Penang, Malaysia – The Ultimate Guide

Penang Malaysia

I have to be totally honest. The city that I looked forward most during my 2018 road trip was Penang. I heard so much about the fascinating sights to see, and the superb tasting food and desserts. I tried as many as possible, and share about all that and more in this article – Penang, Malaysia – The Ultimate Guide.

Before I continue, let me share this beautiful video about Penang, Malaysia. It is from a local’s perspective. And is a great watch.

Wasn’t that lovely? Now, let’s continue this journey of Penang. You will be learning about where this city is located? Also, about the people, culture, religion, and more.

More importantly, you will find out which hotel to stay at? What good food to enjoy? What are the things to see and do? And many more useful and helpful information.


Where is Penang, Malaysia?

After our adventure in Ipoh, we drove up the western coast to the northern part of Malaysia. Then we crossed a bridge that brought us to the island that is called Penang.

I really liked crossing the bridge. It reminded me of the time when I crossed the bridge from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island.

The capital of Penang called George Town is located on the island. Therer is also a part of Penang that is on the mainland. That is where the popular place called Butterworth is situated.

Butterworth. Isn’t that a delicous name? When I was a child, I loved sayiing this name – Butterworth. For some reason, it reminded me of butter, and its lovely salted and milky taste.

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Who are the People in Penang, Malaysia?

During my time at Penang, I found the people to be quite cordial. I mean, they are not unfriendly. At the same time, they are not warm.

It could be they are shy? To be fair, I did not have that much time or close engagement with them. Still, I find this video a charming representation of the people in Penang.


What is the Culture in Penang, Malaysia?

Like many other cities in Malaysia, Penang is a hot mix of various cultures. There are the Chinese, the Malay, Indians and many other races that add to a vibrant culture there.

One point I did note is that there is a heavy influence of Chinese culture here. The arts, culture, and even architecture exhibited some Chinese style.

Travel Tip: Please respect their culture.


What are the Religions in Penang, Malaysia?

As with any city in Malaysia, the major religion is Islam. And yet, because of the strong Chinese influence, the religions like Buddhism and Taoism are more apparent here.

Below is a cute video by three lovely ladies who share with us about the religions and cultures in Penang.


What is the Common Language Spoken  in Penang, Malaysia?

While Malay is still the dominant and national language in Malaysia, I did notice that most Chinese in Penang speak a Chinese dialect called Hokkien.

English is still a popular language, and commonly spoken here. As a tourist, I found it easy to communicate as most Penang people speak English.


What are the Festivals and Public Holidays in Penang, Malaysia?

Here are the public holidays and festivals that are celebrated in Penang. They are basically the same as the national holidays celebrated throughout Malaysia.

  • January 1 – New Year’s Day
  • Chinese New Year
  • Thaipusam
  • May 1 – Labour Day
  • Vesak Day
  • Nuzul Al-Quran Day
  • Mother’s Day
  • Hari Raya Adilfitri
  • Agong’s Birthday
  • George Town World Heritage Day
  • Birthday of the Governor of Penang
  • Father’s Day
  • Hari Raya Haji
  • Awal Muharram
  • August 31 – National Day
  • September 9 – Birthday of SPB Yang di Pertuan Agong
  • September 16 – Malaysia Day
  • Maulidur Rasul
  • Deepavali
  • December 25 – Christmas Day

To learn more about the above public holidays and festivals, please do visit my article about Malaysia. I cover it in more depth there.

Below are some of the festivals unique to Penang. They look like so much fun! Next time when I plan to visit Penang, I will make sure to plan and visit during one of the festivals. I recommend you do the same, too!


George Town Festival

I was so impressed when I found out that George Town has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Kudos to Penang!

And of course there must be a festival to celebrate this. The month long festival has a wide variety of arts, dance and theatre performances, exhibitions, food, drinks, arts, crafts and more.

This is a very popular festival. Tourists from all over the world come to experience this heritage site. Book your hotel room and flight early to avoid disappointment.

Bon Odori Festival

Love Japanese food, arts, dance and culture? So do the people in Penang!

Join them for an enchanting time where they celebrate all things Japanese. Don’t forget to stay for the fireworks in the evening. I heard it is breath taking!

Nine Emperor God Festival

Near my home, there is a temple that celebrates the Nine Emperor God Festival. While I do not follow this event, I am always awed by the parade and the practice of mediums in a trance, being possessed by the spirits of the Nine Emperor God.

The festival lasts for nine days, during the first nine days of the ninth lunar month. It is believed that the spirit of the Nine Emperor God returns to Earth during this period.

Penang International Dragon Boat Race

I find dragon boat races exciting and exhilarating. And it is awesome they have it in many Asian cities. At Penang, the annual event is held at Teluk Bahang dam near George Town.

Competitors from different parts of Malaysia and all over the world come to race for the coveted first prize. Colorful traditional boats. Sounds of drums pounding to get your heart pounding. All this makes this one of the most exciting festivals in this city.

St Anne’s Festival

This is surely an experience that will be beautiful and uplifting. It is a homage to the patron saint, Saint Anne.

Every year, on July 29, the pilgrims flock to Bukit Mertajam. One of the highlights is the beautiful procession of devotees with each holding a lit candle.

Can you imagine the sight of this from above? So pretty, I am sure.

Penang International Food Festival

And of course, what is Penang without experiencing all the delicious food. This is a much looked forward annual 16-day event. Rows and rows of delectable choices. You will be in food paradise.

* Note – sadly this festival is canceled in 2020 due to Covid-19


What is the Dress Code in Penang, Malaysia?

When my friend and I visited Penang, the weather was hot! And I mean really hot!!!

So, it was a blessing to be able to walk all around town in casual wear. We were in shorts and t-shirt. And we noticed most tourists were in the same gear.

So, pack light. Have a great time in Penang!


