Penang – Crossroad to Fun and Food

Penang- Crossroad to Fun and Food

Overview

Penang is an island 28 km off the mainland of Malaysia. Penang is also the state of Malaysia on North-west coast comprising Penang Island, and a strip of land on mainland called Seberang Perai. The second smallest state in the country out of 13 states with 1031sq km area, out of that Penang Island has area of 285 square km.  Its state capital is George Town which is located on the Penang Island. The island has connection to mainland by a 13.5km long Penang Bridge and another of 24 km long bridge. Also it has a 3 km channel between the narrowest points between mainland and island. Ferry services link is also convenient that links two land areas.

Why visit Penang

Penang is striding up with the modern developments, while preserving the diverse heritage and tradition. A unique blend of east and west mix, Penang has been catching attention from the visitors for years. It has to be seen to believe with its colonial era buildings, churches reminding of bygone years, incredible forests and wildlife in National park and its cool leisurely beaches. It has a stamp of Asian charm and hospitality, thanks to its culture, happy time shopping opportunities and finger licking culinary range.

Penang’s sea beaches are good but lag behind in comparison to some of the other Malaysian beaches. If they lack in something they gain in another, diversity, which is their strong multi-culture base. It has influence of Malay, Chinese, Indians and Europeans that reflects in their cuisines. For this very reason, this place is known as ultimate food haven and a ‘culinary destination’, well known in whole of Malaysia and Singapore also.

HOW TO REACH PENANG

BY AIR– Penang International Airport is at 17 km distance from Georgetown, the domestic and international flights are available.

BY TRAIN– Trains available up to Butterworth from KL and other places, from there taxis or ferries can be hired to reach the island.

BY BUS– From Kuala Lumpur bus can be availed, this is supposed to be the cheapest form of travel.



Best Time to visit Penang

December and January are considered to be the best months to visit. Between May and October if you can take risk for rains or heat then you can avail off-season deals.

Cuisines of Penang

Diverse cuisine options both from the East and the West are available here:

Malay food– Ikan bakar, Mee Jawa, Mee Udang, Penang-Laksa, Nasi Lemak

Chinese– Bak Kut The, claypot chicken rice, Char Koat Teow, Hokien char & mee, Hainanese chicken rice, Wan Than Mee, Lor mee, fried oyster omelette

Indian– Appalam, Apom, banana leaf rice, biryani, fish head curry, Nasi Kandar,Mee Rebus

Western– Tari Burger, Chicken chop, Neslo,

Penang hotel options

Penang offers fabulous accommodation options to diverse tourists as per their budget and choices be it boutique hotels, beach view resorts, economical hostels or serviced apartments. The capital George Town has unique stay options at World Heritage sites while beaches offer nature facing stay options which you can book online at great prices.

Activities and Adventure in Penang

Swimming and hiking in Penang National Park, parasailing, scooter and speed boat rides, snorkeling and diving. kayaking, archery, paintball, jungle-trekking, water polo, and beach volleyball in Jerejak Islands

SIGHTSEEING in PENANG

George Town

Capital of Penang has plenty of attractions to offer to tourists, such as pre-Second World War houses and shop houses, as well as 19th century churches, temples, mosques, and colonial buildings. A UNESCO world heritage site George Town is well maintained in cleanliness and other aspects of safety and management. George Town is a modern-day city with skyscrapers and shopping malls. Luxuriant Penang Hill, with hiking and a riding on the funicular railway provides a panoramic view of the hills and the city.  There are some important places to see:

George Town Panang

  • Kapitan Keling Mosque, which is the largest mosque in the city
  • Sri Mahamariamman Temple is the oldest temple in the country
  • Church of the Assumption considered to be the oldest Roman Catholic church.

Penang National Park

This National Park is Malaysia’s smallest of the parks, all the more reason to watch with ease. Located    25 km from Georgetown, the park has three nearby hidden beaches and network of trails for trekking.  Spread over 1200 hectares, it’s the lifetime experience to see nature’s complete offerings in this park. In this lovely wilderness, it is unimaginable that one is so near to the bustling city. The experience one can get here is soothing to the eyes and heart. From the easy hike to Monkey Beach to the more challenging trek to Teluk Kampi, explore what this park has in store for you. Monkeys and turtles are in abundance here, if lucky you can find some baby turtles hatching.

