This distinctive blue mansion is now a beautifully restored hotel and apart from staying here the only way to see it is on a guided tour. These are free and run in English twice a day. We were brought round by a very entertaining (and quite stern!) lady who really brought the history of the building to life. Don’t let the fact that you have to wait for a tour put you off; the building would not have been as much fun without the guide.If you know the French movie Indochine, it may look familiar as it was filmed here.
There are many beautiful Chinese clanhouses in Penang, but for me, if you were to choose only one, it would have to be Khoo Kongsi.
It is the most impressive on approach, set in its own square, and once inside, the ornamentation and artwork are exceptional. The detail in the carvings and wall drawings are impressive and unusual.
Not for nothing is this part of Georgetown a UNESCO world heritage centre
These gardens are a short taxi ride out of Georgetown or they are at the bottom of Penang Hill if you descend by road. They are free to enter and have many lovely trees and flowers. There is a train (paid) that will carry you round the gardens if the heat is too much for walking; it does get very hot in the afternoons. For me, the highlight of the gardens was the Dusky Leaf Monkeys eating the topiary trees near the entrance. They are beautiful and seem quite at ease around people. They are also less cheeky and noisome then the Macaques up the hill, near the top of the park.
Worth the trip for the Dusky Leaf Monkeys alone.
The funicular railway to the top is a good way to get to the top.
Make sure that you go early in the morning; the queues for the train get long in the summer and the view from the top is more spectacular before cloud cover comes in.
You can walk down (you can walk or cycle up too, but I suspect it is a killer journey!) it is a 5k walk. It is very, very steep and took us almost 2 hours. However, there were many monkeys on the way down and it ends in the Penang Botanical Gardens which are beautiful.
The views from the top though are the best because trees line the road all the way down. So, I think if I were to do it again, I would catch the railway back down and visit the Botanic Gardens separately so that I would be able to give them all the time that they deserve.
Georgetown in Penang has many great restaurants, this particular one was recommended as the best Chinese one. The menu is different to the usual Chinese fare as it is Peranakan Chinese, so it is difficult to know what to order. However there were 4 of us,we ordered 6 dishes and every one of them was full of flavour and delicious. We particularly liked the double cooked pork and the tofu was the nicest that I have ever tasted. It was busy, buzzy, loud and a great experience. It was also excellent value!
This hotel was recently chosen as a global winner in the Luxury Guest House Awards, and it easy to see why. We loved the attention to detail and the friendly staff made our stay personal and memorable. We enjoyed the theatricality of our luggage being lifted to our room by rope and little touches like a surprise desert being left in our fridge or on our table at night made our stay exceptional.
The rooms that we saw were all lovingly restored and the communal areas are also beautiful. The bathrooms are lovely and the showers hot. The wifi in the room was fast.
Georgetown is famous for its street food and restaurants and this is close to many of them. Its in-house Italian restaurant is also great, as was the breakfast.
All in all, we had a perfect 4 days in Penang and Campbell House greatly contributed to this