How to plan for long-term travel

So you’re finally taking the plunge and traveling long term?  Amazing!  Get ready for one of the best times of your life.  But before you set off, there’s a lot of planning to do.  Planning for any trip can be so fun.  But there is something even more special about planning for long-term travel.  It comes with a lot more considerations than a short 2 -week trip.  Having spent more than 14 months on the road, we learned quite a few things really quickly when it comes to planning.

So here are the main things to keep in mind when you decide to travel long-term.  We’ve broken it down on a timeline, but obviously, it’s quite flexible.  We decided to leave 4 months before our date, so this is more of a general guideline.

6-12 months before

Ask the important questions

There are tons of ways to travel long-term.  That’s why it’s important that you ask yourself some key questions to prepare accordingly.

  • What’s your travel style going to be? Will you be roughing it or living it up in luxury?  Will you stay in dorms or private rooms?
  • What’s your budget?  This will depend on how much you can save, what you plan on spending, where you want to go and how long you will travel for.
  • How are you traveling? Are you going solo, with a friend, or a partner?
  • Will you be working as you travel?  You can choose to pick up odd jobs, doing a working tourist visa, freelance, workaways or just enjoying life.
  • How long do you want to travel for?  Is it a few months? A year? Until you run out of cash?
  • Why do you want to travel the world?  
  • What do you want to get out of the experience?

Start saving

It’s never too early to start saving.  Regardless of how you want to travel, chances are the money you save now will help you travel for longer.  Your dollar saved will probably go further abroad than it goes back home, so put in the effort and start saving now.  Even before you decide to travel, if you can!  Here are some tips on how you can save money before and during your travels.

Some important advice that might help you:

  • Have a piggy bank account:  Basically, make sure you have a contingency that you keep on the side.  This is in case things go wrong, or your trip costs more than you think.  Because it always ends up costing more than you think!
  • Keep money for when you get back:  Just like your piggy bank, make sure you keep some money for when you get back.  We kept about $2,000, just enough to get things started again.  Depending on where you live, and what your situation is, you may need more or less than this.

Passport

Regardless of where you’re going, you will need a valid passport.  Make sure yours won’t expire for at least 6 months, or longer than you plan to travel for.  Check that you have at least 4 empty pages.  Also, make electronic and hard copies of your passport and keep them in a secure location while you’re traveling (not in your wallet).  And finally, give a copy to your parents or someone you trust.

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You won’t be going far without these bad boys!

Start planning your itinerary

This does not mean to start planning every single day of your trip.  In fact, we beg you not to do that!  Keep some flexibility because itineraries change.  What we mean is to start making the list of countries you want to visit.  Check when the high and low tourist seasons are, look at the weather (dry vs wet season), look at the cost of living there, make sure there are some festivals happening.  This is also going to help you decide what to pack.

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Grab a map and figure out where you want to go!

Visas & other paperwork

While your checking the list of countries you want to visit, look into visas as well.  A few countries don’t need any visas, others you’ll need to get online and some you can get at the airport.  Some are more expensive than others, so just make sure you do your research before you head out.

Also, if you’ll be driving in any of the countries you’ll be visiting, make sure to get an international driver’s licence.  You may need it to rent scooters in certain countries so make sure you have it done.  It’s not that expensive and it’s well worth it.

3-6 months before

Vaccines

Once you have your initial list of countries, make your way to the traveler’s clinic.  Get all the shots you need to get.  Start doing this at least 4 months before you head out, as some need multiple shots.  They will also let you know if you need any medication.

Insurance

We debate about this all the time, but really, there should be no debate.  Just get travel insurance.  It is a hefty chunk of money, but it’s well worth it.  Our rule is that is your trip is going to cost more than the cost of insurance, you should get it.  You can see what you want to have covered, but keep in mind that luggage gets lost, goods get stollen, flights get cancelled.  Don’t be stingy on this.

Start downsizing and selling

Depending on if you’re looking to live the nomad life forever or for a determined amount of time, start downsizing and selling what you no longer need.  You can start getting rid of things you know you won’t need or miss before you leave right away.  For anything else, wait 2 months before leaving to start selling it.  You’ll probably need it until then.

