫
A Little Detour

hi there! Maeghan & Oli here — we’re checking in from our around-the-world tour. See pictures here, read content here 👉www.alittledetour.ca