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City Guide Travel

What To Do When You Visit Melaka

Melaka is a historical city. It was one of the greatest trading ports in Southeast Asia. This historical place is rich with the imprints of British, Portugese and Dutch forces left behind in forts, churches, museums and towers. Besides the European arts and cultures, Melaka is also a hotchpotch of Malay, Chinese, Indian, Nyonya and other more influences. Other than having delicious Nyonya cuisine, what else to do when you visit Melaka? Check out the 8 things below.  

Visit The Stadthuys and Christ Church

The Stadthuys and Christ Church are two of the most famous landmarks of Melaka city center. The Stadthuys, meaning city hall, was built by the Dutch in 1650 as the office of the Dutch Governor and Deputy Governor. Located beside the Christ Church, the remaining building is now home to the History and Ethnography Museum. Christ Church Melaka is an 18th-century Anglican church and one of the oldest functioning Protestant churches in Malaysia. This red-coloured square that was built by the Dutch during the colonisation is one of the most photogenic places in Melaka.

Walk the Jonker Street (Night Market)

Jonker Street is the centre street of Chinatown. Filled with historical houses along the street, it is also a central hub of activity that serves as a heaven for antique collectors and vintage fashion enthusiasts. The best part of Jonker Street is the night market on Fri and Sat that sells everything from tasty treats to cheap keepsakes. Moreover, there are a lot of tourist attractions along and around the street, such as Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum, Cheng Ho Cultural Museum, Cheng Hoon Teng Temple and many more.

Explore the street arts

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@ieydaisma

The murals in Melaka are mostly paintings and categorically more diversified. For instance, Lorong Seni Art House, The Orangutan House, Kiehl’s Mural and more. Besides, the Melaka River is home to a collection of various artworks. Thus, a walk along the river side would make you feel like you have entered an open-aired art gallery It is not that extraordinary but it is definitely a nice surprise to see the street arts in Melaka. Simply wandering around with no specific direction, there would be something that is able to catch your attention. 

Walk along the Melaka River

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@satrioarieff

Strolling along the river side of Melaka River especially right after the sunset is extremely beautiful with the combination of colourful buildings and artificial light. The Melaka River was once dubbed the “Venice of the East” by the European seafarers as it was a prominent part of entry for traders from Europe and Asia. It is now a popular tourist attraction with the 45-minute River Cruise. However, we would recommend you to do the Melaka River Walk on foot because there are a lot of places to explore along the way. You could find a place to sit with a nice glass of mocktail or have a delicious dinner – while enjoying the beautiful scenery of Melaka River. 

Visit Cheng Hoon Teng Temple

Cheng Hoon Teng Temple is claimed to be the oldest functioning Buddhist temple in Malaysia dated from the 17th century. This temple is the main place of worship for the local Hoklo (Hokkien) community and Buddhist Chinese community in Melaka. The temple is dedicated to Kuan Yin, Goddess of Mercy hence, it is also known as the ‘Merciful Cloud Temple’. All the building materials for the temple and even the artisans were brought from China. Thus, Cheng Hoon Teng Temple features very strong Chinese architectural influences such as ornate gates, gold leafing and ruby red Chinese lanterns.

Check out A Famosa Fortress

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@zulaikhaziz

A Famosa Fortress is another main attraction in Malacca. Built in 1511, it is one of the oldest surviving Portugese architecture in Asia. In the 16th-century, A Famosa housed the entire Portugese administration, inclusive of hospital, churches, elongated stockades and four key towers. In 1807, the British destroyed most of the fortress. The Porta de Santiago gateway, and the restored Middleburg Bastion, are the only parts of the fortress which remain until today. A Famosa is more than just quick photo stops for the tourists, it is a spot which is rich in history.

Visit St. Paul’s Church

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@georgiusdarren

Built in 1521, St. Paul’s Church is considered to be the oldest church building in Southeast Asia. St. Paul’s Church is part of the Malacca Museum Complex comprising the A Famosa ruins, the Stadthuys and other historical buildings. Hence, a little walk along the path behind the Stadthuys museum will take you all the way up to the fort. As a former Portugese church, it has now turned into a lighthouse. Though it has been in ruins for more than 150 years, it is still a beautiful sanctuary set in Melaka city.

Explore Padang Pasir Klebang Melaka

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@tianchad

Padang Pasir Klebang is a hidden spot in Melaka. Also known as “Desert in Malaysia”, it is a photogenic place resulting from a land reclamation project in the Klebang area. Well, it does not matter if it does not look like the real desert, it is still a great place for photography. On a side note, you might need to do a lot of walking as there might be risks where your car ended up having tyres got sink into the sand.

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City Guide Food + Drinks

Industrial Style Cafes You Shouldn’t Miss in Kuala Lumpur

Finding out the exact amount of cafes in Kuala Lumpur is quite impossible as they are growing like mushrooms after the rain. However, you can still categorise them according to their specific themes. Regardless of time, industrial style cafes would simply click with everyone. Here’s a few industrial style cafes you should not miss in Kuala Lumpur!  

Wú, means the void, an empty state where idea and light could shine. Located at Kota Damansara, Wú Coffee Gallery aims to provide a space with chill good vibes where suitable for one’s own good time, coffee with friends and creative events, with delicious coffee and Japanese-inspired mains. The cafe is full of grey raw concrete and exposed brick walls, a rough trace of cement on the ground. Meanwhile, the decoration is mainly circle. Hence, there are many circular designs in the cafe.

