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Home > News & Events > IJ Goes Global > Penang


Day 1

Today is the start of our trip to Penang. We were all looking forward to this trip, especially since this is the first time most of us are travelling without our family. We know that we will be able to practise our Mother Tongue competency.

When we touched down at 11.55am at Penang International Airport, we were warmly welcomed by Auntie Christine.  We soon boarded the coach and had a lunch at Restoran Tom Tam Udang. After our lunch, we headed to Georgetown City for a street art tour to see works by different artists, such as Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic. There were different genres of art works. There were many tourists taking photographs in the area. We were impressed by the works.

The street arts were unique in a sense that the artwork does not only constitute of painting, but also incorporated real objects such as bicycle.

There were many shops selling souvenirs that had the street art works on them. There were also interesting desserts stalls that sold ice balls and ice-cream lollipops. We savoured them under the hot sun as we walked on.
At about 4pm, we checked in into our hotel. We were all exhausted by the end of the tour. The teachers let us rest for about 2 hours. We thought that there will be wifi in the hotel room but were told that there was only wifi in the lobby. Everyone felt sad that they can’t use their phones to check their  messages or social media, but that gave us more time to interact and socialise more with our roommates and got to know them better so it didn’t feel that bad. We proceeded to dinner after 2 hours in the hotel room. We had dinner at Oriental Seafood restaurant, which was by the sea near Gurney. The food was delicious and the location was scenic. Some of us even played table games. This cheerful atmosphere made everyone satisfied and happy.

When we came back from dinner, our teachers and tour manager Ms Reetha did a debrief with us. We went through some housekeeping rules, followed by reflection on our first day in Penang. We also prepared for our school visit to Convent Light Street tomorrow morning. We hope to learn more about IJ history through the visit.

- Natasha Aqilah Binte Rizal 1/7
- Alyaa Faresha Samsuri 1/7
- Putri Sorfina Binte Shamsul Kamari 1/7

Day 2

We started our day at Convent Light Street School (CLS). As soon as we arrived at the school, the principal, Ms Yeow, welcomed us with a speech. After a brief introduction to the history of the school, we split into two groups and prefects gave us a tour of the school. We visited many historical sites within the school such Francis Light’s Well and the Government House. We also viewed the facilities that the school has. We were in awe of the architecture of the school building which was well preserved and maintained. Throughout the tour, we asked questions to the prefects on various aspects of their education system. From the answers that were given, the prefects are very knowledgeable about their school and its history! 

 After the tour, we were served with sumptuous Penang Nasi Lemak with fried chicken catered from their school canteen. Following that, we had a chance to interact with the students of CLS. We played an ice breaking game for us to know the names of the Collestrians and also their interests. We had a lot fun trying to guess their names and interests. It turns out that we have many things in common in terms of our interests.

 However, it was sad when we got to know that it’s time for us to bid farewell to our new friends. We took many photos together as souvenirs to such a memorable visit. As we left the school compound, the students cheered for us and accompanied us even right up onto the bus for a last photo session! As the bus left, all of them waved goodbye.

We took a sight-seeing tour around the historical sites of Penang such as the Victoria Clock Tower, Fort Cornwallis and World War 2 Memorial on the bus. It was fruitful as the tour guide fed us with historical bits of the places of interests that we passed by. After a hearty lunch at the Kapitan Restaurant, we headed to the Pinang Peranakan Mansion which was located two streets away from our restaurant. 

The visit to the mansion gave us interesting insights on the Peranakan culture and traditions. We viewed many artifacts and exhibits that were preserved of the Peranakan community. It is amazing how those artifacts were preserved despite being more than a hundred years old.

After which, we went to the Clan Jetties located along Weld Quay street. Particularly, we visited the Chew clan jetty which is the largest among the eight clan jetties. These jetties are homes to families of traders, fishermen and dock workers. We learnt that the jetties were built during the 19th century. These traditional houses were built over the sea on stilts and are connected by wooden walkways. Other than learning about the interesting layout of the clan jetty, we bought souvenirs as mementos of our visit to Penang.

After the tiring day, we went to a local Indian restaurant about half an hour away from the clan jetties. When we first entered the restaurant, we were so tired that we did not have an appetite to eat. However, after looking at the buffet spread and the mouth watering desserts like the sago Chendol and the fried ice cream made us hungry again. We ate to our hearts content and headed back to the hotel. After completing our worksheets, our reflections and shared our experiences, we finally get our well deserved rest.

- Noor Fatehah 2/7
- Claire Chew 2/7
 - Sharifah Qaisara 2/7
Day 3

Today we went to Kampong Mengkuang Titi in Butterworth and were warmly welcomed by pleasant Malay traditional music that was played by the villagers. The village musicians accompanied us to the hall where we were briefed on the kampong; its history and lifestyle. After which, we were ferried on two buggies like those we see at the golf course around the kampong visiting the various cottage industries and at the same time, enjoying the breeze and waving to the villagers when we pass by their houses. 

We first headed to a rubber plantation and were demonstrated on the art of rubber tapping. Some students were also given the opportunity to try tapping rubber. It was such joy to see latex flowing down the trunk tapped by the students and was then collected in a small wooden bowl tied to the trunk. The local villager explained to us that rubber made from these latex were used for many important things, for example the wheels of an aeroplane.
We then headed to a Kelulut bee farm. The farm housed about a hundred hives accommodating to 50 thousand Kelulut bees  in each one of them. These special breed of bees interestingly do not sting and are totally harmless. However,  many of us were rather thrilled when the guide removed the honey comb cover as thousands of Kelulut bees began to escape from their hive. It took us a long while before we dared to approached the hive and taste  the honey produced by the Kelulut bees. Some tasted sweet while some had a slight sour taste like lime. We learnt that the taste of the honey depends on which type of flower the bees in the hive had pollinated and thus the difference in taste.

