Xia's Journey

Peek-a-Boo into Penang

on October 8, 2013

Date of Trip                 :           29 Sept 2013, Sunday to 3 Oct 2013, Thursday.

To                                  :           Jetstar 3K 675, 29 Sept 2013, Sunday, 3.10pm – 4.35pm

Return                          :           Jetstar 3K 676, 3 Oct 2013, Thursday, 5.15pm – 6.40pm

Cost of Flight               :           S$104.22 per pax, with one way 20kg check-in luggage

Accommodation          :           No. 12 Penang Old House

20130929_134858It has been a good 3.5 years since I last travelled with my photo pal, Linda.

Since her hubby would be away during the above said period, we thought we should too!

Flying has always been a bane for her, but I’m glad that she took this baby step to overcome her fear for flying.

IMG_2565With minimal research on-hand, we headed for the information counter at Penang International Airport as soon as we touched down.

From what we gathered at the information counter, we would need to catch bus 401 or 401E costing RM 2.70 to the Bus Terminal at the Jetty.

The buses run on a 30 minutes interval and takes 30 minutes to get to the Jetty.

From the Jetty, we would need to catch Bus No. 204 or 502 costing RM 1.40 to our accommodation.

An airport taxi to town would costs RM 44.70 per cab.

20130929_171427We were contemplating our options when we overheard that the two Japanese ladies queuing behind us were going in the same direction as us to the town !

We waited for them to finish at the information counter before enquiring if they would like to share a cab with us.

Thankfully, they were agreeable. As such, we split the RM 44.70 cab fare amongst the four of us, with each of us contributing RM 11.20.

IMG_2566When we boarded the cab, the driver was reluctant to drop us at two locations although both our accommodations were in town.

We negotiated to alight mid-way between both our accommodations when he suggested that we topped up an additional RM 10 to drop us off at the two accommodations.

We agreed without any hesitation since it only costs an additional RM 2.50 per pax.

We dropped off our two new friends at their accommodation; Muntri Mews before we got to our accommodation; No. 12 Penang Old House on Jalan Phuah Hin Leong.

Accommodation – No. 12 Penang Old House

IMG_2571We rang the bell and there was no one in sight.

We went over to the art gallery a couple of doors away and the owner (Mdm Cheong) very kindly helped us contact the owner.

Coincidentally, the owner’s mum who happened to be at the other unit; No. 8 Penang Old House came over quickly to meet us and brought us to our room.

20130929_181133We had booked a Doraemon-themed room via the Agoda website.

When we were showed our room, I was totally speechless.

It was unlike what I saw on Agoda ~ it was MUCH BETTER than what I saw on Agoda!

There was a huge hand-painted Doraemon with his buddy; Nobita on the wall. The room was fitted with a Doraemon lamp, Doraemon back rests, Doraemon cushions and Doraemon soft toys. It was as like we walked into Doraemon Land. Apart from the Doraemons, the room was clean, neatly furnished with air-conditioning, a ceiling fan and a wall-mounted TV.


This room unfortunately did not come with an attached bathroom and we had to use the common bathroom at the end of the corridor.

The common bathroom was a chic black and white tiles, fully furnished with toiletries and hot shower.

When we went around the house, there were numerous art pieces, retro items, childhood games and antique pieces which gave a distinct flavour to this 1934 years old heritage building.

No 12 Penang Old House II

If you think that this would be an old rickety building with little security, you would be in for a surprise. Planted right at the entrance, was an RFID scan, an auto-lock security gate and a manual pad-lock that you would need to unlock all three before getting in or out of the house.

On the following day, as Linda was not feeling too well, we visited the owner, Mr Koh’s mum who was a Chinese physician for an acupuncture session.

IMG_2634We had at the same time visited two of the other rooms in No. 8 Penang Old House; Totoro and Hello Kitty rooms. Both were double suite rooms.

All the rooms in these two units were hand-painted and conceptualized by Mr Koh and his sibling.

20130930_102739If you are looking at an “out-of-the-ordinary accommodation”, I would say this would be the place.

