CNY festivities in Penang leave foreign tourists awestruck

Patrick and Julia taking in the festive mood at the Chief Minister’s Chinese New Year open house at Setia SPICE Arena in Penang.

TOURISTS who visited Penang were thrilled to have experienced Chinese New Year celebrations for the first time.

Patrick, 30, and his wife Julia, 31, from London, said this was only their second visit to Penang and they wanted to experience first-hand the exuberance of the festival.

“The celebration in London was never on such a scale like this.

“It was amazing and fascinating,” he said at Setia SPICE Arena during Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow’s Chinese New Year open house.

Patrick, a YouTuber, said he was in Penang during the Covid-19 pandemic and heard about the Chinese New Year celebration normally held every year. But he never had the chance to experience it due to travel and movement restrictions.

“This year, we have purposely come at this time to see for ourselves how the festival is celebrated by Malaysians,” he said, adding that he planned to stay in Penang until Thaipusam on Feb 5.

Fien Van Der Linden, 22, was awestruck at the grand scale of celebrations.

“I was with friends on the eve of Chinese New Year when we witnessed the spectacular fireworks display for about 30 minutes,” she said.

Van Der Linden added that although she used to celebrate Chinese New Year in her hometown of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, it was always on a small scale.

“I feel lucky to have visited Penang at this time of year and hope I can visit Malaysia again to experience other festivals.

“Our trip this time was the most amazing and mesmerising; it was worth travelling,” she said, adding that her next stop was Langkawi. — By IMRAN HILMY

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