Penang Trip Day 3 (Part 1)

For the third day, we had to wake up early. Not because we had a lot of things to do but because we wanted to try the famous Paya Terubong Nasi Lemak. For those of you who don’t know — Nasi Lemak is a local dish in which the rice is cooked with coconut shavings, giving it an oily look and it is usually paired with eggs, salted nuts, sambal (chili paste) and anchovies. To have a fuller experience, you can also order the curry chicken or beef or any other meaty add-ons that will be offered to you on top of your nasi lemak.

The 'modest' stall on a motorbike

The ‘modest’ stall on a motorbike

A word of warning, nasi lemak is an unhealthy food to start the day off with.

This famous roadside stall (5.380154, 100.274847) sells out pretty quickly if you are not there early. When I was queuing up for the food, people were coming and ordering 5-10 packets each of this delicious breakfast. A word of warning though, this is an exceptionally unhealthy food. You need the GPS coordinates to find the shop, although I think they do have a permanent shop that sells the same thing all day long, but this roadside is the authentic version.

Save the Enviroment version

Save the Enviroment version

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Penang Trip Day 2 (Part 2)

The Blue Mansion

The Blue Mansion

With the rain still coming down, we headed off towards Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion. This iconic bluish building was built in the 1890s, but was fully restored only in the late 90s before earning an UNESCO award in 2000. If you want to have an insight into how the rich used to live back in those days, this is the place to visit. Unfortunately, photography is not allowed and there are only tours at certain hours. The other alternative, is to stay a night in one of the rooms.

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Penang Trip Day 2 (Part 1)

We woke up to a gloomy and cloudy weather. A slight drizzle greeted us, but we shrugged it off, this was Malaysia after all. Nothing would deter us since we were doing mostly indoor stuffs today. First up, breakfast.

Bangkok Lane Mee Goreng

When planning an itinerary, I would plot out the places that I would like to visit and then try to find good food around the area. Lucky for me, Georgetown Penang was an easy place to plan it to perfection. To start it off, we had Mee Goreng at Bangkok Lane. Parking might not be easy around here, but be patient and get yourself the parking permits. You don’t want to get a summons for illegal parking or for not paying the parking fees.

Tip: Get the parking permits early, if you plan on driving and parking around Georgetown.

Most Penangites would swear by this particular stall that sells mee goreng. Think of it as a fried version with thick ramen and covered with a special seafood (squid) sauce and you will not go wrong.

The same uncle since 2002

The same uncle since 2002

I visited this stall when I came here for holidays back in 2002 and it’s still the same owner till today. He’s an Indian but as with all Penangites, they do speak Hokkien (local Chinese dialect) perfectly. Heck, even better than I do.

A plate of Mee Goreng

A plate of Mee Goreng

You can have the spicy version if you want, but we were traveling with kids, so with had to do with the non-spicy type. The noodle is cooked perfectly, leaving it marinated with the sauce and to top it off with potatoes and fried tou-fu. A plate might not be enough but don’t worry, there’s another stall around here that will cover that up.

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Penang Trip Day 1 (Part 2)

Located further down the road is the St George’s Church. Unfortunately for us, it was raining at that time and we could only take photos of it from the outside.

St George Church

St George Church

The church was built way back in 1816 and is the oldest Anglican church in South East Asia.

We headed to Fort Cornwallis which is now a paid museum, but since the weather was acting up, we decided not to pay a visit, however, we did drop by the War Memorial located next to the park, at the edge of the river.

Honouring The Dead

Honouring The Dead

The plaque commemorates the dead veterans of World War I and II, the Siam-Burmese Railway, the Malayan Emergency and the Re-Insurgency.

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Penang Trip Day 1 (Part 1)

Since I have a week of free time on my hands, we decided to bring the boys to Penang to enjoy the street art and to eat some good food. As you all know, Georgetown Penang was awarded UNESCO Heritage status almost 7-8 years ago but we as locals, haven’t actually made a visit there yet but have been to a few UNESCO Heritage worldwide. Shame.

Georgetown Penang is a UNESCO Heritage Site

It took us 6 hours of driving to reach Penang and when we were crossing the Penang Bridge, it started to rain. Rain is the enemy of all travels. Luckily, the gods answered our prayers and by the time we pulled up at our first stop, the sun was shining.