What is the National Dress in Penang, Malaysia?

The National Dress is the same as for the entire country. You can see what it looks like in my Malaysia article.


What is the Popular Sport in Penang, Malaysia?

I am not much into sports. I did swim in the past but have not done that in a while. Nowadays, I prefer to do yoga.

Penang is much like the rest of Malaysia. The favored sports is football. The other sports that are popular are badminton, tennis, squash, golf, horse riding, sailing and martial arts.


What Currency Can I Use in Penang, Malaysia?

Holidays in Malaysia - Ringgit

All throughout Malaysia, the currency used is the Malaysian Ringgit.


How is the Weather in Penang, Malaysia?

I have found out that the weather in Penang is much like the weather in the rest of Malaysia. To find out more about the weather, please refer to my Malaysia article.


How is the Haze Situation in Penang, Malaysia?

I was very fortunate to visit Penang when there was no haze at all. I did find out that when there was haze, the situation was quite bad. Here is a video from a news channel about it.

The haze has been known to occur during the hot season. This is from May to October.

Travel Tip: Check the haze situation for Penang before traveling to this city.


Which are the Hotels to Stay in Penang, Malaysia?

We figured that we would be out most of the days, to see the sights and enjoy the great tasting food in Penang. Many Penang Hotels to choose from. So, we chose a budget hotel to suit the main purpose of simply a place to rest after a tired day of tourist duties.

Click the image below to read more about the Cititel Express Penang. There is also a short video in the review, for you to see what the room looks like.

Penang Hotels - Cititel Express
Penang Hotels – Cititel Express. Click image above to Read More

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What are the Things to Do in Penang, Malaysia?

Besides yummy food, there are many Things To Do in Penang. Here are a few of them.

Entopia Butterfly Farm

When I first heard of Entopia Butterfly Farm, my first thought was – what is the big deal? Just a place with many butterflies flitting everywhere, right? Boy, was I wrong!

This is one of the things you must do when you visit Penang. Click on the image below to find out why?

Yellow Glassy Tiger Butterfly
Yellow Glassy Tiger Butterfly at Entopia. Click image above to Read More

Kek Lok Si Temple

I love visiting religious sites. But what is there to see at Kek Lok Si Temple that can capture hours of attention? Click the image below to find out.

View of Circular Pavilion garden and Middle Prayer Hall
Kek Lok Si Temple – Click image above to read about this awesome attraction.

Penang Street Art

What is the fascination with street art? Who was the famous artist? Where are the street murals? All this, and more information when you click on the image below.

One of the famous Street Art in Penang - Children on Bicycle
Penang Street Art – Click image above to read about this awesome attraction.

What Food to Eat in Penang, Malaysia?

When you visit this island, you must try the Penang Food! A whole vacation can be planned around this theme. In fact, this was the part I looked forward most to for this adventure.

Assam Laksa at Air Itam

Assam Laksa has gained popularity in Penang. The locals enjoy it. The tourists flock to this island to get a taste of this piquant dish. Click the image below to find out what the fuss is all about?

The Delicious Bowl of Assam Laksa - really good!
Assam Laksa at Air Itam. Click image above to read my review.

Cendol at Penang Road

Some people say this is still the best cendol in Malaysia. Some people say the one in Malacca is better. Click the image below to get more details from my review before you head to this popular place to try it.

The Famous Chendul aka Cendol, Chendol or Cendul
Cendol at Penang Road. Click image above to read my review.

Gurney Drive Hawker Centre

When I was a young boy, I remember my parents brought me to this famous eating place. It was charming and exciting for a lad like me back then. There was a wide variety of cuisine, and they were all delectable.

Is it all the same since then? Click the image below to find out.

Famous Indian Rojak stall at Gurney Drive
Gurney Drive Hawker Centre. Click image above to read my review.

Tiger Char Koay Teow

There are many food stalls that serve char koay teow in Penang. Many claim to be the best. What about Tiger Char Koay Teow? Is it as great as they purported? Click the image below to find out.

The famous Tiger Char Koay Teow from George Town, Penang
The famous Tiger Char Koay Teow from George Town, Penang. Click image above to read my review

Where To Go Shopping in Penang, Malaysia?

We only had time to visit one mall. And that was only because we were at Gurney Drive Hawker Centre.

It was Gurney Plaza, which was near the hawker centre. My friend parked our car there. It was convenient.

After dinner, we shopped around the mall. It was all right. Just like any shopping centre. Almost all the same brands and stores.

If markets are more your style, here are a few suggestions in this video.


Best Time to Visit Penang, Malaysia?

There are high season and low season to visit Malaysia. The same goes for visiting Penang. Each season has its pros and cons. For me, I prefer the low season so that I do not jostle with large crowds. Also, the hotel room rates are lower during this season.

To find out more about the two seasons, please go to my Malaysia article.


How To Get To Penang, Malaysia?

By Airplane

You can arrive at the Penang International Airport located in Bayan Lepas. Many airlines fly direct there.

Some of the airlines that can take you to Penang are the Malaysian Airlines, Air Asia, JetStar, Firefly and more.

I prefer JetStar. It is one of the safest budget airlines, according to airlineratings .com

By Train

There are no trains to the island side of Penang. But you can take the KTMB from Kuala Lumpur to Butterworth. Then catch a cab to ride across the bridge to the island.

By Bus

There are buses from Singapore, and other cities in Malaysia such as Kuala Lumpur to Penang. Do check for various transport providers for individual pricing and schedule.

By Road

I look back fondly at the road trip with my friend in 2018. We drove along the west coast of West Malaysia. And visited Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh and Penang.

From Ipoh to Penang, it took us about 2 hours, including a rest stop. We took the Lebuhraya Utara – Selatan/E1 highway.

Do You Need a Visa to Go to Penang?

