Georgetown in Penang is a melting pot of cultures – vibrant, colourful, bustling with a rich history, fabulous food and amazing street art.
Some people can’t get enough of its buzz and pizazz and others like us, yearn for natural habitats and long vistas.
That isn’t to say we hadn’t enjoyed wandering round and savouring street food, visiting the excellent museum and spotting the imaginative and quirky creations by Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic. We also loved seeing the works of other artists who have been commissioned to provide historic information in a creative way.
We were ready for a change of pace and as we had hired a car we were able to take a drive round the island to see what we could see.
Unfortunately, by early afternoon the weather had started to turn quite unpleasant and as we hadn’t had lunch we decided to follow a small signpost pointing to a hilltop restaurant.
The road looked very narrow so we were a bit dubious and soon we were sloshing about on what appeared to be a farm track (we did drive past a poultry farm) and then we started to climb higher and higher up the hill. At each bend the possibility of there being an open restaurant at the top seemed less and less likely. We felt like we were on a movie set – think Rocky Horror Show or even Pyscho! There was driving rain, thunder and lightening as we climbed further and further up into the clouds.
As we approached the top of the hill to our great surprise we found out that Bukit Genting Hill Leisure Park and Restaurant was actually open! In fact, one of the staff came out with an umbrella and ushered us into the restaurant.
After the rather precarious drive up the long and winding road we were very happy to be served any type of food but were happy as always to eat a Thai-style meal. The green curry was delicious (and really very green!) but a couple of the other choices were maybe slightly disappointing but we were very happy, regardless.
As we ate the clouds started to disappear and we were treated to the most magnificent ocean views on two sides.
We were also able to stroll through the eccentric grounds where dilapidated boats perched precipitously on the cliff. These boats had been built up and used as rooms for the now defunct (I gathered) hotel.
The boats must have looked out of place even when they were new and freshly painted but with peeling paint and rotten wood they looked as strange as a fish out of water.
There were so many weird and wonderful statues and objects – animals, a helicopter, even a small children’s “race” track.
Dilapidated and rather sad, it was obviously once someone’s very special, extravagant and imaginative dream.
The gardens are still kept beautifully, the views are to die for, so it’s definitely a place to visit if you tire of the busyness and the hubbub of Georgetown.