Discovering The Street Art of Penang

From drinking tea in a garden-style restaurant to checking out the breathtaking street art, this is about a day trip to the Asian food capital!
Photo by Mega Caesaria on Unsplash

People often say that the greatest joys of life are discovered in simpler things; it could be an ordinary lunch with a bunch of friends at a cheap restaurant or spending a night together crammed in one room. It could be literally anything, and I learnt that on a trip to Penang Island, Malaysia with a bunch of my friends.

For a spontaneous yet mildly planned trip, we all were way underprepared – the trip was nothing short of perfect enough to be adapted for the silver screen. From a bus ride, which probably lasted more than seven hours (I know! Almost died of boredom if I were to recap it), to driving around town midnight in the search of a hotel, the trip left little to experience. I mean, we definitely should have picked a hotel before we arrived, but where’s the fun in that yeah? After what seemed to be like almost an hour of driving in pouring rain, trying to find a hotel to stay for the night, we stumbled upon “Little India Heritage Villa” in the heart of Georgetown – in desperation and exhaustion, we took whatever was offered; a family room.

Dawn brought along the gold of the sun, and slowly the little town came to life – the sound of cars and motorcycles hurrying to their destination woke me up. I peeked through the window shades and saw a town that was picture perfect, even from where I was standing at. I felt my inner photographer getting excited, and so I woke everyone else up; atlas the time has come to discover the art of Penang.

We were left awestruck the moment we left our little hotel. A spin around to carefully observe my surroundings, I realized that we were standing in the heart of Georgetown’s street art – its famous murals were right in front of us, begging to be photographed. It was like, take one step, snap a photo, take two steps, and snap another! Most of the bigger ones already had a line of tourists waiting to photograph it – or be photographed with it!

Photo by Sandip Roy on Unsplash

Personally, for me, their appeal came from the fact that most of the street art was just found objects being incorporated into works of art. I saw literally wooden stools to bicycles to an actual motorbike – and honestly, the inner art enthusiast in me went a little bit crazy. After wandering on the street, taking photos of almost anything and everything we decided to go back to the hotel, freshen up and grab breakfast.

Once our tummies were taken care of, we rented bicycles and decided to find our way to the beach – and as it turns out, it was just a short nine-minute walk! (Yeah, boys and girls, I don’t know how to ride a bicycle so I walked. Sigh). The more we wandered through the town, the more we were fascinated by the art it held. The architecture, the attention to details, the colors, it was definitely a photographers heaven!

Discovering the street art of Georgetown was absolutely among the highlights of the trip; but of course, how will a trip to the food capital of Asia be complete without actually trying out local food?

From mamak food to restaurants and patisseries, we tried a bunch of food! I guess it would be safe to say that we spent quite a lot of time eating during the trip – but hey, one can’t blame us either. It was simply just that good – perfectly living up to the tales.

As the day progressed, following a morning that was spent going around town and posing with the street art, we headed towards the Old Protestant Cemetery, a class 1 heritage site that is well over two centuries old! There lay the remains of the British who first established Penang Island as a British Colony back in the days – and a visit there, you may feel like you are being swept back in time.

But for me, the best moment of the trip would be the quadricycle ride around the neighborhood; honking at random strangers to being stuck in traffic light with speeding cars, and accidentally getting on the highway – it was all a scary yet exhilarating experience. And the four of us having our own Tokyo Drift moment was a moment of pure fun, which we will share till the end of time.

A trip, it was – from drinking tea in a garden-style restaurant to checking out the breathtaking street art, Penang Island has a lot to offer to those who wish to live an infinity, within the ticks that are sheltered in a clock – and for me, the 24 hours spent there was more than what I had bargained for!