Penang National Park

Penang Hill

A British time hill station, the hill was well chosen by the British people to overlook the city and the surrounding area. The view from the top is enchanting and panoramic. The place still has British time’s rundown cottages and the cooler air up there to provide great relief from the warm weather.

Penang Hill

The most popular way to climb up to Penang Hill is through the funicular or hill train.  There’s another way that starts by the Botanical Gardens and it’s called the Moon Gate. From here, it’s around 6km up to the Hill. The trek is not an easy one, it’s steep, muddy, and humid as hell, so get lots of water and proper boots to climb.

Batu Feringghi Sea Beach

Batu Feringghi is Penang’s most advanced thus a popular beach, long stretch of soft & white sandy beach that is dotted with beautiful houses, local and global restaurants, oceanfront resorts and reasonably priced hotels, as well as the exciting night market with hundreds of stalls set up that offer the best shopping time for you, where you can bargain competitively. Batu Feringghi beach is located just half an hour away from Georgetown, when your sojourn coming to an end, check for this market.

Tanjung Bungah

Tanjung Bungah is a panoramic seaside suburb located between Gurney and Batu Feringghi. Within a half-hour’s drive from Georgetown, Tanjung Bungah beach is surrounded by lush greenery and rocky landscapes. It has risen in popularity over the years to become one of Penang’s most popular destinations, having must-visit charms such as Penang Toy Museum and Penang Floating Mosque.

Tanjung Bungah Penang

Jerejak Island

A tranquil tropical 362-hectare island with picturesque beaches and an unspoiled rainforest, Jerejak Island has been protected for 4 centuries. Known as the biggest of the many islands surrounding this place, this island can be reached by daily going ferry.

Jerejak Island Penang

Snake temple – Must visit this one-of-a-kind temple which is filled with aroma and smoke.

Snake temple Penang

It is famous as Food Haven, but there are so much more to enjoy the holidays such as beautiful parks, shopping complexes, museums and old heritage sites. Therefore, visit Penang during your next vacation and feel the difference!

Galapagos Islands, Group of Volacano Islands, South America

Galapagos Islands, South America

General info on Galapagos Islands 

The Galapagos Islands are group of nineteen volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean. It is a part of Ecuador. The islands and adjoining water sides are shared in three specific forms, the Galapagos Province, the Galapagos National Park and the Galapagos Marine Reserve. The current volcanic activities are still developing the islands and this is the reason why these isolated islands became the home of unfamiliar species.

Galapagos Islands

Why visit the Galapagos Islands 

The Galapagos National Park and the Galapagos Marine Reserve are the world’s only and exceptional existing gallery and platform of evolution. If you consider yourself a nature lover and want an opportunity to explore the world wildlife like National Geographic, then this is the perfect reason to visit the Galapagos Islands. The most important reason to visit these islands is wildlife. The islands are the home of some sporadic animals. You can’t see these animals anywhere else in the world. The other reason to visit the Galapagos Islands is the underwater sphere. It has a spectacular, secure aquatic life where the alteration of ocean currents enriches the marine life.



Main attractions and things to do

These volcanic Islands are wonderful, mesmerism and habitat of various unfamiliar species. There are so many things that you can explore on these islands.

1. Charles Darwin Research Center- You can have a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island. If you are interested in science then you will get to know about Darwin’s observation and how the research continues today.

Charles Darwin Research Centre

2. Scuba Diving– If you are adventurous and curious about under water, then scuba diving is just perfect. You can see many wonderful fishes and water species.

Scuba Diving

3. Lava Tubes- Santa Cruz has some magnificent structures of lava. There are many long channel caves. You can explore these natural beauties by your own or you can hire a guide for increasing your knowledge.

Lava Tubes

4. Tortuga Bay- Tortuga Bay is one of the popular sea beaches in the Galapagos. It is a great experience of crystal clear water.

Tortuga Bay

5. The Wall of Tears- This is situated in the Puerto Villa-mil. The wall and its path, both are beautiful and interesting. You can see many birds and wildlife near this wall like, flamingos, turtles.