Visitors from some countries can visit Malaysia, and all her cities without a visa. Some will need a visa. It is best to check the immigration websites to find out if you need a visa to enter.


How To Get Around Penang, Malaysia?

By Bus

This is a convenient and one of the cheapest way to explore Penang. The buses go to most main attractions, too. Check out the bus time table and routes.

There is also the Rapid Penang (RapidPG) bus that offers travel throughout Penang. It includes free onboard WIFI.

By Taxi

There are plenty of taxis in Penang. But, just like everywhere in Malaysia, please do negotiate the price, and agree on it before you board the cab.

By law, the taxis are supposed to go by meter. But many will claim otherwise and negotiate for a fixed rate.

By Grab

Private Hire Vehicles like Grab is available in Penang, Malaysia. I recommend using this service because it is so convenient. Also, prices are fixed before you confirm the ride. So, there is no problem with haggling or sudden increase in fare.

By Car

You have the choice to rent a car. Rental of cars is quite affordable. Just make sure the rental service is legit, and get insurance.

Alternatively, if you own a car, and drive to Penang, you can get around quite easily. My friend owned a car. And I found it very convenient.

We could choose where we would like to go, how long to stay at each attraction, cafe or restaurant. Some hotels even provide free parking. I highly recommend this choice of transport if you can have it.

By Motorcycle

It is cheap to rent a motocycle. And very convenient, too. Plus, you can enjoy a better view of the scenery as you ride around the island.

But, please be careful. There are many deaths due to riding on a motorcycle without a helmet. So, please do wear a helmet. Be safe.

By Trishaw

A trishaw is a tricycle with a front seat. The passenger sits on the front seat. The driver pedals the tricycle to transport the passenger around.

This is a charming way to explore Penang. But really slow. Do it only for the fun of it.


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If you have ANY questions about Penang, Malaysia – The Ultimate Guide, ANY at all, please submit your questions as comments below. I will be happy to help you out.

Thank you for reading this.

Wishing you and your loved ones safe and happy travels,

Timotheus

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – The Ultimate Guide

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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I have been to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia many times. In the past, I was there as a young boy with my family. Then I traveled often for work. My latest adventure was for a fun and exciting holiday. All these travels are shared in this article about Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – The Ultimate Guide?

In my latest adventure, my Malaysian friend and I decided to go on a road trip along the west coast of West Malaysia. I would arrive in Kuala Lumpur where he resided.

He showed me around Kuala Lumpur. Then we got in his car, and rode all the way to Ipoh, and stayed there for a few days. After a nice and relaxing time in Ipoh, we traveled to Penang.

It was really nice to visit all three cities. And even nicer to be shown the sight by a local. He shared with me a lot of local information about popular places, and introduced me to all the best places to eat.

It was a really great holiday. And I share the experience here with you.

In this article, I will provide as much information as I can. Some information would be from research. And some would be from experience.

You will learn about where Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is? Who are the people living there? The culture and religion in this town. The language spoken. The dress code to follow. Where to stay? What good food to enjoy? What are the things to see and do? And many more.


Where is Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?

As the capital of Malaysia, it is interesting to me that Kuala Lumpur is along the west coast of West Malaysia. And especially interesting that it is situated somewhere in the middle of the peninsula along that coast.

It does make Kuala Lumpur strategically located so that it is within reach, by land, of both Singapore and Thailand. And also easy access by sea to Sumatra.

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Who are the People in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?

While Malaysia is multi-racial, the majority of the people in Kuala Lumpur is Malay. Chinese, Indian, Indigenous Tribes and other races are minorities.

While in Kuala Lumpur, I did find that most of the people are Malay. There are Chinese but not as many as in other towns like Ipoh and Penang.


What is the Culture in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?

It is evident that the strongest cultural influence are from the Malay and the religion, Islam. Everywhere you go, you will see strong impact on almost any aspect of their lives.

At the same time, because of the other races and religions, there are subtle cultural influences from them. But these are mostly found at certain areas and sites.

Nevetheless, there is a level of tolerance in this country. And as such, each race and religion does celebrate their respective practices and festivals. This creates a colorful range of activities. See Festivals section further down for more information.

Travel Tip: Please respect their culture.


What are the Religions in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?

In Malaysia, there are many people with different beliefs. Some believe in Buddhism. Some in Hinduism. Some are Sikhs. And some are Christians. The majority in Malaysia follow their main religion, which is Islam. In Kuala Lumpur, the same can be said to be true.


What is the Common Language Spoken  in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?

I would say the language to be Malay. In fact, I had a rather unpleasant experience in a shopping mall.

My friend and I were looking for the men’s clothing department. We asked a sales lady for directions in English. She smiled cheekily and answered in Malay. It was obvious she was doing it on purpose to force us to speak in Malay.

But we did not know the language. And we found it to be very rude of her to do that to a tourist. After all, the large departmental store was in the tourist hub. How can she not know how to speak English? Or is it that English is saved for people who only show white skin?

So, from that experience, I concluded that the common language spoken would be Malay. Or rather they expect you to learn and speak Malay. Strange thing was that in hotels and restaurants, they speak English.

Still, I did ask directions a few times on the streets. And most times, I would approach a Chinese or any other race rather than Malay. Because I did not wish to be caught in that same situation mentioned above.

Most times, I found that people were willing to speak in English. If you are fluent in Chinese, you can try to speak it with the local Chinese there. Most would be able to speak Mandarin.

Of course, if you are fluent in Malay, then good for you! You will find it easy to get around, get directions, and get a lot done in this country.


What are the Festivals and Public Holidays in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?

Here are the public holidays and festivals that are celebrated in Kuala Lumpur. They are basically the same as the national holidays celebrated throughout Malaysia.