You can get rid of clothes, furniture, electronics, kitchen supplies, whatever.  You’ll notice as you travel that you get used to having so little so you don’t want to come back to unnecessary clutter.  Good sites to sell things on are Craigslist, eBay, and Kijiji.  You can even host a garage sale or a private sale for your friends.  Some things you can donate to charities.

1-3 months before

Check-ups

About a month before you head out, go get your usual check-ups done.  Dentist, gynaecologist, family doctor, allergy specialist, whatever you need to do on a regular basis.  Let them know you’ll be traveling for a while and where you’ll be going.  They may have important information to give you or medical advice to follow for your specific condition.

Car and real estate

At this point, you’ll need to decide what to do with your car.  Will you sell it like we did?  Will you break your lease?  Put it in storage?  These are options you can look into.  Obviously, it will depend on what your current situation is and what you expect to come back to when you get back home.  Our car was quite old but in great condition, so we just sold it.  We know that when we get back, we can get a cheaper lease or use a car-sharing service.

As for real estate, again, it depends on your current situation.  We own our condo, so we decided to put it up for rent, and have our parents take care of any issues that come up urgently.  If not, our neighbours and tenants can reach us at anytime, so this was not an issue.  If you are renting your place, you may want to break your lease or sublet your apartment.  Either way, make sure you let your landlord know.

Get gear you need

Sign up to your favourite stores’ newsletters and start keeping an eye on sales.  You’ll probably need some gear, so make sure you get them when they are discounted.  Even if you haven’t started packing yet, you know what you need to update or upgrade, whether its your photography gear, hiking shoes, backpack, whatever.  Just start looking so you have enough time to compare prices, test out some options and get a great deal.

Book your ticket

This is the other exciting thing you’ll be doing.  Book that ticket baby!  Usually, they say it’s best to book it 3 months before you go, so start looking at prices and be flexible.  Check to find the cheapest but most convenient way to get where you’re going.

2-4 weeks before

Quit your job

This is probably the most exciting and nerve-wracking part.  It’s time to quit your job!  Depending on your relationship with your employers, and what you what to do on your trip, and when you get back, you can look at different options.

Derek after leaving his job for the last time
Last day of work, peace out!
  • Leave of absence: You can ask your employers to take an unpaid leave of absence.  If you know your return date, they can potentially keep your position so that you can return to it.
  • Work abroad: We’ve met quite a few people who were able to continue working for their employer as a freelancer from abroad, or as a temporary employee when they need some extra help.  If you plan on working as you travel, this is a great option for both you and your employer as there won’t be training required.
  • Quit your job:  If these 2 options above are not possible, you can just quit your job.  Give them enough notice so that they are not stuck in a tight situation.  You want to leave on good terms.
  • Find new work: If you choose to work while you travel, start looking for contracts you can pick up as you travel.  Either you can contact local clients or you can offer your services online through sites like Fiverr.

Let your bank know

This is an obvious one.  Make sure you call up your bank and credit cards to let them know you’ll be traveling abroad, and how long you’ll be gone for.  This is so they don’t block your cards as you’re on the road.  Make sure you also know where to contact them in case they do freeze your account.  This happened to us because we stayed on the road longer than we expected.  Luckily, we knew what to do.

Power of attorney

Depending on what your situation is, you may want to give power of attorney to a trusted loved one.  Because we own property and have investments back home we can’t tend to on a daily basis, we gave power of attorney to one of our parents.  This way, if anything were to happen, we had a legally-assigned person to take care of things.  This will really depend on your situation, so it may not apply to you.  The best thing to do is to call your notary and see what does apply to your specific situation.

Packing

About a month before, start packing.  Carry your backpack around the house, check that it fits well and isn’t too heavy.  Try living with only the clothes you want to take with you.  This is a great way to figure out what you still need to get, what you think you need but don’t really, what you can live without and your absolute musts.

