🇲🇾 Malaysia
Dec 17, 2022


Penang is a state of Malaysia, but also the name of the island (left side of the detailed map). We stayed on the island the whole time.

I was interested to learn a bit more about Malaysia. My last visit was nine years ago. I knew it as a mixture of Malay, Indian, and Chinese people, with an incredible food scene you might guess from such a combination. But this time, I got to hear a bit mor about the ethnic tensions—political parties drawn between racial and religious boundaries and difficulties with corruption.

This post will be mostly a photo collage, and light on commentary. Enjoy the scroll.

Masjid Daerah Timur Laut, a mosque on the shore.

The Snake Temple was filled with snakes, as advertised. Though it was so isolated from the jungle you couldn't help but wonder if the snakes' presence was no longer voluntary.

Funny to see this word. Kedai Makan was/is an always-in-demand Malaysian restaurant in Seattle (though started by white people).

Some filming locations of Crazy Rich Asians are in Penang, like the Blue Mansion (mahjong scene), and the Eastern & Oriental Hotel (opening scene).

More city vibes follow.

Sound helps context for the first and last ones.

One thing Penang taught me is you can’t just have density, you also need public transportation. They seemed to have nailed the density thing—massive condos erupted all along the north shore. But the poor roads couldn’t handle it. We regularly sat in an hour of traffic.

Also, check out how long that bridge is.

You can also see (what looks to be) reclaimed land being created.

It's always baffled me why it's called "reclaimed." Seems like "invented" would be a better word.


Malaysia is lauded by many,01 including myself, as a food lover’s dream destination. This trip, I had some of the best Chinese food I’ve ever eaten, and developed a serious craving for the flavor of salted egg.

In the fried food stall (second photo), note that 1.80 Malaysian Ringgit is currently $0.41 US.

My favorite all-time favorite cocktail, The Jungle Bird, was created in Kuala Lumpur (capital of Malaysia).

Oh, and I can’t forget the obligatory interesting product pics.

The whole skin whitening series of products thing still deeply creeps me out.


  1. In Singapore, any mention of Penang universally garnered a wistful sigh of, “Oooh, the food…” ↩︎