1. Clan-house Grandeur

    The Khoo Kongsi clan house temple was made famous after it was used as one of the filming locations for the 1999 blockbuster - Anna and The King, starring Jodie Foster and Chow Yuen Fatt. I remember visiting the set with my friends back then and was literally blown away with the huge production crews and how Hollywood transformed the quiet street / area in Penang into a buzzling 19th century Siam market. Very impressive. 

    Today, Khoo Kongsi remains one of the top attractions here in Penang with tourist flocking to visit the temple to see its grand main hall filled with intricate carvings and amazing art. I heard special artisan from China are specially flown in to restore the carvings and drawings all around the temple from time to time. The lower basement of the temple is a museum where you get to learn and see how the Khoo clan has its influence in Penang as well as the history of various parts of the temple.

    We visited the temple on a weekday and that makes it more pleasant as we have the entire place on our own - walking from one part to another, admiring the intricacy of the carvings and the opulence of the renowned clan. 

    Khoo Kongsi

    18 Cannon Square

    Penang

     
  2. Calm by sunset

    Penang can get very hot at this time of the year but once the sun starts to set, it’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy the warm balmy breeze. 

     
  3. Penang in 72 hours

    The impromptu trip back to Penang the last 3 days was probably the best decision ever. I managed to meet up with my tumblr buddy, E, as he make a pit stop in my home city before heading to Sydney. Travelling with him to Penang was Daisann – a well-travelled and very knowledgeable journalist who’s famous column (Real Travel) was published in National Geographic Traveler for more than 10 years. She now runs a food tour company called Little Adventures in Hong Kong, obviously in Hong Kong.  The three of us, all with the same common interest in one particular topic – FOOD, make this meet up one hell of an interesting one. So much laughter, so many stories shared over cocktails and champagne. Good times!

    Throughout the 3 days, we explored the heritage part of Georgetown, eating our way through – by the streets, alleyways, coffee shops and food centers. No fancy restaurants, just simple hawker fare that Penang is famous for. We even explored to the other side of the island - Balik Pulau, to look for the famous assam laksa but alas, luck wasn’t on our side as the stall was closed. (The owner is currently on holiday probably somewhere in the world looking for delicious food to eat just like us). We ended up eating chicken rice at a local coffee shop which turns out to have one of the best char siew (bbq pork) and siew yok (roast pork) we have ever tasted. Travelling is all about exploring and trying out new things isn’t it? 

    Apart from all the eating, we also did some exploring on various attractions in town. From Khoo Kongsi to Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion to Butterfly Farm, we did good covering all other attractions within the short time frame. Out of all, we enjoyed the Butterfly Farm the most as we get to see and “feel” the butterflies either flying freely or staying stationary on the hibiscus sipping the sap. The “green house” with thick vegetation and flowers creates a natural habitat for these fragile little creatures.   

    Besides all these attractions, we also found Seven Terraces Boutique hotel by chance as we were walking to Coffee Atelier one afternoon. The boutique hotel is beautiful and chic, with modern and colonial antique furniture all over. Amazing light all across the lobby which makes it very photogenic too. But the one thing that got us hooked was Bababar – an in house bar with an interesting array of cocktails and whisky selection. We went in for a cup of tea in the afternoon, liked it so much that we return at night for more drinks. This time around with cocktails to unwind after a long, tiring day of walking.

    I hope they enjoyed their stay in Penang as much as I enjoyed hosting them in my home city. Now, let me just keep this short and sweet and let the photo do the talking. They are arranged in the same color scheme inspired by Alice Gao.

    Have a great Easter Sunday! 

     
  4. Art is Rubbish is Art 

    Penang has been under a lot of limelight (the good one that is) lately thanks to a very talented Lithuanian street artist by the name of Ernest Zacharevic. His tongue in cheek street art got everyone talking, especially this one, went viral and created a buzz among locals and tourist alike. I have even seen the exact same drawing in the village of Puanyu, Guangzhou, China and was shocked to see how it was plagiarized by another artist in such a short matter of time. A quick google image search of this street artist will lead you to his various masterpieces in Penang. 

