MALAYSIA, Georgetown Penang
3-5 Feb 2013
Stayed Bay View Hotel, Saw Unesco World Heritage Mansion, plus a lot of this historic Town
Malaysia 3-5 Feb 2013, Georgetown Penang , 2 selective slideshows includes reading diary, covering amongst other the blue mansion, UNESCO world heritage, lonely planets top 10 visits, cheong fatt tze’s mansion, Penang bridge, Georgetown, bay view hotel, Fort Cornwallis, batu ferringhe, town hall, wedding poses, china town, little India, temples, incense, the esplanade, industry, shop houses, hard rock café, hard rock hotel, lazy river, the Beatles memorabilia, Penang, airports, air asia, Komtar Centre & Tower, Chinese New Year was the year of the snake. There were 133 images of our wonderful cultural experience in Georgtown.
Sunday February 3rd 2013
Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia, 97 degrees Fahrenheit, wow!
Georgetown is a busy city with lots of high-rise buildings, but the historical area is preserved and has world heritage status i.e., UNESCO especially for Cheong Fatt Tze’s Blue Mansion. It is a very busy city as over 200 years old and got UNESCO status in 2008.
We had a substantial breakfast at the Bay View hotel and then did some sightseeing and visited the Chinese Blue Mansion which cost 12 ringgits each, £2.40 pence in English which on reflection for such a world wonder was incredibly cheap. It was extremely interesting; the house was preserved but all the furnishings were new. Cheong Fatt Tze’s house had 38 rooms, 7 staircases, 5 courtyards, he was a millionaire who left China to make his fortune at 16 and went to Indonesia and then Penang in Malaysia. He had 8 wives and died in 1916, he was a trader and a banker.
The house had gone to rack and ruin but was restored between 1990 and 1997. It has lovely wood carved panels and courtyards. By 2022 it was also used as a hotel and restaurant (sadly).
After leaving the Blue Mansion we walked around the British colonial area to see the white buildings, City Hall, the museums, and cathedral. By this time, it was 12.30 p.m. and extremely hot and sunny and humid. We tried to walk in the shade wherever possible but it was exhausting. We Brits will get used to it eventually honest.
We saw the esplanade and the bay near Fort Cornwallis. Then decided the heat was so intense that we walked (hard going) back to the hotel for a cold drink in the bar, shower than a cooling swim in the hotel pool. Luckily the pool was very cold, yippee!
We had booked the buffet dinner in the revolving restaurant on the 16th floor of the hotel for 7.30 p.m. It was lovely Thai food with singing from a live professional act on karaoke who also dis requests from the diners. Keef requested some Adele songs. We also saw Georgetown lit up at night with illuminated fire flies hitting the restaurant windows, quite spectacular form of lighting and / or fireworks, tee hee.
Some words about it are “Town heritage, traverse into the eclectic charm of George Town Penang’s illustrious history as you step into the world of Cheong Fatt Tze’s Blue Mansion. Conceived and constructed before the end of the 19th century, The Blue Mansion sets the standard for Penang’s boutique heritage hotel landscape and stands today as one of the most iconic boutique hotels in Malaysia. It is the only one to have won the prestigious UNESCO Conservation & Heritage award.
The transcendental quality and timelessness of the mansion has been perfectly poised for over a century on firm foundations of architectural, cultural and historical superlatives. Here, time comes to a halt as you meander along the mansion and revel in the harmonious medley of history and culture.
The Blue Mansion seamlessly blends old world charm with modern comforts. A wide array of amenities includes an exquisite dining experience at Indigo restaurant, a courtyard dining room and an idyllic terrace. There are guided mansion tours daily which give you further insight into the story behind the architecture and history of George Town’s first heritage hotel. The Blue Mansion is centrally located at 4km from the Gurney Drive seafront promenade, 9km from Kek Lok Si Buddhist temple, and just a 5-minute walk to China Town and other significant heritage spots in Penang.”