Bean Brothers MY Sunway Damansara

Bean Brothers is a coffee brand from Korea. They first started off by supplying coffee beans online and as their fan base increased, they opened a cafe in the name of Bean Brothers in Hapjeong, Korea. Besides having a few branches across Seoul, Korea, Bean Brothers opened their first oversea outpost at Sunway Damansara, followed by a second branch at The Linc KL. The cafe at Sunway Damansara retained the original spaces of a cavernous two-level warehouse. It gives a strong urban industrial design style through its fading greyish tone, hanging light bulbs, dangling cables and dark steel pillars.

Hide and Seek Coffee

Previously located at Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur, Hide and Seek Coffee was rather a hidden cafe with retro concept and vintage design. It was a place for coffee and cakes in the day time and a hidden bar during the night time named Shuang Xi. Now, they finally have their own storefront located right at PJ Taman Paramount. Designed in cement industry style, Hide and Seek Coffee has a special patio water design. It consists of a variety of different designs and colours of chairs, serving good coffee, staple food such as rice bowl, and desserts.

Dou dou bake

Speaking of good croissants, sourdough and coffee, a lot of people might recommend Dou Dou Bake at Petaling Jaya’s Taman Rasa Sayang. With the concept of the combination of industrial and plantscaping design, Dou Dou Bake focuses on neutral tones and basic forms. Besides having custom made furniture, the walls and columns are left exposed. Meanwhile, it also has an almost wild desert garden which the designers hope to create oases of calm in the city. According to one of the designers, the space is dominated by a cold palette. Hence, this will allow their pastries to shine.

Ground Coffee

Located at Damansara Utama, Ground is a cafe with minimalistic design and good ambience. The cafe has simple cement walls and ceiling, wooden flooring, and luscious greenery throughout the space. Ground serves a variety of coffee, pastries and Western mains such as Grilled Lamb Shoulder, Fish & Chips, pastas, and more. Quite a great spot to go to for some good coffee, pastries and a small catch up with your friends.

The Third Letter

The Third Letter cafe is a comfy industrial style designed cafe in Shah Alam. The decor is all about space and minimalism, greyish and original tone with a touch of greenery. This cafe is well-known for its brunch and casual dining. It could be considered as one of the best choices for brunch. The menu consists of a wide variety of selections such as salad, pasta, pizza, grill, pastries and more. Definitely an Insta-worthy place with good food and great vibes. 

Greyskymorning

Tucked in a semi-industrial estate, Greyskymorning is a two-level cafe with a photogenic look and easygoing vibes. The cafe focuses more on black decoration. However, it has huge floor to ceiling glass windows with lots of natural lighting. The cafe is quite spacious and has plenty of quiet and space. Hence, it is one of the cafes that people who like to go to – simply order one or two cups of iced latte – sit around for hours to get their work done.

Cureé 

Cureé, pronounced as Ka-Ray, is a cafe near Berjaya Times Square KL. It has spacious outdoor and indoor seatings, with the former goes more on minimalism, white theme with wooden furnishing. Using a touch of popping orange and yellow to create a cheerful and warm environment, the cafe is filled with lively and vibrant vibes even with the use of industrial style decors such as raw and exposed brick walls. For their menu, Cureé serves Japanese-inspired Hokkaido style food and desserts that could surprise and impress you!

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Travel

The 9 Must-Visit Temples in Bangkok

Finding out the exact number of temples in Bangkok is impossible. But, you can’t go to the City of Angels and not visit a temple! Check out some of these temples you should visit in Bangkok.

Wat Phra Kaew

It is commonly known in English as the Temple of Emerald Buddha and officially known as Wat Phra Sri Rattana Satsadaram. It is regarded as the most important and sacred Buddist temple in Thailand. It is located on the grounds of the Grand Palace complex. The complex consists of a number of buildings within the precincts of the Grand Palace. It houses the statue of the Emerald Buddha, which is venerated as the country’s palladium. It is one of Bangkok’s most standout attractions with a mix of golden spires, intricately designed figures and colourful buildings. 

Wat Pho

The official name of Wat Pho is Wat Phra Chetuphon Wimon Mangkhalaram Rajwaramahawihan. Meanwhile, the more commonly known name, Wat Pho, is a contraction of its older name, Wat Photaram. It is also known as Temple of the Reclining Buddha as it houses the largest collection of Buddha images and a 46m long, covered in gold leaf reclining Buddha in Thailand. The recommended sites in Wat Pho include the exquisite murals, 4 chapels that contain 394 gilded Buddha images, long lines of golden statues from different parts of Thailand sitting in the lotus position. 

Wat Arun

Wat Arun, also known as Wat Chaeng by the locals. It is located on the Thonburi west bank of the Chao Phraya River. The temple derives its name from the Hindu God Aruna, which is often personified as the radiations of the rising sun. Hence, Temple of Dawn is the nickname of Wat Arun. It is absolutely stunning at sunset, especially when lit up at night. Nevertheless, the quietest time to visit is early morning, before the crowds. The prang (spire) by the Chao Phraya is one of Bangkok’s world-famous landmarks. It is beautifully decorated with tiny pieces of coloured glass and Chinese porcelain placed into intricate patterns.

Wat Traimit

Wat Traimit houses an impressive 3m-tall, 5,500kg, solid-gold statue of a seated Buddha. It is the world’s largest solid Gold Buddha image. Hence, it is also known as the Temple of the Golden Buddha. The statue was covered with a layer of stucco and coloured glass to conceal its true value at one point in the history. It remained this condition for almost 200 years, ending up as what was then a pagoda of minor significance. Then, the plaster was chipped off and the gold revealed during the relocation of the statue in 1955.

