Penang Travelogue – Day 2
If you have caught us on Day 1 of our Penang Travelogue, you’d know that we spent most of the time munching away. Penang is a popular place for their local hawker fare (how can anyone not eat their food!) and some have even gain popularity till queues are formed, rain or shine! It’s true – that’s what we saw for ourselves on Day 4!
This article takes us through Day 2 where we unearthed hidden gems like hipster cafes and get click-happy whenever a street wall mural gets spotted!
DAY 2: Pinang Peranakan Mansion – Ah Yen Seafood Restaurant – Street Art/Wall Murals – Café 55 – The Camera Museum – Penang Cat Café – The Lost Giant (Hin Bus Depot Art Centre) – 1st Avenue
We started the day with buffet breakfast at the hotel. Decent spread of the usual carbs like plain porridge/sweet potato porridge (baby V’s breakfast!), Fried Bee Hoon (slightly dry and lumpy), Nasi Lemak (not much coconut flavour… quite a disappointment), some spicy stuff to go with the rice, egg station, prata corner, pastries section, some fruits (there were about 3 options, so baby V had papaya), simple salad, some cheese offerings and yogurt. The café is not very spacious, and expect to wait for high chair if there are several babies. During one of the days, we had to wait to use it, as there were only 3 or 4 to go around. Alternatively, have seen some parents bring a portable fabric seat with seat belts that can work on most regular chairs to convert it into a baby seat. That could be an option when travelling or simply for heading out too.
After a boost of fuel, we head back to change and grab our stuff to get ready to start the day! First stop, Pinang Peranakan Mansion! It WAS a mansion before being converted to a museum by the new owners, and this place was also our own tele-drama, Little Nonya’s location shoot. Pictures of our local celebs are displayed near the entrance too, perhaps to garner the “orhhhhh” from Singaporeans and those who have caught the show :P
Entrance fee is RM$20/adult and free for children. Complimentary guided tours are encouraged so the guides (interestingly, most of them were Filipinos) share and explain about the monuments, antiques and Peranakan culture. The new owners are not related to the actual owners and the new peeps pretty much left the place intact with minimal changes. So, what you see now is pretty much “as is” – the quality of furniture and furnishing were real good to last through the generations!
Check out the tons of jewellery the Nonya ladies had to pile on themselves on their wedding day! The more gold there was on her, the better it was for face value. Imagine putting on weight on yourself like bags of
rice sugar (I think the guide said there was a minimum of 5kg to wear??) – feel tired just thinking of it! And the ladies had to undergo tests prior to getting married – sewing and cooking are definitely on the list. Guess I should count myself lucky not to be born during those time! :S
And of course, there will be a gift shop for mementos. We got ourselves fridge magnets as our usual holiday gift for the home. There were pretty teapot sets, random stuff like scarves, keychain with Chinese surnames (which my mum got and I didn’t stop her because she says it’s rare to find hers), paintings, pens etc. It seems like stuff from all over are put here for sale, and i’m not usually a fan of such stuff. The magnets were really cute and unique to the place though… *excuses* Forgive me for the blur shot; was trying to balance baby V in my other hand and Samsung Note 3’s camera is not exactly like iPhone’s….
We continued our exploration in the other rooms to check out more antiques. Really good stuff that last over the years.
Well, when a baby’s gotta sleep, a baby’s gotta sleep. Daddy takes turns to be the makeshift cradle. Oh, that pram there was just too apt!
Getting up to level 2, we ventured into the masters’ rooms and huge hallway. Did you notice those Peranakan floor tiles? They are the EXACT ones from Day 1! Colourful and still vibrant-looking! Even the parquet on level 2 was still sturdy and looks good.
We spent quite awhile there venturing the area and looking at the actual items in the home like their different rooms for the masters, guest rooms, kitchen and entertainment rooms. The servants had to go around the house via a different stairway too. After touring the place, we decided to go for an early lunch, so Tonny suggested a pretty new place (“fresh seafood and not expensive” – Tonny) located at the area accessible by their new bridge. Along the drive, we moved into the slightly village-like area and saw some farm animals too. It must have taken 40 minutes or so to get to the restaurant. Food was quite forgettable, and none of us remembered the name of the restaurant thereafter. LOL. My sister managed to get hold of its name, for those interested – Ah Yen Seafood Restaurant.
After our less-than-satisfying lunch, we headed back to the mainland in search of indie cafes. My sister researched prior to our trip and read about some popular ones that got quite abit of visits, so we decided to try our luck. The best part, there were also street art/wall murals in the vicinity of those cafes that we were visiting. Just nice for a leisurely hunt after a hot cuppa and desserts.
Kopi here we come! It was a dreamy kinda day as the clouds were gathering and it looked set to rain anytime. Nothing beats a cup of roasted beans (and treats!) for the laidback afternoon – Café 55 aka 55 Café & Restaurant
Yup, that’s a street art along the streets of Penang too! Thought that there are only those hand-drawn masterpieces right? Those wall paintings are synonymous with Penang – mention street art/wall murals, most would resonate that with the coloured paintings, and the new metal kids on the
blocks walls are usually lesser known.
