After a bit of confusion by both us and our taxi driver we found ourselves at our hostel in George Town. My friend booked a room for us at the Sunny Side Hostel. It took us awhile to find the correct entrance, going over where it was on the map and then looking at the shops in front of us confused.
We were in the right spot. It just turns out the the main office is also a laundry shop that’s open from 9-5. We were given a scanning key to get into the hostel main doors and then a hard key to unlock our specific room. The staff at the front desk was very helpful with tons of maps with suggestions of things to do in the area and of food to try. We were told if we wanted to eat all the Penang specialties within our day and a half we’d need to eat more than five meals a day. Challenge failed.
Our room was fine. There was a desk and places to charge our stuff. There were at least 3 bathrooms/showers on our floor and a large sink for washing hands/brushing teeth. No soap was by the sinks but there were soap dispensers in the shower/bathrooms. Before we could leave we needed to go through and make sure everything for the rest of our trip was okay. That our midnight flight the following evening was set, (rather than deal with buses we had booked a flight from Penang back to Kuala Lumpur) and that the hotel we had booked had confirmed our reservation.
There were a couple drawbacks to our hostel and to our room specifically. Some were superficial, like the fact our blankets didn’t look particularly clean despite the hostel seeming to be in partnership with a laundry service, but our first hostel didn’t even have blankets and we were only there one night so it didn’t matter as much. The second one didn’t bother me but negatively affected my friend, which was that our room was small and had no windows. The last big drawback was that the office closed around 5pm. If we wanted to enjoy the time with our late flight we’d have to come back to the hostel, pick up our bags (my backpack was obnoxiously large due to my winter jacket) and lug them through streets full of people celebrating Chinese New Year which didn’t sound particularly appealing, let alone safe. But we put that on the back burner to deal with the priority which was getting my friend out of the claustrophobic windowless room and out into the historical UNESCO world heritage streets of George Town.
George Town was lovely. Even after a couple blocks she quickly relaxed and we enjoyed all the street art around. There’s art everywhere in Penang and it’s like a fun scavenger hunt to try and find them all. We didn’t even scrape the surface. The collection of art in the gallery below are done in steel rods by a group called Sculpture at Work in the style of various local cartoonists. Despite it being by many different artists we ended up finding a lot by the same one. Each sculpture has writing nearby that explains the history and culture that is being shown, usually for that specific area.
We were visiting Penang at a busy time. Several festivals were happening and the city was in full new year swing.
It was a lot of fun to just wander around George Town and see what we’d run into. The city is filled with culture and history everywhere.
We were there for a little over 24 hours and it wasn’t nearly enough time. I loved everything we saw and did in Penang and hope that some day I can go back and eat all the food and see everything we missed.