Wat Saket

Wat Saket Ratcha Wora Maha Wihan is usually shortened to Wat Saket. Also known as the Temple of the Golden Mount, it is an Ayutthaya-era shrine with a gleaming gold chedi in Bangkok. Wat Saket occupies an 80-metre-tall man made hill that was built during the reign of King Rama III. The Golden Mount is a sacred pilgrimage site during the week-long worshipping period in November. Getting to the top requires a climb up some 300 steps that encircle the chedi like a loosely coiled snake. Once you arrive at the top of Wat Saket, you will be surrounded by a wall of bells and panoramas of Bangkok Old Town.

Loha Prasat

Loha Prasat is located on the ground of Wat Ratchanatdaram in Phra Nakhon district, Bangkok. Loha Prasat means iron castle or iron monastery, hence, it is also known as the “Metal Castle”.  Inspired by two similar temples in India and Sri Lanka, the temple consists of five towers, of which the outer, middle, and the center towers contain large black iron spires. Loha Prasat is supporting 37 metal spires that represent the 37 virtues toward enlightenment.

Wat Suthat

Wat Suthat Thepwararam is a royal temple of the first grade. It is one of the oldest and most impressive Buddhist temples in Bangkok. It is better known for the red Giant Swing that stands at its entrance. Wat Suthat features an elegant chapel with a sweeping roof, magnificent wall murals and hand-carved teakwood door panels. Visitors can easily combine a visit to Wat Suthat with the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, The Grand Palace, and Wat Pho as these temples are all located in Bangkok’s Old Town.

Wat Benchamabophit

Wat Benchamabophit Dusitvanaram is also known as The Marble Temple or Wat Ben. It is one of Bangkok’s most beautiful temples. Besides, it is classified as a first class Royal temple. It is honourably named by King Rama IV meaning “the Monastery of the fifth King near Dusit Palace”. The temple is a magnificent example of the Bangkok architectural style with its multi tiered roofs, elegant chofahs (a Lao and Thai architectural decorative ornament that adorns the top at the end of wat and palace roofs, resembles a tall thin bird and looks hornlike). Furthermore, the temple’s marble ubosot was imported from Italy.  

Erawan Shrine

Erawan Shrine is one of the most popular Hindu shrines in downtown Bangkok. It houses a statue of Phra Phrom – the Thai representation of Brahma, the Hindu god of creation known for His kindness, mercy, sympathy and impartiality. Located in front of Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel, at the corner of Ploenchit and Ratchadamri Road, it is one of the most popular Hindu shrines where you will often see crowds paying their respects.

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Street Stories

Street Stories: Light Street

Story of the Street

Light Street or Lebuh Light is the oldest road in the city of George Town in Penang. It was named after Captain Francis Light, the Founder of Penang and first Superintendent of the colony. Light Street was created between 1786 and 1787, soon after the founding of George Town. The street is called Po-lê-khaú (玻理口) in Hokkien which meant the entrance to the Police Court (now the Legislative Assembly buildings). This is because the State Assembly Building at Light Street was once used as part of the Central Police Station. 

It was the port settlement’s first street. Many of early administrative government buildings and European mansions were built along the street. After Captain Francis Light first landed on Fort Cornwallis on 17 July 1786, he ordered his crew to fire silver dollars from the ship’s cannons into the jungle. Then, the Padang at The Esplanade was created. After that, he created Light Street, which was named after himself.

Administrative and judicial buildings were built along Light Street by the British, gradually turning it into the administrative heart of Penang. For the first half of the 19th century, Light Street was occupied by East India Company soldiers, policemen and British administrators. Besides, Light and his business partner, James Scott had their residences built along Light Street too.   

Significant Buildings

Convent Light Street
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Convent Light Street is the oldest girls’ school in Southeast Asia. It was founded by French Catholic nuns of the Holy Infant Jesus Mission in 1852. There was a group of five nuns who travelled from France to Singapore to form a Catholic institution. At the request of Bishop Jean-Baptiste Boucho in George Town, three nuns from the group then sailed from Singapore to Penang. 

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The three nuns were first settled inside an attap hut. With the increase in the number of children, they had to find a new place for their convent. Then, Mother St. Mathilde found the Government House which served as the residence of Captain Francis Light in 1786. In 1859, the nuns bought the Anglo-Indian style building and the surrounding seven-acre compound. A field of the compound was later sold to St. Xavier’s Institution, the oldest Catholic boys’ school in Malaysia. A wall separating the field from Convent Light Street was constructed. It now serves as the boundary between the Core Zone and the Buffer Zone of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The convent continued to expand until 1934. During the past, it was one of the most highly regarded missionary schools in Penang. Today, Convent Light Street has fully adopted the standardised Malaysian education system.

Supreme Court of Penang

The Supreme Court of Penang had been established inside Fort Cornwallis in 1808 and was subsequently relocated to its present location at Light Street in 1809. It is the oldest high court in Malaysia. Initially, the original court building was a wooden structure with an attap roof. The current Palladian-style building was built between 1901 and 1905. It continues to serve as the Supreme Court for Penang. Furthermore, its establishment also marked the introduction of a modern legal system in Malaya, which evolved to become the current judiciary of Malaysia. 

Logan Memorial
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There is another court building constructed across Light Street opposite the Supreme Court. It houses the Sessions and Magistrates Court. The Logan Memorial is a Gothic-styled monument erected in front of the new Sessions and Magistrates Court. It was built in the memory of James Richardson Logan, a Scottish lawyer who successfully fought for the rights of Asians in colonial Penang.

