Walk around. Eat. Book tickets on ferry for Langkawi.

 That’s basically what my itinerary said about my two-night stay in Penang. For such a big planner, I really didn’t go nuts on this trip. Except for researching how I’m supposed to go from one city to the other, and a Google search on what to see, my itinerary looked stark. And when I arrived in Penang after a night in Kuala Lumpur, I didn’t have an urge to change that.


I had just arrived back at the common area of the hostel after a quick walk around the morning market with two students I had met earlier. It was around 8 or 9 in the morning, and my roommates had just started to wake up and were eating breakfast. The students were heading out to the literature festival they were in town for. I decided to stay at the hostel and figure out what I would do for the day.

So back to the map of street art. It looked easy enough. After arriving yesterday, I have had a chance to walk around.  Okay, mostly because I got lost, but partly because after I had put my bag down at the hostel, I wanted something hot and delicious to eat. I already caught a glimpse of some of the street art on the map, and if I’m completely honest, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go hunting for more.


Some of my roommates were leaving that day for another part of Malaysia, so they got to packing, the few that were staying wanted to check out the International Lion Dance Competition that was happening in the city that afternoon. I’m no stranger to Lion Dances. I’ve seen this before, but I thought, why not? and agreed to tag along.

But first, an errand—I needed to buy a ticket to a ferry bound for Langkawi tomorrow. While everyone got to doing their own thing, whether it be packing or showering or snacking, I went off on my own to the Swettenham Pier to purchase my ticket for the ferry.

On the way to the Pier, I walked around Little India, taking pictures every now and then, but mostly I observed and absorbed. I walked slowly, which was unusual for me, who, anyone who knows me could confirm, always seems to be in a hurry.

After purchasing my tickets for Langkawi, I made my way back to the hostel to find my roommates finishing up with their lunch. Once everyone was ready, we rode a bus to Han Chiang College, where the event was taking place.


This was actually unexpectedly entertaining for me. Even though I’ve seen dragon dances or lion dances before, I never truly paid attention to them. Since this is a competition, the dances are taken to a whole new level.


Each routine was executed flawlessly. The guys inside the lion costumes, jumped between pole to pole with incredible skill and precision. They made the lions come alive. I think I caught myself open-mouthed a few times as I watched the more difficult stunts.


After then event, we rode the bus back to Lebuh Chulia. The day went by really quickly. Even without any real plans, I managed to fill my day. And it was a good day. I’m not really quite sure I was ready to leave Penang. It has such a laid back vibe, but the next day, I found myself on the ferry and on to somewhere new again.

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