10 Things to Do in Penang

10 Things to Do in Penang
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By Jane K.

Are you looking for mouthwatering food, street art, rich heritage and a fun getaway all in one place? Then Penang is a must-visit for you.

1. Take a tram up to Penang Hill

Tram to Penang Hill
Tram to Penang Hill (Source : Instagram)
View from Penang Hill
View from Penang Hill

This is a place you shouldn’t miss. Visit Penang Hill during the day to enjoy a panoramic view of the island and mainland. Sitting some 800 metres above sea level, the hill uses one of the oldest railway systems in the world. If a tram ride isn’t your cup of tea, hike up the walking trails. It will take about two hours to reach the summit and refreshment stops are readily available.

2. Visit Kek Lok Si Temple

Kek Lok Si Temple and a 36-metre statue of Guanyin (Goddess of Mercy)
Kek Lok Si Temple and a 36-metre statue of Guanyin (Source: Instagram |wnfdiary)
Kek Lok Si Display of Lights – Penang

One of the largest Buddhist Temples in Southeast Asia, Kek Lok Si Temple is an important pilgrimage site for Buddhist devotees. Don’t miss its beautiful Pagoda and the 36-metre statue of Guanyin (Goddess of Mercy). The design of Kek Lok Si Pagoda was inspired by the cultures of three countries – China (with visible Chinese-inspired design at the base), Thailand (the middle) and Myanmar (the top).

3. Take a trishaw ride through Penang’s heritage streets

Tourists Enjoying Trishaw Rides
Tourists Enjoying Trishaw Rides (Source: Beauty Around Me)

Want to have a memorable experience discovering George Town? Hop on the city’s oldest mode of transportation – the trishaw – for a truly authentic Penang experience. The traditional three-wheeled taxi is the only mode of transportation back in the old days. You can enjoy great sights while riding through Penang’s heritage streets. Acting as your personal tour guide, most drivers will explain the history of the areas that you’ll see throughout the ride. After all, with its UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site status, expect to be wowed by the rich culture in Penang’s capital.

4. Dine at Gurney Drive

Dining at Gurney Drive
Dining at Gurney Drive Hawker (Source:Instagram | leezhiyi888)
Popular Penang Food at Gurney Drive
Popular Penang Food at Gurney Drive (Source: Instagram)

Gurney Drive Hawker Centre is a must-visit for food lovers.This is where you can find a range of local favourites like char kuey teow, Hokkien mee, rojak, satay and many other delights at reasonable prices. It is located right next to Gurney Plaza and Gurney Paragon, two of the most popular shopping malls in Penang.

5. Visit the Clan Jetties Floating Villages

Clan Jetty
Clan Jetty (Source: Instagram | abdalrhmanu_)
Floating Village Clan Jetty
Floating Village Clan Jetty (Source: Instagram | keongdagreat)

The Clan Jetties are part of the Penang Heritage Trail. They were established at a time when Penang’s maritime trade was booming. In the early 19th century, many Chinese immigrants came to Penang and worked as coolies or fishermen. Today, only six jetties remain after one was demolished by fire in 2006. The remaining jetties are the Lim, Chew, Tan, Lee, Yeoh and Mixed Clan Jetties. The Chew Jetty has the largest community and is the most popular jetty for tourists. The movie ‘Ice Kacang Puppy Love’ features beautiful scenes taken at this jetty, making it famous in recent years. There is also a Temple of Good Health situated before the entrance, which is worth a visit.

6. Explore street art in George Town

Street Art
Street Art in George Town(Source: Instagram)

Discover world-famous wall paintings drawn by renowned artists, including Ernest Zacharevic, Bibichun, Jesus Moreno, Alex Face, Nafir and Kenji Cha, in George Town. These wall murals are inspired by Penang culture and lifestyle, with some masterpieces carrying social messages. Be prepared to take loads of photos while exploring these places. Reminder: Don’t forget to fully charge your phones and cameras. Bring along a power bank too.

7. Visit the Penang Peranakan Mansion

Penang Peranakan Mansion
Penang Peranakan Mansion (Source:Instagram | malaysiatravelresorts & erycoctaviano)

Resplendently maintained, with a convivial vibe, you’ll find yourself sitting on the ornate chairs for a long time while soaking in the actual home of a Baba. Be transported back to the 19th century with a visit to Penang Peranakan Mansion, where you’ll get to admire the culture and lifestyle of Babas and Nyonyas in that era. Besides the showcase of over 1,000 pieces of antiques and collectibles, the mansion’s intricate design and architecture are breathtaking. Give yourself enough time to explore this mansion properly; its grounds are bigger than expected and its breadth of artefacts is astounding.

8. Visit Fort Cornwallis

Fort Cornwallis Penang 1
Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower and Francis Light’s statue at Fort Cornwallis (Source: Instagram)
Fort Cornwallis 2
Lighthouse and 17th Century Dutch Canon at Fort Cornwallis (Source: Instagram)

Fort Cornwallis is one of Penang’s main tourist attractions. It was built in the late 18th century to defend Penang from enemy attacks. However, it was mostly used for administrative and storage purposes. The Statue of Sir Captain Francis Light and the largest of the fort’s cannons – Sri Rambai – are its main highlights. Legend says that anyone who places flowers on the canon will conceive easily.

9. Visit Made in Penang Interactive Museum

Penang Interactive Museum1
Penang Interactive Museum (Source: Instagram | maniaurelius)
Penang Interactive Museum 2
Penang Interactive Museum (Source: Instagram | norfazzianaloh)

Don’t be intimidated by the word “Museum”. At this interactive museum, you’ll have fun exploring exciting 3D artworks and optical illusions. Experience the joy of having tea with the well-loved former chief minister Lim Guan Eng, and relive Penang’s history through larger-than-life exhibits. Don’t forget your camera!

10. Visit Batu Ferringhi

Batu Ferringhi
Batu Ferringhi at Penang (Source : Instagram | csling00)

Want some relaxing time at the beach? Drive 15 minutes from George Town to Batu Ferringhi, where a long and beautiful beach can be found. Here, you can enjoy water sports such as parasailing, jet skiing and more, or simply relax and sunbathe on the beach. Wait for the sunset for a stunning view. You can also shop at the nearby night market, which sells a variety of souvenirs and local products. Let your bargaining skills shine; we hope you can get what you want at a reasonable price!

What do you think about our top 10 things to do in Penang? Give us your comments and share your favourite activities in Penang! Also see our articles: ….

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