Though we are out travelling most of the time and spend minimal time in the accommodation, the little time we spend in a ‘happy room’ helps to brighten one’s day and set the tone right for a fresh new day.

IMG_2814Apart from the rooms which impressed us much, we were also heightened by the kindly staffs that we meet every morning for breakfasts.

Located a few doors away, breakfasts were served under a shelter outside the Art Gallery.

It was often a simple but heartwarming affair when greetings are exchanged.

They were ever so helpful and friendly in providing us with recommendations and directions on how and where to go.

Name of Accommodation : No. 12 Penang Old House
Cost : S$43 for a twin share, per room, per night – Doraemon room. Different prices for different rooms. Please check out their website indicated below or Agoda’s website.
Location : No. 12 Jalan Phuah Hin Leong, 10050 Penang, Malaysia. No. 8 Jalan Phuah Hin Leong, 10050 Penang, Malaysia.
Option 1 : Take bus from Airport to Komtar Bus Station & take bus 101 / 103 / 104 and alight at Union School on Burma Road. Accommodation is on the road opposite the school. Option 2 : Take bus 401 / 401E from Airport to Jetty & take bus 204 / 502 to accommodation.Option 3 :

Airport Cab at RM 44.70 per trip.

Website : http://penangoldhouse.com
Blog Site : http://www.penangoldhouse1934.blogspot.sg
Email : penangoldhouse@gmail.com
Contact Number : +6012-2379825 (Mr Koh / Zi Long)

George Town

IMG_2659Founded in 1786 by British trader, Francis Light, George Town was one of the three Straits Settlements alongside with Malacca and Singapore.

Being the capital of Penang, it is one of Malaysia’s largest cities with 600,000 inhabitants.

George Town is an interesting, colourful town with a myriad of modern high rise buildings, cathedrals, mosques as well as colonial and heritage buildings from the British era.

IMG_2734In 2008, it has been recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Some of the more popular attractions are Fort Cornwallis, Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, The City Hall, Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Clock Tower etc.

We took a 15 minutes stroll from our accommodation to the city and visited a couple of attractions along the way.

Protestant Cemetery

20131002_132357We passed by the Protestant Cemetery, also known as the Northam Road Cemetery.

After more than a century of neglect, it is now classified as a heritage site and is maintained by the Penang Heritage Trust.

20131002_131752Last year, in 2012, the cemetery underwent a major restoration effort where two centuries worth of weeds, mosses, fungi and grime on the headstones were removed and thoroughly cleaned.

Repairs to the tomb structures were carried out and walkways were constructed.

Trees encroaching the old graves were removed and the cemetery was more visible to passer-bys and tourists.

20131001_114712When we stepped into the premise, there was a brick-ladden path in the middle and we were deeply enchanted by the grove of frangipani trees and could not resist getting some shots amidst them.

They exuded such an eerie but serene feel.

We did not wander around the cemetery.

When a gust of wind came, it was a hint that we should leave soon so as to not disturb the inhabitants any further.

Name of Attraction : Protestant Cemetery
Admission Charges : Free of Charge
Location : Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah (Northam Road), Penang, Malaysia.
: Walk along Penang Road until junction of Northam Road. Turn left at Northam Road and walk 3 minutes to find the Protestant Cemetery on your left.

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion / Blue Mansion / (Boo Mansion)

HSH_9383One of my good friends visited this UNESCO site in 2009 and his experience at the Blue Mansion led him to name it the Boo Mansion.

I thought he was being cynical.

During this visit, I cannot help but totally second to it.

Fast forward to 2011, his second experience turned him around. Perhaps, I need one too!

HSH_9379When Linda and I got to the bOO Mansion at 11.30am, we were past their scheduled guided tours of 11am, 1.30pm and 3pm.

We did not want to join a guided tour for we can see and read up the history on our own.

But well, NO ! We could not enter the mansion without a guided tour.

HSH_9377I could not understand the rationale of the mansion insisting that tourists MUST take up a guided tour to be able to visit the mansion.