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The monument was erected in 1873 within the premises of the Supreme Court of Penang. It was moved by the Japanese during WWII. It remained within the Supreme Court until 2007 and was relocated to its present location. The monument consists of four female figures, with each facing one of the four directions: 

  • Justice, with a sword, faces northeast (overlook the Sessions and Magistrates Court)
  • Fortitude, with a club, faces northwest (up Light Street towards Convent Light Street)
  • Wisdom, with an open book, faces southwest (overlook the Supreme Court of Penang)
  • Temperance, with a chain and bit, faces southeast (down Light Street)
Dewan Sri Pinang

Dewan Sri Pinang is a multi-purpose auditorium located between Light Street and Jalan Tun Syed Sheh Barakbah. It was built in the early 1970s in the Brutalist architectural style generated from the modernist architectural movement. It is one of the most popular auditoriums in Penang that serves as a venue for conferral of state titles, funerals of public figures, live performances, international theatre productions and even wedding dinners.

Bank Negara Malaysia Building
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Bank Negara Malaysia Building is a modern building located on Light Street at the junction with Pitt Street (Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling). The building was built in the Brutalist architecture style in the late 1970’s. It houses the Penang branch of Malaysian central bank. 

Chung Siew Yin Building
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Chung Siew Yin Building is a double-storey Art-Deco style house built in the mid-19th century. It was the residence of Chung Siew Yin, the daughter of Kapitan Chung Keng Kwee, who was one of the richest men on Penang Island during that period of time. An Art-Deco style wing was added to the building in the mid-20th century. It was designed to merge with the older architecture of Chung Siew Yin Building. Wisma Great Eastern now comprises the both original buildings. It is the Penang headquarters of Great Eastern Life Assurance Co. Ltd., which is currently the largest Singapore-based insurance company and the oldest insurance firm in Asia. 

Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce 槟州中华总商会
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The Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce (PCCC) was established in 1903. It was Malaysia’s first Chinese Chamber of Commerce. It played a vital role to safeguard Penang’s Chinese commercial interests. The PCCC was founded to supervise business transactions amongst the Chinese in Penang with common business activities. It is also to form a united front for Penang’s Chinese merchants to exert pressure on the Straits Settlements government. The PCCC is currently one of the strongest commercial institutions in Malaysia.

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The building of PCCC was constructed in 1928. The first phase was designed by a local architect, Chew Eng Eam in 1926. Then, the second phase, which is the western wing, was designed later in the Art Moderne style (combining both Art Deco and Moderne architectural styles). Both wings have been restored in 2016 and the western wing has been converted into The Chambers Hotel.

Foo Tye Sin Mansion
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It was one of the first non-European mansions to be erected along Light Street. Foo Tye Sin Mansion was built around the mid-19th century. Foo Tye Sin was a Justice of the Peace and an influential community leader during that period of time. He was a Hakka born in Penang and educated at St. Xavier’s Institution and the Penang Free School. Tye Sin Street is named after him. One of the appealing features of Foo Tye Sin Mansion is the fourth storey lookout tower at the back. However, the mansion is now converted into a branch of a local bank.

State Assembly Building
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The State Assembly Building is a public building built in the early 19th century. This Anglo-Indian classical style building was originally served as part of George Town’s Central Police Station. A block was added in 1890 to house the administrative offices of the Straits Settlements Police Force. Then, the building was converted into the current home of the State Legislative Assembly in 1959. Meanwhile, the additional block is now used separately as the Immigration Department Building. This Anglo-Indian style building contains elements of classical Greek and Palladian architecture. For instance, the massive white colonnades supporting a large pediment were inspired by ancient Greek temples.

Immigration Department Building
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Immigration Department Building is an impressive double-storey building. As mentioned above, it was built in 1890 and located within the compound of the Central Police Station. It was originally intended to house the administrative office of the police force. However, it now houses the Penang Island office of the Malaysian Immigration Department. In addition, the building has a porte cochere facing north.

Jubilee Clock Tower
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The Jubilee Clock Tower which is also known as the Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower. This famous clock tower was commissioned in 1897 by a Penang millionaire, Cheah Chen Eok. This clock tower was built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. Besides, it is also a testament to Penang’s royal connections. This Moorish style clock tower stands 60ft-high, with each foot representing a year of the Queen’s 60-year reign. Due to the impact from bombs being dropped around it during WWII, the Jubilee Clock Tower is slightly tilted. In fact, it is hardly noticeable.

Pinang Fountain (Light Street Roundabout)
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The Pinang Fountain on the Light Street Roundabout is a metal, betel nut-shaped fountain. It was designed to symbolise Penang Island as Penang Island was often referred to as the island of betel nuts. The metal structure is 4.8 metre tall and a spray of water comes up from inside the structure. 

Where to Stay

The Chambers Hotel
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The Chambers Hotel is a small independent boutique hotel located at the western wing of the Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce. The hotel features two types of rooms, which are Deluxe Room with one large double bed and Premier Room with two double beds. Besides, the hotel also features a terrace and views of the sea.  

What to Eat

Constant Gardener Coffee
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Constant Gardener Coffee is tucked within the Penang Chinese Chambers of Commerce Building. It is a place that serves specialty coffees, teas, smoothies and more. Meanwhile, they also offer Chicken Mushroom Pie, Croissant, cakes and even ice cream sandwiches. Though it is quite hard to look for parking, it is a good place for gatherings or enjoy your me-time here.

