If there’s one thing I love about weekend, it’s the opportunity to escape from my daily routine. The freedom of having time to relax, sleep all day or be in another place -inside the church where I find my weekly dose of peace of mind while attending anticipated Holy Mass, or being in my favorite coffee shop or in bookstore browsing and sniffing books, inside the cinema watching movies, dining and giving in to cravings of delicious bites, being a mall rat for a day, or simply doing anything and being anywhere far from my work desk; I always look forward to enjoying the weekend; it’s simply awesome and refreshing!

For 2 weeks now since my wife and kid arrived from Manila, my days in Penang have been happier. I always take efforts in planning and thinking of how to maximize and enjoy our weekends to the fullest; after all, it’s the only chance in a week that we can be together the whole day.

Last Saturday, 02 April, 2011 wasn’t ordinary. I was excited after my wife agreed that we bring Gabby to Tropical Spice Garden in Teluk Bahang, Pulau Pinang, a roughly 2-hour bus and ferry rides from where we stay in Butterworth. It’s a breather from going-to-the-mall, grocery shopping and other things we usually do to while away the weekend.

When was the last time you communed with Mother Nature?

How often do you appreciate her wonders ?

How well do you know those spices in everything we take in?

Would you like to see those spices in bushes before they end up in your kitchen jars?

We arrived at that piece of paradise few minutes before 10AM. At the reception, I paid RM 35 (PhP 490 or USD 12) for the 3 of us, as we availed of their family package. Citronella oil was provided to ward off mosquitoes before we entered the tropical lush greens. Unfortunately, because I forgot to wear sleeves, and wished I have those nylon slip-on fabrics commonly worn by bikers and trekkers and the fact that I easily perspire, mosquitoes feasted on my left forearm. Tina was so alarmed I might catch malaria or dengue but I guess, it wasn’t meant to happen; and the wheal and pruritus (read : itchiness) subsided few hours after. Good thing that Gabby was wearing a jacket and Tina had no mosquito bites. Nonetheless, I and my family had incredibly fun moments at Tropical Spice Garden.

The entrance to that seemingly oasis of tranquility…

Few steps from the facade, we were immediately drawn into a tropical forest with walk steps in between varieties of foliage and few blooms…

Do you play Plants vs Zombies ? Do you recognize those lily pods ? 😀

Admittedly, we saw more of huge trees and plants and less of those spices.

We had several laugh-trip and kulitan-moments…

Believe it or not, drizzling stopped before we hopped off the bus and entered this garden. The climate became so perfect for a stroll amidst that tropical forest…

We met some foreigners who were learning how to cook Malaysian dishes using fruits, veggies and what else but tropical spices, hehe…

Ms. Pearly Kee (on the far left), teaches Penang Home Cooking that includes Nyonya dishes.

Apart from being lush garden of spices, century-old-trees and exotic flora, Tropical Spices Garden houses its very own Tree Monkey Restaurant where we had our delicious light brunch.

Of course, food would not be absent in our family’s adventure….

When was the last time you ate comfortably lounging on crossed legs?

I loved the fact that great attention was given to little details of this Thai restaurant…

From the ceiling, table tops, and whatnot, not a single detail was overlooked…

Would you like to eat your meal on a tree house?

Needless to say, the ambiance of Tree Monkey restaurant is far from being intimidating; it’s so inviting and fascinating; so does their menu…

As if one soup isn’t enough –we had Mushroom soup which has surprising texture beyond being thick and creamy and that usual thin and salty soup…

Tina gave a nod to my choice : Thai Seafood Paella…

It’s not spicy as expected; just deliciously flavorful!

Sure, we definitely miss some things about the Philippines, and so I ordered what’s close to our taste buds (mangga at suman) – Mango Sticky Rice…

Were able to washed down everything by these thirst quenchers…

Daddy Gelo had freshly squeezed OJ…

Mommy Tina enjoyed iced cold Caffe Latte

Adorable Gabby sipped iced cold Chocolate drink…

What’s even more worth remembering about our dining experience at Tree Monkey was the fact that we met 2 friendly Filipinas and an Indonesian (standing at the back) and Thailander (not in photo) wait staffs…

After our hearty light brunch, we stepped inside the little spice museum right across the restaurant.

Betel Nut, Cumin, Turmeric, Star Anise, Fennel, Clove, Black Pepper, Cardamon, Cinnamon, Coriander seeds, Nutmeg, Chilli. These and more are the spices of this garden…

Apparently, we enjoyed our Saturday morning…FUNtastic! 😛

If you’re like us who, sometimes want something unconventional over the weekend, make your own adventure as simple as communing with yourself and with Mother Nature; it’s gratifying!