Many of us (at least for me!) do not like to follow guided tours and wish to be left on our own to explore and take in the sights and beauty of the premise as opposed to be herded around like sheeps.

If the Mansion was so insistent on tourists joining their guided tours so that they could visit the mansion, then they should jolly well increase the frequency of the tours to half or one hour instead of having only three time blocks (at their convenience!) for tourists to visit.

We were also warned that “No Photography” was allowed in the mansion.

A “No Photography” rule was to a photographer’s ire regardless of where it was.


Were they too proud that no photography was allowed?

If it was such a beautiful mansion, and no pictures could be taken, what was the point of getting in ?!

They have definitely well underestimated the power of pictures in media and social medias.

If the mansion was truly tourist-friendly, I am sure it would not have left many tourists feeling disgruntled and leaving with fury.

It was a bOO experience no doubt and Linda and I left without any regrets not having visited this UNESCO site.

Name of Attraction : Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion / Blue Mansion
Admission Charges : RM 12 for a 1-hour guided tour
Location : 14 Lebuh Leith, 10200 George Town, Penang, Malaysia.
Note : Tourists MUST attend one of the three guided tours at 11am, 1.30pm or 3pm.
: No Photography rule imposed.

The Camera Museum

20131001_141625We chanced upon the Camera Museum whilst on our way to the Peranakan Museum.

We were thrilled and wanted to get in quickly to find our DSLR ancestors.

We visited the Camera Museum on 2nd October ~ one week prior to its official Grand Opening on 9th October 2013 ! Wooo… 🙂

Almost everyone on the street now owns a camera or a photo-taking gadget of some sort.

It has become such a big part of our lives that we have long forgotten how, where and when it came about.

The Camera Museum provided us with answers to the questions that have been embedded deep down in our hearts.

IMG_2849Housing a collection of cameras from Folding Cameras, Large and Medium Format Cameras, 35mm Cameras, Single and Twin Lens SLR to the highly sophisticated digital cameras that are being used today, it dictated a camera evolution timeline.

The spiral stairs, pop camera, bicycle in the camera store and the Instagram props on the first level provided us with such great cam-whoring opportunities. (The Instagram props are chargeable whilst the rest are free to cam-whore with).

The Camera Musuem II

A slow browse at the photo exhibition on the first level provided us with much insights into photography techniques and rejuvenated the photography spark in us.

Name of Attraction


The Camera Museum

Admission Charges


RM 20

RM 10 for students and senior citizens

Operating Hours


9.00am to 8.00pm



49 Lebuh Muntri, 10200 George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Contact Number


+60 4261 3649




Pinang Peranakan Mansion

One of the highly recommended visits by many of our friends was the Pinang Peranakan Mansion.

After having caught a couple of episodes on “Little Nonya”, a local production, little did I knew that there was very much more to the Peranakan culture than the Nonya kuehs that I very much adore.

HSH_9544Bathed in a pale green façade, it was as like we had stepped into the filming set of “Little Nonya”.

We paid RM 10 at the entrance. It didn’t look too big and I thought we should be able to cover it in less than one hour. It proved us wrong.

There were three buildings to it and the main building was a double-storey building with several rooms. I was literally playing hide and seek with my travel mate.

20131001_170323With such a huge ground, it was a no wonder that this mansion was one of the stops in Amazing Race Asia 4, leg 1 in September 2010.

The mansion houses more than 1,000 pieces of antiques and collectibles of the Peranakan lifestyle, customs and traditions.

Combing the archaic floor tiles, extravagant chandeliers, intricate designs on the furnitures, colourful screen windows, elaborate doors, columns and pillars, it was a photography buffet for my Nikon baby.

