Locale

The road less traveled is the road to adventure, and what every great adventure has in common is someone with a passion to discover something new in this vast a beautiful world we share.
These articles are your personal guide to a whole new bucket list of exploration and a lifetime of new adventures.
FoodLocale

Explore Local Food at Gurney Drive Hawker Center

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No trip to Penang is complete without a walk through Gurney Drive Hawker Center. The place is overflowing with smells and flavours that is essentially the soul of Penang – its food! Said to have the largest variety of local cuisine in one area, Gurney Drive Hawker Center is the perfect place you can mingle with the locals and try dishes you have heard about from the locals.

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What is the Gurney Drive Hawker Center

The Gurney Drive hawker center is like an open-air food mall. You pay as you order and the food is delivered to your table. Start at the juice stall and sip on the fresh juice as you pick and order from the various stalls. You’ll notice that the popular stalls usually have a wait in the queue policy while ordering, and they sell everything ranging from stir-fried noodles to assorted dumplings. The perfect end to your meal would be Ais Kachang – a dessert of shaved ice, red kidney beans and a whole variety of toppings. It’s a food court that leaves you sinfully full but positively satisfied as well, without a big hole in your wallet. 

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A food lovers paradise

A foodie’s paradise, the hawker centre attracts even locals, not just tourists. A popular area, especially during dinner time, it’s better if you reach for an early dinner, else you may end up hunting for a place to sit for a long time. With at least a hundred food stalls to explore and numerous food options to suit everyone’s taste, it’s hard to run out of food options here. The clever serving size here also ensures you can try more than a couple of dishes and experiment with whatever catches your eye or tingles your nose, as you walk around. 

The best way to get a tour of this maze-like food market is with the help of a local travel guide, and that’s where Locaguide will come to your rescue. Create an itinerary and book a guided tour of Penang with Locaguide, and get to explore places like Gurney Drive like a local!

 

 

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Locale

Climb up Penang Hill on a Funicular Train

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Located at Air Itam, Penang Hill or Bukit Bendera is a mountain retreat and one of the most popular places to visit in Penang. Covered in lush tropical forest, the surroundings of Penang Hill truly bring you peace of mind and is a great place to get away from the city.
The most fascinating way to go up and down Penang hill is by using the funicular train. A fairly fast mode of transport, the rail track cuts through the forest as it goes up and takes you to the top of the hill in 5 to 10 minutes. If you are feeling adventurous try to grab the seats in the bottom-most cabins while going up, and the topmost cabins while going downhill. You will get to see the city emerge before you as you climb uphill in the train, and the experience downhill can give an almost roller coaster-like thrill.

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Board the train at the base station called Air Itam, and take in the views of the surrounding valleys as you go up. Once at the top, breathe in crisp, cold air while sipping on some fresh juices or grabbing a bite at the restaurants on top of the hill. With a Skywalk and a few walking trails, the hilltop of Penang Hill is a place you can practise your photography skills or simply take a stroll among the woods. You can spend time walking around the temples and gardens or use the toy train service to go around the area.

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Create a personalised Penang itinerary with Locaguide and talk to your designated travel guide about including a trip to Penang Hill at a suitable time of the day. But whatever the time of the day, during your city tour of Penang,  do make it to the top of Penang hill with this funicular train ride. This is one of the few experiences where the journey is as beautiful as the destination!

 

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CultureLocale

Immerse in the history of Pinang Peranakan Mansion

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If you are a history buff and love learning about the glamorous mystery of the past or if you are just a fan of “The Little Nyonya”, a drama series based on the Peranakan heritage, then Pinang Peranakan Mansion in Penang is the place to visit.

A UNESCO heritage site restored and maintained to remind the world of the rich Peranakan heritage of Penang, the Pinang Peranakan Mansion is a living museum of the culture that came about from the marriage of the local Malays and the immigrant Chinese. A beautifully restored property, the exterior and interiors of the mansion highlights the various cultures that influenced its architecture. The Pinang Peranakan Mansion is a masterpiece that is influenced by British tilework, Scottish iron weldings, European furniture and Chinese carved wood panels and detailing.

