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Chapter 4

It’s Thaipusam: Road Trip To Penang!

2022 Long weekend Thaipusam weekend

If you have always wanted to visit Penang and experience Thaipusam, this year is a good year as you get to make use of the long weekend.

Thaipusam falls on the 18th of January, which is a Tuesday. Which means you get to stretch out your leave to get either a four or five day weekend. There’s plenty for you to do in the Pearl of the Orient!

You have two options; either take Monday off to get a four-day weekend, or you can even add the Friday before Thaipusam to get a full five-day off.

Budget estimate

Assuming you are sharing a hotel room, spending RM150 to RM200 a day is the average. Accommodations can range from RM150 to RM300 per night for mid-range hotels while food, activities and transportation should cost another RM100.

All in, a 3-day Penang trip can be achieved for under RM500 if you are not going overboard in your dining, accommodation or shopping as well as sharing the cost of accommodation and transportation. If you are going solo, add another RM400 for car transportation and accommodation.

Penang is a small island and luckily, all the hotspot places are reachable in half an hour or less. We know you’re also worried about the heavy traffic that usually ensues during Thaipusam but if you want to experience the full festive atmosphere that surrounds the island at this time, then there is no better time to visit Penang.

Take advantage of that and use the extra long weekend to explore Georgetown to your heart’s content!

Little India Since it’s Thaipusam, the place will be lively and bustling with crowd. It’s a great place for shopping if you’ve always wanted to buy a saree, bindhi, bangles, and such. There are also plenty of places to eat – so go crazy on delicious Indian food!

Kuan Yin Temple Make a pit stop at this famous Taoist temple in Penang which is situated in Pitt Street, just nearby Little India. Built in 1728, it’s the oldest Taoist temple in Penang.

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion One of the favourite tourist spots in Penang, the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion is also commonly referred to as the Blue Mansion. People love admiring its 19th century architecture. And hey, one of the scenes from Crazy Rich Asians was shot right here.

blue mansion

Want to live Crazy Rich Asian Style? Spend a night at the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion – as it is also an 18-room personalised boutique hotel.

the top

Fancy Dinner At The Top View  You can’t go to Penang and not experience the tallest building there. KOMTAR is the pride of Penang, and it has recently been renovated to house a fancy rooftop dining place. Indulge yourself at the Top View Restaurant and Lounge for a cosy, classy, experience. Make your reservation here.

Fort Cornwallis Located near the Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower in Penang, the mighty Fort Cornwallis is fort built by the British East India Company in the late 18th century. The fort was never attacked and is still standing in perfect condition. It’s a great place to chill and perfect for photos.

Just down the road from Fort Cornwallis is the Penang Esplanade, a beautiful waterfront location with food courts nearby.

Botanical Gardens You cannot enter Waterfall Road by car at this point. You can park the Youth Park open parking and take a nice long walk to the Botanical Gardens. There will also be a couple of stalls on the side of the road where you can stop for coconut water, milkshakes, fruit juices, ice cream, and “I Love Penang” t-shirts.

Waterfall Road Join the pre-Thaipusam celebrations along the Waterfall road, where you’ll see Hindu devotees carrying milk in vessels as offerings for Lord Muruga. You will also see chariot processions and kavadis.

thaipusamPhoto: Wikipedia

Waterfall Hilltop Temple This hilltop temple is the heart of Thaipusam. Devotees will walk up 513 steps from the foothill straight to the temple to visit and give their offerings to Lord Muruga. You should definitely head up there and pay the temple a visit, it’s magnificent. It gets pretty crowded at night, so take note of that.

The Thaipusam celebrations will be on full blast by Monday, 17th of January. Designated routes from Georgetown leading up to Waterfall Road will be closed for parades and processions. It gets really crowded, and it can be dangerous for kids as they may go missing in the crowd. So what do you do? You escape to Batu Feringghi.

Batu Feringghi Night Market This for a touristy indulgence. Wacky t-shirts, kitschy flip-flops, tacky tourist goods, and some good souvenirs. Note: Don’t buy the knock-off perfumes or make-up, it can cause allergic reactions on your skin.

Butterfly Farm The Penang Butterfly Farm located in Teluk Bahang (slightly further in from Batu Feringghi) is another popular tourist spot in Penang. It houses an impressive collection of butterfly species, including a small group of insects and reptiles. It’s perfect if you’re traveling with kids.

Taman Rimba After the Butterfly Farm, drop by Taman Rimba for a quick picnic while dipping your toes in the chilly waterfall.

Nothing like a relaxing dose of nature to end your trip to Penang on a memorable note.

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