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Rainy Days in Penang

How high is Penang Hill?  A little bit higher than a rainbow
During this period last year, we were stuck in a very hot and sunny cycle for a few months.  This year, it won't stop raining.

While some tropical areas in the world have distinct dry and rainy seasons, predicting weather in Penang is as impossible as predicting which direction a Penang motorcyclist will drive on a one way street.

Cannonball tree in full bloom
Luckily, just like spring showers, the rain comes in waves.  Taking advantage of one of those intervals, we escaped the house and took a walk through the Penang Botanic Gardens.  Admittedly not our favorite place to walk - it may have something to do with the gunfire echoing from the outdoor gun range next door, the monkeys not allowing you to walk on the path until you share your snacks, and the over-development in and around the Gardens.

But with the aroma and vivid colors of blooming trees right now, it is a reminder that even though many recent changes at the park have been detrimental, the Gardens are still a special place to explore.
As we hid from the rain at the Botanic Gardens, this camouflaged spider hid from predators

With the rainy days continuing, we decided to come up with a list of the Top 10 things to do in Penang on rainy days (in no particular order):
  1. Shopping - the best way to pretend it's not raining is to dart through noisy Prangin Mall in search of cheap gifts and DVDs, electronics, a pedicure, a massage, and a haircut (try Albert at Doremius Hair Salon behind McDonalds), or over to Gurney Mall for a stroll through the higher end shops.  
  2. Peranakan Mansion - the driest stop along the George Town heritage trail.  Take your time appreciating all of the intricacies of the Baba-Nyonya lifestyle.
  3. Chocolate Boutique - endless chocolate to sample in this shop located inside a heritage mansion.
  4. Straits Quay: for a coffee break or a much needed cocktail break. 
  5. Penang Cooking Class at Tropical Spice Garden.
  6. Veenai Odeon Cinema - for a more cultural escape from the rain, check out a Bollywood or Kollywood film in this historic theatre near Little India. 
  7. CTY Aquarium Shop (Chew Thean Yeang 周天央) - the largest aquarium shop in South East Asia. You can find this "zoo" next to Tune Hotel on Burma Road (afterwards, dash across the road for some local Penang pastries and beancurd jelly). Or in the Batu Ferringhi area, check out the butterfly and insect zoo at the Penang Butterfly Farm
  8. Rent a car - Penang is a big island with much more to see than just George Town.  Right outside the town area, stop at Suffolk House, Dhammikarama Burmese Temple, and Wat Chaiyamangkalaram Thai Temple (Reclining Buddha Temple).  Further out, visit Kek Lok Si Temple in Air Itam.  
  9. E&O Hotel or 32 at the Mansion - for a drink and a view of the sea.
  10. Visit Capturing Penang's Twitter account to find out if any special events are going on in Penang that day. 

11 comments:

Baguette Queen said...

Yeah my ang moh friends actually asked whether this is the rainy season and I was dumbstrucked, or is there???
Anyway great post, very much needed for these days :)

Reese said...

Thanks Baguette Queen!

The only weather certainty in Penang is that every Chinese New Year will be boiling hot...

Christina Schweighofer said...

The spider looks kind of big. How big?

Reese said...

The spider is about half a foot long, which is enough to scare Mark. He didn't stick around long enough to see if it jumps.

ownlypenang said...

Love the rainbow & spider photos :)

Reese said...

Thanks Ownly Penang!

For anyone who hasn't visited his blog, check it out, he has some wonderful photos of old-time Penang.

Christina Schweighofer said...

Half a foot? I generally do not mind spiders but that is too big, way too big.

Victor said...

It's been a long time since I have been to the Botanical Garden. Time to check it out on my next trip to Penang. But not sure I will do that on a rainy day. I will definitely stick to the shopping mall in your list of 10 things to do on a rainy day - Prangin, 1Avenue, Gurney, QBM. The rain should stop by then. :-)

Reese said...

Ironically, the rain stopped a day after we posted this. Maybe we should re-post it every time we get stuck in a rainy pattern?

The past week has been the calmest weather we've had in Penang in a long time. Really spectacular orange and red sunsets every night.

Christina Schweighofer said...

Half a foot? I generally do not mind spiders but that is too big, way too big.

ownlypenang said...

Love the rainbow & spider photos :)