Category Archives: Malaysia

Merdaka Day in Melaka

Merdaka Day in Melaka

In our travels in Malaysia, we saved the oldest for last: Melaka. In the 1300s and 1400s, that port city in southwestern Malaysia was the heart of a sultanate that ruled much of the Malay Peninsula and had trade contacts throughout Southeast Asia. Its wealth inevitably attracted attention from European explorers and merchants, and in… Read More

We Admit It, We’re Here for the Food

We Admit It, We’re Here for the Food

Much of our daily life in Malaysia—our plans and our outings—revolves around food. That’s probably true in a lot of countries we visit. But here, we’re in good company. Malaysians are crazy about food. Penang has a reputation for having some of the best food in the country, so lots of Malaysian tourists go there… Read More

A Farewell to Penang

A Farewell to Penang

As we leave Malaysia, I’ve been finishing sorting through my Penang photos, and I’ve found a few more that I thought were worth sharing!     Read More

Who Ya Gonna Call? Ghost Distracters

Who Ya Gonna Call? Ghost Distracters

It’s the seventh lunar month of the Chinese calendar. That means the gates of the underworld have opened, and for 28 days, the ghosts of the unreincarnated walk among us. There’s nothing to eat in the underworld, so when they come back to earth, they’re very hungry. In Penang, where about 40 percent of the… Read More

Temples and Mosques

Temples and Mosques

Penang’s places of worship are as diverse as its people. Although Malaysia is officially a Muslim country, Penang is also home to large and vibrant communities of Buddhists, Taoists, Hindus, and Christians. The Chinese temples and ancestral clan halls are the most atmospheric—with their incense, lanterns, and sculptured roofs—while the Hindu temples are the most… Read More

People of Penang

People of Penang

I didn’t spend as much time as I might have liked taking pictures of people in Penang (mostly because of the withering heat). But here is a small representation of the varied faces and styles of a wonderfully diverse place—much of whose population is descended from immigrants from China, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, and… Read More

Shophouses of Penang

Shophouses of Penang

If there’s one thing that epitomizes Penang’s historic center, George Town, it’s the traditional shophouse. Street after street in George Town is lined with these multipurpose rowhouses—dating from the 18th to the 20th century—in myriad styles, colors, and states of repair. A typical shophouse was intended to play many roles: the front of the ground… Read More

On Top of Penang Hill

On Top of Penang Hill

On Tuesday, we did what countless people in Penang have done for centuries: rode up to the highest part of the island in search of cooler air. Most of the development in Penang is around the coasts; the center of the island is forested mountains. The highest point that is easily accessible, Penang Hill, is… Read More

Art Around Every Corner

Art Around Every Corner

One of the things we love about Penang is its passion for street art—everything from murals covering the sides of multistory buildings to small paintings tucked into the corners of random alleys. The last time we were here, in 2014, we posted a photo gallery of Penang street art that included some of the most… Read More

How Penang’s 1% Lived

How Penang’s 1% Lived

The buildings that Penang is best known for are Chinese-style shophouses—long, narrow rowhouses with stores in front, workshops behind, and living quarters above. Built in the 1800s and early 1900s, they housed much of Penang’s urban lower and middle classes. Wealthier residents had stand-alone houses, and the wealthiest of all had mansions. We took a… Read More

Penang’s Clan Jetties

Penang’s Clan Jetties

We have a master plan for exploring Penang. We made a long list of places we want to visit (sections of George Town we haven’t seen yet, museums, nature sites), and twice a week we’ll get up early, pick somewhere on the list, and explore it for a few hours before the day gets too… Read More

Festivities in Penang

Festivities in Penang

We missed July 4th (Independence Day) weekend in the United States, with its cookouts and fireworks, but early July in Penang has provided us with lots of festivities. The end of Ramadan, known here as Hari Raya, is a two-day national holiday. This year it fell on a Wednesday and Thursday, so some people took… Read More

Exploring the Neighborhood

Exploring the Neighborhood

The last time we were in Penang, at the end of 2014, we stayed in the old part of the island’s capital city, George Town. This time, we’re in a suburban neighborhood a few miles away. The area, called Tanjung Tokong, is dominated by huge high-rise apartment buildings and malls, with new ones being built… Read More

Our Summer Home

Our Summer Home

At last we’ve gotten to the reason for our trip to Southeast Asia this summer: a two-month housesitting assignment on the island of Penang just off the northwest coast of the Malay Peninsula. In exchange for a free place to live, we’re looking after the house, garden, and cat(s) of a European couple who are… Read More

Penang in Pictures

Penang in Pictures

Here’s a photographic sampling of the various things we enjoyed in George Town, the capital of Penang, Malaysia. They include street scenes full of traditional architecture, ornate Chinese temples, bustling cafes, Read More

Fun and Funky Penang

Fun and Funky Penang

Our third and last stop in Malaysia was Penang, an island on the northwest coast of the Malay Peninsula that for centuries was a trading post for Chinese, Indian, Arab, and European ships. Starting in the late 1700s, it was controlled by the British East India Company, Read More

Tea and Moss and Lots of Rain

Tea and Moss and Lots of Rain

With eastern Malaysia experiencing heavier-than-usual monsoon rains, our plans to visit Teman Negara, a mountainous national park containing some of the world’s oldest jungle, had to be abandoned. In search of somewhere green to relax between our time in various Malaysian cities, we opted for the closer and tamer Cameron Highlands. Read More

Kuala Lumpur in Pictures

Kuala Lumpur in Pictures

Flying from one of the smallest and quietest Southeast Asian capitals (Vientiane, Laos) to one of the biggest and most bustling (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) was a bit of a culture shock. We weren’t prepared for skyscrapers, high-rise apartment buildings, multilane toll roads, mega shopping malls, subway systems, and so much else that felt like the… Read More

Impressions of Malaysia

Impressions of Malaysia

By “The Slow Road” standards, our planned visit to Malaysia—one country, three locations, in 12 days—was a whirlwind trip. Originally, we hadn’t intended to go to Malaysia Read More