Cancel contracts

Cancel any contracts you don’t need anymore, like your phone contract, electricity, internet, etc.  Let them know your last date in country and when you’ll come back, if ever.

Redirect mail

Pretty straight forward.  Make sure you get your mail redirected to a loved one’s place.  Your parents, siblings, BFF, whoever.  Just get it sent there.

Say your “see you laters”

This is another one of our favourite things to do.  Have a huge party (or 3, like we did) to say Au revoir to all your friends, family, colleagues, and loved-ones.  Try to convince them to come visit you on the road.  But more importantly, enjoy your time with them.  Take pics and videos and keep those memories dearly!

And there you have it, that’s all you need to plan to get going on your long-term trip.  Is there anything else you did before leaving on your trip?  Let us know in the comments!


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Berlin Street Art – A photoblog

A photoblog about the best street art in Berlin, Germany. Find out where to see the best pieces around the city.

Graffiti is probably one of the world’s oldest art forms, as the markings on cave walls prove.  Sure, you may argue that those carvings are far from the graffiti that we see on our streets, but we beg to differ.  It’s one of the first forms of artistic expression and human creativity, a way to describe what was happening at a given time, and to leave a legacy for others to remember a specific moment.

We’re huge fans of street art.  We’re fascinated by the way artists can capture such truth and beauty and lay it on the wall for others to admire.  Some risk their lives to create this art form, to make a mundane grey wall stand out and become a true work of art.  Wherever we go, we love to see and capture the work of local artists and learn more about their art.  One of our favorite museum expositions happens to be Art from the Streets at Singapore’s ArtScience Museum.  We also loved Penang and Chiang Mai, because of all the fun and interactive art on the streets.  It’s one of the reasons why we were excited to discover Berlin too.

The German capital has been dubbed the “most bombed city in Europe” and even “Graffiti Mecca”.  Although graffiti is illegal in Berlin, it still offers a ton of beautiful pieces to discover.  This may come from its dark history, when not too long ago, the Berlin wall was used as a canvas for some remarkable pieces conveying profound messages of peace and hope.  Graffiti and street art played essential roles in shaping the identity of the city.  We even wonder if they played a role in Berlin being named a UNESCO City of Design in 2006.  It’s probably also one of the things that draws millions of tourists to the city every year.

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If you want to take in all the street art, there’s a few ways you can do it.  There’s an amazing gallery called Urban Nation, that has some pieces to show, and it’s free to get in.  You can also check out the free East Side Gallery, where parts of the wall have been decorated by artists.  It’s the longest open air art gallery in the world at 1.3 km long.  If you want more details on the pieces, there are a ton of paying street art tours you can join.  Or like us, you can just walk around, search for the pieces and take it all in.

With all the stunning pieces around town, it’s easy to see why Berlin is still considered to be an important reference in street art and graffiti, not only in Europe, but all around the world as well.

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Your ultimate city guide to Penang, Malaysia

Tips, tricks and recommendations to make the best of your time in Penang, Malaysia. What to do, where to stay, where to eat and everything else to enjoy this UNESCO World Heritage city.

Penang is a wonderful city that made us fall for its vibe, its people and its food.  We spent 2 days here, but it was simply not long enough. We could have easily spent a whole week, but if you don’t have that much time, a good 3-4 days is the perfect amount of time. Penang has a really laid back but electric feel that’s hard to describe. Chill out and revel in the street art during the day. Pork out and dance the night away. Whatever you’re in the mood for, Penang has it.

The historic part, Georgetown, became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008.  It’s also the country’s second largest city after Kuala Lumpur, though you really don’t feel it’s that crowded when you’re exploring.

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Any place we can steal a kiss is a good place, in Penang

Getting here

Depending on where you’re are coming from, there are different ways to get to Penang Island.

Fly

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Air Asia, our carrier of choice in South East Asia

The fastest way to here is the plane. Flights with Air Asia are quite cheap and run regularly from major cities around the area.

Once you get to the airport, there are different options to get you to the city. The taxi ordered at the airport will set you back RM47 to Georgetown but RM80 if it’s very late. The drive there is about 30 minutes long but will depend in traffic. Ours took about one hour but what else can you expect from a Friday 5PM ride?

