To see what other islands in beautiful Malaysia have to offer, I drove for 4 days through Penang Island. I am so a very lucky to travel a lot and I like to compare different cities with each other. For example; let’s review “my” great city of San Francisco. Does Hong Kong or Vancouver not possess lots of similarities with San Francisco? Of course they do. But how about a small rainforest island all the way in Southeast Asia? Well, be surprised!
Balik Pulau, the quite side of the island
Here is where my 4-day traveling in Penang Island became especially interesting, the local herbs and plants that grow abundantly on many parts of this truly gorgeous island. The name “Balik Pulau” means nothing less than “The Other Side of the Island”.
Driving through this “back-part” of Penang Island was an amazing discovery, and believe me, not many people living in the over-populated, busy parts of Penang Island have ever been here. Some don’t even know the existence of this natural gem.
One of the best fruits on this part of the island includes durian, known as “King of Fruit” with its texture and flavor that ranges from smooth and fragrant to husky and bittersweet. Lots of people visit Balik Pulau just to taste durian!
Again such an amazing comparison between Penang and San Francisco. Two entirely different faces in one city as I ever have seen, again … in San Francisco. In San Francisco go north on 19th to highway 101 to take the Golden Gate Bridge and then arrive at the other side of the city in a green area, so quiet, so serene, and so beautiful… one feels themselves in a totally different world just a few miles away from this huge city.
It feels the same in Penang…. drive out of Georgetown through the mountains and the calmness of natural greenery embraces you with absolutely stunning views of the magnificent ocean. All its wildlife, bright flowers and the aromas of different fruits is an experience almost unimaginable.
This is an absolute incredible comparison again with San Francisco! In this “back-part” of Penang Island one feels the staggering difference of serene nature compared to the big city less than 10 miles away as a true experience by itself.
Welcome to “The Other Side of the Island”
The sound and feel of cool, fresh air, the sound of tropical birds and frogs amid the fog that hangs in the mountains in the mornings make this drive a moving spectacle. Meanwhile you pass spice fields, flower and fruit farms and even a nutmeg factory.
The Tropical Spice Garden is the location where they grown herbs and flowers in beautiful natural settings and where last year we made professional photos of my daughter Katja that are shown on the Paul Penders website.
Leaving Bulik Pulau through the mountains to the old fishing town.
This mountain road takes one to the border of the National Park. No busy highways. No high-rises. Leaving the impressive views of mountains and agricultural land. Almost the same like Marin County near San Francisco, here in Penang Island the low land and the ocean are surrounded by mountains. Looking back from the top of the mountain there is no other way then thinking…. this is really “grandioso”.
After a 15 mile drive through the mountains you arrive at the fishing community of Teluk Bahang where people live their lives in the same ways their parents and grandparents did. Life is simple and people are friendly. The road brings you to quiet fishing communities and there is always the view of the ocean and beautiful beaches.
The right photo of the fishery village Teluk Bahang reminds me to the place near San Francisco of early days of the fishery development where at night Chinese immigrant fishers went out into the Pacific with small fishing boats. In contrast with Fisherman’s Wharf as a #1 tourist attraction in San Francisco, in Teluk Bahang it is almost the same scenery only without many tourists. A true rustic and very natural setting where one can enjoy and relax.
In number 3, the final part of my review of Penang Island versus San Francisco, I will talk about “The Cooling Face Powder”… a true generation-long cosmetic family gem only made at this part of this intriguing Penang Island… please stay tuned?