  • January 1 – New Year’s Day
  • Chinese New Year
  • February 1 – Federal Territory Day
  • Thaipusam
  • May 1 – Labour Day
  • Vesak Day
  • Nuzul Al-Quran Day
  • Mother’s Day
  • Hari Raya Adilfitri
  • June 8 – Birthday of SPB Yang di Pertuan Agong
  • Father’s Day
  • Hari Raya Haji
  • Awal Muharram
  • August 31 – National Day
  • September 16 – Malaysia Day
  • Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday
  • Deepavali
  • December 25 – Christmas Day

To learn more about the above public holidays and festivals, please do visit my article about Malaysia. I cover it in more depth there.

Below are some of the festivals unique to Kuala Lumpur.


Thaipusam in Batu Caves

This is a festival in honor of the Hindu god of war, Lord Murugan. It is an annual celebration that is colorful and lively.

Held at Batu caves annually, the Hindu community gathers to shower gifts of gratitude for prayers answered. This vibrant festival is best celebrated personally at Batu Caves. For now, watch this video to see what to expect.


Chinese New Year

In every country that has Chinese community, the Chinese New Year is celebrated. Simply because it is the start of the new year based on the Chinese calendar, or Lunar calendar.

What happens during this celebration? What do the Chinese do? Check out the two videos below for an introduction to this festival.


KL International Jazz Festival

This is an annual event that raises Kuala Lumpur as a centre for stylish live music. The festival attracts world class acts like Incubus, Linkin Park, Jason Mraz, and many more.

Love jazz? Don’t miss this.


1Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival

This is one of the biggest sale events in Malaysia. And it is massive in Kuala Lumpur. Lasting for 2 months, you get big discounts on all types of products.


Mid-Autumn Festival

The mid-autumn festival is one of the festivals that I enjoy and love. It is a time for lanterns and mooncakes. The latter which is really yummy and tasty.

Here is a video about mid-autumn festival; how it started, why it started, the origin of mooncakes, and the festivities. Enjoy watching.


Deepavali

Deepavali is also known as Diwali. It is the Festival of Lights celebrated by Hindus. It signifies the triumph over evil.

During Deepavali, Hindu families light candles and other sources of light to symbolize the dark being overcomed by the light. Families exchange gifts, enjoy feasts, and pray to their deities. Watch the video below for more information.


What is the Dress Code in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?

For years, when I visited Kuala Lumpur, I dressed in bermudas or shorts with a light t shirt. My local Malaysian friend wears the same.

So, as a tourist, it is all right for you to wear the same light and casual wear. But do be mindful when you visit religious sites.

Ask the people in charge what is the correct clothing to wear. If required, most religious sites would offer a temporary wrap around the body or at least the lower part of the body.


What is the National Dress in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?

The National Dress is the same as for the entire country. You can see what it looks like in my Malaysia article.


What is the Popular Sport in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?

Football, or soccer as known in other countries, is the most popular sport in Kuala Lumpur. Other sports like badminton, bowling, tennis, squash, golf, sailing and martial arts do get some attention, too.


What Currency Can I Use in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?

Holidays in Malaysia - Ringgit

All throughout Malaysia, the currency used is the Malaysian Ringgit.


How is the Weather in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?

I have written in length about the weather in Malaysia. And it is the same weather for Kuala Lumpur. To find out more info, please refer to my Malaysia article.


How is the Haze Situation in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?

Every year, there is haze situation in Southeast Asia. The haze does get worse in Kuala Lumpur. Partly because of it being a city, and has its own pollution issue, too.

The haze has been known to occur during the hot season. This is from May to October.

Travel Tip: Check the haze situation for Kuala Lumpur before traveling to this city.


Which are the Hotels to Stay in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?

Kuala Lumpur is a metropolis. And has many hotels and resorts for you to choose from. Here are a few that I have stayed at, and I share my experience with you.


The Face Suites Hotel Review

Looking for a hotel room that is like an apartment? Look no further. The Face Suites may be what you are looking for. And it is also very well situated. Read my review and watch the video walk-through to find out more.

Kuala Lumpur Hotels - The FACE Suites
The Face Suites Hotel. Click image above for more info.

Ramada Suites Kuala Lumpur City Centre

I just love staying at large hotel rooms. And better still, those that are like a small apartment. How does Ramada Suites measure up then? Is it near the city centre, according to its namesake? Read my review and watch the video to find out more.

Kuala Lumpur Hotels - Ramada Suites Kuala Lumpur City Centre - Bed & Sofa
Ramada Suites Kuala Lumpur City Centre. Click image above for more info.

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What are the Things to Do in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?

I have been to Kuala Lumpur many times. But nothing beats seeing the sights with a local friend. Through his eyes and with his explanations of each famous place, I learned more about this fascinating city.


Batu Caves

I used to think that Batu Caves was overrated. Then I finally really explored this place thoroughly. And I learned more about this ancient site. It was mind blowing. Click the image below or button further down to check out my story of my visit to Batu Caves.

Gigantic Lord Murugan Statue at one of the Best Places To Visit In Kuala Lumpur - Batu Caves
Batu Caves. Click image above for more info.

Getting to Batu Caves

On a budget when visiting Kuala Lumpur? Wonder what is the best way to travel to Batu Caves at a reasonable price? And is this a comfortable ride? You must read about how we got to Batu Caves.

Best Places To Visit In Kuala Lumpur - Getting To Batu Caves via train
Getting to Batu Caves. Click image above for more info.

Petaling Street

Every traveler to Kuala Lumpur will eventually visit Petaling Street. Why is that so? Click on the image or button below to find out.

Things To Do In Kuala Lumpur - Petaling Street - Entrance
Petaling Street. Click image above for more info.

Petronas Twin Towers – Icon of Malaysia

This is known as the icon of Malaysia. Not just Kuala Lumpur. But the whole of Malaysia. It has been featured in advertisements, magazines, brochures, TV shows and even top grossing movies. Click the image below to learn more about this amazing sight.