Hameed Pata Mee Sotong
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Hameed Pata Mee Sotong is a stall located in the Padang Kota Lama food court. It could be considered as one of the best mee goreng in Penang. The addition of sweet and spicy chilli cuttlefish enhances the entire plate of mee goreng. The super-spicy cuttlefish has been stewed in a blood-red chili sauce which is the main character of the plate. On a side note, the perfect companion for this Mee Sotong is the Coconut Shake!

Categories
City Guide Travel

The last journey of the Penang ferry

Every Penangites grew up fascinating about riding on the iconic Penang ferry to travel between the island and mainland. It is also one of the attraction for tourists that visit Penang. When the ferry services started about a century ago, it comes only in one type of colour and gradually it was repainted with beautiful colours.

I remember, when I was a kid, it was always exciting when my parents decided to ride on the ferry instead of using the Penang bridge. The slow ride across the channel gives us a nice view between both sides of Penang and we can enjoy a nice breeze of air with the smell of the seas.

Some Penangite travels on it almost in a daily basis, mostly for work purposes. The ferry has then been a culture, a unique feature of Penang.

However, as we bid farewell to 2020, the same goes to our Penang ferry. The Government decided to cease its operations on 1st January 2021 and change it to a faster, speedboat-type of ferry for passengers. The new ferry do not carry vehicles though, and only passengers.

The last week of 2020 was a busy one for the operators of the Penang ferry as many Penangites as well as Malaysians from other states rush over to witness and take their final ride of the iconic ferry.

In case you miss it or you have never experience the ferry, here’s some of the photos from social media.

The writer is a local Penang boy that enjoys the sea breeze during the ferry ride.

Categories
City Guide

25 Most Popular Photos of 2020 from @KualaLumpurCity Instagram

Throughout the years, we have wonderful contributors and collaborators whom we have featured their photos of Kuala Lumpur in one of our social media portfolio @KualaLumpurCity. While we love to feature so many amazing photos from 2020, but we just have to limit ourselves to select the 25 popular ones.

Let us begin with the alleys that made to the list. The alleys of Jalan Alor has proven that it is a popular site as two of our photos by Desy Wulandari and @kdkonah are among the popular ones in our feeds. These alleys at Jalan Alor used to be dark, gloomy and dangerous. You wouldn’t feel safe to walk pass through these lanes especially during the night time. But it has now changed since a couple of years ago. It has turned into a colourful, clean alleys with its colourful street arts on the buildings. The used to be lonely alleys has become an instagram-worthy spot with tourists and locals loves to spend time passing by. The good vibes that it generates brightens up the city. And if you’re feeling adventurous, walk further towards the Bukit Bintang area, and you’ll find more.

A beautiful overall view of the Federal Territory Mosque captured with a drone by Aereon Wong. The mosque, located near to the MATRADE Complex in the Segambut district was constructed between 1998 and 2000. The concept of the design is a blend of Ottoman and Malay architectural styles with 22 domes made from composite material of glass fibre fabric mixed with epoxy resin.

McDonald’s chain has come creative by localising the way we address the fast food restaurant in Malaysia, Mekdi (pronunciation for McD). It was done during the National day celebration, where we feel it is a sign that food unites everyone. This is the store front photo of the McDonald’s in Kuala Lumpur by @capture.by.a

In conjunction with the National Day celebration, the Kuala Lumpur City Hall displayed the national flag, Jalur Gemilang on the digital screen throughout the whole building. Adib Pouzi and Patrick recorded the patriotic moments in photo for us to enjoy.

For those who are visiting Kuala Lumpur, the Petronas Twin Towers is always a must-see sight and it is also a must-post photo for many Instagrammers. Hence, the towers are one of the favourite photos for in our Instagram feeds.

This very spot at the centre of Kuala Lumpur city has been a favourite spot for photographers. A place where we can view the bustling vibes of the city with its traffic and pedestrians walking around. The ‘Kuala Lumpur 2017’ wordings on the the street marks the 2017 Southeast Asian Games that were hosted by Malaysia. Since then, there are significant number of Instagrammers showcasing the different scenes at the same spot. This specific one is captured by @ishakmaidin_nk

The city vibes and skyscrapers of Kuala Lumpur makes an exciting elements for photos. Some of the more significant tall buildings and structures such as the PNB 118, Saloma pedestrian bridge, The Exchange 106, Merdeka Stadium and Kuala Lumpur Tower have made our most popular list. These few are snapped by Adam Eusoff, Fariz Baron, Lexie, Matthew Ee, Jia Le, Alif Hakeem, Syam Huzairie, Pasquale Di Pilato, @raxyziq, Abir Abhar

If you drive further towards Gombak, there is a famous spot not only to Hindu devotees but many tourists who comes to Malaysia. The Batu Caves temple indeed is a place where you just have to visit. The staircase which is painted with rainbow colours is an amazing background for your Instagram photos. Watch the view from the top that gives you an amazing overall outlook of the steps towards the caves which is captured by Adrian. There is also another favourite photo of Batu Caves featuring the inner part by Pit Efendy.

Central Market is not only attractive with its local handcrafted products. The huge ‘Wau’ or Malaysian traditional kite sculpture is a significant feature along the century-old market in the city. Used to be a wet market in its early beginnings, it has then subsequently converted into a building that sells Malaysian handcrafted items. @nas.hamzah’s photo of the Central Market features the beautiful Wau sculpture.

Retail stores does not only have to sell good products in this modern era, they need to have a good display and Instagram-worthy corners as well. We have a couple of amazing bookstores in the city including this photo by Timmy Lo.

We had the opportunity to feature some modern and colourful architecture such as the Spacerubix, a community centre located at Puchong. Jason Chew captured an overall outlook of the colourful building from outside.

