Explore // Penang, Malaysia

Explore // Penang, Malaysia

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Malaysia is a popular holiday destination for Singaporeans because of its close proximity and good food. There are many ways to get to Penang from Singapore. Depending on time and budget, you can choose to fly, take a train or bus, or even drive.

What I didn’t know prior to this trip was the fact that Penang is actually an island. All I knew was that Penang is located in the north-east of Malaysia, but never thought of it as an island.

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If you have been to Penang, I’m guessing you love the food and culture as much as I do. Penang, in my opinion, is very different from the other Malaysian states. It has retained much of what the British left behind in the second world war, and these buildings you see around George Town today adds to Penang’s beauty and charm.

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Stark black and white colonial houses juxtaposed with red and opulent shop houses, George Town is surely my favourite spot in Penang. Every corner and alley tells a story of history and life. And in almost every corner, there’s food. Food glorious food!

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Fried flat rice noodles with duck egg
Eat //  Street food

Popular favourites such as Char Kway Teow (fried flat rice noodles), Penang Laksa (rice noodles with sour tamarind broth), Chendol (coconut cream with green jelly and red bean) are widely available around George Town. There’s so much food around and only that much stomach space. Thanks to a dear friend’s grand list of good eats around Penang (with star ratings, no less), I managed to zoom in on the best of the best food!

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Icy cold bowl of coconut milk dessert

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All time favourite – Penang Laksa. Sour and mild spicy broth on a hot day. Mmmmm.

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Curry Noodles

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Chinese dimsum anyone?
Do // Peranakan Museum

I visited a Peranakan museum in George Town to take a break from all that eating. Peranakan Chinese or Baba-Nonyas are unique to Penang and Malacca, and Singapore. ‘Peranakan‘ refers to the local descendants with mixed Chinese or Malay heritage. Many Peranakan Chinese families have strong Malay influence because of its heritage. The Malay influence is evident in Peranakan cooking, clothes and language!

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Western influence in the house of a wealthy Baba trader

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Before blenders and food processors, there were mortar and pestles
My maternal grandma was a Peranakan, so I’m glad to say that I have some Peranakan blood flowing in me! Grandma used to tell me stories of her growing up in a typical Peranakan family, and it sure wasn’t all fun and rosy!

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Matchmaking chair

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Chinese medical cupboard. I’d love to have that water dispenser!

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Oh hello SMEG fridge! You’re looking wonderful!
See // Historic buildings

As you walk into different shophouses, don’t forget to look at the floor tiles! I like how every bit of the shophouse is being preserved so that we will never lose the connection between past and present. Penang is a UNESCO World Heritage Site!

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See // Street Art and Murals at George Town

George Town is also an arts town. As you walk along the alleys, you’ll find a lot of street art that reflects the culture of Penang. One of the most popular mural at along Armenian Street is ‘Little Children on Bicycle‘. Half of the bicycle is mounted on the wall, so have fun posing with it!

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Penang, I’ll be back again soon!

Have you been to Penang or any parts of Malaysia? Share with me your favourite eats below! 🙂

x Min

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Explore // Lake Kawaguchiko and Kawagoe, Japan

Explore // Lake Kawaguchiko and Kawagoe, Japan

My very first trip to Japan was in December 2010. With 10 days to spare, I explored Tokyo city for nine days and spent one day trying to get a glimpse of Mt. Fuji at Hakone. Mt. Fuji made no appearance that day and so I made a last minute change to the itinerary and headed to Gotemba for some retail therapy at outlet prices.

As far as I can remember, Tokyo is a city bursting with life and activities. There is never a dull moment in Tokyo. This time around, I was determined to explore beyond Tokyo with an aim to travel like a local and less like a tourist. And I was going to make my 5 days count. I booked my accommodation through Airbnb and without much expectations, packed my bags and left.

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Explore // Salzburg, Austria

Explore // Salzburg, Austria

Austria has got to be one of my favourite countries. The sights are gorgeous and the architecture intricate. Austrians are very friendly and helpful; they would often initiate help to tourists who are looking a little lost (i.e. me). I have been to a couple of cities and towns in Austria, but one place I wished I had spend more time in was Salzburg.