Best Places To Visit In Kuala Lumpur - the Petronas Twin Towers at night
Petronas Twin Towers. Click image above for more info.

More Things To Do In Kuala Lumpur >>>


What Food to Eat in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?

I have always loved the great taste of Kuala Lumpur food. There is so much to try. And so many that are simply scrumptious. While impossible to cover it all, I did my best to feature some of the best here.


DC Comics Super Heroes Cafe and Store

This super heroes theme cafe was eye catching. Nestled inside a shopping mall, it could easily be looked over. But with that awesome, bright and colorful window display, there is no way you would miss it. Come read my experience shopping and eating at this super duper place.

DC Comics Super Heroes Cafe and Store. Click image above for more info.

Kinjuku SetiaWalk Mall

Unfortunately, my friend has informed me, that this place has closed down. It served really good Japanese food. It was an all you can eat buffet. Come read and see what you missed.

Best Places To Eat In Kuala Lumpur - Kinjuku SetiaWalk Mall Review - Header
Kinjuku SetiaWalk Mall. Click image above for more info.

Madam Kwan’s at KLCC

This is a well known eatery. Why is that so? And who is Madam Kwan. What food does this place serve that is so popular? Find out when you click on the image or button below.

Madam Kwan KLCC - Outside Restaurant, Front
Madam Kwan’s at KLCC. Click image above for more info.

More Best Places to Eat in Kuala Lumpur >>>


Where To Go Shopping in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?

Besides all the sightseeing and eating, shopping is the next best and fun activity in Kuala Lumpur. There are so many malls in the city. It is just crazy Watch the video below to help you narrow down to which mall or malls to visit.


Best Time to Visit Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?

There are high season and low season to visit Malaysia. The same goes for visiting Kuala Lumpur. Each season has its pros and cons. For me, I prefer the low season so that I do not jostle with large crowds. Also, the hotel room rates are lower during this season.

To find out more about the two seasons, please go to my Malaysia article.


How To Get To Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?

By Airplane

When you fly in from another country, you will arrive at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). This is the main international airport that is located in the Sepang district of Selangor.

I know this because I flew in from Singapore, and I arrived at KLIA. One thing to note is that the airport is approximately 45 kilometers from the city centre. I had a choice to take the taxi or call a Grab car. I chose the latter. It was easy and hassle free.

For my latest holiday, I took the AirAsia flight I did not like it as much as JetStar. Next time, I would choose JetStar.

There are many other airlines that fly to Kuala Lumpur. For example, Malaysian Airlines, Malindo Air, Bangkok Airways, British Airways, China Airlines, Emirates, Garuda Indonesia, Japan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, and plenty more.

Travel Tip: Find out if your preferred airline flies to Kuala Lumpur International Airport

By Train

You can take a train from Thailand or Singapore to Kuala Lumpur. And vice versa. You go to and from the station called KL Sentral.

You can also take the train to arrive at Kuala Lumpur from the other cities and towns of Malaysia. As long as there is a train line and station to that town or station.

For example, here is my ride experience from Kuala Lumpur to Batu Caves. I took the same train back to Kuala Lumpur. Watch the video to see how I traveled from Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) to Batu Caves.

By Bus

There are buses from Singapore or Thailand to Kuala Lumpur. And also from Kuala Lumpur to these countries. Do check for various transport providers for individual pricing and schedule.

By Road

It is true that I took a flight to Kuala Lumpur. But we did go on our road trip back from Penang to Kuala Lumpur. And let me tell you that it was a really long journey. It was nearly 6 hours drive, including one refreshment and toilet stop.

It was fun. But after a few hours of nothing but roads and mountains, it was a little boring. So, I had to chat with my friend a lot to keep him awake and alert.

The good news is that there are highways that made it a quicker ride. To go from Penang to Kuala Lumpur, we traveled on the Lebuhraya Utara – Selatan/E1. If you are unfamiliar with roads in Malaysia, download an app called Waze. It will help you travel easily from one point to another in Malaysia.

Do You Need a Visa to Go to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?

Visitors from some countries can visit Malaysia, and all her cities without a visa. Some will need a visa. It is best to check the immigration websites to find out if you need a visa to enter.


How To Get Around Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?

By Train

Hooray! Kuala Lumpur now has Mass Rapid Transit (MRT). And it is quite easy to get around using this choice of transport. See the above video about getting to Batu Caves? The initial part of the journey was via MRT. Watch to see how easy it was to buy a ticket, and travel on the MRT.

Travel Tip: MRT can take you to many attractions such as KLCC, Central Market and even their National Museum.

By Bus

If you are mainly traveling within the city, and going to popular places as well as shopping districts, the good news is that there is a free Go KL bus service for you. It is air conditioned and quite comfortable. Best part of this is that it is a free bus service.

If you are traveling further away from the city, and into the various districts, then it is better to go by taxi, Grab or your own transport.

By Taxi

Travel by taxi in Kuala Lumpur is very convenient. There are plenty of taxis. But do take note that it is best to go by meter.

But ultimately, from my experience, most cab drivers haggle for a fixed price. If you are comfortable to pay for the asking price, then agree and get in.

By Grab

Private Hire Vehicles like Grab is available in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I recommend using this service because it is so convenient. Also, prices are fixed before you confirm the ride. So, there is no problem with haggling or sudden increase in fare.

By Car

If you drive in with your own car or rent a car, then this is a good option. This is because you have the freedom to travel wherever you like. Only thing is if you are unfamiliar with Malaysia, you may end up getting lost. Do get the Waze app.

For me, I prefer Grab. Of course, I have a friend in Kuala Lumpur, and he is really nice. Whenever I visit Kuala Lumpur, he would do his best to drive me around. Bless him.

Travel Tip: Rental of cars is quite affordable. Just make sure the rental service is legit, and get insurance.