Cafe Heng Huat (Lorong Selamat CKT)

If you have done your research prior to your visit here in Penang, you would have read about this famous Char Koay Teow stall with the Santa Claus Hat auntie and her fiery temper. Although many would swear that it is a tourist trap nowadays, but it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try.

The thing about Penang food is that there will be lovers and there will be haters. For every stall/food that you suggest, there will be people with other opinions about it, but since this was one of my old haunts when I used to travel to Penang during my University days, it was a visit that I had to make again. Just for old times’ sakes.

A word of warning, if you don’t intend to order drinks, don’t be surprised that there will be a surcharge per head. Applicable to almost all restaurants in Penang. Sad.

The Auntie (hidden)

The Auntie (hidden)

When I last had the same dish about 5 years ago, it was RM7.50 per plate. Now, it is RM10 per plate. For that price, this is what you will get:

Char Koay Teow

Char Koay Teow (RM10; medium)

It doesn’t seem like much and definitely not a stomach filler but you do get 3 very huge prawns, comparatively to the other CKT stalls dotted around this little island. It appears oily but not sticky and it still retain the charcoal smell in which the auntie uses to fry her Char Koay Teow.

I would not put it as a must try because of the price, but if ever you are in the vicinity of this shop then by all means, do give it a try. Char Koay Teow stalls are a dime a dozen in Penang, and you could say that once you have tasted one or two, you have tasted all. But hey, for authenticity sake, try it at least once at whichever stall that you prefer. Even the least famous ones.

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Frankfurt (Part 3)

We took a tram from Willy-Brandt-Platz to Schweizer Platz right across the River Main. We were in Sachsenhausen. It’s amazing how a modern city like Frankfurt could have a nice cosy little place nearby.

Sachsenhausen

Sachsenhausen

We took a stroll down Schweizerstrasse towards the riverbank. The place reminded us of Paris with its tree-lined streets and people walking about.

Flowers

Flowers

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5 Tips For Stress-Free Travel

It’s going to be the summer holidays soon, here are some tips I learnt (or read) to make sure you have a hassle-and-stress free holiday. If you have any other tips, please comment below.

#1 Plan it early

Don’t look down upon this boring job of planning the trip early. Early planners usually get to snag some good deals even before they have decided where to go. I usually start my planning a year ahead. Firstly, to fish for good ticket prices. Then it’s down to planning the details on your to-do lists. And a couple of months beforehand, time to do the packing list. You might have to go through those lists a few times during planning to make sure you are well-prepared.

#2 Pack light

Depending on your travel style, do you prefer rolling bags or over-the-shoulder types? Try not to lug around five bags while trying to find out which platform you’re supposed to be heading to. It ties in well with tip #1. Just pack the essentials, it might take a few trips for you to find out what you can live with and what you can’t. Most of the time you will realise that you won’t be needing that much, and most of the time, those that you need could be bought at a fraction of the cost wherever you are.

#3 Drink and eat well

Pack a water bottle and also some light snacks. You can always refill it at the hotel or in most countries around the world, they have drinkable fountains in which you could refill to your heart’s pleasure. We found it out firsthand while traveling around Europe. Staying hydrated is important if you’re doing a lot of walking around. And when you are hungry while looking for a perfect place to eat, chew on that snack bar. A hungry person is an angry person.

#4 Give yourself plenty of time

Think you can tour the Louvre in under two hours? Better set the schedule for four to six hours. Make sure you have plenty of time to be flexible. Things will definitely go wrong. Taxi delays? Long queues? Trying to make sure you stay on schedule is a stressor. Try to avoid that by planning a flexible timetable. Can’t go in the morning? How about rescheduling it into the afternoon or maybe tomorrow. Make sure you have time for yourself. Not to mention cutting it close during flight departures.

#5 Positive entertainment

There will be times when you have to wait for hours in between stopovers or long flight times, so try to entertain yourself. Learn to watch people around you. A book perhaps? Articles? Listening to the music on your phone. Do all that. And if things really do go wrong, delayed flights, wrong rooms at the hotel, remember one thing. Focus on the positives. You’re already on vacation. Find that silver lining. It’s easier said than done but you will thank me for it.