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Peranakan Mansion

Restored to show how the rich Chinese merchants of the 1890’s lived, the mansion is filled with stories and photographic nooks and corners. Walking through the mansion, it is easy to lose yourself in the lifestyle of a century ago. The interiors are awe-worthy as you realise how elaborate and opulent the lifestyle and traditions of the past were. As you walk through the mansion, you’ll get to see everything that belonged to the original residents, starting from their precious jewellery to wedding attires and even items of daily use.

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The Pinang Peranakan Mansion conducts guided tours only twice daily so we highly recommend taking your own local tour guide along. Connect with a local travel expert on Locaguide and ask him to show you around the mansion because it is almost impossible to cover it entirely without help from a guide. He will be able to show you pieces that were in use by the Peranakan families and explain the history behind the items showcased in the museum. Given how vast the mansion is, it would be wise to go there early before crowds start pouring in so you have time to indulge in extensive photography sessions and also soak in the glamour and grandeur of the mansion.

 

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CultureLocale

Discover Penang’s history at the Clan Jetties

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Forming an important part of Penang’s rich heritage, the clan jetties are more than a picture-perfect tourist specialty. Originally giving the local Chinese immigrants a place to call home, each jetty came to be distinctively known for the clan it housed. Starting with seven such clans, this Chinese settlement did not have a smooth start, until the local government body officially gave them an identity.

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History

Out of the original seven, each of the six remaining jetties have houses that were built over a century ago, and if you know exactly where to look you’ll still be able to see some of the original stilts used by the Chinese when they first immigrated to Penang. Named after the Chinese clan who started living on the jetties, each jetty is a village in itself and reflects the traditions and beliefs of the clan. Each village has its own temple, and its own stories to tell. Take a guided tour of this place with your local travel expert from Locaguide who will be able to help you spot the differences in the temples and tell you the tales of the clans and their clashes.

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When to visit

Probably the best time of the day to visit the clan jetties is late afternoon so you can round up your visit by watching a glorious sunset at the jetty. The setting sun brings with it a change in the neighbourhood and a tinge of excitement in the air as everyone pauses to witness the gorgeous sight. 

The long wooden planks that have now become iconic, make for gorgeous walks by yourself or in the company of your loved ones. If there is one place to see in Penang that you shouldn’t miss, this is it. With ample souvenirs to purchase and cute local restaurants looking towards the horizon, the jetties are the perfect place to spend an evening during your trip to Penang.

 

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CultureLocale

A peek into local culture at Baba-Nyonya Museum

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Baba is the term used to refer to a Strait-born gentleman, while Nyonya is used to address a Strait-born lady. The Baba-Nyonya Museum in Malacca showcases the lives of the gentlemen and ladies of the affluent families of the past. Built by restoring 3 townhouses and combining them together, the museum shows the rich culture and extravagant lifestyle of the Peranakan homes before the start of the world war.

Located on Millionaires street in Malacca, the Baba-Nyonya Museum is maintained and restored by the later generations of the original family that lived in it. As you walk in, you can spot the red lanterns on either sides of the elaborate columns, one bears the household name while the other is to invite good luck into the house. The house is extensively covered in hand painted tiles that tell tales of the beliefs and traditions of the past. Large intricately carved teakwood doors lead you inside where you can see the lifestyle of the rich immigrants of the past.

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The Victorian lamps and chandeliers show the extent to which the families went to flaunt their wealth. You can’t help but notice the detailed dark wood furniture inlaid with mother of pearl detailing and the floral designed wrought iron castings outside the windows. The whole house is filled with stories and tales of the past and the antiques show how well the traditions of multiple cultures were adopted by the immigrants.

This heritage museum takes you back in time and is one of the best attractions to visit in Malacca. If you want to visit this on your trip to Malacca, consider creating a customised itinerary with Locaguide and get a guided tour of the museum. As you walk around, awed by the grandeur of the whole place, feel free to ask your local travel guide from Locaguide for tales of the past generations of the family that lived there and the extravagant traditions of the pre-world war days. He may also help you interact with the family that lives there, and give you the chance to hear stories from them about their ancestors.