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If you have ANY questions about Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – The Ultimate Guide, ANY at all, please submit your questions as comments below. I will be happy to help you out.

Thank you for reading this.

Wishing you and your loved ones safe and happy travels,

Timotheus

Phnom Penh – The Ultimate Guide

Phnom Penh - The Ultimate Guide

When I decided to visit Cambodia, I was torn between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. Each has its merits. Eventually, I decided on the latter. And I share my experience in this article titled, Phnom Penh – The Ultimate Guide.

In the months that led to my travel to Phnom Penh, every day I searched on the Internet about this city. I watched YouTube videos to learn a bit more.

I was interested in the people, the culture and religion. What festivals do they celebrate? What is the acceptable dress code and what clothing should I pack in my luggage?

Also, what currency do I bring to pay for food, sightseeing, transportation and shopping? How is the weather there in October (when I visited)?

What are the sights to see? What food to eat? Which are the places that serve the best tasting food? And how do I get around Phnom Penh?

Thankfully, besides the Internet, I had a local friend and tour guide who helped me have a lovely time in Phnom Penh. The information here is partly from what I learned from my friend.

Meantime, if you are curious about Phnom Penh, Cambodia, here is a video from their tourist board promoting their beautiful country, and all she has to offer.


Where is Phnom Penh, Cambodia?

Cambodia is a country that is landlocked by Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. The capital of Cambodia is Phnom Penh. It is also the largest city in Cambodia.

Phnom Penh covers the lower south area of the center of the country, and has the Mekong River along the east perimeter of the city. It is also the political, economic and cultural centre of the nation.

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Who are the People in Phnom Penh, Cambodia?

There around 1.5 million people in Phnom Penh, and I had the great fortune of meeting one of them. He was a nice guy and a talented photographer. He was an excellent example of the Cambodian people. He was gentle, polite, warm and friendly.

I discovered a well produced video titled – People of Cambodia. It does reflect the people in Phnom Penh too. The video highlights the many different races and lifestyles of the people in Phnom Penh. Do watch the less than 3 minute video to get a snapshot of who are the people in Phnom Penh, Cambodia?


What is the Culture in Phnom Penh, Cambodia?

The culture in Cambodia is uniquely Khmer. Yet, it can be said that there were many contributions to the Cambodian culture by the French, the Theravada Buddhism, the Angkorian culture, and even the Indians through Hinduism.

The culture throughout the country is mostly the same. The current state of the culture is an amalgam of cultures from the French, the Theravada Buddhism, the Angkorian, and the Indians. For the latter, Hinduism played a major role in shaping the culture that it is today.

The people are generally quite shy. In the video below, you can see the shyness of the young man as he shares 7 tips about their culture. Good to know before you travel to any part of Cambodia.

What are the 7 Cultural Tips?

  1. When going into a house, take off hat and shoes before entering.
  2. When meeting the elderly, take off hat as well.
  3. Cambodians respect the head. Don’t touch someone’s else’s head.
  4. In Cambodian culture, men and women show respect for each other by not touching.
  5. Don’t hug someone of the opposite sex. Hugging is not big in Cambodian culture. The tradtitional greeting is putting hands together under the chin.
  6. If you invite someone out for coffee or a meal, it is assumed that you are the one to pay.
  7. Most of the time, Cambodians will refuse the first time something is offered. Ask 3 times.

What are the Religions in Phnom Penh, Cambodia?

Buddha Image at Silver Pagoda - Phnom Penh, Cambodia

When I was in Phnom Penh, I could see clearly that Buddhism is the religion most Cambodians practice. In fact, I found out that it is the official religion of Cambodia.

A minority follows Islam and Christianity. There is even tribal animism being practiced there.

Below is an enlightening video about religions in Cambodia. It features many Buddhist temples that I visited when I was there.

Just for interest, here is a video about a typical life of a Cambodian Buddhist monk. It is truly fascinating to watch.


What is the Official Language Spoken in Phnom Penh, Cambodia?

During the Angkorian period, the Cambodian language was heavily influenced by the Indian languages – Sanskrit and Pali. Officially known as Khmer, the Cambodian language has the world’s largest alphabet.

It is a very complex language, and can be hard to pronounce accurately. One of the reasons is that there are different consonants that can have different vowel sounds. While it is hard to learn Khmer, it is a fun language to learn, too. Watch the video for a foreigner’s view on this.

Most of the people also speak English. So, if you speak English, traveling around and communicating with the locals is not a problem

I found that traveling in Phnom Penh is easy because most of the Cambodians speak English. Here is the video of the nice young man again. This time, watch as he introduces you to common sentences spoken in Khmer.


What are the Festivals and Public Holidays in Phnom Penh, Cambodia?

I was in Phnom Penh during the month of October. And my friend informed me that the popular Water Festival and Boat Racing was just over. How I wished I had known earlier about this exciting festival!

Ah well. Maybe next time.

Meanwhile, I made a list of the public holidays and festivals in my article about Cambodia. Do go to that article and read about them. There are interesting videos to about each of the festivals and holidays. Especially if you plan to visit and experience the holidays or festivals there.

Here are some of the public holidays and festivals in Cambodia that are also celebrated in Phnom Penh:

  • January 1, New Year
  • January 7, Victory Day over Genocide
  • Usually January or February, Chinese New Year
  • Usually in February, Meak Bochea
  • March 8, International Women’s Day
  • April 14 to 16, Khmer New Year
  • Usually April or May, Visak Bochea
  • Usually April, QingMing Festival
  • May 1, Labor Day
  • Usually in May, Royal Ploughing Ceremony
  • May 13 to 15, King Norodom Sihamoni’s Birthday
  • May 20, National Day of Remembrance
  • June 1, International Children’s Day
  • June 18, Royal Birthday of the King Mother Queen Monineath Sihanouk
  • September 24, Constitution Day
  • Usually September or October, 3 days Celebration, Pchum Ben
  • Usually September, Silkworm Festival
  • Usually September or October, Mid Autumn Festival
  • October 15, Commemoration Day of King’s Father, King Norodom Sihanouk
  • October 23, Paris Peace Agreement Day
  • October 29, Coronation Day of King Sihamoni
  • November 9, Independence Day
  • Usually October or November, 3 days of Celebration, Water Festival
  • Usually November or December, Kite Flying Festival

Again, if you like to learn more about the above holidays and festivals, please go to my article about Cambodia. More details and videos to watch there.


