On a beautiful evening, I decided to take a stroll along Gurney Drive bringing along my camera. I have been to Gurney Drive million of times. But I am still doing it despite the multiple visits. Most of the time I am there thronging the shopping mall, Gurney Plaza. Gurney Plaza is a premier shopping and entertainment mall. With renovation work in progress in the mall, the current mall will be expanded to an even bigger shopping mall. What I know is the expansion work will be completed in year 2009. By then there will be a brand new Gurney Plaza with a lot more shops and fun to enjoy.
Gurney Drive, the Millionaire’s Row seafront promenade lined
with hotels, condominiums, restaurants and a shopping mall.
This time around, I decided to take a walk along Gurney Drive. Actually I haven’t really walked from one end of the road at Jalan Pangkor to the other end at the roundabout near Gurney Plaza. It’s not that far though for this stretch of the road and I think the walk turned out to be quite a meaningful experience since there a lot of things you can discover here. If you want to know more, read on.
In Malay terms, it’s called Persiaran Gurney. It’s a 2km seafront promenade lined with cafes, high-end condominiums, hotels, restaurants and hawker centre as well as a shopping mall offering a seemingly endless array of entertainment as well as local and international cuisine. You name it, everything ranging from lifestyle, cultures, food as well as a breathtaking sea view are available in Gurney Drive. In real estate terms, Gurney Drive is Millionaire’s Row. How would you like to rub shoulders with actress Datuk Michelle Yeoh who owns the ultra deluxe 35-storey Millennium Tower condominium here!
The Millennium Tower condominium where actress Datuk Michell
Yeoh owns a unit here.
Hotels located within walking distance are readily available
When people come visiting Penang Island, sure enough they will not miss Gurney Drive. It’s a very popular place in Penang. People normally relate it to luxury and a happening place which must not be missed when they are visiting Penang. Gurney Drive is liken to Bangsar in Kuala Lumpur which is also a place related to luxury lifestyle and a happening place to chill out.
Other than a place to chill out, Gurney Drive also offers a place with simple informal lifestyle especially in the evening. As I strolled along the walkway, I could see people from all walks of life come together to this place to enjoy the beautiful sunset coupled with gentle sea breeze. There were foreign tourists, students, senior citizens, couples as well as some touts with a stall selling all kind of things here. With multi-racial Penang folks gathering here, Gurney Drive is like a mingle of different cultures. And looking out to sea, you are rewarded with the daily glorious sunsets, the activities of the humble fishermen in their small boats as well as some anglers patiently waiting for their catches. Moreover, there is also a young mother pushing her baby in a stroller, a lady taking her dogs out for a walk and an endless stream of joggers. There are such a lot of things to do and see here that Gurney Drive is like a ‘Penang in Miniature’.
Touts are seen having their stall selling all kinds of things
such as toys and drinks.
A privately held pre-war bungalow displaying a sharp contrast
to the ultra modern condominiums in Gurney Drive.
As I continue my evening stroll, I could see not much of the sandy beach left because the huge Tanjung Tokong reclamation project nearby has caused the coastline to become muddy. This sad development however, may turn out to be a blessing in disguise as recently, mangrove tree seedlings have been taking root on the mudflats, attracting birds and other animals. Who knows, maybe in 10 years, gurney Drive may have a new attractions in its mangrove ecology.
The reclamations project at Tanjung Tokong which causes
pollution to the shoreline at Gurney Drive.
Gurney Drive is also a food heaven for food lover and it’s also home to some of the oldest restaurant on the island. Speaking of Gurney Drive, one will automatically evoke the drooling thoughts of Bak Kuk Teh (a herbal stew of pork ribs and meat), sotong bakar, asam laksa, ais kacang and seafood dinners. Most of the street food can be found in hawkers stalls at the end of the road near the roundabout. For the more sophisticated diners, there are some very nice up-market restaurants and some of them are located in the hotels where you could enjoy western style cuisine. At night, the brightly lit Bali Hai Seafood restaurant is drawing a lot of customers while the smaller establishment like Crepe Cotttage and nasi kandar shops attract their fair share of customers. The most famous one must surely be the long established Song River Cafe with its famous otak-otak and fish dishes.
In the morning, there are actually some very nice restaurants open for business in Gurney Drive. The most attractive one is the so-called “white” Bak Kuk Teh which I have tried once after my morning exercise at the Botanical Garden. It’s called ‘white’ Bak Kuk Teh due to the color of the soup. Most of the usually found Bak Kuk Teh have dark color soup. But this one has a clear one. Anyway, the “white” bak kuk teh is not only unique but also tasty. I think it’s only available in Penang since I haven’t seen it elsewhere. Other than the
delicious Bak Kuk Teh, there are also dim sum available here.
Getting to Gurney Drive
Gurney Drive is 20 minutes from the Penang Island International Airport. It can be assessed from Kelawei Road as well as 10 to 15 minutes drive from the ferry terminal . The nearby areas are Tanjung Tokong, Pulau Tikus and Air Itam. There are lots of hotel and apartments nearby catering to a wide range of budgets. Nearby attractions are the Reclining Buddha Temple and Burmese Temple along Lorong Burmah, 15 minutes walk away. While at the temples, pick a box of the popular four-flavoured Hoe Heong Tambun biscuits from a few doors away. The Pulau Tikus wet market is also within walking distance.
For more pictures of Gurney Drive, please visit the following flickr photostream.
Location, Map and Driving Direction to Gurney Drive:
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