The cheapest option is the RM10 bus but it’s a much longer ride, at about one hour, even if there is no traffic.

You can also take a Grab for RM20 but make sure you order it when you get off the plane because there’s no wifi at the lobby of the airport, and you’ll probably have to double back to connect.

Ferry

You could also take a ferry, either from Langkawi or from Butterworth on the mainland.  The ferry from Langkawi is about 3 hours long, leaving twice a day.  Just note that very often, the waters are choppy, so not the best option if you have motion sickness or if you get seasick easily.  The cost is about RM60 per person, which is not so different than what the plane costs on a good day.  You can also leave from Butterworth.  That ferry runs every 20-30 min, from 5:20AM to 12:10AM.

Drive

You can also drive into Penang by bus or car rental.  That means you get to drive on the famous Penang Bridge.  The Penang Bridge is a 13.5km (8.4-mile) dual carriageway bridge that connects Butterworth on the mainland side of the state with Gelugor on the island of Penang.  The bridge was inaugurated in 1985 and it is the second-longest bridge in Malaysia and the fifth-longest in Southeast Asia.  You will notice that many people have quite an affection for this bridge and talk about it with pride.

Getting around

Getting around Penang is very easy.  If you are staying in Georgetown, you can easily get around by walking to where you need to get.  The furthest we walked to get anywhere was about 25 minutes.  Then again, our hotel was super well-situated!

If you’re not too keen on walking, what are you doing here?  Ok.  Just kidding, but it is a great way to get around.  If not, there is the free CAT bus that goes around Georgetown.  There are also paying buses available to get around to different parts of the city.  They also have bikes that you can rent, called Link Bike, that are super convenient.

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Link Bike, an easy way to get around Penang

And if none of this suits you, you can always use Grab.  It’s like Uber but much cheaper and probably the most convenient way to get around the city.

Things to do

Street art

Ok, this is probably the reason you are in Georgetown to start with.  Back in 2009, the Heritage city held a contest to revive its vibe.  The winning idea was from local artist Tang Mun Kian, under the theme “Voices of the people“, with steel-rod sculptures around the city showing elements from everyday life of locals.  And there are many other artists who have contributed to the art around the city.  The most famous are the interactive art pieces created by Ernest Zacharevic or the beautiful murals Julia Volchkova and Louis Gan.

There are a ton of maps available that show you exactly where all the art is but if you want to have some fun with it, just walk around and see what you find.  There are even bars and restaurants that have participated in the fun.

Clan Jetty

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Clan Jetty alleyways on a quiet afternoon

The clan jetties are water villages that are about a century old.  The were home to Chinese clans that came to settle here.  There used to be seven jetties, but one was destroyed by a fire.  Known as one of the last old Chinese settlements on the island, the jetties are houses on stilts of various Chinese clans.  Each jetty is even named after a Chinese clan, with the Chew Jetty being the most visited one.  It boasts the most stilt-houses, the longest walkway, a temple at its entrance. It’s good to know that none of the families pay any taxes as they are not living on land.  Talk about finding a winning loophole!

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The view of Penang from the end of the jetty

Today, it seems like the jetties are mainly used as stores where they sell souvenirs and treats.  We tried the dragon’s beard, a string sugar that is wrapped around some peanuts.

Getting here: The Clan Jetties are part of the Heritage walk.  You can get to them by walking straight down from Lebuh Chulia (beside the Kapitan Kling Mosque) at Pengkalan Weld (Weld Quay).

Eat

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CF market, thanks for the tip Anthony Bourdain

If you didn’t know, Penang is a Foodie paradise.  Here, you can find tons of delicious food around every corner.  Sure, some will be expensive, but you can get some amazing local delicacies without having to pay much.  Our favourites were the rendang and laska and char koay teow.  More on that later!

Just be sure to pick the busiest stalls, that’s where the good food is.  And like they say, “good things come to those who wait“, so strike up a conversation with the other patrons waiting and get ready to enjoy some delicious food.

