10 things to do during long holiday getaways

If you’re ever in the mood for a holiday outside bustling Kuala Lumpur, make for the north to Ipoh, Perak and continue your journey all the way to George Town, Penang.

Once there, you’ll find a host of fascinating things to do over either a long weekend or school break.

Have dim sum for breakfast

For some of us workaholics, the idea of sitting down to a decent breakfast is almost alien. But since you’re on holiday, why not enjoy some dim sum at Ming Court Hong Kong Tim Sum in Ipoh.

A selection of some of the mouth-watering dim sum served at Ming Court Hong Kong Tim Sum in Ipoh.

You might want to get there early as the restaurant is packed by 9am. This place is really special — from its delicious selection of dim sum to the cosy air-conditioned rooms and of course, the friendly aunties going around making sure you have something to savour.

Apart from the dim sum, you should try the “Woo Kok” yam puff – now here’s something that will make you forget all the stress of work.

Sin Yoon Loong coffee

Catch up on gossip as you sip on coffee.
Nothing beats the taste and aroma of their signature white coffee.

Chatting over coffee with friends or family is one of the nicest ways to unwind while on holiday and Sin Yoon Loong in the old town of Ipoh makes the best cuppa.

Stroll around the old town of Ipoh

There’s so much to see in this legendary town, one of which is to take in their beautiful murals. Makes for some pretty cool, Instagram-worthy shots.

Tin mining town done in Chinese watercolour-style.
Mural with a dainty yellow Hummingbird.
‘Kopi’ break, anyone?

While you’re in town, check out Concubine Lane and Kong Heng Square too.

Try the addictive ‘Nasi Ganja’ at Kedai Kopi Yong Suan

Get “high” on Nasi Ganja. A standard serving comes with Ayam Merah (chicken marinated with spices, deep-fried and then coated with a thick gravy), salted egg, okra and sliced cucumbers topped with their special chutney and flavourful “kuah banjir” curries.

Have a glass (or two) of iced water within easy reach as it’s going to burn baby!

Seriously spicy but delicious – have a glass of water ready.

Take a walk through nature

There is no better way to get zen than breathing in the fresh morning air. Just a 20-minute drive from Ipoh old town, Qing Xing Ling is a man-made cultural village with shops housing antique and vintage items, a hidden gem that incorporates the beauty of nature with nostalgic memories of the past.

A small cottage with antique radios and vinyl record players on display.
Take a walk through a village, re-created to closely resemble those from the 80s.

Lose yourself in The Habitat

If you prefer something more natural, you can visit The Habitat on Penang Hill.

Located on the fringes of a 130 million-year-old virgin rainforest, it is known to be home to a wide range of flora and fauna like the Black Giant Millipede, Paper Kite Butterfly, Giant Black Squirrel, Dusky Leaf Langur, Asian Fairy-bluebird, Giant Pandan, and many more.

Scenic nature trail at The Habitat.
A beautiful red bloom takes pride of place in the scenery here.

Conquer your fear of heights at The Top, Komtar

Dear fellow acrophobes, it’s time to face your fear. Make your way to the popular Rainbow Skywalk at Level 68 where you get to experience the open-air Skywalk and look down at the sprawling city below through the glass from 249 metres above ground.

Don’t worry, the area is fully enclosed and perfectly safe for the young ones too, and it is worth your time and money as it gives a full 360-degree view of the entire island of Penang.

It can be daunting at first to be up that high, however, it is remarkable to be able to attain a bird’s-eye view of the island. It is exceptionally beautiful during sunsets.

Go on a street-foodie adventure like a true Penangite.

Have a go at some of the best street food Penang has to offer – Cucur Udang and Ais Tingkap in Chowrasta Market, Karipap Bawang at Asia Cafe in Lorong Pasar, special Samosas and Apom at Lebuh Queen, and so much more!

Hot and delicious samosas make the perfect tea-time treat.
Scrumptious Apom with coconut milk and sugar.
Cucur Udang and deep-fried tauhu with a hot and spicy dipping sauce.
Something to quench your thirst – Ais Tingkap.
From the frying pan onto your plate – Karipap Bawang.

Dine like a royal at Faquhar Mansion

Farquhar Mansion is probably the reason why many will be up for some fancy night out on the island, all decked out in their best button-downs, and cocktail dresses instead of their comfy Birkenstocks and denim shorts.

If you go at night, the whole compound is lit with starry lights, making it look like a dreamy spot for date nights (possibly even marriage proposals).

One of the many private dining rooms, exclusive for members.
The lounge area is elegant and welcoming.

Discover the best Nasi Kandar in Penang

A trip to Penang would be meaningless if you didn’t have a Nasi Kandar meal at least once.

There are so many options – Hameediyah or Tajuddin Hussein – are two standout spots, but there are countless others too.

Hameediyah’s signature Biryani with a side of chicken and okra.
Tajuddin Hussein Nasi Kandar.


This article first appeared in uppre.com