It would be normal for us to snap and have amazing photos around the city, but there is one that not many would have the opportunity to experience. AcahStreet manage to let us witness the underground works of the MRT when it is still in progress.

That is one long list for us to curate to usher a great year ahead. We hope that more collaborators, Instagrammers and photographers will join our community to feature amazing photos of more different cities.

Categories
City Guide Food + Drinks

People’s Picks: Authentic Laksa in Penang You Should Try

Laksa in Penang, which is also known as Assam Laksa, is one of the hawker foods that you shouldn’t miss out when you visit Penang. It is a noodle dish in spicy mackerel (ikan kembung) broth topped with various shredded vegetables and sliced pineapples. The fish is poached and flaked. This dish has all combinations of flavours: sweet, sour, spicy, salty and umami. 

Not to forget, shrimp paste (hei ko) is an essential ingredient in Assam Laksa. Without any exaggeration, you literally could find Assam Laksa in every corner of the island. Check out the list of authentic laksa in Penang you should try. Just a friendly reminder, tastes are very subjective and personal so you may try them out and share with us your experience!

Kim Laksa @ Balik Pulau 

If you’re in the Balik Pulau area enjoying durians, make sure to drop by and try Kim’s Laksa. Their laksa gravy is rich, pungent and aromatic which you are able to smell from far away.

Kedai Kopi Taman Emas Laksa (Peng Hua Laksa)

Laksa at Taman Emas Kopitiam is located opposite Penang Chinese Girls’ High School. Hence, some locals call it Peng Hua Laksa. The stall also sells deep fried popiah which goes very well with the broth.

Pasar Air Itam Laksa

It is the most famous laksa in Penang and it often has a long queue. It is one of the tourists’ favourite spots for Penang Laksa probably because of its location is just a five-minute walk to Kek Lok Si Temple.

Penang Road Famous Laksa

This laksa stall has been operating at Joo Hooi Cafe for several decades. Unlike the mackerel used by most of the laksa stalls, Penang Road Famous Laksa prepares the broth from sardine and bigeye kingfish.

Tan Jetty Assam Laksa (Weld Quay Assam Laksa)

Located under a big tree opposite Chew Jetty, Tan Jetty Assam Laksa also uses sardine fish to boil the broth, hence it is less fishy compared to others. Some locals would suggest you to enjoy the laksa with a bowl of Ai Yu Bing from the stall beside it. 

Nirvana Cafeteria Assam Laksa (Phaik Laksa)

Nirvana Cafeteria is a humble kopitiam located at Anson Road, opposite BHP petrol station. Their Assam Laksa has a perfect combination of sweet, sour and spicy taste with plenty of fresh lettuce, cucumber.

Jelutong Post Office Laksa 6363
Jelutong Post Office Laksa laksa laksa in penang authentic laksa authentic laksa in penang People’s Picks: Authentic Laksa in Penang You Should Try Jelutong Post Office Laksa
Image source

This Assam Laksa is served from a food truck that is parked along Lorong Ipoh, a residential area behind the Jelutong Post Office and food court. The food truck is usually crowded during the middle or latter part of the afternoon. The tables are set up along the pavement where people could have a quick bowl of salty-sweet Laksa.

Bisu Laksa 哑巴叻沙

Located just right opposite the famous Pasar Air Itam Laksa, this stall is mostly known by the locals especially the older generation. The soup is thick and added with texture and flavours as there is a generous amount of mackerel put into the broth to cook. Some say, it is not the famous one but it tastes better and more original. 

Well, we believe there are many more places that serve great Laksa, be it traditional one or hidden gems. Throw us with your opinions. Let us share more good food and good moods together.

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Vote for your favourite Croissant in Penang!

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Culture

ICYMI: Taiwan’s Eslite Spectrum To Debut in Southeast Asia at Starhill in 2022

Just in case if you miss the news, Taiwan’s famous bookstore that has turned into a lifestyle store, Eslite Spectrum will make its debut in Southeast Asia in year 2022. Eslite Group has signed a tenancy agreement with YTL Land & Development Berhad to be an anchor tenant in Bukit Bintang’s luxury shopping mall The Starhill.

bookstore ICYMI: Taiwan’s Eslite Spectrum To Debut in Southeast Asia at Starhill in 2022 eslite spectrum 1
Image via Eslite Spectrum

In a joint statement, Eslite group chairperson Mercy Wu said by establishing the new flagship branch in Kuala Lumpur, their first store in Southeast Asia, Eslite is committed to becoming an influential platform for the cultural and creative industry.

“Eslite Spectrum seeks to be a venue with a rich selection of Chinese, English and Malay language books, as well as music, design and handmade goods, performing arts, themed restaurants and coffee shops, lifestyle brands, and diverse cutting-edge cultural and creative brands.

“The focus will be on showcasing the dynamism and vibrant energy of cross-cultural and creative exchange between Malaysia and Taiwan,” she said.

bookstore ICYMI: Taiwan’s Eslite Spectrum To Debut in Southeast Asia at Starhill in 2022 eslite spectrum 2
Image via Eslite Spectrum

Named ‘Asia’s Best Bookstore’ by Time magazine and ‘The World’s Coolest Bookstore’ by CNN, Eslite Spectrum in Taiwan is a cultural icon and a must-see shopping destination for bookworms.

The partnership between Eslite Group and YTL Land & Development Berhad will see Eslite Spectrum taking up the entire Level 1 of the Starhill which is approximately 70,000 square feet.

bookstore ICYMI: Taiwan’s Eslite Spectrum To Debut in Southeast Asia at Starhill in 2022 eslite spectrum 3
Image via Eslite Spectrum

Mercy Wu, who is also the daughter of the Eslite Group founder said “We are excited about embarking on this journey in Kuala Lumpur, as Malaysians have been Taiwan’s top tourist segment from Southeast Asia for 10 consecutive years and are strong supporters of our stores in Taiwan.”

