10 Best Things to do in Penang [2023]: Unmissable activities!

Updated on:  
November 30, 2022
Reading Time:  
Jaimie Jomocan
Penang is packed with exciting activities for families, couples, and solo travelers. From the iconic Penang Bridge to the colonial architecture of George Town, there's no shortage of fun things to do in Penang.

When people ask their friends for vacation ideas, Malaysia frequently comes up. One of the main reasons why Malaysia is such a popular tourist destination is because of Penang Island. Penang Island is rich in heritage and culture, blending Malay, Chinese, Indian, and British traditions.

Penang has a plethora of exciting activities and attractions to help you fill your vacation with unforgettable experiences. From exploring lush rainforests and beautiful beaches to visiting fascinating museums and historical sites, you won't run out of things to do in Penang.

penang malaysia
Photo by Christoph Theisinger on Unsplash

Where is Penang?

Penang is situated on the northwest coast of Malaysia in the Malacca Straits. It is an island-federal territory of Malaysia and has two parts. The first one is Penang Island, where the capital city of George Town is located, and the second is Seberang Perai, which sits on the mainland opposite the island.

Why should you visit Penang?

CNN has declared Penang one of the best travel destinations of 2022. There is much to explore here, from its intriguing history and traditions to its delicious cuisine! I recommend planning your next backpacking trip to Penang if you enjoy exploring new places. With its rich Malay history, gorgeous beaches, delicious food, and laid-back lifestyle, Penang has become a prime example of just how diverse Southeast Asian travel can be.

Common Questions About Penang

What is Penang famous for?

Penang Island is well-known for its gorgeous beaches, street food, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of George Town.

Are three days in Penang enough?

With so many interesting places to visit, three days in Penang are not nearly enough time to fully explore the island's history and traditions.

Photo by Wan San Yip on Unsplash

Top Things to do in Penang

Penang offers a wide range of exciting activities for every kind of traveler, such as touring historical museums, trying local cuisine, and relaxing on the island's alluring beaches. Here are some of the top things to do in Penang:

10. Admire the Majestic Floating Mosque

Located in Tanjung Bungah, the Floating Mosque is a beautiful tourist attraction made from concrete and steel. It is also popularly called Tanjung Bungah Floating Mosque. It is called a Floating Mosque because it was built on an elevated platform and appears to float when the tides are high. The Tanjung Bungah Floating Mosque features a mix of Middle Eastern and local architectural styles and is a sight that you can't miss when in Penang.

9. Explore the Tropical Spice Garden

With over 500 species of herbs, spices, and tropical plants, the Tropical Spice Garden is one of the most unique destinations in Penang. The trails at the Tropical Spice Garden take you through undulating hills, terraces, and streams so that you can fully take in the beauty and diversity of nature.

You can visit the garden at Teluk Bahang, George Town, from 9 am to 4 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays or from 9 am to 6 pm from Fridays to Sundays.

8. Take a Stroll Through the Clan Jetties

Walking around and exploring the clan jetties is one of the best things to do in Penang with your family. Clan jetties are floating, elevated settlements built in the 19th century by Chinese immigrants. Each coast of George Town has several jetties nearby, each with a variety of shops and stalls. One of the most well-known of these clan jetties is the Chew Jetty. If you're interested in history and culture, visiting the clan jetties is an excellent addition to your list of things to do in George Town, Penang.

7. Enjoy the Different Flavors of Street Food

One of the most popular things to do in Penang is to sample the local street food. Penang has a diverse gastronomic tapestry waiting to satisfy your taste buds. One of the most well-loved dishes you should try is Nasi Lemak. Nasi lemak is a delicious fried rice dish with various toppings such as chicken curry, fried Ikan Bilis (anchovies), sambal, and peanuts.

6. Go Hiking in Penang National Park

Hiking at Penang National Park is a great way to explore the lush greenery of Penang's rainforest. Just don't forget to check the weather, apply insect repellant, wear comfortable shoes, and bring enough water before going.

If you're looking for a moderately challenging trail, I recommend the Kerachut Beach trail, which will take you around Meromictic Lake and astound you with a scenic view of the ocean.

5. Appreciate Art in George Town

Penang's capital city, George Town, is well-known for its vibrant street art and sculptures. Street art can be found on every corner in George Town, making for a delightful stroll through its streets. You can get a glimpse of the boy on a bike at Armenian Street, the brother and sister on a swing at Gat Lebuh Chulia Street, or Susu Soya Asli & Segar between Victoria Street and Pengkalan Weld.

george town art penang
Photo by Yaopey Yong on Unsplash

4. Relax on Monkey Beach and Batu Ferringhi Beach

You can enjoy a day at Monkey Beach or Batu Ferringhi Beach. Named after its crab-eating macaques, Monkey Beach is also home to sea otters, fruit bats, and eagles. Both coasts have clear waters and fine sand. You can sunbathe on the beach or enjoy a casual stroll along the water's edge. I recommend surfing and jet skiing if you like extreme activities.

3. Stay at Cheong Fatt Tze's Blue Mansion

The Blue Mansion is a stunning fusion of Chinese and European architecture. The Blue Mansion showcases the life and legacy of Cheong Fatt Tze, the successful businessman who had the mansion built in the late 19th century.

Now a boutique hotel, the Blue Mansion offers a unique blend of old-world grandeur and modern luxuries. Treating yourself to a stay in this hotel is just the perfect way to cap off a day of sightseeing in George Town.

2. Capture Selfies at Kek Lok Si Temple

Taking photos at Kek Lok Si Temple is another fun thing to do in Penang. You can climb up its flight of stairs, appreciate the breathtaking view of Penang, and take a selfie with the temple behind you.

The Kek Lok Si Temple is the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia and is widely visited by pilgrims. With its intricate architecture and beautiful carvings, sculptures, and murals, the Kek Lok Si Temple is a heritage treasure you can't miss.

kek lok si tempe penang
Photo by ONG WEI on Unsplash

1. Shop at Batu Ferringhi Night Market

End the day by shopping at the Batu Ferringhi Night Market, a night market filled with small food stalls and various shops selling clothes, accessories, and much more. It's a fun spot for locals and tourists to visit because of the extensive range of food and goods.

If you're looking for inexpensive travel souvenirs to bring home, the Batu Ferringhi Night Market is the place to go.

Plan your trips smoothly with Pilot

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Penang has excellent food, a beautiful coastline with great beaches, historic buildings from colonial times, and more. So, make sure to include Penang on your list of the best places to visit in Malaysia!

Planning your trip to Penang, Malaysia, can be overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. I recommend booking your transportation and hostel in advance. You should also review your backpacking list before setting out on your journey to Penang. Need all your travel plans in one place? That's where Pilot comes in.

Pilot is your brand new trip planner that helps you discover and build travel itineraries connecting you to resources everywhere. Make the planning experience more fun by collaborating with your travel buddies! 

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Published on:  
November 28, 2022

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