What is the Dress Code in Phnom Penh, Cambodia?

You will be pleased to know that the dress code for touring and shopping is casual wear. I was even able to watch a show in a casino wearing bermudas and t shirt.

But when I visited sacred and holy sites like temples, I was mindful to wear according to the requirements. First of all, be respectful. Do not wear revealing clothing like sleeveless tops, tank tops or shorts not covering the knees.

Before you enter any sacred or holy place, you have to take off your shoes, sandals, or any head wear such as a hat or cap. To help you know what to do correctly, watch the video below by His Excellency Sok Sangvar about the code of conduct when visiting a holy place in Cambodia.


What is the National Dress in Phnom Penh, Cambodia?

I covered this topic in my Cambodia article. Just to summarize, there is the krama worn by men and women as an accessory. The sampot to wrap the lower part of the body. For the women, there is the Av Pak to wear with the sampot. This is a blouse that can be also done ornately for formal wear or special occasions.

To see how the designs and clothing look like, watch the video below.


I think you can guess by now that boat racing is a really popular sport in Phnom Penh. It is called Bon Om Tuuk, and is held at the end of the rainy season.

Many people love this exciting festival, and they sit along the Mekong riverside to watch the boat racers compete. Watch the video below to see the excitement and fanfare.


What Currency Can I Use in Phnom Penh, Cambodia?

US Dollars

Before I arrived at Phnom Penh, I learned that the official currency in Cambodia is the Riel (KHR).

At the same time, I also learned that most businesses accept US Dollars (USD). I asked my local friend, and he confirmed that, as a tourist, it would be best for me to pay for stuff using USD.

Travel Tip: Do be careful with the USD you bring. There MUST NOT BE any stains or damage to the notes. If there are, the locals will not accept it.

I had one USD ten dollars that had a small coffee stain. I did not notice it at the money changer. When I tried to use it to buy some food at a local supermarket, the note was refused. Fortunately, when I returned to Singapore, the money changer took it back with no questions asked.


How is the Weather in Phnom Penh, Cambodia?

The climate in Phnom Penh is tropical. There are basically two seasons. There is the dry season and the wet or rainy season. The dry season is from December to April, and the rainy season is from May to November.

I learned that this is important to know because the rainy season can be a damper and ruin the travel experience. Conversely, the hotel rates during the dry and cool season are high. So, I tried to find a balance where I get to enjoy lower hotel rates and really nice weather.

Usually, the weather is cool in Phnom Penh from November to February. This is the best time to visit the city. The weather is pleasant, and there is no rain.

Travel Tip: The cool season is also the peak season when many tourists visit Phnom Penh. If you wish to enjoy lower hotel rates, avoid this season.

I do not like weather that is too hot. It makes it difficult to truly enjoy the tour. If you are like me, and do not like hot climate, then avoid going to Phnom Penh from March to June.

If you do not mind rain, then May till November is ideal for you. And it may not rain all day, too. Usually, the mornings are dry. Then it pours in the afternoon. And it can be brief.

For more information about the weather and the best time to visit Phnom Penh, watch the video below.


Which are the Hotels to Stay in Phnom Penh, Cambodia?

There are plenty of hotels and guest houses in Phnom Penh. So many that I had a hard time trying to choose. Then I remembered that Phnom Penh is bordered by the Mekong River on the east.

So, that became the first criteria for my choice of hotel. It helped as it narrowed down the list. Finally, I found The Bridge Club Hotel. It offered rooms with high floors that had floor to ceiling window that presented an awesome view of the Mekong River and the city.

Phnom Penh Hotels Review - The Bridge Club - Featured Image
Phnom Penh Hotels Review – The Bridge Club. Click image above to read review and watch video of hotel, room, facilities, amenities and unforgettable view of Mekong River.

Click here or the image above to read about my experience at this great hotel. My review includes a video of the hotel room, facilities, amenities and the magnificent view of Mekong River.


What are the Things To See in Phnom Penh, Cambodia?

“What is there to see in Phnom Penh?” That was a question many of my friends asked when they found out that I was traveling to this place.

To be honest, I too wondered if there was enough to see to fill five days and four nights stay. I need not have to be concerned.

Thanks to my local friend, I soon realized that there were so many places to visit, and so many things to see. He knew all the best sights to experience.

There was the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, Independence Monument, King Statue, the National Museum, Nagaworld, night markets, and many pagodas as well as the well liked riverside and boat cruise.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BpLpNPFnwPs/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

I will be writing about all these places soon. So, please join my I Love Travel Community to get updates when I publish articles about them.


What Food to Eat in Phnom Penh, Cambodia?

Whenever I visit a city in Asia, I would like to try the local food there. I was curious about the local fare, and my friend happily introduced me to some of the really best places to eat in Phnom Penh.

Most of the cafes and restaurants we patronized served Cambodian dishes. These were accompanied with a bowl of rice. There are also dining spots that serve International cuisine such as western food, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, etc. And of course, there is the famous local boat noodles.

Click on the image below to read my review of this quaint boat noodle restaurant.

Phnom Penh Restaurants - Featured Image

Most Cambodians drink tea and rice wine. Of late, the younger generation has acquired a taste for coffee. Hence, coffee chains like Starbucks has entered the market. There was one just around the corner from the hotel where I stayed.

