Archive | May 2015

Review of Armenian Street Heritage Hotel, Penang, Malaysia

During our 3 days 2 nights trip to Penang, Georgetown, we stayed at Armenian Street Heritage Hotel and this hotel is a love hate relationship. Here are some Pros and Cons of staying at this hotel.

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  • Clean, new and comfortable
  • In the middle of Georgetown heritage central, 3 minutes walk to see the street art of the boy peering at the hole and short walk to bicycle rental shop
  • Less than 10 mins walk to a cluster of old school shopping malls
  • Extremely value for money, booked through Agonda and only paid SGD58 per night (inclusive of booking fee) for a double room
  • Small in house eatery, massage parlour and 24 hours mini mart
  • Good wifi available in room

Cons

  • Air Con takes a while to cool down
  • Corridor of hotel not air conditioned
  • Only 1 key card for each room, I suspect is to save on electricity, otherwise, most people will leave the key card there the whole day and leaving the air conditioner run the whole day
  • No telephone or fridge in room. My guy needs cold water 24/7, so we had to buy cold water from the mini mart instead.
  • Generally quiet and peaceful on most days, except that it is near a Mosque which will sound the prayer chant 5 times a day. Not for light sleeper as I was woken up by the prayer at 5.30am on both mornings. But the rest of the group were not affected.

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View from our room at 5th floor.

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Open concept corridors which is not air conditioned.

Like I said, this hotel is a one which I have a love hate relationship, I love the location, the comfort and the value for money but there are a few things which can improve. But for SGD 58 per night, I shouldn’t be complaining. Will I stay here again if I’m back in Penang, sure, why not.

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Carton King @ Cingjing and random shop @ Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan

Back to random posts on Taiwan, one of the interesting shops which you can get souvenirs is at Carton King. As it’s name suggests, all the items in this shop is made of carton or paper! We were supposed to visit the sheep at Cingjing farm but it was raining in the morning and we had to seek refuge at Carton King which is also at Cingjing.

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Little house made of carton.

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Little carton animals in a mini zoo.

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Various city highlights made of paper!

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Benches made of carton which can hold my weight!

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Guess which one I pick!

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I love rocking horse! They even have one for children and I saw a nice Dad lugging it back for his child.

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These are my favourites! Musical Box! But the prices at Carton King is the most expensive, they marked up above the usual recommended selling price. I bought one and found that a shop in Sun Moon Lake is selling it cheaper! I resisted to get another one but when I went to a old street I found it on sale! In the end, I got another one for myself. OMG. Cute wooden stuff is one of my Kryptonite.

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Look at these! They are adorable and original creation from a Taiwanese under the label – Wooderful Life.

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In the end, I got these from Carton King for my future imaginary home! Haha.

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This is featuring Alishan!

These are the ones from a pretty shop at Sun Moon Lake!

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Favourite Spots in Georgetown, Penang Malaysia

Other than exploring Georgetown for Street Art, there are a few interesting spots to have a quick stopover!

I expected Georgetown to be much more bustling, imagining it to be a huge tourist attraction with lots of shops and all like our Joo Chiat in Singapore. But to my dismay, it is really quiet and peaceful with only a few shops spread around the town. This could be a good thing to preserve the heritage there.

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Here are my favourite three spots in Georgetown:

(1) Owl Shop and Cat & Dog

There are rows and rows of shophouses in Georgetown, there are some which are worn out and many which are well preserved.

At the most bustling street in Georgetown sits two pretty little shop Owl Shop and Cat & Dog (Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi along Cannon Street).

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And at the Owl Shop, I spotted the Owl chopstick holder I bought in Taiwan! When I was in Taiwan, I only managed to buy 5 instead of the intended 6. I thought it must be fate and destiny to see it again, but the price put me off. It costs RM15 each (approximately SG5.60) and I bought it in Taiwan for only $2! Now, I regret every bit of not buying it! BAH.

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Love this brown owl chopstick holder!

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At the Cat & Dog Shop, we also spotted these pretty pretty Peranakan theme magnets! These are my favourite buy and I got 4 for myself! Wished I got more for my friends! These are very unique as I couldn’t find them at other place! Apparently the store owner created it themselves and they owned 2 shops on the same street. The other time I saw it is at the Peranakan Mansion which is much more expensive.

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They also have these!

(2) Ming Xiang Tai Pastry Shop

No. 133, Jalan Burmah, 10050 George Town , Penang. Malaysia., 10050 George Town, Malaysia

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We also stopped over for some yummy pastries and glass bottled herbal drinks! The drinks are savior under this heat.

(3) China House

153, Lebuh Pantai, Georgetown, 10300 Georgetown, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

My resourceful also research a list of cafes in Penang and we found one which is within the cycling distance for a quick breakfast. In the day, it is a cafe and at night, it’s a bar! There are many cafes in Penang but they are spread all over the town! The cost slightly lower than having Brunch in Singapore but I would say it is cheap. The food and vibe of the place is most likely targeting expats and tourist! But I must say the food is good. It was also a great respite to get out of the heat after cycling!

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Their Big Breakfast is good! The handmade beef patty and lamb sausage are simply delightful! Yums!

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Their carrot cake is not bad either. Not the best but good. It could be that we had so many days of street food and anything else is great! Haha.

