Brews Around the World: Malaysia and Thailand

Long time, no see! That’s right, it has been two months since my last Brews Around the World Update. Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been drinking beer. It just means I have been waiting to share all of the awesomeness until I finally had enough to write about. Get ready for a dual post of Brews Around the World – Episode Four: Beer of Malaysia and Thailand!

S1E1 Brews Around the World – Beer of Idaho, USA 

S1E2 Brews Around the World – Beer of Florida, USA 

S1E3 Brews Around the World – Beer of China 

Malaysia Brews

The month of February was spent in lovely Malaysia, where brewing beer is illegal! Drinking beer, however, was still OK, yet it was all imported and decently expensive. We did the best we could, though, walking miles out of our way to try something interesting. My favorite find was the Penang Craft Beer IPA, which we drank in Penang… but is brewed in California. I also really enjoyed Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale. This is one of my all-time Oregon favorites, so it was really nice to have a taste of home while in Kuala Lumpur.

As a result, I did not collect any new Malaysian brews. I did add a few things to my Life List though. We left Malaysia with six new brew flavors, bringing my unique brew total to 54.

Anchor Smooth Draught, Heinken Asia Pacific - The Places e Live  Dead Guy Ale, Rogue Brewing - The Places We Live  Guinness Draught, Guinness - The Places We Live  Penang Craft Beer IPA, Bay Bridge Brewing - The Places We Live  Skol, Ambev - The Places We Live  Tiger, Heineken Asia Pacific - The Places We Live

Amazon com guinness draught.pngAmazon Link: All purchases earn Josh and I commission. Thank you!

Thailand Brews

We spent the majority of March in Thailand. Beer in Thailand was readily available, but limited in variety. Our choices were pretty much just Leo, Singha, Chang, or overpriced import beers. I was a little disappointed with only three new flavors, but all three ended up being pretty tasty. They paired very well with the hot weather and spicy food.

So, once again, I did not collect many new flavors while in Thailand. I added three new flavors to my Life List, bringing my unique brew total to 57.

Chang - The Places We Live  Leo Beer, Boon Rawd Brewery - The Places We Live  Singa, Boon Rawd Brewery - The Places We Live

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Amazon Link: All purchases earn Josh and I commission. Thank you!

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Brew Around the World S1E4 - The Places We Live Brews Around the World S1E4 Title - The Places We Live Beer of Thailand - The Places We Live


Penang Street Art

As we walk down the dirty and narrow street of Georgetown, we are surrounded by Starbucks and big banks. Only a block later there are bomb-ridden buildings with trees growing out the side of them next door to a glittering mega-mall. Yet the transitions seem somehow eased by the pleasant, almost random spottings of the Penang street art.

As I mentioned in my last post, Georgetown has a variety that is indescribable. As we walk down the dirty and narrow streets of Georgetown, we are surrounded by Starbucks and big banks. Only a block later there are pre-WWII buildings with bomb damage and trees growing out the side of them. Across the street sits a glittering new mega-mall. Yet the sharp transitions are eased somewhat by the pleasant, almost randomly placed Penang street art.

Heading to Georgetown? Check out this helpful street art brochure. ♦

Welded Iron

20180330_174334One of the more common art installations around the city are the welded art pieces. They stand against walls around the city and make jokes about the location or its history. I like the idea of a modern style of iron mixed with the historic figures. It seemed only fitting in Georgetown.

One I particularly liked was the “Narrowest Five Foot Way”. Only a couple of days before seeing the sculpture I read about the Five Foot Ways in Malaysia. It is the name given to the covered walkways that line the front of the shops. They really came in handy every time it rained in KL. This particular art installation was next to what is said to be the narrowest five foot way in Penang.

Street Art

Another type of street art I enjoyed in Georgetown played with some of the older elements of the town. Many of these pieces integrate the exposed bricks, damaged pipes, or broken ledges found along the streets. This, once again, cementing that odd collaboration of old and new throughout the town.

