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...

Finding History and Beauty in Penang

Since the British trade port was first established in the 18th century, visitors have been immersing themselves in the beauty that Penang offers. Penang Island is a favorite destination in Malaysia for travelers all over the world. The rich Asian history and beautiful scenery makes Penang a coveted vacation destination. One of the more interesting attractions is the twenty-year-old bridge that is considered to be the longest in Asia. The island of Penang has been affectionately coined the pearl of the orient because of its beautiful beaches and deep history.  With over 700,000 inhabitants in Penang you can easily see the diversity offered. This brings amazing flavors to the many restaurants on the island. The Penang hotel selection is also vast with both the modern and the ancient feel about them. Whether you choose to tour Chin Si Thoong Soo, a clan house of Penang or you want to visit the Kek Lok Si Temple, there is something for everyone on the island. The area known as George Town is one of the most historical sections of the island and has some of the most beautiful architectural buildings in Malaysia. Setting your sites on a trip to Penang can be most affordable when you take advantage of Penang hotel promotion opportunities. This will allow you to get the best out of the trip at reasonable prices leaving you more money to spend on immersing yourself in the food and culture of the community. As one of the most densely populated areas in Malaysia, you can find many cultural differences in the main areas of the state. Whether you are enjoying the city...

Travelling Tips to Penang, Malaysia

If you are backpacking to Penang, you will most definitely be interested in these travelling tips. They will assist you as you go about your business in Penang during your vacation. Penang is popularly known as the Pearl of the Orient. It is a host to one of top tourist destinations in Malaysia since it has everything a visitor would like. Temples of ever faith, great shopping malls and stalls, fantastic dishes, historical sites and beautiful beaches are among the things you will enjoy while in Penang. One of the ways to experience hospitality in Penang is to learn a few words of their local languages. It will enhance your communication with residents there and make your stay interesting. Since there are many cultures in Penang, you will find that local languages are many too; just learn one of them.   How to get here   Penang is an island that is easily accessible. You can access the island within 15 minutes by ferry from the mainland at Butterworth. Alternatively, you can drive over a bridge that is 13.5 km that links the island to the mainland. Another easier and popular way of travelling to this island is by using high-speed trains, which travel from Kuala Lumpur. If you use a train, you will go for 360 kilometres. You could also get a bus guide or taxi guide to help you navigate within Penang.   George Town   It is the capital of Penang and a favourite of most visitors because of its attractive world war houses. George Town is also well known for interesting sites like temples, colonial...

ASICS Penang Bridge International Marathon 2016

Pulses racing Hearts racing, stances at the ready. As droplets of sweat trickle down over the oval heads of those in attendance, they wait in earnest. The beckoning sound of a high pitch whistle marks the beginning of the race. It echoes across the horizon. Debris and dust blow away against the thundering footsteps of thousands of participants. Light enveloping smog fills the air with a faint smell of charcoal.  Yes, it’s that time again where runners from all walks of life gather in unison to outrun each other. So dust off your running shoes, lace up and get prepped. The ASICS Penang Bridge International Marathon (2016) sprints its way forward this November 27th. From humble beginnings A marathon that’s been going on since 1985 continues to show no signs of letting up.  Runners from all corners of the globe will once again congregate to get a leg up over the competition. With a full marathon, half marathon, quarter marathon and a 10 km fun run, there’s no reason not to join.  A sound mind in a sound body ASICS, a name synonymous with quality will once again be the title sponsors. With a keen attention to detail and aesthetics, ASICS remains one of the more popular brands.  A sight for sore eyes A captivating sight of the sun rising against the towering pillars of the Penang Bridge awaits avid marathoners as it not only signals the ending of the race but is also one to be remembered. Penangites pride and joy, it remains the only time that the bridge closes its passage to the ever bustling traffic. Preparing for race day For...
Sights and Sounds of Penang: What to Do and Where

Sights and Sounds of Penang: What to Do and Where

Penang, once a centre of British colonialism, bridged the gap between Asian kingdoms and European powers. As a result, the area has developed a vibrant cosmopolitan culture that attracts visitors and expats from across the globe. Travellers who stay in a Georgetown hotel will find heritage architecture, museums, shopping and nightlife set against a backdrop of pristine beaches and a verdant countryside.   Beaches and Natural Beauty Beautiful swaths of sand stretch along the northern coast of the island from Tanjung Bungah through Batu Ferringhi to Teluk Bahang. While the secluded Muka Head features a historic lighthouse, pristine Monkey Beach is situated inside the Penang National Park. The beaches are a haven for water sports enthusiasts as well as those who want to relax in the sun. In addition to exploring the colourful pathways of the Penang Botanical Garden, visitors who stay in a Georgetown hotel can enjoy the stunning views from atop Penang Hill. After a trek through the national park, you can cross the 250-metre-long canopy walkway for a bird’s-eye-view of the lush forest. The tropical Penang Butterfly Aviary is located in Teluk Bahang.   Local Attractions Penang is home to a UNESCO World Heritage Zone that includes a wide assortment of colonial buildings like Suffolk House and the Cheong Fatt Tze mansion. Other points of interest in Penang include the 18th-century Fort Cornwallis, the Victoria Memorial Clock Tower and the Kek Lok Si Temple of Supreme Bliss, the largest Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia. The Wat Chaiyamangalaram is famous for its statue of a 33-metre-long reclining Buddha. St. George’s is Southeast Asia’s oldest Anglican Church. Bayan Lepas is the setting...
Practical Travel Tips for Rome, Italy

Practical Travel Tips for Rome, Italy

“When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” This old adage is truer than ever when you’re in the heart of the Eternal City, and it doesn’t mean spending £3 on a single cup of cappuccino in the centre. Rome is a beautiful destination, one of the most populated cities in Italy with over 47 million tourists (2013) each year. Rome is also located in Italy’s Southern region, which makes commuting to other popular destinations in Italy such as Milan, Florence, Tuscany and Naples fast and easy via a train from Termini Station. How can you make the most out of your stay in the Eternal City? Check out these tips from an expat living in the city.   Oon’t Just Stick to the Centre If you have been looking for holiday rentals in Rome, the majority are going to be located somewhere near the centre. While this is a convenient location to start out in, don’t limit your entire stay to only exploring the perimeters of the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain. Rome has a lot to offer, and one of the largest complaints from tourists is that it feels too commercialised and overcrowded. The Colosseum alone attracts around 4 million visitors annually, so it will definitely be packed, especially if you’re visiting in the summer. However, do some research prior to your arrival and discover the other areas of Rome you may enjoy seeing. Art galleries, shops and authentic trattorias can be found easily and will cut your dining and recreation expenses in half.     Bring a Dictionary In the tourist districts, you’ll more than likely always...