Looking for the best kept secret in South East Asia? You've found it; Penang, an island off the west coast of northern Malaysia, probably has the best food in world!
Blending Malaysian, Thai, Indian, Chinese with old colonial cooking has made Penang a must for food lovers. Add to this a wide range of great value for money budget accommodation that's available alongside wonderful colonial streets, nearby beaches, and several fascinating tourist sights. Aside from cheap flights there are also easy scenic train links that lead from Penang all the way to Bangkok in Thailand or South through Malaysia into Singapore. You simply can't go wrong with a stay in Penang.
A budget savvy traveller's best choice for finding bargain rooms while having access to the rest of Penang's capital Georgetown. Chulia street is an easy 10 minute walk from the ferry / train station which links to the mainland. Or you can simply hop on one of the many air-conditioned buses that run along it to make the trip a cooler one. From your hotel on Chulia street you'll have easy access to all of Georgetown either on foot or again by taking advantage of the excellent bus service. Indeed one can literally step out of your hotel on Chulia and grab a bus directly to the magnificent Kek Lok Si / Temple of Supreme Bliss which is only a 40 minute ride away.
Just off Chulia Street is Love Lane which has long been the budget travellers' must go street in Georgetown, Penang. Rumoured to have obtained the name "Love Lane" due to once being a site of popular brothels, times have changed and Love Lane is now just a hot bed of reputable budget accommodation. Love Lane also links Chulia Street to popular tourist sights such as Fort Cornwallis, Georgetown museum and the nearby Blue Mansion. A stay here is a sure way to meet other travellers, whether from your hotel or along the neighbouring streets in the evening when the great food stalls open up.
This is Penang's beach front area where there's a host of resorts and condominiums. While the sea water may not be the best for swimming the views here are nice. Many locals from this side of Malaysia come to Batu Ferringhi for beach-side picnics, horseback riding and in the evenings for hawker stalls that set up along the shore. Reached via the 101 bus that runs to Weld Quay bus station which in turn has stops all across the main attractions in George Town, Penang.
For more information about Penang, have a look at the Travellerspoint guide
This content was contributed by David Ways.