First-Time Travel Tips When Visiting Penang, Malaysia

Penang is situated on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia. It is one of the most famous travel destinations outside of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital. When you visit Penang, you will be amazed at how the state manages to embrace modern technology while protecting its rich heritage. Here are some tips that could help you make your trip to Penang more fun.   Foodie Tips A trip to Penang is not considered complete without eating a steaming bowl of Assam Laksa and a plate of tasty Fried Koay Teow. You can easily get these dishes at local hawkers (street food stalls) but they are also available in fine dining restaurants.   Shopping Tips There are many shopping spots all around Penang but for the best deals, visit Queensbay Mall, Penang Times Square, First Avenue, Komtar, Staits Quay and the famous Batu Ferringhi night bazaar to pick up some great souvenirs to take home. You can ask a local tourist guide to help you in bargaining.   Heritage Lovers Tips If you love history, you’ll love the heritage sites, mosques and temples in Penang. One of the most beautiful by far is the Kapitan Keling Mosque, located along Pitt Street. This is Penang’s very first mosque which was built in the 19th century.   Tips For Getting Around Penang Penang is hot all year long so it’s important to wear light and breezy summer clothes. There are various means of transportation such as busses and cabs so it’s easy to get around. Majority of tourists posts have bus stops so it’s easy to get from one point to another. If...

What to Expect During the Hungry Ghost Festival in Penang

Penang in August is unforgettable as the Hungry Ghost Festival takes place during this time. Apart from the wonderful sights that the Penang island has to offer, tourists are encouraged to also experience this local culture. When does it happen?  August or the seventh month of the year is deemed as the ghost month. It is this month that Taoists and Buddhists pay homage to their dead ancestors. They believe that heaven and hell open and spirits roam the earth. What activities happen?  Temples stage performances to soothe the wandering souls. Some of the stage performances include modern ko tai (song and dance performances), puppet shows, and traditional (teowchew and hookkien) opera. Everyone can watch, although the bright red benches which are in the very front are reserved for the ‘very important guests’. Part of the festival is the nightly offerings of food on the road. These are for the souls that roam the earth freely. Markets have scary looking effigies. Most of these are of the Phor Tor Kong or the King of Hades. The king of Hades, or the king of the underworld, guards the spirits from doing any harm to the living. Foods are also offered on the altar of the deity. Bukit Mertajam in Penang prides itself with having the largest Phor Tor Kong effigy in all of Malaysia. What is the highlight?  On the last day of the month, it is believed that the spirits now return to hell. With this, the festival closes with the burning of paper effigies of the deity of the underworld. Hell money is also burnt so that spirits...