    The photos above were taken at Ernest’s first solo exhibition named “Art is Rubbish is Art” located at an abandoned bus depot just minutes away from my house. I swear I passed by this bus depot more often than I take the MRT in Singapore but I didn’t know it was once a bus depot until last month. The exhibition showcase his work on various canvases – on walls, old wooden doors, gunny sack, unused items, and vintage wooden blinds into a work of art. It might look very simple, but the effort of drawing on walls under the hot tropical sun can be quite a challenge.

    Seeing the locals (old and young) all out supporting this exhibition, taking snapshots and talking about “ART” makes me really proud to call myself Penangite and this beautiful island home. Now, whenever I am back in Singapore, a lot of my Singaporean and expats friends will tell me how much they’ve heard about Penang and can’t wait to visit soon. 

    We might not have Banksy, but we have this Lithuanian artist to thank for putting Penang in the spotlight and hopefully an art hub in South East Asia one day. 

     
  5. A thoughtful quote from Ellie Rodriquez about missing home and what matters. 

    I am currently back in Penang for a week to celebrate the Chinese New Year with the family and catching up with friends.

     
  6. overcast

    you never know how much i hate overcast skies. as much as i love the dramatic clouds, it is sometimes very difficult when it comes to editting - some parts tend to overexposed easily while others, under.

    this photo was taken along gurney drive on a gloomy sunday morning. it was after our breakfast that i decided to drop by for a quick photoshoot at the seafront promenade. i’ve never seen low tide during the daytime before so you can imagine how excited i was.

     
  7. this bowl of noodle proves to be hearty, simple and delicious.  one can never go hungry in penang, anytime of the day. 

     
  8. penang in 5 photos

    no doubt a short trip back, but spending quality time with the family is all that matters

     
  9. church street pier

    all is good back in penang

     
  10. soothing

    long weekend for us here in Singapore as the muslim community will celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri tomorrow and the following day, Aug 9th, will be Singapore’s 48th Birthday.

    here’s wishing all my muslim friends here a Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri and to others, happy holidays! 

     
  11. meeting the giant

     
  12. boardwalk cafe

    such inviting place for a good cup of coffee 

    joining?

     
  13. .. so get out and play

    took this at the waterfront in kota kinabalu, sabah last weekend. 

    beautiful light that day

     
  14. hot seat

    i loaned the fujiX100s for this entire trip to get used to it and to see its versatility before making the decision if i should get it. selling at a very premium price for a point and shoot camera, i have to say other than some minor off focus issue and very sensitive during low light (no image stabilizer?! or am i missing something here?), i am pretty impressed with what this camera can do.

    if i can’t sleep thinking about this camera for the next one week, ill buy it!

     
  15. The Hike: Part III - Summit

    As I walked closer to Low’s Peak (first pic), I saw a long line of people queuing up to take photos with the signboard that says you’re standing at 4,095m above sea level. The last 20m before the summit requires you to climb on rocks and because there were too many people wanting to take photos of the signboard, it actually causes human traffic jam. You only get a few minutes up at the summit as others will be waiting for their turn. I reached the summit just over 7am with a huge sigh of relief and a sense of victory. Just when I thought nothing can beat the feeling when I stood in the middle of Times Square, NYC few years back, this one topped it off hands down. The feeling of accomplishment after the difficult hike while looking at the unobstructed view in front of me – no words can describe, no words!   

    I spent just 5 minutes on top before making my way down for breakfast and check out from the rest house. I was lucky to be accompanied by the guide as he guided me all the way down. From the guest house, my friends made their way down to the bottom first as I need more time to rest and relax my muscles. After an hour, it was another painstaking 6km downhill. Thank god, I had a walking stick with me for support.  

    All of us reached the bottom of the mountain by 4pm and everyone was presented with 2 certificates. To those who didn’t make it to the top, it will be a color cert and another one in black and white stating at which level you stopped during the hike. I reached the summit so I was presented with 2 color certificates. We then took the chartered bus and headed back to the city before flying back the next following day. 

    To sum it up, climbing Mt Kinabalu is an experience and I will carry it with me the rest of my life. Conquering Mt Kinabalu is not tough, but it’s not easy either. You need a lot of stamina and endurance to push it through. Be prepared physically and mentally before the hike and you’ll do alright.

    As for now, if a foreigner throw me a challenge and ask if I have conquered the highest mountain in my home country, I can proudly answer – Been There, Done That.