These metal art installations are “welded iron wall caricatures that describe the prevailing colloquial demeanour of the early settlement days that gave memorable moniker to the streets and landmarks of Georgetown Icons today. Like voices from the past, they creatively symbolize the relationship the people have in their daily lives with these landmarks that stand to this day.” -extracted from Tourism Penang. Apparently there are 52 of them in Georgetown, so… happy hunting! Their locations are mapped out in the above link, so you may wish to keep a copy to ease the navigation when in Penang.
After the overrated coffee break, we ventured along the streets to the Cat Café to meet my sister and her bf. Some sightings as we strolled. Do take note that it’s a small lane where vehicles can turn into anytime. Be careful with baby in stroller. Alternatively, a carrier can help ease those nerves.
As we trawled that stretch, we spotted The Camera Museum and decided to enter. We were toying around the ground level (free entry) and stepped to the back area where a gift shop and café were. The actual museum is located on level 2, and entrance fee applies: RM20/adult, RM$10/senior citizen & student.
Just a few doors away, there’s the Penang Cat Café. Expect all things catty in there – plushies, figuirines, clothes, keychains and more! Shop is on ground level and café is upstairs. Shoes are to be left at the foot of the stairs on the first floor. Ditto for strollers too. The steps are rather steep so do be careful if you have babies, toddlers and senior folks with you. I went up alone just to catch a glimpse of the place and to snap pictures, half expecting kitties purring at my ankles. LOL! The seating area upstairs is small and cosy, with a separated area from the felines, so customers can view them from the outside.
After exploring this stretch, Tonny proposed to bring us to a new secret hideout! He says that it’s a new and interesting place that not many would know of, unless they were locals or seasoned visitors.
From the outside, we couldn’t make out what the place entailed. It looked like an abandoned garage or something, or probably a place where breakdancers practiced their nifty footworks. Tonny kept assuring us by saying “go in and see”, so we entered The Lost Giant (Hin Bus Depot Art Centre) not knowing what to expect.
There, a hidden gem! With quite a few wall paintings and art installations, this place must be visited if you are on a quest to unearth all the street art! Here’s a map to the locations of the street art around Georgetown. This is a Google location map of where the metal sculptures and painted wall murals are – alongside with their names! And just as we were about to hop on the car, it started to drizzle a little. Since the weather was dreary, we decided to head indoors and settle our dinner there as well. We made our way to one of the newer shopping malls in Penang – 1st Avenue. Urbanites will love this place because the key fashion players are housed here too – say hello to Uniqlo, H&M (there’s baby’s section too! And there was some sale going on when we were there, baby V was nursing/sleeping while mummy went shopping LOL!. As expected, we bought a couple of baby clothes… for our trip to Aussie in Dec), Cotton On, Charles & Keith etc. While we shopped, dad and mum went for a foot massage at the shopping mall next door – Pranging Mall – which is connected to 1st Avenue by a linkbridge. Pranging Mall is a stark contrast from 1st Avenue – it is somewhat similar to our City Plaza in Singapore and Sungei Wang Plaza in KL.
We were very lucky to be indoors, because it started raining heavily towards the evening! Food options wasn’t fantastic and the Japanese eateries like Sakae Sushi had a queue as the place was quite small. We ended up at Old Town White Coffee, which wasn’t the best option since we have it in SG too. Haha, but oh well. And it seems that the food standard was different from what we get in SG too.
Only managed to snap pictures of our own food as mum’s meal and drink took eons to come. Appetite lost due to the waiting and they got her the wrong drinks – her drink was sold out (?!) and they happily replaced it with some random drink (which she doesn’t take, otherwise she might have just accepted it) and then they had to make another one again. Oh well, so we dined while baby V had bits of my
boring-looking chicken kway teow soup (rinsed in hot water) and some of her puffs.
Aeon Big was right beside Old Town White Coffee, so the mother in me got a little excited to check out what they had and possibly grab some fruits for baby V. The supermarket was kinda dim and some sections seemed a little messy, but they did have a fair selection of fresh food, organic food, baby food, baby necessities (baby care, snacks, formula, toiletries etc), and even a corner for kitchen and home knick knacks like cutlery, storage boxes etc. Dad bought some seedless grapes, which baby V loved so much and she kept snacking on them over the next few days. Luckily we had pre-arranged with Tonny to pick us – the huge downpour was so bad, some roads were flooded as high as shin level!
We headed back to the hotel to wash up and end the night. Today’s meals seemed lackluster – what happened to all that famous Penang food we were supposed to chow down?! Day 3’s dinner earned a unanimous thumbs up from our family – stick around to find out which place stole our hearts and tummies!