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Locale

A’Famosa Fort – A slice of Colonial History in Malacca

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The Rich History of A’Famosa Fort

Built more than 500 years ago, the name A’Famosa Fort literally translates to The Famous Fort. Constructed by the Portuguese at the foot of St Paul’s Hill, only a tiny part of the fort is still left standing, a small Gate House, making it a must visit tourist spot during your Malacca tour.

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Canons, markings and graves show that like St Paul’s Church, the fort too has been part of the Portuguese, Dutch and British rule of Malaysia. With every change of rule, the Fort was altered to leave proof of the reign of the new ruler, changing the purpose of the fort. Built at the foot of St. Paul’s hill, the fort is located between the city of Malacca and the sea, the neighbourhood has a village vibe while the fort extends the grandeur and royalty of the Portuguese era.

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A Photography retreat

The fort is the perfect spot for practising your photography skills and the ruins of the fort lend an almost tragic feeling to the entire area. Take your time to explore and learn about the fort as you walk around capturing history in your photos. Moreover It goes without saying that the A’Famosa Fort has a lot of history associated with it which comes to light if you have the patience to dig deep. 

With so much to see and learn here, make sure to include the A’Famosa Fort in your itinerary. Build a personalised itinerary with Locaguide, with help from a local travel expert and plan a trip to this historic site. Moreover after exploring the fort and hearing tales of its rich past you can go around the stalls souvenir shopping or refresh and refill at the food stalls set up all around the neighbourhood. Closer to sunset, walk uphill to the top, for a view of the city of Malacca and the setting sun over the sea, that bring the day of touring the city of Malacca to a perfect end.

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Locale

An evening at Jonker Street Night Market

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The perfect end to a day-long city tour of Malacca is shopping and dinner at Jonker Street. As the sun starts setting, the street starts bustling with life. The street lights up as food stalls start operations, filling the air with mouthwatering smells and hawkers start shouting to sell their wares. From a quiet street, it starts to resemble a streetwide party with people eating, performing, selling and shopping!

Things to do and see

The night market at Jonker Street on the weekends proves to be the perfect setting for the locals and tourist to mingle. There are ample varieties of food to help you eat like a local, sampling and nibbling everything available from the multiple hawker stalls and restaurants around.

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The quirky presentation and lip-smacking smell of the foods make you want to try and taste everything you see and smell. The entire street turns into a stage for performances and live music setups and truly lets you feel one with the locals and experience the old Malacca heritage vibe of the city.

Shop till you drop

Walking down the street ensure you keep your eyes on not only the food but also the merchandise available for sale. You can buy everything and anything here during the night market! The street is lined with antique shops, shops selling handicrafts, local art pieces, jewellery and a lot more! Since the night market offers a whole variety of street shopping be sure to haggle for the best prices.

If you feel that the chaos and the bargaining may overwhelm you, why not take help from a local travel guide? Before you plan a trip to Malacca and visit the night market on Jonker Street, connect with a local tour guide from Locaguide and be sure to ask for his suggestions and tips. An evening at Jonker Street is bound to take you on a completely different high because of its infectious energy and is an unmissable experience in Malaysia.

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Locale

The Malay-style Melaka Sultanate Palace

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An identical replica of the original 15th-century palace, the Sultanate Palace is built at the base of St Paul’s Hill in Malacca. It is a cultural museum, home to the Malay side of Malacca’s history and a prominent cultural icon in this part of Malaysia.

What you can see there

As you walk in, the sultanate palace requires you to remove your footwear outside and enter the building bare feet. Moreover, the expansive palace gives you a glimpse into the rich past of the region. Relive the curiosity the locals felt when they saw the immigrants and traders in their costumes as you walk past the mannequins dressed as traders from across the seas.