Perankan Musuem

Name of Attraction : Pinang Peranakan Mansion
Admission Charges : RM 10. (Free for children below 6)
Operating Hours : Daily 9.30am to 5pm
Location : 29 Church Street, 10200 Penang, Malaysia.
From the Weld Quay Bus Terminal, use the overhead bridge to cross Pengkalan Weld. Turn right and walk along Pengkalan Weld until you reach Gat Lebuh Gereja (Church Street Ghaut) junction. Turn left, walk along Gat Lebuh Gereja. Cross Lebuh Pantai and walk about 5 minutes on Lebuh Gereja. You should see Pinang Peranakan Mansion on the left side of the road.
Contact Number : +604 264 2929
Email : rmhbaba@streamyx.com , rmhbaba@gmail.com

Street Arts in Penang

IMG_3132When we arrived at the airport, we picked up an A2 size, 6 panels pamphlet dedicated to the Street Arts in Penang.

In this pamphlet, there were 18 sites for the Wall Murals and 52 sites of Welded Iron Wall Curicatures.

These street arts stirred up quite a media frenzy with tourists and locals documenting them and putting them up on media and social media sites.

One of the highlights of our trip was to visit these street arts that had been so glamourized by many of our friends on Facebook.

18 Sites of Wall Murals

The street arts / wall murals started as a project known as Mirrors George Town by Lithuanian artist, Ernest Zacharevic commissioned for George Town Festival 2012. The project consists of several large-scale wall paintings to turn the streets of Penang into an open-air art gallery that can be admired and experienced.

I googled and found a lot of information on these Street Arts. Unfortunately, many of them indicated on these sites had fallen off and were no longer in existence during my recent visit (Oct 2013).

Some of which that had been left standing since its inception were “Kids on Bicycle (A)”, “Old Motorcycle (B)”, “Boy on Chair (C)”, “Kungfu Girl (D)” and “Trishaw Man (E)” as indicated in the pamphlet below.

The “Kungfu Girl” and “Trishaw Man” are perhaps one of the largest wall murals around the town. “Kids on Bicycle” and “Old Motorcycle” are one of the more popular ones in which many of the memorabilia such as Note books, Note pads, T-shirts, are conceived after them.

Linda and I visited 11 out of these 18 wall murals (A, B, C, D, E, G, H, J, N, O, Q & R).


We had a lot of fun cam-whoring on them, especially “Kids on Bicycle”, “Old Motorcycle”, “Boy on Chair”, “Lion Dance” and “Brother and Sister on Swing” were fitted with 3D props such as a Bicycle, Motorbike, Chair, Bench and Swings respectively.

3D Props Wall Murals

It was unfortunate that my good friend, Linda fell off when disembarking from the swing at “Brother and Sister on Swing”, in which she spent the last day staying-in at our hotel recuperating her injured back.

The moral of the story for the wall murals is “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow”. Many of them were in pretty bad conditions and would most probably be falling off in the next couple of weeks or months. I guess by the next time I re-visit them, they may no longer be around. My advice is for you to go have a look as soon as you can if you are keen.

Rest of Wall Murals

52 Sites of Welded Iron Wall Curicatures

As like the wall murals which were installed to inject arts to George Town, the welded iron wall curicatures are part of “Marking George Town” project commissioned by the State Government of Penang with the same objective. These welded iron wall caricatures are conceptualized by Penang cartoonist, Baba Chuah and welded by ‘Sculpture at Work’, a company from Kuala Lumpur.

The welded iron wall curicatures combines humour and history facts to depict scenes of the early settlement days.

We were so excited when we came across the first one, then a second, a third, a fourth, a fifth. And then, we realized they were everywhere. There were just so many of them that we lost count (52 in fact) and decided to give our over-worked cameras a break.

I could not imagine playing treasure hunt on all these 18 Wall Murals + 52 Welded Iron Wall Curicatures!

2013-10-08 Penang Attractions3

Iron Wall Curicatures II

Name of Attraction : Street Arts in Penang, George Town
Admission Charges : Free of Charge
Location : 18 Wall Murals are all over George Town, with the main concentration (15 pieces) on or near Armenian Street.
: 52 Welded Iron Wall Curicatures are all over George Town.

One response to “Peek-a-Boo into Penang

  1. jamielkl says:

    I think you gals just damaging the mural arts. As you can see all those bike or swing are old. If everyone doing the same as you all… What about tourist who yet visit those arts?

    No offence but i think preserves of arts need to be there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: