After spending a week exploring Koh Samui, it was time to leave Thailand, as my 30-day exemption had run out. If you are in the south and you are looking for a great place to go on a visa run, Penang is an easy choice, as its combination of culture, drool-worthy cuisine, and historic attractions make the island the best visa run destination for those hanging out in Southern Thailand.
As one of Southeast Asia’s best food destinations, you can bounce from Indian to Chinese to Malay and Western food – and all of it for just a few dollars.
As much as your meals here will be a star attraction, the sheer joy of walking around Georgetown surpasses it.
As common as these entryways appear to its lifelong residents, their weathered appearance gives them a presence that the impersonal, unspectacular doors back home could never muster up on their own.
The buildings here are not only gorgeous, but they are also custom-built to protect you against the elements. They feature overhangs that shield you from the intense equatorial sun, as well as monsoonal downpours that would otherwise soak you to the bone.
And that doesn’t even cover this UNESCO-recognized town’s main attractions, as there are Chinese temples like the one shown, in addition to the Clan Jetties, which are so detailed that they will get their own post (stay tuned, it’s coming up very soon).
If you only have time to see one thing of note on the streets of Georgetown, make a sport of hunting down the stunning twisted iron sculptures that tell the story of this port on the Straits of Malacca. With 30 or so scattered through its Jalans, you’ll be spending some serious time outside – don’t forget to put on some sunscreen before heading out.
As mentioned earlier in this post, there’s more to come from Penang – have a question about this popular destination in Malaysia? Ask away in the comments below, as I’ve visited the island twice over the past six years.