On the second day of our trip, we decided to move further away from Armenian Street and use the Hop-on Hop-off bus service to get around Penang. It took quite a while before we reached the garden. When we came down, we were delighted by the garden outside. There were lily pads on top of the ponds and it just seemed peaceful and beautiful.
When we got in, we immediately decided to go to the Formal Garden. At first glance, it looks gorgeous. The sky was blue, the plants were healthily green, basking under the sunlight and photosynthesizing. We took our time around and walked to the nursery where the baby plants are being taken care of.
While the nursery did not interest me that much, I was more delighted to see a red-pink colored flower, a ginger flower popping before me and it appeared to be in the process of blooming. An interesting thing to note is that its buds are commonly used in Nyonya laksa (Bindloss J and Brash C, 2008). Just in case if you’re wondering, Nyonya dishes are commonly found in another state known as Malacca. It’s another must-go state in Malaysia!
We then made our way to the fern house after dropping by the Japanese garden which didn’t offer much. The fern house looked amazing. You can see tendrils popping out in certain sections while other parts, you’ll see ferns like the image above. Seriously, it gave me goosebumps looking at it but it was still interesting to see. Those bumps are the fern’s spores. By the way, if you find that creepy, wait till you search it up in Google Images.
Unfortunately, during our trip there, the majority of the sections were locked up, we had no idea why, though. Lucky for me, the plant above bloomed beautifully by the drain. It would’ve been awesome if the official website mentioned some of the plant names rather than just the trees’. In the end, I had to do the digging myself. While the flower just appears to just be beautiful, interestingly, Cat Whiskers in Java has been traditionally used as an herbal medicine to treat hypertension and diabetes. In folk medicine, however, it has been said to help treat gout, gallstones, and rheumatism (Geary D and Schaefer F,2008).
With such a name as Cat Whiskers, it is sort of like witchcraft now, doesn’t it? Eye of newt could be eggs, claws of a phoenix could just be some branches while cat whiskers are just these freaking flowers. Goodbye, childhood imagination!
After a couple of minutes rest, we quickly jumped onto the bus to our next station. It was incredibly hot by noon so if you’re interested in going, do bring a bottle of water. I didn’t find it appealing since most of the attractions were locked. However, the formal garden did give me a shot I’m happy with. Also, my legs served as the main course for the lovely little bugs there – mosquitoes! So, better bring some mosquito repellents so that you can avoid being irritated by the itch or if you have allergies towards those pesky critters.
Entrance Fee: Free
Opening Hours: 0500 – 0200
Best to bring: Mosquito repellent
Warning: Be careful where you sit unless you want a bug bite on your crack
- Bindloss, J. & Brash, C. (2008). Kuala Lumpur, Melaka & Penang (1st ed., p. 46). Footscray, Vic.: Lonely Planet.
- Geary, D. & Schaefer, F. (2008). Comprehensive pediatric nephrology (1st ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Mosby/Elsevier.