Look at my mag-ina, parang ayaw umalis at iwan ang lugar, hehehe! 😀

Tropical Spice Garden is such a nice respite from the hustle and bustle of daily activities. Fresh air, lush surroundings, informative trek, great food, family bonding – what more can you ask for?

For details about Tropical Spice Garden, visit their website [HERE].

Until our next family adventure! 😀

PS : After leaving the gates of TSG, we rode Rapid Penang Bus again and went to one of the malls in the island called, Midland Plaza and took the chance of 90% discount offered in Popular Bookstore. Then, we headed to another nearby mall, Plaza Gurney where Gabby and I had our haircuts done and ate our late lunch. We capped our Saturday after we attended the English anticipated Holy Mass at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish. 😀



  1. hi anna! 😀 if you’ve browsed its website via the link that i’ve provided, you’ll know that TSG is truly an venue so apt for weddings. so after your big day in pinas come august, you can bring along your hubby there at TSG for some clicks and snaps. gusto mo ako pa photographer, o kaya pati sina doc yambao at carlo. naks, dami ha! artistahin? 😀

  2. the place looks great! gusto ko ng mga ganyan…mga mother-nature-type places. basta maraming puno, halaman,m bulaklak, tubig, etc, ok sakin yan!

    the seafood pealla looks simple but delicious! yum!

  3. Hi Gelo! Wonderful blog about the place truly enticing for the readers! Will surely visit the place soon!

    Ganda ng D7000 este kuha ng D7000! Sulit!

  4. hi doc! ang ganda-ganda naman dyan! basta mapunong lugar, super enjoy ako. and mukhang yummy din ang food. and ang laki nga ng lily. kasing laki sya ng bangka! oo nga, mukha nga syang pang-PvZ. 😀 glad you enjoyed your weekend there. im looking forward to more similar posts.

    1. hello architect! nice to have you back here. thanks for the visit.
      maganda yung lugar, ano?! it also serves as wedding venue, pre-nup pictorials etc. and yes, those enormous lily pods are just amazing! it was my first time to see such.

      enjoy the rest of the week! 😀

    1. tagaytay’s edge over TSG here in penang is of course its wonderful weather.
      i love tagaytay, mordsith. i and my wife are dreaming that someday, hopefully someday we’ll buy a property there and settle there for good. *sigh*

      thanks for the visit here! have a nice week ahead!

  5. OMG, that is so spice heaven. I have a few spices in my garden too, some basil and dill, and some coriander too! But I’d love the plants that make all those on your picture.

  6. Ahh… I’ve been missing the tropics (less the humidity)! Thanks for taking me back home (at home ako sa scenery at sa pagkaing featured sa post na ‘to). The entrance fee is so affordable, wow!

    The image of that red flower with a butterfly is so lovely!

  7. I love going to gardens like that. I’ve never seen many of the spices before they got into jars so this must be a wonderful experience for everyone.

    Nature comforts the soul and quiets the spirit – that’s why we need to be with Mother Nature once a week at least.

    I went walking in a park this weekend, then spent more time in the garden weeding and planting.

  8. This write up is just like a chapter of a travel book! Well done for this exotic place. I see everyone’s smile ear to ear. Wow, great bonding moments!

    I just have bad memories of mosquitoes. My daughter when she was 8 had dengue and almost did not make it. But thank goodness before transfusion, a doze of Chinese herbal medicine cause she blood count to rise.

    Your photos are really nice, keep up the good work!

    1. i still have to learn more things about photography, would like to join short courses someday, kung may oras lang sana… paturo ako sa inyo! you know how i like your captures!

      bili ka na ng nikon d7000, dom!

  9. what a nice family adventure! That’s pretty odd to see a tropical spice garden, we usually go to botanical garden but spices garden, that’s interesting 😉 So Doc, what’s the reason that you got a lot of mosquito bites than Tina and Gabby??? Mas matamis ba ang blood mo? hehehe kasi yun bunso ko siya lagi rin ang pinapapak ng lamok e ano bang hidden agenda ng mga lamok sa inyo? hehehe

  10. I suppose even with mosquito bites, you apparently had a great day bonding with the family. And when you have your Nikon D7000 help capture those moments, the day is perfect, just perfect!

    BTW, India has become easier to visit for Pinoys with the new visa-on-arrival scheme. Americans and other western countries have to apply and pay for this in advance!!!

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