The Wall of Tears

6. Los Gemelos- These two sink holes are located in Santa Cruz. This place is enclosed by full of wooden area.

Los Gemelos

7. Giant Tortoise- The giant tortoise is the asset of the Galapagos Islands. These tortoises are mostly live till 150 years and reach the weight about 900 pounds. It can be an extremely magnificent experience to see them in their own territory.

Giant Tortoise Galapagos Islands

8. Birds- These islands have various birds. There are thirteen types of tanagers, Cormorants, Albatrosses and Frigate birds.

Birds Galapagos Islands

9. Las Loberias- This destination is world- famous for sea lions and their pups. You can spend a day by watching them or you can go for a swim, but keep some distance.

Las Loberias

Best time to travel Galapagos Islands

You can see animals and water species round the year in the Galapagos Islands. There are mainly two seasons in the islands, like cool and dry season in between June to November and warm and wet season in December to June. The warmer season is considered as the ideal time to visit these islands.

Galapagos Islands hotel options

Staying in the Galapagos Islands hotels is much more costly than in the mainland Ecuador. Four islands have hotel facility, Santa Cruz Island, San Cristobal Island, Isabela Island and Floreana Island. There are various types of hotels available from two stars to luxurious five star hotels. The charges are just double from the mainland. Minimum charges are 20 dollar per person each night and maximum 100 dollar. You need to check all facilities before you go to the booking.

How to reach Galapagos Islands 

The Galapagos Islands are famous because these are isolated and untouched. You can only reach in these islands by flight. But there are no direct international flights. You have to reach in Quito or Guayaquil on Ecuador. Then you can board for Galapagos. It takes only 2.5 hours to reach the islands. There are daily connecting flights available from cities across Europe and America. Direct flights are there from Miami, Atlanta, Houston and New York. From Europe, Amsterdam and Madrid have direct flights to Ecuador. The busiest airport in the Galapagos Islands is in the Baltra Island and the second airport is in the San Cristobal Island.  

Lakshadweep Islands Activation of Tourism in Isolation

Lakshadweep islands activation of tourism in isolation

As one travel fanatic recalled the oceanic memories, “I was happy anywhere I could see the ocean”. Same feeling dawns when one comes to Lakshdweep Islands’ Serene blue sea, lagoons, sandy beaches, coconut trees and warmth of sun. What else one can long for in winter seasons’ hideout. These islands are situated in South Western India, about 200 to 440 km off the coast of Kerala in the Arabian Sea. Lakshadweep means hundred thousand islands, is also called Laccadive Islands. Lakshadweep islands are being developed by government of India as a perfect tourist destination for all seasons, especially for winters which is the best time to visit these islands.

sandy beaches lakshdeep

Brief history

Lakshadweep islands fall in line with shipping route to India from western part of the world. The islands were in control of Kerala’s rulers in olden times, then in 16thcentury Portuguese controlled whole Arabian Sea and these islands too. Then Tipu Sultan king of Mysore had these islands under him which later fell to English Raj, who attached it to Malabar region. It came under Maldives who handed over these islands to free Indian republic in 1956.  

Lakshadweep islands

Geography

Lakshadweep is an archipelago of 12 atolls forming lagoon, three reefs and 39 islands and islets. The land area is only 32 sq km of land and 4200 sq km of lagoon. Only ten islands out of the cluster are truly inhabited. As per 2010 census, the population of the islands is around 64,500 people.



Weather

The weather is tropical monsoon and very hot from March to May, then rains start which go on till first half of September. Winters are good, temperature remains around 30c and humidity around 70%.

 Islands

Habited main islands are Kavaratti, Agatti, Kalpeni Andrott, Androth island, Kadmat, Kiltan, Chetlat, Bitra, Minicoy and Amini.

Agatti Island

 How to reach the islands

Main mode of transport from mainland is ship which starts from Kochi and reaches Kavaratti by overnight journey. Many passenger ships ply between these two places. Agatti  Island has its only domestic airport, boats and helicopters are also available from there for other islands.

Kochi International airport is on mainland, which is the closest airport. Commercial flights are available from there to Agatti.