Street Art hunting in Georgetown, Penang Malaysia

Another must see attraction and must do activity in Penang is street art hunting in Georgetown! The street art in Georgetown is made famous by Ernest Zacharevic, a Lithuanian artist whose ‘Mirrors Georgetown’ for Georgetown Festival back in 2012 became a huge hit. This encouraged many other artists to express their creativity on the streets!

We first walk around the Georgetown after checking in at nearby Armenian Street Heritage Hotel but the weather in Penang is insanely hot and humid! Thereafter, we toured around Georgetown via a mini van because of my aging Grandma and parents. But even though it is comfortable to escape from the heat, it is too cumbersome to climb up and down the van just to take photographs. Finally, on the last day, we rented a bicycle and did a quick tour around Georgetown. Most of the shops and bicycle rental shops in Georgetown open at 9am and the rental is really cheap at RM8 – 10 for the whole day! In the end, this is the best mode of transport to explore and hunt for the street art! Many maps are available at our hotel lobby and you can probably find 80% of the street art with the map.

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I was never good at netball or form of sports. Heh.

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Step by Step lane! What a cute name!

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These 3D pop up ones are my favourite!

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Many big ones like these!

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My favourite! I’m such a (act) cutie! Haha.

Pinang Peranakan Mansion, Penang Malaysia

One of the highlights of our Penang trip is visiting the huge Peranakan Mansion. For readers who don’t know about Peranakan’s culture, it will be a delightful place to visit.

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“The Peranakans, also known as the Babas and Nyonyas, was a prominent community of acculturated Chinese unique to this part of the world, especially in the Straits Settlements (Penang, Malacca and Singapore) hence its other name, the Straits Chinese. Adopting selected ways of the local Malays and later, the colonial British, the Peranakans had created a unique lifestyle and customs which had not only left behind a rich legacy of antiques but its cultural influences like cuisine and language are still evident in Penang today.”

– Source: Pinang Peranakan Mansion

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Unlike the one I visit in Malacca, it is inside a huge mansion and they allow phototaking and interaction with most of their exhibits. You are allowed to sit and take photographs with the furniture on display and the guide will also enthusiastically assist to take photos for you! The entrance ticket is a mere RM 20 (S$ $7.50) and we spent almost 2 hours there! It is huge! The one in Malacca is inside a shophouse which is a third of this Peranakan Mansion in Penang!

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The owner of this Mansion bought it over from the government with the promise to restore it. There are many artifacts which were donated from the original family who stayed at this mansion and there were pictures showing its previous dilapidated condition after surviving World War 2.

Even though the mansion does not belong to the original family now (who mostly migrated to the states and UK), they still own a small Ancestral temple (shown below) at the back of the mansion. According to the guide, the family hired a few staff to take care of the temple and when any of their descendant come back to Penang, they will be back to pay respect. They will also be back to pay respect during major Chinese occasions. According to the guide, the mansion was once surrendered to the Japanese during Japanese Occupation, but in exchange of the house and all the antiques in the house, the Japanese will leave their ancestral temple untouched.

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According to the Chinese beliefs, the place where your ancestors laid is exceptionally important as a good location with excellent Fengshui will bless their future generations with harmony and prosperity. The original family who stayed here was headed by a very successful Tin mining business man, in order to continue this harmony and prosperity, the Ancestral temple must be protected and maintained.

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We also saw many bats residing in the temple and according to Chinese beliefs, when bats choose to live in the house, it brings fortune in good luck as bats in Mandarin is 蝙蝠 which sounds like Fortune 福. So do not chase bats away if they pick your place!

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In the mansion, they also showcase many authentic jewelries from the Peranakan culture. Those tiny bags are made with Gold and we wonder what can the ladies back in their time carry in those tiny bags. According to the guide, back in those days, the ladies only carry handkerchiefs in their bag and the gold bag is more to flaunt their wealth then anything.

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There is also a showcase of their tablewares which were influenced by the British during when they colonized Penang.

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An exhibit of those hand crafted beaded shoes. Back in their time, a Nonya (a female Peranakan) must learn how to sew and make their own beaded shoes before they can get married.

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The second floor of the mansion showcases more of their living lifestyle.

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My family, both young and old, greatly enjoyed this place and it is a must see when you visit Penang!

Dreams & Confetti, Great World City

I’m so going to have a huge backlog of travel posts! I’m not done with Taiwan and I’m heading to Penang this weekend and Gold Coast end of the month! Rawr!

Let’s talk about something other than travelling! We headed to Great World City for movie over the long weekends and there is now another reason for me to head there! Other than I Wanna Go Home, which sells pretty home decor items at a reasonable price, I chance upon Dreams and Confetti !

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They sell many pretty cake stands, party ware and decorations and also rent them out too! But more importantly, this shop which is less than 2 months old in Great World City is the exclusive distributor of Rosanna Inc!

Rosanna Inc has many lovely porcelain wares and if not for the fact that my imaginary home is far from reality, I would have cart home a lot more!

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In the end, I got home this pretty pretty porcelain bunting which I couldn’t resist. I saw it before our movie and had to get it after movie. Heh.

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We got the one which says, “Eat Well & Travel Often”, so us! Heh. How I wish I can fly straight to settle to lug all of them back! Haha.