“My father once said, ‘Eslite’s ultimate concern is people, and the most beautiful scenery of a city is its people,” she adds.

bookstore ICYMI: Taiwan’s Eslite Spectrum To Debut in Southeast Asia at Starhill in 2022 eslite spectrum 4
Image via Eslite Spectrum

Can’t wait until 2022 for Eslite Spectrum to arrive in Southeast Asia? We are anxious too!

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Street Stories

Street Stories: Campbell Street

Story of the Street

Campbell Street or Lebuh Campbell is a one-way street within George Town UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was named after Sir George William Robert Campbell, who served as the Penang Inspector General and also, the Acting Lieutenant-Governor of Penang between 1872 and 1873. The street is called Sin-kay (新街) in Hokkien and San-kai in Cantonese, which both also mean ‘the new street’ created between Pitt Street and Penang Road.

It was a red-light district in the mid 19th Century. Then, the both terms ‘Sin-kay’ and ‘San-kai’ came to a whole new meaning, which refers to the new arrival of the ‘new chickens (prostitutes)’. Meanwhile, Fa-kai is another Cantonese term used to refer to the street. It meant ‘flower street’, which is also a substitute for the prostitutes along the street. Furthermore, the Malays called the street Jalan Nona Baru and Jalan Makau. Jalan Nona Baru meant ‘the street of new maidens’ and Jalan Makau meant the coastal city of Macau in China, where most of the Cantonese prostitutes came from.

Campbell Street was part of George Town’s New Chinatown. The Cantonese immigrants populated the area around the street and mostly worked as tailors, coolies, goldsmiths and ironmongers. In the 1950s and 1960s, it became the most famous place to shop for shoes, bags, jewellery, watches, and textiles. Then, the businesses began to decline in the mid 1970s. Today, wholesalers, modern cafes as well as other businesses have taken over most of the retail outlets. Besides, several shops selling jewellery, bags, textiles, watches and traditional Chinese medicine are still operating along the street.

Significant Buildings

Campbell Street Market
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Campbell Street Market is a Victorian-style market built in the 1900s. The market was formerly known as Carnarvon Street Market. It is a small wet market located at the junctions between Campbell Street and Carnarvon Street. It offers a wide range of fresh vegetables, fish and meats to supply to its surrounding community. According to some locals, the land on which the market now stands was the site of a Malay cemetery. Furthermore, the cemetery at the land was provided to the Indian Muslim community for the construction of the Masjid Kapitan Keling in 1800. However, the George Town Municipal Council bought the land in the 1890s and subsequently built the Campbell Street Market.

Boon Wah Co. Textile
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Boon Wah Chow Chong Sdn. Bhd. is a textile company and has existed since 1982. This company is working in fashion, fabric, textile and building materials business activities. It is located at the corner area along Campbell Street and Rope Walk Street. In fact, this turquoise-coloured building has been an Instagram-worthy spot to check in for the locals and tourists.

Where to Stay

Campbell House Penang
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Campbell House is an Award-Winning Luxury Boutique Hotel in George Town. The owners are a husband and wife team, one of them is from Italy and another one is a mix of Malay and English. The boutique hotel occupies a unique three-storey Straits Chinese corner plot. The building was built in 1903 and underwent a major renovation when the owners bought it in 2008. It offers a total of 11 themed rooms incorporating Colonial charm and Asian heritage with an authentic but modern Italian restaurant.

Kim Haus Loft
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Kim Haus was a goldsmith jewellery shop turned into a cafe and residence lofts. This four-storey building offers a total of 40 guest rooms with something more basic and homey. In fact, it is not just a boutique hotel. There is a goldsmith museum, an event and performance space, and a cafe. Besides, it uses black as the theme colour with an industrial influence in the decor and stays true to its history as a jewellery and goldsmith shop. There is an array of vintage jewellery and goldsmith tools displaying at the cafe area.

ATTIC Hotel
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An attic is similar to a loft. It is a space or room inside or partly inside the roof of a building. Attic Hotel features a total of 17 rooms, including double rooms, triple rooms, and family rooms. Besides, the hotel also provides guests with a sun terrace.

What to See

Street Art: “Retail Paradise” Sculpture
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The “Marking of George Town” is an art challenge organised by the Penang State Government to mark George Town’s status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009. The company, Sculpture At Work won the design idea by relating the history and/ or characteristic of selected streets in George Town with metal rod caricatures of local cartoonists. 

The “Retail Paradise” Sculpture was installed in 2013. This sculpture at Campbell Street by cartoonist Reggie Lee portrays a guard arresting a burglar, who claims he has simply misplaced his keys. The sculpture celebrates a period in the history of Campbell Street when it was the main shopping area in George Town. “Campbell Street is Penang’s Fifth Avenue, a retail paradise where shoppers can stroll along the row of shophouses and feast their eyes on an array of goods.”

What to Eat

Hameediyah Restaurant
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Hameediyah Restaurant has claimed the title in the Malaysia Book of Records (MBR) of being the nation’s oldest Nasi Kandar restaurant. It was established in 1907 and is still going strong until today. Meanwhile, it is also crowned as one of the best Nasi Kandars in Penang. The restaurant offers around 35 types of curry. For instance, their Chicken Kapitan, Ayam Bawang and Beef Rendang are among the famous choices. Besides Nasi Kandar, they also offer Murtabak and a wide range of vegetarian options. 