Accommodation

Hotels, resorts, rooms, sea facing resorts, tree houses, beach tents and beach resorts all are available for both luxury seekers as well as budget travelers.


Culture

Religion

In Lakshdweep Islands religion of the 97% people is Islam, rest all are of mixed religions.

Language

Spoken languages are Malyalam, Mahi, Jeseri and English.

Dances

Traditional dances Lava Dance, Kolkali and Parichakli dance

Lava Dance Lakshdeep

Food

Food has base of sea food, coconut and Malabari masalas- Seafood with rice is a staple diet of the people here. Diverse food varieties are also available, as tourists and traders come from everywhere.

Tourism

The scenario of tourism bright and it is making big contribution to islands’ economy. Lakshadweep is a perfect winter getaway for all reasons be it hospitality, friendly locals, serene ocean, blue lagoons, many adventure activities and walk in the wilderness. Tourists love the winters here as they laze around the beach overlooking the blue ocean. The coconut plantation along the coast gives the reasons to smile. There are many aqua activities one can do like scuba diving, wind surfing, snorkeling, surfing, water skiing, kayaking, canoeing and sport fishing.

sport fishing Lakshadweep

Flora and Fauna

Lakshadweep has great collection of aqua life to display. 600 varieties of amazing fishes, 52 species of crabs, 2 species of lobsters, 48 species of gastropods, 12 species of bivalves. Also 101 species of colorful birds are birdwatchers’ delight in Pitti Island which is a declared bird sanctuary, a breeding ground for sea turtles. Corals and seaweeds are unique attractions.

bird sanctuary Lakshadweep

As regards to Flora, the forest is almost absent, but 400 plants species are identified and documented. Only coconut plantation is spread out to all the islands.

Visiting Lakshadweep Islands in winters is a great experience, which should not be missed at all. As someone said “you have to travel to see new light, find new hope, renew the mind and revitalize the soul”

Enjoy the Trip to Korčula Enchanting Island of Croatia

Enjoy Croatian-European highlights with least expenses at Korčula

Among the favorite holiday spots of the Greeks in ancient times, Korčula is still among the most enchanting islands of Croatia. Renowned for its vineyards and olive groves with magnificent, eclectic tiny villages glowing with age old traditions that locals have still kept alive, Korčula is surely among Europe’s lesser known gems and among its top upcoming destinations. Here is a little something on this beautiful island if you are planning your quiet Europe getaway:

Korčula Croatia

Expansive coastal range

Offering a bevy of activities, Korčula is perfect even if you just want a relaxed holiday. There are so many beaches to choose from that you can pick from enjoying the ambient sunbath or go visiting sea urchins on a swim. The karstic coastal ranges and Orebic are also visible from nearby or you can just rent a kayak for 200 KN a day and delight yourself with Kantun tours. Snorkeling is another famous activity that is best done around southeast of Badija island.

Snorkeling Korčula

Explore the culture

The island hosts an annual event called the Korkyra Baroque Festival in September that brings world’s leading ensembles as well as soloists whose expertise is in Baroque music together. So, those looking for some cultivation of musical passions and interest should sure visit the island during September. Moreover, you will get to observe the beautiful architectural marvels of the island.

Korkyra Baroque Festival Korčula

Tease your adrenaline

There are enough nightclubs to suit your modern taste but if you want the action old school way then you should try the eloquent sword dance that actors perform to depict an historical battle. Rent a bike for an easy, local and DIY excursion and pedal around the island appreciating the beautiful imagery of the island.



Sate those taste buds

The island has a vareity of cuisines to offer but your best bet would be trying out some local flavors. Must haves include brodet (fish stew), zrnovski makaruni (beef with thin, long pieces of pasta), pogačice (deep-fried dough), klašun, pašticada (Dalmatian stewed beef), cukarin (cookies), etc. If you appreciate a rich glass of wine then grk (a dry white wine from Lumbarda and pošip (dry white wine from Smokvica and Cara) should be on your must have list.

Getting to Korčula

Korčula is easily accessible with stable connectivity through Dubrovnik, Zagreb, Mijet, Zadar, Split, Vis, etc. You can board a ferry from other spots and get to the island or you can get to the island first and then explore other destinations on your way out. And, if you are choosing an extended trip then getting day long excursions to nearby islands and spots would be best.