Also on display are tools used by the locals for daily activities and recreational purposes. As you are walking through the palace, see if you can spot any nails used for building the palace. You won’t spot any as the whole place was built using the traditional method of ingeniously carved wood that fits together! Walking further into the palace, you can check out the grand throne room and learn about the life of the hero of the Malays. Furthermore once outside the palace building, you can cherish the gorgeous gardens built around it. Known as the “forbidden garden”, it was originally built by the Sultan for his harem.

A Guided Experience

Not sure how to make sense of all this history? Opt for a guided tour with a local travel guide from Locaguide, who will be able to share the tales associated with the kings, royals and the palace. Moreover the artifacts and architecture on display at the palace allow you to sense how grand the lives of the royals was and how they spent their time all those years back.

After witnessing and reliving all the grandeur and royalty of Malacca Sultanate Palace, a great way to end your city tour of Malacca is to unwind and shop for souvenirs or gorge on some local food in the streets nearby.

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Locale

The Iconic St. Paul’s Church of Malacca

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One of the most interesting attractions you cannot miss as you take a city tour of Malacca is the history-rich St. Paul’s Church. Built on the top of St. Paul’s Hill over 500 years ago, St Paul’s church is one of the first churches to be built in Malaysia and has its past deeply rooted in history.

The walk up to the church is crowded with people as locals set up food and souvenir stalls, making it a popular spot for taking photographs, gorging on some mouth-watering street food and buying souvenirs to take back home. Walk beyond the crowd to actually get a chance to relish the grandeur of the church and learn about its history.

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Take your time exploring and absorbing the vibe of the spiritual antiquity of the place. Despite being in ruins, the old church still has the majestic vibe of the Dutch era. Hear the tales of the rich history of the Church right from the time the Dutch built it, and the British colonised it, up to the stories about the Sultanate’s gain and loss of power. Walk around the church and search for signs of your own that stand as proof to all the stories of the past the church has been witness to. While the statue of St Francis Xavier and it’s lost arm adds to the list of stories of the church, the stained glass windows show how recent additions have been worked into the old architecture and enhance the mystic appeal of the church.

Given the rich and extensive history of this church, it may be a good idea to hire a local travel guide. Build a customised itinerary and find a local guide from Locaguide to show you around. While the church and its buildings take you back to the past, the view from the top of St. Paul’s Hill shows you the beauty of the city of Malacca of the present. The extra walk uphill is worth the city view it has to offer!

 

 

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Locale

Ride the steepest cable car in the world at Langkawi

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If you want to feel on top of the world, then riding the Langkawi Cable Car is a must! Also known as the Langkawi SkyCabs, the cable car rides offer a panoramic view of the entire island of Langkawi and its surrounding regions. High enough to get a direct view of the waterfalls and flora, the cable cars also allow you to spot the wildlife on the island.

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The Experience

Starting at the foot of Mt. Machincang, the cable cars go all the way till the top of the mountain at about 708 meters above sea level. The entire ride is split into two halves and you have the option of getting down at the middle stop.

The middle station allows you to walk till the viewing deck and get a closer look at the flora and birds around. And if you are lucky, you may even be able to see some wildlife catching up on their daily nap. If you want to include some activity into your day, you can opt to use the Sky trail and trek up from the middle station to the top. The rewarding view at the end is motivation enough to ensure you complete the trek.

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If you take the cable car further up to the top station, you will be welcomed with an unparalleled view of lush tropical forests and the surrounding ocean and islands. You can see the bigger picture, literally, with multiple sites and monuments all visible in the same frame from that height. Once at the top, walk along the Sky Bridge if you want to see the view of the mountains from a different perspective. Later, indulge in a meal 700 meters above sea level – the perfect reason to just cherish the view for a bit longer, before you begin the ride down

A Guided Experience

When planning your Langkawi itinerary, make sure to add a pit stop at the Langkawi Cable Car for a thrilling experience. Build a personalised itinerary with Locaguide and talk to your designated local travel expert to make time for this activity. Ask your local guide to also help you plan your day so you get to the top of the mountains at the right time to enjoy the view.

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