Walk around Georgetown

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A beautiful example of Penang’s colonial past

This may seem obvious, but honestly, there is so much beauty to discover in this Unesco World Heritage city.  So walk around, see how people live, discover local shops, and admire the beauty of the home fronts.  We spent a good afternoon just wandering the streets and taking in all the sights, sounds and smells of the city.  With a vibrant Little India and Chinatown, it’s really a great place to discover.

Penang bridge

This is probably one of the main prides of the city and island.  Two long bridges that connect Penang island to the mainland.  Our Grab driver told us stories of visitors who have asked her to drive up and down the bridge.  Because the 13.5km bridge is the second-longest bridge in Malaysia and the fifth-longest in Southeast Asia, a lot people want to see it.

Penang hill

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Great view of the city from Penang Hill

This is a view you don’t want to miss, so make your way to Penang Hill.  You can hike up the 833-meter mountain or take the funicular.  This is the region’s fastest, steepest and highest train.  It will set you back 30RM per person but it’s well worth it for the view.  Once you are up there, you get a 180° panorama of the city.

At the hilltop, you will also find a mosque, a temple, and a few restaurants.  If you walk 10 min, you will get to the Habitat, a newly created attraction that includes a canopy walk, a sky walk, multiple gardens and guided tours.  You’ll get to really become one with nature, learn about the fauna and flora, and as always, get some awesome views of Penang (you might even see Langkawi, on a nice day).  There is an entrance fee, and don’t forget comfy walking shoes, sunscreen and insect repellant.

Getting here: You can take the 204 bus to get here, or the free city hop on and off bus, for a green alternative.  If not, you can always Grab-it there.  You can ask to get to Penang Hill or Bukit Bendera.

Batu Ferringhi Beach

This is probably the second most popular thing to do in Penang, after Georgetown.  Batu Ferringhi is a long stretch of soft, white sandy beach along a winding road named Jalan Batu Ferringhi.  It’s filled with a ton of accommodations and restaurants.  The night market here is quite legendary as well.  Its waters are a popular spot for a whole slew of water sports like jet-skiing, parasailing and windsurfing.  Not sure if you want to swim in the water (it may not be the cleanest), it is however, a pretty epic spot for sunsets.

Getting here: From Georgetown, you can take Bus 101.  You can pick up this bus from many of the popular tourist areas of the city, including the Jetty, Chulia Street and KOMTAR.  The bus ride is about an hour (depending on the time of day and amount of traffic).  It’s on the same route as the National Park.

Kek Lok Si Temple

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I guess we sneak kisses all over Penang, Kek Lok Si was no exception!

This temple is about 9km from the city.  This is the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia, and one of the most important ones in South East Asia.  The complex is actually made up  of different sections including many temples, pagodas, a turtle liberation pond, shops, the four heavenly kings pavilion, gardens, and a huge statue of the Goddess of Mercy, Kuan Yin.  Because it’s on a hilltop, you also get a great view of the city from here.

What makes this temple more impressive than most is that Kek Lok Si is carved into the rock face and, at the same time, it’s perched atop the Air Itam hillside.  The main attraction is the beautiful pagoda of Rama VI.  At the centre of the complex, this 30 metre high tower is acknowledged as the face of Kek Lok Si.  This is another place to get some awesome views of the city.

There is seriously so much you can do and see here, and it’s all beautiful.  Your visit will probably take a good 1.5 hours, if not more.  The entrance to the temple complex is free, but to visit and climb the pagoda, you will have to pay RM2 per person.  To take the inclined elevator to the Kuan Yin statue, you will also need to pay RM3.

Getting here: The temple is situated on Air Itam, and the best way to get there is to take a Grab.

Mosque Kapitan Keling

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Kapitan Keling Mosque in George Town, Penang

Situated at the heart of Georgetown on what is dubbed Harmony street, you will find the Kapitan Keling Mosque.  The street is nicknamed this way because you can find buildings of different religious faiths on the street.

