Getting to Georgetown is pretty easy. It has an international airport and hosts flights from all over Malaysia and its neighbouring countries.
One can also come here by bus, which comes from all over Malaysia. The bus from KL usually takes about 5 hours and is quite a pleasant ride.
The best way, however in my mind, is to come here by ferry. From KL, we took a 11pm train to Butterworth (Hence saving on the hotel costs that night). We reached Butterworth early in the morning and then walked to the ferry terminal which is located right next to the train station. The ferry till Georgetown took about 10 minutes and set us back by 1.20 RMs, which is dirt cheap when compared to the prices of the flights.
Finding a cheap place to stay.
Finding a cheap place to stay is not difficult as there are plenty of B&Bs, hotels and hostels all over Georgetown. Two of the best places to find such accommodations are Chulia Street and Love Lane. Dorm beds can cost as low as 8RMs while single rooms start from RMs 40.
I stayed at the Hong Ping hotel, near Love Lane. Even though the hotel didn’t offer wifi in the rooms (it was available only in the reception area), but the staff were extremely helpful and the view outside the window, overlooking the city was just brilliant.
What to see and do
Georgetown, like other small cities in Malaysia, has a “sleepy little town” feel to it. It is not hard to find people, mostly old men, sitting on a chair near the sidewalks all day, with a paper or a book in hand, drifting in and out of sleep.
One can walk around the city with a map and see all the landmarks. I believe the real charm of Georgetown lies in the quiet little cafes and bistros where you can spend the day just sipping coffee and trying some great local food. The food in Georgetown is great and is probably the biggest attraction. From the roadside roti stalls to fancy restaurants, the city will not disappoint a food lover.
How to spend an awesome day in Georgetown
- As any awesome day should begin, wake up early, walk to the Esplanade, enjoy the cool sea breeze while sipping on some coffee.
- For breakfast, head to one of the many Chinese restaurants, and order some rice cakes and dumplings.
- Next, use a map to walk around the city and see all the landmarks. Enjoy the colonial feel and appreciate the wonderful architecture. The National Museum will help you understand the rich history of Penang, and why Georgetown is rated so highly. The streets are labelled and the city can be a great place for learning to read maps.
- For lunch, go to Little India and order some Tandoori chicken or some South Indian dishes.
- After lunch, head to Prangin mall for some shopping and more importantly some cool conditioned air. On the top floor of the mall is a gaming arena and you can try playing against the locals. They are pretty good, especially at Tekken. You can also catch a movie.
- In the evening, right outside the mall is a White Coffee outlet. Try it.
- Then head to the Upper Penang Road for some drinks and live music.
- For dinner, head to the sea food restaurants in area for some tiger lobsters.
- Then visit the British pub on the Chulia Street for some more music, and friendly conversations. When you see your bar mates, dancing on the empty road outside to some boy band track, that’s your cue to leave.
10.Have some authentic Chinese noodles from the roadside cart, which is impossible to miss due to the crowd and the pungent smell, and then call it a night.
Day well spent. Wait for imaginary polite applause.