The water that the Island of Penang sits in is called the Straight of Malacca. This is the water in between Peninsular Malaysia and the Indonesian Island of Sumatra. It connects the Pacific ocean to the Indian Ocean. The location of Penang in the strait of Malacca is one of the reasons that it was a British Colony for so long. It’s ports helped moved the spice, rubber and tin trade out of the region to the rest of the world.
One of the attractions here in Penang that kind of ties this all together is the tropical spice garden. It was an abandoned rubber plantation right on the coast, in Teluk Bahang. It was transformed into a multi level garden and opened in 2003. You can do a pre-recorded guided tour to learn about the 500+ of flora and fauna from around the world that grow here – a great deal of these are spices. They also have a cooking school that teaches traditional Nyonya Straights cooking (I am itching to try this out) and a really good Thai Restaurant called Monkey Tree. They have a website http://tropicalspicegarden.com/ if you are interested.
We took B there early one Sunday morning and a good time was had by all. The garden itself smells heavenly. They grow a number of spices including star anise, ginger, cinnamon, lemon grass, kaffir limes, nutmeg, all spice, I could go on an on. They all smell divine. One thing that one does need to be aware of when bringing kids here is that there are no strollers permitted in the park, because there is no real way to navigate it with them. Luckily B was interested enough in everything he didn’t mind walking the whole way.
Water is a theme that you find through out the garden. The first spot you come to is a pond with enormous lily pads.
You come across water all through your walk. It really is quite peaceful. This is a pretty busy place, it really didn’t feel crowed though because you can spread out and the running water does a lot to block out the noise of other groups.
The garden winds it way up and down the hills with some very interesting trails and bridges with lots of different varieties of plants to look at along the way.
And of course there is a reflexology path.
We came across a really cool metal bench that I made B sit on while I took his picture.
He really did have a great time stomping up and down the paths and pointing at bugs and things that he found interesting.
Here is a shot from the top of one of the rises you can see the ocean just beyond the trees.
We finished our day with some lunch at Tree Monkey.
Tree Monkey is a delightful restaurant, one that we will be sure to take out of town guest to.
It sits up on the side of the hill and is all out door seating. It has an amazing view of the ocean, with a really nice breeze coming off the water.
Not only is the view great but the food is really good. We ordered kid friendly Pineapple Fired Rice, Seafood Pad Thai and Cashew Chicken. It was all really good. B loved the Pad Thai especially, he couldn’t shovel it in fast enough.
The Tropical Spice Garden is really a delightful spot here in Penang. It is one that we will definitely want to share with those that come to visit. It is a really beautiful and peaceful place to get away from the craziness of Georgetown.