Built in 1801 by Penang’s first Indian Muslim settlers, it’s the largest mosque in the Heritage city.  It really is a beautiful place to see.  If you wish to visit it, mosque officials will have to grant you permission.  You will only be allowed to enter if you’re dressed properly – for women, this means longs pants or skirts and long-sleeve shirts and men will also need to have their shoulders covered and wear pants.

Getting here: The mosque is at the intersection of Lebuh Buckingham and Lebuh Pitt.

National park

The Penang National Park is located on the north-west corner of the island in Teluk Bahang.  With so much to do here, it’s well worth a day trip.  It has some of the best beaches on the island located along it’s shores, so make sure you come prepared.  You can also hike it’s many trails, do the canopy walk (you’ll need tickets for this), do some bird watching, fishing or even camping.

You can also take boat rides along the shores to visit the beaches there.  Seriously, this place has it all!  Well it almost has it all.  They actually don’t sell any food or water inside the reserve you have to bring your own.

Getting here: From Georgetown, you can take Bus 101.  You can pick up this bus from many of the popular tourist areas of the city, including the Jetty, Chulia Street and KOMTAR.  The bus ride is about an hour (depending on the time of day and amount of traffic).

Snake temple

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Snake temple in Penang

Snake temple is 17km from the city and another place that is easy to get to with Grab.  This temple was built in honour of Chor Soo Kong, a Buddhist priest and healer.  According to the legend, the monk gave shelter to the snakes and when the temple was completed after his death, they moved in on their own. After they moved in, it was believed that the snakes were disciples of the priest, so it became the home to several resident venomous Wagler’s pit vipers and green tree snakes.  They must really like it here because they are still here.

You don’t need to worry too much about the venom – first, the snakes won’t bother you much.  Then, their venom has been removed so it’s quite safe to walk around.  Just don’t tease the snakes or try to grab them aggressively.  Anyway, they seem to be sleeping most of the time.

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One of the smaller snakes at the Snake Temple

When you get past the main area, you will find a place where they will let you touch a huge python… and then offer to take your picture holding it for RM40.  There is also the snake breeding area at the back where you can spot them hanging around the tree branches.

Getting here: From Georgetown, there are three buses that take you to Bayan Lepas, where the temple is located.  The bus numbers 302, 401 or 401E.  There is not much else around the temple in the way of sightseeing attractions, mostly surrounded by factories and a highway.  If not, you will definitely want to take a Grab here, if you don’t have a car.  It didn’t cost us much from Georgetown, roughly RM25.

Religious enclave around Snake temple

Right by the Snake temple, you there is a religious enclave with a Hindu temple, a church (Gurdwara Sahib Bayan Baru) and a Buddhist temple.  Although church and the Sri Vishwanather Visalatchi Alayam Temple were closed, the Buddhist temple, Than Hsiang Temple, was quite a sight to see.

It really wasn’t what we expected, have you ever seen a temple that looked like an apartment building?  Lucky for us, a volunteer found us and showed us around.  The main temple is on the 6th floor of the building, with a 2-storey high statue of Buddha.  The rest of the building is used as a community centre, a school, a retirement home and much more.

Getting here: Walk from the Snake temple to get here.

Where to stay

Penaga hotel

This was one of our favourite stays ever.  Georgetown is a UNESCO World Heritage site, so it’s only fitting we would stay in a heritage building at the heart of it.  Hotel Penaga was the top choice.  The hotel has kept its original layout and decor but updated the facilities.  The owners were architect and artist/environmentalist and you can feel the love in everything they have done here.  It’s the first restored heritage building in Malaysia with a green rating, which is why we loved it even more!

All the details came together beautifully – the decor was stunning, the furniture was influenced by Chinese design.  The walls are decorated with works from resident artists.  Each room has some beautiful stained glass windows that add a touch of luxury and class.  The lights were replaced by LEDs to ensure they are as efficient as possible.  The roof tiles were salvaged from demolished buildings in Penang, and the timber for structures and floors came from demolished colonial buildings throughout the peninsula.  Anything new was mainly handmade, which shows the importance given to support the local economy and artists.

