Adventures in Penang, Malaysia Day 1
Trekking Malaysia’s wonderful nature parks
My week began with an invitation from Penang Global Tourism and AirAsia Philippines. The two companies invited me, along with my fellow bloggers, to none other than Asia’s Food Capital, to the northwest coast of Malaysia, Penang!
There is no direct flight from my hometown Manila to Penang, but a connecting flight from Kuala Lumpur (capital of Malaysia) may be booked via the AirAsia website. We were were able to avail of the said flight. There was a layover upon arrival in Kuala Lumpur, but we were also able to book AirAsia’s fly-thru service that allows travelers to be transferred hassle-free from Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2.
We arrived at Penang at around midnight. Our early arrival gave us more time to rest and prepare for our activities on the following day. I spent the hours unpacking some of my things in my room in Sunway Hotel Georgetown, our official accommodation for three days in Asia’s Food Capital.
We started the following morning with a breakfast in our hotel. Afterwards, we went to Entopia, a new attraction offered by Penang Butterfly Farm.
Entering Entopia was like entering a whole new world. The park is not air conditioned to allow the insects to live in their natural habitat temperature, but the park—that world, if I may call it—had so much to offer us. We spent about an hour inside the park taking endless amounts of pictures and selfies with the environment.
Entopia had educational tour packages that were both informative and fun. It let us learn more about butterflies, insects, and reptiles. Aside from touring, there were also several interactive areas in the park too. We adults had lots of fun in that world so close to nature. I bet younger tourists, and even kids, if you have some, would enjoy Entopia as much as we did!
We went to ESCAPE Adventureplay after saying goodbye to the butterflies in Entopia. ESCAPE is located right next to Entopia—in fact, we reached the adventure park in less than five minutes. Unlike most adventure parks I’ve seen in my travels, ESCAPE gave off a more natural feel. The family-friendly theme park is located in an area with lots of huge trees.
Getting lost in the world of Entopia and running off on our own adventure in ESCAPE left our tummies growling—so our next stop for the day, Taitong Seafood Restaurant, was very fitting.
I thought that the restaurant was just an ordinary dim sum place, until they started serving us their bestselling seafood dishes. I borrowed their menu to take note the names of the food they were to serve us, but the owner told me that some of the food they serve are not on the menu. They cook only fresh catch and whatever is available in the market that day.
Our scrumptious lunch consisted of signature scallops topped with baked cheese, King Prawns in Mongolian Sauce, Red Pepper Squid, sautéed vegetables with mushrooms, Bamboo Selfish with ginger and spring onions, and my new favorite, Fried Mantis Prawns with salted egg. I found it very interesting how some of the dishes bore resemblance to some Filipino dishes. I liked how culture unites us as much as how it sets us apart.
For drinks, we had their famous three-layered Iced Tea: the bottom layer is made of syrup, the second of tea, and the third layer of milk. It was really good and most of us ordered a second glass!
After filling our tummies, we boarded our tourist bus for our 45-minute trip to Penang Hill. We were able to board easily with our seamless transportation service, and we got to our destination just past noon time. We were lucky that we were able to come to a time where Penang Hill wasn’t too crowded.
Our destination, Penang Hill, is similar to Hong Kong’s Victoria’s Peak. Although some would say that Penang Hill may not be as glamorous as Victoria’s Peak in Hong Kong, the view from the train we boarded to the top of the hill was truly spectacular.
Our first stop for the afternoon was at The Habitat, an eco-tourist nature park on Penang Hill. When we got there, the sun was directly up above, but it was cool and windy. We already spotted a squirrel and some birds before reaching the entrance of the park.
We were warmly welcomed by a team who gave us a backgrounder and a tour of the property. The nature park is not yet open to the public, and we were so lucky to be able to tour around the place and get a glimpse of what it looks like.
Roaming around the property with beautiful flora and fauna was such a nice experience. Our tour guides told us that view decks will be constructed in the park, which aim to bring tourists closer to nature. Along the trail were several drinking fountains where everyone can refill their water containers. The Habitat aims to eliminate the use of plastic water bottles inside the park, and the use of reusable stainless water containers and fountains was a good solution for the plastic usage problem.
I commend the entire managing team of the park for a job well done. I extend my gratitude particularly to Shakira, our knowledgeable tour guide who gave us such a memorable and educational tour around the park.
We were supposed to visit Kek Lok Si Temple next after The Habitat, but we overstayed in the nature park that we unfortunately reached the closing time of the temple. To lighten ourselves up, we passed by and took photos of the temple from the parking area.
Our last stop for the afternoon was at Perut Rumah Nyonya Cuisine, the wonderful restaurant where we had a dinner to close our equally wonderful day. (More on this in my next blog story!)
We headed back to Sunway Hotel Georgetown (check rates) to officially call it a day, post pictures in our social media, and tuck ourselves in bed as we dream of the activities in store of us the following day…
How to get to Penang Malaysia
Philippines AirAsia do not have a direct flight to Penang yet but with AirAsia’s massive network, they are offering Fly-Thru service which enables travellers to fly from Manila to Penang, Bali, New Zealand, Maldives and many more via seamless convenience of paying for only one fare and hassle-free transfers from KLIA2. Your check-in baggage will be collected in Penang or at the final destination.