It was a 4 hour car ride up to Penang from Kuala Lumpur. We only made two stops, one for the bathroom and the other in Ipoh which was 2 hours away. Ipoh is a city in northwest Malaysia and pretty much the middle point of our road trip up.
It was around 1 when we arrived at Ipoh and we were starving since we didn’t eat anything all morning besides some chips we picked up at the rest stop. First order of business, food. We stopped by a restaurant that was packed with people eating lunch called Restoran Ipoh Kong Heng. Ipoh is known for their bean sprouts so of course we had to get that as one of our dishes.
My favorite dish ended up being the Popiah. Fried popiah = spring roll but the Malaysian Popiah looks different than your typical spring roll. We got the non fried one where the wraps are stuffed with shredded turnip, jimaca, egg, peanuts and other veggies.
After lunch, we walked over to check out Concubine Lane, which is one of the touristy spots in Ipoh. History has it that it was where all the concubines and mistresses of British officers and wealthy Chinese had stayed.
Apparently after Malaysia has gained independence, all of the British officers abandoned the area and the buildings have been reclaimed by nature. Since then, the city has restored parts of the area as you can see. The abandoned buildings were my favorite part about Concubine Lane since you feel like you just traveled back in time.
Concubine Lane was a good mix of the old and the new. There were lot of street art as well.
After walking through Concubine Lane, we did some light exploring around Ipoh before we got back on the road to Penang.
Right before we got back on the road, I couldn’t help myself from stopping by a cafe called Plan B. It was just too beautiful to pass by. I ended up getting a refreshing elderflower drink for the road.
2 hours later, we have arrived in Penang. Right before we got on the bridge, I saw a building for Western Digital and HP – apparently they call Penang the Silicon Valley of East. Penang is one of Malaysia’s most urbanized states, the highest GDP per capita among the states and has the second largest city in Malaysia, Georgetown.
Our Airbnb was around Fortune Park, which was a close drive to George Town. Being in a car for so long is much more tiring than you think, so we relaxed in our Airbnb before we explored the neighborhood a little bit.
We didn’t explore much, just around the neighborhood to see what we were dealing with. We were blessed with a lot of food options, cafes and convenience stores.
Originally we were going to head to area where the Clan Jetties were before it was dark but we were too comfortable on the sofa and in the AC to make any moves. The Clan Jetties were unique Chinese settlements and were named after their surname. Tan Jetty and Chew Jetty are two examples. They are located along the waterfront of George Town and pretty much a floating village above water.
By the time we got there and found parking, it was pretty much night time and most of the shops at the Jetties were closed. After all, the shops weren’t stores but actual homes where they lived in. The entrance of Chew Jetty was pretty nice at night because of all the lights, but it was pretty much empty besides a couple of other tourists taking pictures.
We wanted to check out the Hean Boo Thean Kuan Yin Temple before grabbing dinner so we made our way through a lot of dark streets to get there. It was pretty much empty aside from the people who actually live in the area. It was very village-ly and kind of scary at night. Something I wouldn’t have walked through if it wasn’t for my parents being there with us. The only scenario where I wouldn’t have been nervous was if I was with a big group.
For dinner, we found a big food hall around the area where there were a bunch of different food stalls.
Not really sure what the place was called but we ended up getting a variety of dishes to share.
Nothing better than ending the night with a full stomach.