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Penang You Stole My Heart In An Instant

If you’re searching for a place which has sun, sea, history, culture, fun, cocktails, amazing food, relaxation, night-life, a colourful city and monkeys… then take a peek at this trip I so loved.

Last year me and Paul made a promise… to have a relaxing holiday before the start of the wedding season this year and boy, am I thrilled that we did it! We knew we would be heading to Hong Kong for my besties wedding and as always, a trip to HK meant we would tag on somewhere which meant we felt we were away from everything. Penang it was and did it live up to the most appealing  and gorgeous holiday website I came across? It sure did. In many ways.

Neither of us enjoy traveling to places where we feel we can’t really venture out and explore. We needed a place that was ‘real’ – where we could hop on a bus or in a taxi and go places that was appealing to both tourists and to the local people. I like to wander around the little streets and eat in local places. I enjoy sightseeing as much as I do sunbathing with a good magazine and a book. And I can’t stand being stuck on a resort. But we do enjoy a resort so I can get out of bed and go for a nice breakfast, have easy access to local transport, enjoy a massage at the spa… and sip on a good choice of cocktails or wine in the evening… without having to walk far to our room!

From Hong Kong to Penang, we traveled with Air Malaysia and decided to stay at the Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa. Arriving into the hotel late one night, we were greeted by the most efficient staff and they really couldn’t do enough for you. After a hectic schedule prior to arriving to the Malaysian island, I should have just crashed. Instead, we were both too excited for the relaxing 7 day break. The humidity was high and it was so warm even at midnight but it was perfect. I needed to feel the warm air against my skin after spending the few months previous in a rather chilly England.

shangri la rasa sayang penang

The hotel view was beautiful. Beyond the tall standing trees was Batu Ferringhi beach and the following morning, the first thing I did was walked out of our slightly cool air-conditioned room to sit on the warm balcony and listen to the calm sea. It was almost silent. I could only spot a few people stroll to the beach and we couldn’t wait to get there after breakfast.

shangri la rasa sayang penang rasa wing

shangri la rasa sayang penang rasa wing

Breakfast, Afternoon Tea… and then Cocktails and Canapes. We were spoilt. I knew I was well on my way to putting on a few more pounds after the delicious meals in Hong Kong. But did I care? Not at all… that’s what holidays are for!

shangri la rasa sayang penang rasa wing

This is what I loved the most about staying where we did – the choice of staying in a quiet spot at the hotel or walking straight out to the night life and Penang Night Market. Not far from our hotel were many restaurants, bars, nightclubs and there was Bora Bora. We had such amazing fun! And we even spied a lovely marriage proposal on the beach followed by a sweet firework display. She said “Yes!”

penang night market

I do love to get out and about… and one place I wanted to visit was the Butterfly Farm. I don’t know about you but over the last few years I’ve noticed I don’t actually see as many gorgeous butterflies in England. Penang’s Butterfly Farm has the most amazing, what I call fairies, dance around you. Floating in the air, you are almost over-whelmed by how pretty the colours are. You don’t need much time there, maybe 45 minutes maximum but it was a sweet visit.

penang butterfly farmpenang butterfly farmpenang butterfly farmblack and blue butterflypenang malaysia

We then made our way to the Botanical Gardens. I was desperate to see the wild monkeys roam freely around the stunning lush green space! Admittedly it’s not the first time I’ve seen monkeys do what they want, when they want but it’s the first time I had my lychee juice pinched from me! I placed my juice next to me on the ground, kneeled down to take a photo… and swoosh, this cheeky monkey ran by and grabbed the bottle as quick as lightning! He sat on the opposite side of the pavement, unscrewed the top, had a peek inside and gulped the whole lot. I guess he must have been thirsty.

cheeky monkey!monkey penangshangri la rasa sayang penang rasa wing

Batu Ferringhi beach is gorgeous. We spent many late afternoons grabbing an ice cold drink and took a little walk so we could sit and watch the sunset.  The only downside it had was the limitation of swimming in the sea. There were too many ‘Beware of jellyfish’ signs.

bat ferringhi beachpenang sunset

Another beach not too far from Batu Ferringhi was the Monkey Beach –  approx 15 minutes on jet ski’s {at crazy full throttle as Paul was in charge!} and we were here. A lovely beach {with much less chance of seeing jellyfish}, it’s basic but a great place to have a little swim and sit and watch the monkeys. One minute you don’t seem to see any at all… next minute they all appeared! They were cute and the youngest we saw was 2 months old.

monkey beach penang

No words can describe just how amazing George Town is. It is everything I imagined it to be. Colonial, pretty, sweet vintage and some new. There was colour, culture, history, modern, fast paced and some very slow… the amazing food at hawker centres, street art… my list can go on.  Every corner we turned, every street we roamed, every alleyway we peeked through, every low and high building we saw was eye candy. In fact my two visits to George Town never felt enough. I craved more and more with each visit and I still feel I missed so much.

George Town PenangPastel colours were everywhere and ever building so unique. I loved the detailing…

George Town Penang

Brown plastic chairs really doesn’t appeal to me but then I see places like this… and realise no other style would have worked! I’ve changed my mind. I do like brown plastic chairs afterall 😉

orange building in penangGeorge Town PenangGeorge Town Penang

George Town PenangGeorge Town PenangGeorge Town Penang

7 Eleven was my late night must go place when I was a teen visiting Hong Kong… but having seen so many of these local supermarkets in my life, it’s the first time I’ve seen such a teeny one!

George Town PenangPenang Peranakan Mansion

The Paranakan Mansion was a place I’ve been wanting to visit ever since Penang appeared on my radar of must see places. The mansion was opened so we could catch a glimpse of how the rich Baba lived a century ago. With a peek of their opulent lifestyle and a stunning mix of Malaysian, Chinese and colonial life. Along with the antique filled rooms, you’ll also discover the traditions and customs that they were surrounded by and the eclectic lifestyle that I fell deeply in love with.

Penang Peranakan MansionPenang Peranakan Mansion

The Cheong Fatt Tze mansion, also known as the Blue Mansion is according to Lonely Planet, One of 10 Greatest Mansions of the World {2011} and it simply looks incredible. Unfortunately with the time we had, we missed out on visiting. Maybe next time!

Blue Mansion PenangPenang Taxi

I’d been away from weddings for over a week and then I spied this – I was in my element! Some sweet vintage touches to welcome their guests, a gorgeous aisle under the warm sun and I witnessed the ‘I Do’ as I stood as far back as I could by the beach so I wasn’t intruding. I really didn’t want to miss it – it was beautiful! The bride looked stunning, her pretty bridesmaids in sunny yellow… and the vows echoed across the beach front. Sweet moments like this I won’t forget.

Penang Wedding

Wedding Planner in PenangShangri La Rasa Sayang Beach

fresh chilli crab

Penang you totally stole my heart. xoxo

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  • LucyL - Wow! I’ve always wanted to go to penang and your holiday looked perfect! I found out about Penang on Rasa Malaysia, a website for all malaysian and chinese food. If you miss malaysian food, I guess you can go on there and get some recipes! 🙂
    I’ve been to KL before and also Laguna Redang and Laguna Redang is great!June 28, 2013 – 8:26 am

  • Carms - Lucy, I’d definitely recommend Penang! Thank you for letting me know about Rasa Malaysia, I’ll be sure to take a recipe or two 🙂 Hopefully we’ll head back to Malaysia sometime and I’ll have to take a look at Laguna Redang. Thanks for the tips!June 28, 2013 – 4:42 pm

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