Some say it smells like hell and taste like heaven. But for many local Penangites and Malaysians and Singaporeans, the durians of Balik Pulau in Penang is irresistible.
The main season is around May to June and a shorter season in November-December. There are many famous durian lines and hybrids with names like "Ang he" (Red prawn), D2, D24, Ganja. Varying from fleshy, sweet, dry, sticky, aromatic, bitter, reddish, yellowish, whitish, seedless.
Some overeat and can gain weight, develop sore throat or fever. It is believe that drinking water that is poured into the inside shells of the durian has a cooling and postivie counter-effect.
Choosing durian is an art. You can shake it, drop it or smell it near the stalk, check if the stalk is freshly severred, see if there is any visual crack or worm holes. Durian sellers often poke s sharp knife and draw out to smell if durian is of high quality or not.
Best is to eat at the spot. Fresh. If poor quality, reject. Bargaining of price of a durian is an art. Generally durian seller cannot be trusted 100%. Beware that durian thorns can prick.
Go to Penang Hill as early as u can or go around 5pm.
The funicular operates from 6.30am to 9.15 pm. On weekends or public holiday the hours is extended to 11.15pm.
The best time to visit Penang Hill is at 4pm. by the time you reach the top you can see the day time scenery and wait for the sunset and all the lights that like up the whole city.
Fondest memory: The air is cooler on top of Penang Hill. We sneek into Bellevue Restaurant for a paranomic view of Penang Island.
This 65th storey tall building is the landmark of George Town. It houses most of the State Council deparments and a central bus network system. It is no longer the premier shopping center that it once was.
K.O.M.T.A.R. is the acronymn for Kompleks Tunku Abdul Razak, the second Prime Minister of Penang. Komtar is located where Penang Road and Macalister Road meets which is the heart of Georgetown.
There is a restaurant and a souvenir shop at the top of the tower for a great panaromic view. The are sky bridges from Komtar to newer neighboring shopping complex of Prangin Mall.
This elegant Moorish style clock tower was built in 1897. A contribution from a rich local Chinese businessman Cheah to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.
It is sixty feet tall to commerote the sixty years of Queen Victoria.
Located near the roundabout at corner Fort Cornwallis outside Swettenham Pier of Lebuh Light and Lebuh Beach. Used to chime correctly but I think the clock is no longer accurate timed.
Next to this clock tower, is a new addition inside the roundabout - a shining metallic fountain resembling a split betel nut (Pinang) - see picture.
Overall, one of my favs - a nice Victorian landmark made in Penang.
The Malayan Railway used to stop at Perai and then with a ferry get to Penang Island to a jetty across the road to this old Railway Building with the clock tower.
For many decades, this Clock Tower was the landmark of Penang Island, the tallest building that can be seen by all who approaches to Penang Island by the only mode of transport that is by sea.
Today is houses the Customs Department. And if you take the ferry, you will see the Clock Tower welcoming you with the taller Komtar and Penang Hill in the background.
Dewan Sri Pinang is a popular venue for cultural events like concerts, plays or musical performances by foreign or local groups or state events or kindergarten graduation ceremonies.
Regular exhibitions of education, housing or art fairs are also held. Political parties or chess tournaments also used this venue.
Diagonally to this public building is a small garden that has been nicely replanted and guarded at night. Inside the garden is a historic 19th fountain donated by a successful local Chinese dignitary during this period by the name of Koh Seang Tat whose lavish mansion once stood where Dewan Sri Pinang is today.
There is a new Botanic Walk, about 10 minutes walk, from the free car park near the Batik Shop to Moon Gate, and continue to the entrance of the Botanical Gardens. The section between Moon Gate and the entrance is still under construction and should complete soon.
It is a very pleasant shaded walk with some up and down slopes. The old alternative is the pavement along the road which is often busy with other pedestrians and oncoming traffic.
This first picture caught a local picking the leaves called "Sarawak leave" which are edible. At this rate, all the plants of this species will be picked. Hopefully, awareness of potection public property for enjoyment of all is higher amongst the younger generation.
Favorite thing: Many part of Penang island has this tall square apartments to replace some old Pearl of the Orientism frameworks. Population keep growing, more cars, more motorcycles and more more competitive, peoples had to dig out ideas to make money and construction is one of the best way, so you can see so many quick high speed developements on the island.
Favorite thing: Motorcycles was part of the Penangism culture and also very important in early days development. I was told that this kind of cub motorcycles or Kapcai in local language was the success story of Penangite's richest man named Loh Boon Siew. Loh was a truck mechanic when young, later he went to Japan to import these motorcycles to sell for our fellow Penang-langs (peoples of Penang). It was only 50cc selling for some 500 Ringgit if not mistaken, but miracle happened, everybody was in mad to grab one and Loh thus became the richest man. But seems his Loh empire disappeared after his death, probably mismanagement or other reasons but most probably the old Chinese thinking that everything must save for sons, kind of story.
Favorite thing: Jalan Zainal Abidin was formerly The Jewish Road, for the cemetary but today simply known as ZA. ZA is a very common name is local, I met at least one ZA when we were in the hiking trip. No more Jewish Road, its ZA road, as simple as that. This location has some hawkers selling local foods, better go at night to avoid the heat of sunlight.
Favorite thing: The Pakistan Mosque is located along MacAlister Road or Tiong Lor in local language of Peranakan-Hokkien. This mosque probably built by peoples coming from Pakistan and by logic should be after 1948 after the India Pakistan separation. I haven't yet done any detail researches, probably you can contribute yours.
Favorite thing: In Penang, you can call this kind of thing "Tak-nPeh". Peoples can easily setup anything on the street as shown in photo by setting up a canopy, mostly for inviting friends and relatives to have some tea and chit-chat. This is actually some kind of traditional thing or perhaps local custom. For my generation, we don't really spend time to learn this thing anymore, probably have to ask elder Penangites.
Favorite thing: The big dark thing at right is actually an old factory of "Eeu Kar" located behind the Telekom of Burma Road opposite Kedah Road. The building is so old and you can see it was mostly built with timber. I haven't yet research on this, just a picture for the moment.
Favorite thing: We went for a drink at the hotel on the top of Penang Hill while we were waiting for the sun to set... When we got out the back of the hotel we found a sign saying something like "beware of the pit vipers sleeping above"... Here's one little guy we drank our drinks under...
It was a spur of the moment decision, this last trip to Penang and really very pleasant.
Where We Stayed:
The highly recommended Lone Pine Hotel was chock full so we had to make do with the Holiday Inn Batu Ferringhi Beach, which was not too bad.
What We Did:
Walked around the stalls a little, bargained for some shorts, slippers and t-shirts, tried to buy some pirated DVDs but the vendors closed shop and ran off in a hurry because of a police alarm (damn), had dinner at Mario's (it wasn't the food that made it memorable), walked on the beach etc.
Next morning we discovered there was quite a lot going on at the beach. We went horse riding (the horses were surprisingly very well kept and healthy), and then for a dip in the pool. There was also jet skiing, parasailing, foot massages and many other activities offered up and down Batu Ferringhi.
It made for a nice unexpected weekend away.
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