After which, we visited a house which mass produces the traditional Kueh Bahulu. We learnt the process of making the traditional delicacy and also bought for ourselves and our families the kueh as souvenirs of our visit. 

The next house we visited allowed us to witness how a local would get coconuts from the coconut tree. With only a long rope, sheer strength and a brave heart, the villager climbed up a tall coconut tree trunk within less than ten seconds with much ease!  At the canopy of the tree, he chopped and tied a bundle of coconuts to lower them to the ground using the simple pulley system concept.  The friendly locals then demonstrated to us how they removed the coconut husks and how they skilfully prepared the coconuts for us to try savour the juice.

Soon after, we had our lunch, kampong style. We had fried chicken and fish curry. A tray of ulam, or leafy greens that do not require to be cooked such as the cucumber and the ulam raja was also served.  Paired with the sambal belachan, we thought we had one of the best lunch ever since we arrived in Penang.

After lunch, we picked up Malay traditional games equipment to experiment on. Guided by the locals, we started learning how to spin tops and play the chongkak. It was never easy at first. However with sheer determination and practice, some of us managed to get the top spinning! We had fun being amused at ourselves while experiencing the kampong lifestyle.
Although we were only at the kampong for a few hours, we felt sad when we had to leave the kampong. Some of us expressed their interest of staying at the kampong for life! As we bid farewell to the villagers, we were very thankful for the experiences that we gained and the knowledge that we acquired.

After we departed from the kampong, we crossed the famous Penang bridge again to proceed to Penang Hill, also known as Bukit Bendera . It is 823 metres above the sea level. We used a Swiss manufactured tram to travel up to the top of the hill. The 3 minute trip was exhilarating as the tram moved up the steep slope of the hill.

It felt cooler on top of the hill, as the temperature dipped as compared to the city level. Our jaws dropped at the sight of the scenery that greeted us at the top of the hill. We could see the whole of Georgetown from where we stood!  

What happened next was very interesting, there was a wild monkey spotted near the railing of the hill which caused a commotion. We were scared yet curious about what the monkey wanted to do.  It went to a nearby bin and began digging for human food to eat. We felt sad because the monkey must have been fed by visitors before and is now lured to the tourist attraction to hunt for food. Our teachers reminded us how important it is to never feed food to animals in the wild as this will cause animals such as these monkeys to loose their dependence on their natural habitat.

The rest of our stay on Penang Hill was pleasant and memorable.  The view of Penang from the hilltop was spectacular. We took tonnes of pictures. We also shopped at push-cart stalls that was made available at the top of the hill.

We ended our day by devouring a scrumptious dinner at the Oriental Seafood Restaurant. After dinner we headed back to the hotel after a long tiring day. We look forward to our final day in Penang tomorrow. We wonder what Penang has in store for us tomorrow.
- Yarinda Ang 2/7
- Sara Amani 2/7
- Vanessa Ng 2/7

Day 4

With a few more destinations before we depart for home, we felt eager to see what Penang has in store for us today.

We took an hour long drive to the northern part of Penang, Teluk Bahang specifically, to visit the famous 8-acre Tropical Spice Garden. This tourist attraction, popular among the middle eastern tourists is home to more than 500 species of flora and fauna with a large portion of it belonging to herbs and the cultivating of spices.

What we found interesting was how environmentally friendly the tourist attraction was.  We noticed that the steps were made out of old railway sleepers and also used tiles or mosaic pieces. Other than that, only organic fertilisers were used and organic pest control methods employed. 

Our in-house guide explained to us the difference between herbs and spices. We learnt that herbs are in general, fresh green leaves while spices are dried plant products, well preserved and can last for a long time. She also introduced to us interesting spices and herbs such as the yellow ginger, turmeric, four different types of peppers which can be derived from the same pepper ‘vine’, cinnamon which is derived from the bark of the cinnamon tree and the famous Tongkat Ali. She also shared with us some of their unique uses. For example, turmeric is good for complexion, Tongkat Ali for blood circulation and nutmeg to release wind trapped in our bowels. 

After the tour, we headed to a hut beside a natural stream to cool ourselves down. We were then served chrysanthemum tea diffused with the sugar substitute herb called the Stevia. We ended our visit to the Tropical Spice Garden at the gift shop which sold unique gifts made naturally. 

For lunch we were served with awesome naan bread, tandoori chicken and Mediterranean rice. After which, we headed back to Georgetown where we went to a local produce shop called Tean Ean Local Products. Here, we tasted and of course bought local products such as famous Penang Tau Sar Piah, Durian White Coffee and Banana Teh Tarik to be given to our family members as souvenirs when we get back.

The Penang State Museum was next. At the museum, we learnt more about Penang and the visit reiterated what we have learnt for the past three days on the culture and traditions of the different communities in Penang. We also learnt about Penang during World War 2 and the post-war era. 

We also visited the house of the famous personality by the name of Ramlee Bin Puteh, also known as P. Ramlee. He was a famous singer, actor, comedian, musician and director in the 1950s to 1970s. This multitalented individual was born in Penang and we managed to visit the house in which he grew in. It was also interesting to note that P. Ramlee made his mark in Singapore in the studios along Jalan Ampas in Balestier before moving to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.  

Finally, after an early scrumptious curry fish dinner, we headed to the Penang International Airport with mixed feelings. We reluctantly parted with Auntie Christine, our beloved tour guide for the trip and our bus driver Uncle Tan. Both accompanied us until we checked-in for departure.

This trip was very insightful, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We have definitely gained a lot of knowledge and experience, both culturally and historically. These knowledge and experiences will forever be in our memories and we will definitely carry it with us forever.

- Chantal Chua 1 / 2
- Chloe Lim 1/3