In our humble opinion it is just a truly spectacular building.
And here is some UNESCO words for Malaysia, we have been to both.
“Melaka and George Town, Historic Cities of the Straits of Malacca
Melaka and George Town, historic cities of the Straits of Malacca have developed over 500 years of trading and cultural exchanges between East and West in the Straits of Malacca. The influences of Asia and Europe have endowed the towns with a specific multicultural heritage that is both tangible and intangible. With its government buildings, churches, squares and fortifications, Melaka demonstrates the early stages of this history originating in the 15th-century Malay sultanate and the Portuguese and Dutch periods beginning in the early 16th century. Featuring residential and commercial buildings, George Town represents the British era from the end of the 18th century. The two towns constitute a unique architectural and cultural townscape without parallel anywhere in East and Southeast Asia.”
Monday February 4rd 2013
Georgetown 91 degrees Fahrenheit
We set the alarm for 6.30 a.m. to start sightseeing early to avoid some of the heat of the day. At 7.45 a.m. we set off for the free hop on hop off shuttle bus around the old part of the city. We used that bus to alight in the Chinese area which is very old and saw interesting herbal medicine shops. We walked through a market and saw some strange fruits (well they were strange to us at the time, having been in Asia quite a bit since that novelty has worn off).
We visited a Chinese temple yard where people lit incense for good luck. Chinese New Year, the year of the Snake was on the 10th of February that year. Red paper lanterns were up everywhere.
We got off the bus at the National Museum which cost 1 ringgit each entry fee, 20 pence in English money. It was an excellent museum all about Penang and Georgetown in particular. It has been UNESCO world heritage since 2008.
We then returned to the hotel for a swim, jacuzzi and shower.
Annie found the cleaner had taken her flannel from the room, it was white like the hotel towels, and they had mistaken it as theirs for washing. The staff searched all the laundry but could not find it, so they gave her a hotel flannel.
We were just about to go out at 5.20 p.m. when a torrential downpour and gusting winds started and the resultant lightening made us turn around from the lobby and return to our room. We were going to get a bus to Batu Ferringhe along the north coast of Penang and have dinner at the Hard Rock Café hotel there but rightly changed our minds.
Instead, we watched TV and then had dinner at 8 p.m. in the hotel restaurant, we had nasi goreng, yummy.
We then did our packing as travelling tomorrow however the hotel manager said we could check out at 1 p.m.
Tuesday February 5th 2013
Today we left Georgetown for Auckland New Zealand via Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
Got up at 7 a.m. had a quick breakfast and got free hop on hop off shuttle bus to the KOMTAR CENTRE then bus 101 to Batu Ferrighe along the north coast of Penang Island. All buses are air conditioned which was wonderful as again it was very hot and sunny. The bus took a while to get out of Georgetown as it’s a very busy and congested city.
Initially all urban sprawl then the coastal road with views of the sea and large rocks. We got off the bus at the Hard Rock hotel past a lot of tourist hotels and restaurants. Keef bought his obligatory T-shirt from the HRC shop proudly displaying “Penang”.
We looked around the hotel, it had a nice beach nearby plus pool and lazy river with rubber rings which cost £2 a day to hire. There was lots of rock and pop memorabilia. Got there at 11 a.m. and then took the same bus back to the hotel which took ages as Georgetown was very hectic. We got to the hotel at 12.55 p.m. luckily, they gave us an extra ½ hour to check out, we had showers and took our bags down to the foyer. We got the taxi to the airport at 2.15 p.m.
The flight to Singapore on Jet Star Asia was 1 hour in duration and we then had to kill time in Changi Airport, Singapore until our flight to Brisbane at 9.30 p.m. that evening, we couldn’t meet up with D&P because they were elsewhere and in reality, would not have had enough time to check out and back into the airport.
Keef watched Lincoln on the plane, Annie watched bits of films but could not concentrate as so tired. Both of us only got about 2 hours sleep that night in transit.