Ernest Zacharevic

The most popular pieces around town are the ones completed by Ernest Zacharevic. He is a Lithuanian artist living in Penang. Yet again, he played with the duality of the city by creating old imagery that exposed itself to the modern world.

I’m not the die-hard street art fan that I know many travelers are, but I definitely appreciated the street art in Penang. It captured a lot of that “huh?” feeling that I wasn’t able to express and made me feel a little more comfortable in this off town.

Of course, there is some art I just don’t understand. Or maybe it isn’t meant to be interpreted.


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Penang Street Art Penang Street Art 2 PEnang Street Art (1)


Adventures in Penang

The island of Penang is located off the Northwest coast of peninsular Malaysia. The capital city of Georgetown, where we were staying, is named as a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its historical significance. There is so much to see and do on the island. I had no problem finding adventures in Penang.

After our house sit in Kuala Lumpur, we headed off to the island of Penang for a long-weekend getaway. Penang is a popular tourist stop, located off the Northwest coast of peninsular Malaysia. Getting there from KL is pretty easy; you can either take the train, which will take three-ish hours, or a five-hour coach bus. Both of these options drop you off in the coastal city of Butterworth. From there, it’s a quick ferry ride across the strait to Georgetown, which is where we stayed. Georgetown is an old English colony, and a UNESCO World Heritage site. There is so much to see and do on the island that we had no problem finding adventures in Penang.

Check out how to get from KL to Penang by train with Daneger and Stacey. ♦


Island of Penang

Even though Georgetown is on the ocean, we never really made it to the beach. The city itself is a port, located on the side of the island facing Malaysia, so it is understandably a little more industrial. There were a ton of boats and freighters cruising by, and of course plenty of litter. The water and the scenery were pretty, but I would not suggest swimming anywhere near it.


My favorite island adventure was visiting the Clan Jetties of Penang. It is a traditional village on stilts built out over the water. Although it did look people were living there, it was a bit touristy as well, and less “traditional” than we were meant to assume. Either way, it was still a great adventure. I was particularly drawn to the views of the richer tourist area just blocks away. To see such overt poverty within view of a five-star hotel really made me consider the lives of the people around me.

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Georgetown History

Upon arriving in Penang, we were immediately stuck by the variety of buildings. There were old buildings and new buildings, eastern and western, tall and short, beautiful and ugly. Nothing looked like it quite belonged, yet everything seemed oddly familiar.

We came to Penang specifically in search of its pre-war history. Along with exploring the Eastern & Oriental Hotel and Mansion Street, we made a quick stop at the Western Cemetery. It wasn’t the sort of stop I would rave about on TripAdvisor, but one I quite enjoyed. Everything was old, from the trees to the inscriptions on the headstones. It was a great way to help us set the scene for our WWII history adventure.


Food of Penang

Just like the architecture, there was an endless variety of food. There were high-end restaurants catering to the Western tastes of the tourists, along with open air food carts that came out when the sun went down. One of these carts served up great big bowls of porky, noodle-y goodness for less than a buck; it ended up being our favorite. This, despite the fact that the chefs were barefoot and used water from an open-top barrel that I may or may not have watched a pigeon bathe in.

See what we ended up eating while living in KL. ♥

Still, it was hard to resist the call of the familiar flavors of home. We tried a delightful Mexican restaurant with nearly perfect nachos and a pastry shop that served ice cream inside of a cinnamon roll cone.


A Feeling of “Huh”

Overall, I came away from Penang with a feeling of “Huh”. With the juxtaposition of old and new, rich and poor, and Eastern and Western, everything just felt… off. It was interesting to see, and I’m glad we went, but it wasn’t really worth raving about the way we had heard before arriving. Hopefully we can come back one day to see the other treasures the island holds, but for now it’s time to move on to the next big adventure: Thailand.

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PEnang Street Art (2) Penang, Malaysia PEnang Street Art