In Penang , the journey never ends and the excitement never stops. There is so much to do here, we'd recommend at least a two-week stay to really experience the culture and all that this beautiful paradise has to offer.
|(Malaysia) - Trishaw ride in Penang|
Live like a local and see what laid back Penangites love to indulge in - travel in trishaws and shop at the many quaint night markets. Be adventurous and explore!
Though there are definitely more than 10 interesting things to do in Penang, here's our Top 10 picks of “must-dos” when visiting the Pearl of the Orient.
1. Take a trishaw ride or walking tour of the George Town Unesco World Heritage Site!
The trishaw is a cute little peddle-power vehicle that has been around since the days of yore. Decorated with plastic flowers and blinking lights, these are now mainly “tourist mobiles” and are great for going around George Town’s narrow inner city streets.
The faint-hearted take note – trishaws may be dwarfed by other motorised vehicles but here in Penang, they are truly “Kings of the Roads” – a moniker earned from the way they “courageously” navigate past the busy traffic.
2. Sample the popular hawker fare
Penangites love to eat – that is a fact. And as the saying goes, when in Rome do as the Romans do! Penang street food encompasses Chinese, Malay and Indian “fast food” all served in a matter of minutes! Eating by the roadside is an experience second to none as you watch locals of all races indulge in their favourite past time – food!
|(Malaysia) - Hawker Food in Penang|
3. Laze by the scenic Batu Ferringhi beach or take a leisurely stroll along Gurney Drive
With its sandy shores and vast open sea, Batu Ferringhi offers an amazing respite from the hustle and bustle of town. Check into any one of the resorts that line the stretch and spend your afternoon soaking in the soothing sound of lapping waves and bright sunny rays of this tropical paradise.
At night, the popular tourist belt comes to life as traders hawk their wares while eateries bring out their best menus to satiate even the most discerning of palates.
|(Malaysia) - Penang - Batu Ferringhi beach|
A walk along Gurney Drive invigorates all senses as it boasts of some of Penang’s best street food, shopping mall, and of course, a beautiful promenade!
4. Take a cable car ride up Penang Hill (the view of the island is breathtaking!) and go on a ferry ride
The Penang Hill funicular train ride in Air Itam is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the state. Although it is possible to trek up the hill or arrange for a jeep to ferry you up (via the Botanic Gardens – another of the state’s green enclaves lined with a myriad of plants and century-old trees), the short 30-minute train ride is not-to-be-missed (especially since it has been faithfully ferrying passengers since 1923)!
The famous yellow ferries at Weld Quay were the main mode of transportation between the island and mainland before the Penang Bridge was constructed. Till today, it remains an important mode of transportation and is synonymous with the island state of Penang. The 15-minute ride affords passengers a view of two important heritage buildings – Wisma Yeap Chor Ee and Wisma Kastam, as you head towards the island. Once a thriving maritime port, Weld Quay now houses a bustling bus terminal, ports, clan jetty settlements and restaurants.
|(Malaysia) - Penang Hill|
5. Shop at the many flea markets, pasar malam and modern shopping malls
From the Lorong Kulit and Rope Walk flea markets to the Campbell Street and Little India traditional shopping areas and modern shopping malls like Gurney Plaza and Queensbay (just to name a few), Penang is a shopper’s paradise.
Even if shopping is not your thing, do spare a few hours browsing (especially at the local antique shops and handicraft centres) because it’ll be worth your while! Bargaining is a skill that is best honed in Penang where the traders are quite a friendly lot.
|(Malaysia) - Penang - Flea markets|
6. Buy famous local products (nutmeg, spices, tau sar pheah, etc) and handicrafts as souvenirs.
The Batu Ferringhi tourist belt offers some eye-catching knick-knacks including wood carvings, silver jewellery, crockery and display items. However, with Penang being a food paradise, it is no surprise that her most popular local products are edible. These include nutmeg items (everything from massage oil to preserved nutmeg and nutmeg juice is popular), spices (after all, Penang used to be famous for its spice trade) and tau sar pheah (a type of local biscuit with bean paste filling).
|(Malaysia) - Penang- Local products|
7. Visit the many different places of worship
Grand churches, elaborate Buddhist and Indian temples and magnificent mosques are all part and parcel of the local culture. Be it the St George’s Church (built in 1816), Kapitan Keling Mosque, Kek Lok Si Temple, Snake Temple (yes, there are live snakes inside!) or Sri Mahamariamman Temple, the different races often converge at these places of worship to practice their faith and it is indeed, a sight to be hold.
|(Malaysia) - Kapitan Keling Mosque|
8. Check out the nightlife i.e., Party!
The Upper Penang Road party hotspot in George Town comes alive when the sun descends on the horizon. Here, you will find pubs, karaoke lounges and clubs with live bands where the drinks keep flowing and the beat keeps thumping!
At nearby Chulia Street, backpackers chill and bond in little budget motels, coffee shops and watering holes that serve relatively cheap beer and drinks.
|(Malaysia) - Nightlife in Penang|
9. Join a homestay prgramme at the idyllic fishing villages
The Teluk Bahang and Balik Pulau fishing villages are known for their homestay programmes where tourists can hang with the locals and experience the simple lifestyle of the hospitable kampung (village) folk.
|(Malaysia) - Teluk bahang fishing village|
10. Relax and unwind at the many spas or go for a traditional massage!
There is no better way to end the day than with a soothing massage after a fun-filled adventure in an exotic isle. Here, you can opt for a pampering session at hotels like the Rasa Sayang Resort’s exclusive Chi Spa or go for a no-frills hour-long massage at the many foot reflexology and body massage centres. Such services are also offered by “nomad” masseuses along the Batu Ferringhi stretch.
|(Malaysia) - Teluk bahang fishing village|