The staff was so friendly and attentive to anything we needed.  They were always ready to help with anything and were always smiling.  They went above and beyond offering us a mid-day snack and happy hour cocktails which were perfect bookends for a refreshing dip in their lap pool.  A perfect way to get out of the heat in the city.

More than a hotel room, our stay at Hotel Penaga felt like a retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the city, while still being at the heart of it all.  We really felt that they take pride in everything they do.

Seriously, this place has everything you can possibly ask for.  It’s just awesome.

What to eat

Usually, we do a where to eat but in Penang, you can’t go wrong.  Instead, here are some delicious meals we tried.

Asam Laksa –  This is Penang’s most famous dish, so you just have to try it!  Typically, asam laksa is a fish-based noodle soup with thick rice noodles, a tart herb broth, chilli paste, lemongrass, shrimp paste & mackerel.  The base is tamarind so it’s a lot more sour than the coconut curries and is said to have an incredibly fishy, tangy taste.  Luckily, we found a vegetarian version of this dish, so we didn’t get that fishy taste.  The one we had Yun Shui Ge Vegetarian House was amazing!

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Vegetarian Laksa @  Yun Shui Ge Vegetarian House

Rendang – This mix is supposed to have been created in Penang so we had to try it as well.  It’s a spicy meat concoction that’s rich in spices.  With the main meat ingredient, rendang is made with coconut milk and a tasty paste of mixed ground spices, like ginger, galangul, tumeric, lemongrass, garlic, shallots, chillis and a slew of other spices.  We enjoyed the vegetarian version of this dish as well, and it was delish!

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Vegetarian Rendang @ Yun Shui Ge Vegetarian House

Char Koay Teow (Fried Rice Cake Strips / Noodles) – This is one of the most iconic street food dishes in Penang and you can find it everywhere.  It means “stir-fried rice cake strips” so it’s basically made by frying noodles in pork fat with a light and dark soy sauce, prawns, briny cockles, chewy Chinese sausage, crispy sprouts, fluffy egg and chillis, often served on a banana leaf, to infuse some more flavour into it.  Derek had this at CF Food Court and loved it!

The oyster omelette – It’s also known as “Oh Chien” and is a culinary delight amongst the list of street foods in Penang.  The oysters are fried in an egg & rice flour batter (to crisp it up), with chives and served with a spicy chilli or garlic sauce.

Curry Mee – It’s a soup made with a mix of curry and coconut milk, usually served with yellow noodles and rice vermicelli, fried bean curd, cockles, prawns, cuttlefish, cubes of pig’s blood and bean sprouts.  The Curry Mee is like traditional coconut laksa found in other parts of Asia.

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Fried sesame pau @ Yun Shui Ge Vegetarian House

And since we know you love our Where to Eat, here re some of our favorite places:

Yun Shui Ge Vegetarian House:  We came upon this restaurant almost by accident, but man were we lucky we found it.  They had all of the traditional Malay and Penang specialties, but in their more delicious vegetarian versions.  We had the laksa, rendang and dumplings here.  Each was more delicious than the next!

CF food market:  This is probably one of the most popular hawker centres in Penang, mainly because Anthony Bourdain came here.  So obviously, we had to come!  This was before his untimely death, which has hit us hard, considering he was such an inspiration to traveling foodies like us.  They have tons of stalls that offer pretty much everything.  After 9pm, the entertainment starts with singers and dancers.  It gets loud and smoky, but it’s quite a fun experience!

Lagenda restaurant:  The restaurant is a unique Malay-Indonesian-western fusion eatery on Campell Street.  It offers a few good vegetarian options as well as traditional Malay dishes with a twist.  We went here with friends and although the prices are a little more steep than other places, every dish we ordered was delish!  The waiting time may also be a little long, but only because the chef uses fresh ingredients, which is great when you taste the powerful punch of herbs and spices.  You can’t go wrong here.


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The ultimate city guide to Penang, Malaysia. Everything you need to know about having a great time in the city. Tips, tricks, what to do, where to eat and where to stay. Includes the beautiful street art as well. www.wediditourway.com