Georgetown Freebies

Spectacled langurs in the Penang Botanic Garden

Who says nothing is for free anymore? We have come across a few great freebies in and around Georgetown worth mentioning:

  • Visit the Penang Botanic Gardens where you can spot long-tailed macaques and spectacled langurs in the wild
  • Explore Georgetown’s Old Town using the Free shuttle bus
  • Get a free cup of coffee at Prangin Mall’s Secret Recipe with purchase of a piece of cake between 3-6 PM (you have to ask for the free coffee special)
  • Visit the Chew Clan Jetty to see stilt house life
  • Make ATM withdrawals without fees at HSBC Bank on Lebuh Pantai (however, your home bank may charge you)
  • Ride the Penang Ferry from Georgetown to Butterworth (however, Butterworth to Georgetown costs RM 1.20)
  • And remember, visits to most mosques, churches and temples are free (donations are appreciated)

Great views of Penang from the ferry

That’s Some RED Wine

And you thought red wine made you flush!!! We crack up every time we see this billboard around town. The Malay slogan translates as “highlight your happiness with Lucas red wine.” Man, these people must be happy!

Han Jiang Teochew Temple Doors

I simply can’t pass by the incredible 14-foot doors of the Han Jiang Teochew Temple on Chulia Street without stopping to take another look. Unfortunately, they are now fronted by an annoying metal gate which makes photographing them all but impossible – or so they thought!

Teochew Temple Door

I fell so in love with these doors that I spent a ridiculous amount of time photographing them from different angles, altering the photos to compensate for angular distortion, and piecing the photos together into a single image. Now, that’s some serious architectural obsession.

Pinang Peranakan Mansion

While not busy with Ken’s family or trying out new restaurants, we are actually doing some sightseeing around town. Georgetown has plenty of dilapidated yet charming British colonial architecture and some beautifully restored mansions which beckon to be explored.

A recent visit to the late nineteenth century Pinang Peranakan Mansion introduced us to the architectural style of the affluent Continue…

Chap Goh Meh

The fifteenth night of Chinese New Year, known in Hokkien as Chap Goh Meh, is the final night of celebrations. This day, which marks the first full moon of the new year, coincides with the Chinese version of Valentine’s Day.

Here in Penang, unmarried women gather to toss oranges into the sea and unmarried men are supposed to throw apples. While we were there, everyone was throwing mandarins. When we asked why men were throwing mandarins, we were told that Continue…

Vote for Us!

Tony and I have been nominated by Tripfilms as best new travel filmmakers in the category “Newcomer of the Year.” In the last few months, we have uploaded 40 of our travel videos to their site. They were so impressed, they chose 18 of them as Editor’s Picks.

Now, the voting is up to you guys and the larger travel community.  Winners’ benefits include video assignments from Tripfilms. Pretty cool!

Please vote for ContemporaryNomad on their Trippy Awards page. There are five nominees under “Newcomer of the Year”. Voting runs through March 6, 2011, so hurry up.

Chinese New Year Cultural and Heritage Celebration

The tenth day of Chinese New Year saw Penang’s old city transformed into an open-air celebration of everything Chinese. The festivities were organized by the Penang state government to showcase Georgetown’s old city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as to highlight the rich cultural heritage of Georgetown’s Chinese community, which includes large numbers of Hokkien, Cantonese, Toishan and Hakka.

The massive event featured 14 stages with live entertainment which flooded Chinatown’s tight lanes with crowds of visitors and, fortunately for us, Continue…

Wheel of Misfortune

Many Southeast Asian Buddhist temples bear a vague resemblance to casinos – spiritual casinos that is. Often, there are all sorts of gadgets strategically placed next to the altars to help people part with their money –  in exchange for some good karma. Normally, the amount of good fortune is directly proportional to the donation. So, I knew I was taking a gamble when I spent only half a ringgit (15 cents). But I wasn’t too worried. After all, the machine had just spit out a glorious fortune for Tony. When I started reading mine, however, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Continue…

Hokkien New Year Celebrations

Most Chinese, including Ken’s family which is Toishan, celebrate the New Year on the first day of the lunar calendar. But Hokkien Chinese choose to celebrate on the ninth day. The large Hokkien community here in Penang makes sure their presence and their traditions are remembered with raucous celebrations including pleasingly cheesy dance shows, a barrage of firecrackers, and city-wide fireworks displays. The festivities center around the Chew Jetty, a jetty of stilt-houses belonging to the Hokkien Chew clan.

This unique Hokkien tradition of celebrating on the ninth day goes back to a period in China when an enemy army Continue…