Toh Soon Cafe 多春茶室
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Toh Soon Cafe is a small coffee shop located at an alley along Campbell Street. It is one of the famous breakfast spots among the locals and tourists. People are willing to queue up for their signature Kaya Toast Bread with two half-boiled eggs and its Hainan-style coffee. They use a super old charcoal stove to prepare the toasts. Now, Toh Soon is opening a new branch at Bishop Street.

Island Problem
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Island Problem is Japanese-Thai fusion eatery tucked in a shophouse along Campbell Street. It is a rather tiny dining space that could only accommodate up to 10 people. This open-kitchen concept restaurant allows diners to catch the live action of the chef preparing the meals. Their specialities include Don (rice bowl dishes), Sando (Japanese sandwiches), and Men (noodle dishes). Meanwhile, the upper floor of this black interior restaurant is a fashion boutique that sells their own branded fashion apparels.     

Kim Haus
Kim Haus Cafe at Campbell Street  Street Stories: Campbell Street Kim Haus Cafe

Kim Haus is a cafe bar that serves Western cuisine. It is a casual eating and drinking spot in George Town. It is a pork free restaurant that offers a variety of dishes and desserts. In addition, there is a small bakery at the corner of the cafe that serves fresh Danish Pastries, Scottish Scones and more. Taking up the space of the entire building, Kim Haus also provides comfy stays with industrial influence of concept.

Yee Heong Restaurant 宜香茶楼饭店
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Yee Heong Restaurant is a great place for dim sum in the morning and Zhu Char dishes for lunch and dinner. This restaurant is currently managed by the 5th generation of the family. Their signature dishes include Claypot Seafood, Braised Pork Hand and Stewed Mutton in Claypot.

Tho Yuen Restaurant 桃园茶楼
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Tho Yuen Restaurant is located between the intersection of Campbell Street and Cintra Street. The restaurant serves dim sum in the morning and then a variety of noodles and chicken rice in the afternoon. Besides, they also offer one of the best egg tarts that come with a crisp and thin crust. 

L Kitchen 李月香 粥面饭
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L Kitchen serves authentic Chinese food ranging from noodle to rice and even porridge at very affordable prices. Some of their dishes are worth trying out, such as Indian Style Curry Fish Fillet, Dried Scallop & Minced Pork Porridge with Chinese Coriander Meatball, as well as Spicy & Sour Fish Head Noodles.

IL Bacaro in Campbell House
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IL Bacaro is an authentic Italian restaurant housed in Campbell House. Their menu features a wide selection of Italian cuisine such as pizzas, pasta, grilled dishes and desserts. Besides, there is also a selection of fine wines at this cozy restaurant too. 

Hong Kee Wan Thun Mee 鸿记广式竹昇云吞面
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Some people call it “Hong Kee Bamboo Noodle” as it is a restaurant that specializes in serving handmade traditional bamboo-pressed noodles. Particularly, the chef rides on a bamboo log to press the eggs, flour and other ingredients together to yield the noodles. Their Hong Kong style Wan Thun Mee that topped with shredded char siew and Wan Thun beneath the noodles is definitely their signature. Furthermore, there is an in-house pastry stall that offers freshly baked Hong Kong style pastries. Make sure to try out their Egg Tarts, Buttered Polo Bun, and Honey BBQ Pork Pastry.

Coffee Addict Cafe
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Coffee Addict was previously at Hutton Lane and now it has relocated to Campbell Street. They also expanded their menu which covers breakfast, sandwiches, pasta, snacks, coffee, and desserts. Some of their popular dishes include, Guacamole Bacon on Toast, Open Omelette Pepperoni, and Thai Basil Minced Pork Pasta. In addition, the cafe also offers comfortable seatings for diners to enjoy good food and good coffee.

Trois Canon Cafe 三炮台茶餐厅
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Trois Canon Cafe provides the feeling of classical coffee shops (茶餐厅) in Hong Kong. Without any fancy presentation of the food, this cafe serves authentic and delicious Hong Kong food at affordable prices. Their menu features breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea and also dinner. Although it is very challenging to find parking, the food here is able to satisfy your tummy. 

Hanjan Eatery Soju Bar
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It is most probably the first and only Korean Soju Bar in George Town. Hanjan is a place that serves both Korean food and alcohol. Their food menu features a selection of Korean cuisines such as Kimchi Fried Rice, Korean Rice Cakes, Stir Fried Korean Glass Noodles, as well as Meat Platter. On the other hand, the drinks menu offers a list of Korean-influenced Cocktails and Mocktails, Beers, Wines and Liquors. Some of the food is best paired with Soju and Beer. Additionally, the ambience and atmosphere of Hanjan is too great for gatherings too.

Mun Thung x Soon Huat 满堂 x 顺发
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Mun Thung is the name of the eatery while Soon Huat is a long-established brand in Penang that sells alcohols and liquors. Hence, it is a place with a crossover concept for breakfast and brunch cafe with wine and cigar shop. The interior is simple and their menu is wallet-friendly. Some of the signature dishes are Roasted Pork Dry Noodle, Rendang Chicken Rice and more. Besides, they also offer snacks, toasts and buns, as well as desserts. 

Haru Stationary Cafe
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Haru is a minimalist Muji-inspired cafe. Apart from cafe, it is also a stationary shop especially for those who like journaling. Besides the interior design, the menu is also Japanese inspired. For instance, they are serving Poke Bowls, a series of Liege waffle, cakes and a wide variety of beverages.