Salzburg is probably most well-known as the birthplace of Mozart and the setting for my favourite musical film, The Sound of Music. Salzburg means “Salt Castle” as the city used to be heavily involved in alpine salt-trade along the Salzach River Valley towards the south of Germany and Bavaria.

Here are a couple of recommendations from me, if you happen to be in this beautiful city for a day or two!

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Visit // Salzburg Old Town (Altstadt)

Salzburg’s historical area is divided into two parts: the right bank and the left bank of Salzach River that runs through the city. The left bank is older with a ton of impressive architecture and has the Old Town which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Old Town is filled with lanes, alleys, and passageways that are great for exploring on foot. There is an air of wonder amidst the magnificent baroque architecture and fountains. The Old Town is also the location of a ton of historical sights like the Salzburg Cathedral, Fortress Hohensalzburg, Salzburg Residenz, Getreidegasse, Mozart’s birthplace, and St. Peter’s Abbey.

If you are there during summer, buy an ice cream and take an easy stroll around the Old Town!

Hover over the photos for captions 🙂

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Explore // Neuchâtel, Switzerland

Explore // Neuchâtel, Switzerland

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Neuchâtel is a magical place to me.

I made an impromptu day trip down to Neuchâtel on a really erratic spring day. The weather went from bright and sunny, to rainy and breezy, to dark and freezing all within a few hours. However, I still left the city with warm memories and a lasting impression that it is an ideal destination for a lovely summer day.

A little background on the butter-coloured town. Neuchâtel literally means “new castle” when you translate it directly into English. It is a small university city that is very compact and easy to explore on foot. Situated on the shores of Lac de Neuchâtel, the city has an airy and charming vibe that I immediately fell in love with. I wished that I was studying there!

This explore post is severely lacking recommendations for eating and accommodations as I was there on a Sunday (read: ghost town) and it was just a day trip.

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Visit // Church of Notre Dame de Neuchâtel

While making our way to the lake, my BFF and I were drawn to the Red Church, as it is also called. It was so striking that we saw it from a distance and walked straight to it. The interior continued the red theme and was filled with neo-gothic details that my brain just shut down with the overload of beauty.

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Explore // Yvoire, France

Explore // Yvoire, France

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Searching for a little escape from the modern world? If you happen to be traveling around Lac Léman/Lake Geneva, Yvoire is a gem not to be missed!

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The restored walls of Yvoire.

Yvoire is a small walled village in France that has been beautifully restored to its medieval glory. The place is so small that I took only three hours to explore and have a great meal!

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Explore // Lausanne, Switzerland

Explore // Lausanne, Switzerland

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Oh, Lausanne! Probably one of the most lively cities in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. There is a nice jolt of energy in the city, making it so different from the serenity of Geneva where I lived. It is a perfect destination from Geneva for a day trip or a weekend getaway!

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Habit of mine: A snapshot of my feet with a manhole of the city I am in.

Wear your most comfortable sneakers and get ready to walk off major calories. Here are some suggestions I would recommend a newcomer for their first visit to the olympic city!

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Explore // Sydney with Min, Part 2

Explore // Sydney with Min, Part 2

Note: This is Part 2 of Min’s experience in Sydney. You may want to read Part 1 here first 🙂

And I’m back to tell you all about my adventures in Sydney!

Our next stop was Chapman Valley Horse Riding. We found this by chance on TripAdvisor and decided that we should try it out. Chapman Valley is along Putty Road (a really long stretch of mountainous road) and an alternative route to Sydney city from Hunter Valley.

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Explore // Sydney with Min, Part 1

Explore // Sydney with Min, Part 1

I visited Sydney with my fiancé for a short holiday recently. We could only afford to spend 5 days in Sydney because of our hectic work schedules. I wished we could have more time to enjoy the city but I’m still glad we made the trip! I like to believe that I am a happy-go-lucky kind of traveller. I don’t need to see much or do much; I just need my coffee and a book. And of course, the love of my life! We go everywhere together (mostly).

We decided to spend 4 days in Blue Mountains and Hunter Valley before capping off our trip in Sydney for a day. It was such a treat to be away from the hustle and bustle of the city. While driving from the Sydney airport to Blue Mountains, I saw fields and fields of grass with cows and horses grazing with only a clear blue sky in its backdrop. This was certainly not a sight to behold in Singapore ever. I took in every moment of it and counted my blessings again and again.

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