Lively lodging

Backpackers will have the most fun travelling this lesser known European paradise as there are sufficient budget friendly camping and accommodation option. You can stay at the hostels or pick separate rooms or even book self-catering villas for a luxurious stay.


Amuse your taste of aesthetics

Korčula has an incredibly splendid Old town that is full of amazing eating spots and stone buildings. In fact, much of the island is postcard perfect and if you were hoping for some typical European beauty then this island will curb your appetite for sure.

The glorious Korčula of the Adriatic is almost 47km long and is home to some old-world, secluded coves as well as little sandy and unspoiled beaches with the northern shore being much pebblier for a walk-the-town picnic. So, get the best of this European upcoming Destination Island while spending the least of your money.

Enjoy Picturesque Nature and Secluded Coves at Folégandros

Hitch a ferry to Folégandros for a quaint and fairy tale escape

Home to a magnificently gorgeous main town and still unspoiled by the reach of corporate hotel chains, Folégandros is Greek’s sweet little charming spot. With picturesque houses and even more picturesque nature (some thrilling cliffs!) and secluded coves, this small Greek Island is everything a dreamer could ask for and certainly among Europe’s upcoming destinations.

Folegandros Greek

Getting there

Although fantastic and definitely worth the trouble, Folégandros is actually very remote and quite hard to get to (one of the reason why it is still so unblemished). Located in the South Cyclades, there is a paved road that connects its three villages. To get to Folégandros, you will need to board a ferry or boat from Santorini, Piraeus, Rafina.

Santorini Cyclades Greek

Cyclades

Why settle for a bite when you can enjoy the whole pie? If you can manage the time (given the current Greek economy, budget won’t be an issue), visiting Cyclades and including Folégandros in your trip will be a wiser idea.

Avoiding the ruckus

Cyclades is usually visited the most from Easter to mid-September with July-August being the peak seasons. Peak means not only busy but also expensive so you can choose May-June and other off season months to get there. Nevertheless, keep an eye out on ferry availability beforehand because off seasons means closing of some hotels.

Extravagant accommodation within budget

How would you like your stay at some marvelous 19th-century stone houses atop a hillside spanning a beautiful view of the Chora? There aren’t really hotels but available accommodation is homely, secluded with stylish interiors and beamed ceilings making your stay even more regal. Anemi would be a great choice if you don’t mind the view of the port and would like easily accessible contemporary Cycladic cuisine. 

Explore the villages

Hora, among traditional medieval towns of Cyclades has a beautiful wall composed of buildings. One of the most romantic places, Hora appears purely poetic. The village castle of Kastro is a must visit for anyone enjoying the island. Another seaside beauty worth visiting at the Island is Karavostassis that’s only 3km southeast from Hora. Your next stop at the island should be Ano Merià where cultivated fields and dry stoned walls will enchant you. Home to the eclectic Ecological and Folklore Museum, Ano Merià is a rural incorruptible delight for anyone looking for a sober escape.

Hora Cyclades Greek

Seductive and calm beaches of Folégandros

Festooned by some incredibly quiet beaches, Folegandros is one place that you won’t forget. The beauty and calm of the beaches is worth all the hard work so be prepared to hike all the way to the beaches round the island. But if you are feeling lazy, take a boat…it’s a vacation after all.

Vardia-Livadi beaches are around a kilometer from Karavostasi while Agios Georgios is located in the northeast of Ano Merià and may need you to walk for more than an hour.  If you want to get your adrenaline up then witness the grand cliffs from Hora as the road leading north will take you to the breathtaking cliffs. The Vathi Bay, Angali and Agios Nikolaos beaches are also located nearby.

Agios Nikolaos beaches

Keeping the taste buds delighted

Local taverns serve some of the best Greek foods like Matsata, Greek Salad-Meatballs, courgette croquettes with tzaziki, etc. 

With its grim but eerily attractive history, Folégandros has been on the map for a long time but past few decades has sure made it famous among mainstream travelers. Fortunately, you are in luck because the island is still as unspoiled as it was three decades back and easy on the pocket. So, make your Greek pilgrim to this beautiful island soon if you are in for an exclusive and special holiday.