Wanderlustress

Life in Laos through the lens of a diplomatic wife raising twin toddlers.

Postcard from Penang

When my husband and I were working on post-tsunami reconstruction in Aceh, Indonesia in 2006-2007, we traveled to the nearby island of Penang, Malaysia for a little getaway and stayed in the picturesque Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion – originally built as a private residence in the late 1800’s by a Chinese merchant, it now serves as a home-stay for tourists. It is also a museum of sorts with on-going restoration work that has earned it many awards including a UNESCO Heritage Conservation Award. Among it’s many gorgeous architectural features, the rich indigo blue lime-wash that is used throughout the house makes it very distinctive and beautiful to photograph. Unfortunately, I was using a mediocre digital camera at the time and I’ve lost the original files since then so all I have left are smaller, less clear images that I’ve retrieved from my previous blog. Regardless, they are still timeless and beautiful to me, and looking at them conjures up the atmosphere of the romantic historical period of colonial Asia.

While it was certainly a privilege to be able to stay in this historical mansion and be surrounded by it’s beauty, it was not the most comfortable choice for a hotel. The walls were thin, the doors and floors creaky, and the air conditioning was either freezing or none at all. But if you want to immerse yourself in a unique experience steeped in history, then I would highly recommend staying here for one or two nights. We certainly did not regret it.

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10 comments on “Postcard from Penang

  1. Anarya Andir
    June 22, 2012

    These are amazing photos even though you didn’t have a great camera at the time. I’ve been to Penang but I was too young then so I don’t remember much at all. Great post!

  2. wonderlandwanderess
    June 21, 2012

    Stunning blue, lovely pictures! I always thought blue was the Moroccan color, turns out I am wrong:-)

    • Wanderlustress
      June 21, 2012

      Makes us all feel connected, doesn’t it? I also love the blue in Greece even though I’ve never been there. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. thirdeyemom
    June 20, 2012

    Hey Dee! I wanted to let you know about a blogger I follow that was recently traveling in Laos, to the town where I believe you will be moving to. Check his blog and posts out. Should make you excited as it looks amazing! Nicole
    http://harindabama.com/2012/06/18/the-wat-and-the-waterfall/

    • Wanderlustress
      June 21, 2012

      Thanks Nicole! We are all very excited to get to Laos. Just a few weeks left!

  4. Madhu
    June 20, 2012

    Beautiful images. We regretted not having gone to Penang from KL a few years ago. Didn’t like KL at all.

    • Wanderlustress
      June 21, 2012

      Hi Madhu! We primarily went for the food which is amazing, but staying in this mansion gave us a different cultural experience. I hope you will get there one day. Btw, when will you be in Laos?

  5. Christina
    June 20, 2012

    It looks beautiful! Were you volunteering in Aceh, or working? That (disaster response/recovery) sounds like something I would love to do in the future.

    • Wanderlustress
      June 20, 2012

      Hi Christina. I was working as the community programs director for the construction of permanent houses and markets in Aceh and along the coast of southern Sumatra. It was very rewarding and interesting work even though it was also extremely frustrating at times. If you’re interested, check out ReliefWeb for the latest information, jobs, and trainings in disaster response http://reliefweb.int/. Good luck!

  6. Vincent Mars
    June 20, 2012

    That shade of blue from the first picture from the right, the one on the buttom, is stunning.

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