This coffee drinking trend has created local coffee chains and the small coffee places that many locals and expats frequent. One of the most popular is the Brown Coffee. I tried this joint, and I must say I was impressed with the excellent brew they serve. Plus, of course the yummy cakes.


Where To Go Shopping in Phnom Penh, Cambodia?

There are many wet markets, day markets and night markets to shop at in Cambodia. These are markets where you can find cheap local food, household items, arts, handicrafts, fake branded goods, clothes, and accessories.

Like many of the Asian city counterparts, Phnom Penh has many local markets. There are the wet markets, the day markets and the night markets. At these markets, you can find many cheap products.

Travel Tip: Beware! The ‘branded goods’ at the markets are fake.

If you like to get genuine branded products, head for one of the large shoppping malls there. There was an Aeon Mall just behind the Bridge Hotel where I stayed. It was a nice respite from a hot day touring in the sun. Also, it was where I bought drinks and fruits at local prices from the supermarket.

Watch the video below to learn what are the top 5 shopping malls in Phnom Penh. The first mall featured in the video was the Aeon Mall I frequented.


How to Get to Phnom Penh, Cambodia?

By Airplane

I flew by Jetstar and arrived at the Phnom Penh International Airport, the largest airport in Cambodia. It was a good, safe and short flight from Singapore.

Of course, there are many airlines that fly direct to Phnom Penh. Some of the airlines are AirAsia, Bangkok Airways, Cambodia Angkor Air, China Airlines, EVA Air, Malaysian Airlines, Qatar Airways, SilkAir, and many more. Check online to find out which ones suit your needs.

By Train

The only train to Phnom Penh is from Hua Lamphong, Thailand to Phnom Penh Station. You have to take via Poipet. The entire journey is about 17 hours! Better to take a plane, right?

By Bus

There are private bus companies that provide transport to Phnom Penh. These are from Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City and Saigon. If you are coming from these cities, and decide to take the bus, check with the right bus companies.

Travel Tip: When traveling from one city to another, it is best to take the day buses. Night buses have high rate of accidents.

By Road

The most popular way to Phnom Penh via road is from Bangkok. You can rent a taxi or a car and drive in to the country. Oddly enough, when you travel by taxi or car, you can arrive in Phnom Penh faster than by bus.

By Boat / Ferry

There is only one ferry that goes to Phnom Penh. And that is from Vietnam. It is run by a ferry company called Mandarin Cruises. Go to them to check for further information such as sailing schedules.

On Foot

It is very difficult to travel by foot into Phnom Penh. Consider the above options instead. Best to choose to fly there.


Do You Need a Visa to Visit Phnom Penh, Cambodia?

Most visitors to Phnom Penh require a visa in advance. For some, you can get a visa upon arrival at the Phnom Penh International Airport. Best to check with the official Cambodian immigration website for more accurate details

People from ASEAN countries do not need to get a visa, as long as the stay is not more than 21 or 30 days (depending on the country). ASEAN countries include Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam, and Myanmar. Again, it is best to check official resources to confirm this.


How to Get Around Phnom Penh, Cambodia?

After you arrive in Phnom Penh, you will find there are a few ways to get around the city.

By Bus

There are city buses that is one of the most used public transportation by locals. As a visitor, you can try this mode of transport too. But it will take a lot of effort to understand the bus routes and schedules.

The upside is that the bus fares are very low. At the point of time this article is written, the fare can be as low as USD0.25.

While cheap and almost convenient, do not that the buses do not have air conditioning. And during peak hours, they can get very packed.

By Taxi

Taxis are plenty, and easily available. It is rather safe to take a taxi. One advantage is that the drivers speak English and usually are very knowledgeable about the city they drive in.

Travel Tip: Negotiate for the price you are willing to pay before you ride the cab.

By Grab

Today, in cities like Phnom Penh, Grab is very popular, and the choice for locals and tourists. This is a service where you can get a cab or a Grab driver (for example an owner of a private car) to drive you to your destination. It is exactly like Uber.

All you have to do is download the app, and fill in your details. Then use the app to ‘hail’ a vehicle to get you to your destination.

By Cyclo

These are like the rickshaws or trishaws in other cities in Southeast Asia. The passenger sits on a large chair (sometimes can fit two people), that is fitted to a three-wheeled vehicle. The driver peddles to get the vehicle moving.

The advantage of this is that you get a clear view of all surroundings because the top cover can be pulled back. Also, this is relatively cheap.

The downside is that you will get wet when it rains.

By Moto

Motos are basically motorcycles that act as taxis. It is quite common in countries like Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

It is very cheap and convenient. As a motorcycle, they can easily maneuver around other vehicles and not get stuck in any traffic jams.

Downside is you will get wet when it rains.

Travel Tip: You must wear a helmet, even as a passenger. The driver must provide you one. If you are caught without a helmet, the police will catch you and extort some money from you.

Tuk Tuk in Cambodia

By Tuk Tuk

Like Thailand, there are Tuk Tuks in Cambodia that drives people around the city. It is basically a passenger carriage on a three-wheeled motor vehicle.

It is much cheaper than traveling by a taxi.

Travel Tip: Grab service in Phnom Penh offers the option to ride in a Tuk Tuk. Give it a try!

By Foot

Most visitors travel around by Tuk Tuks or Grab. At times, when an attraction is nearby, you can consider traveling by foot.

But please be careful when crossing roads. The traffic lights can be confusing. And sometimes cars do not follow the lights.

Travel Tip: It is best to travel by Tuk Tuk or Grab.


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If you have ANY questions about Phnom Penh – The Ultimate Guide, ANY at all, please submit your questions as comments below. I will be happy to help you out.

Thank you for reading this.

Wishing you and your loved ones safe and happy travels,

Timotheus