Asia,  Malaysia,  Travel planning

Top Things to do in Penang, Malaysia

Why should you visit Penang?

Malaysia is a treasure trove of amazing experiences.   One of the things to do in Malaysia is definitely to pay a visit to its smallest province, Penang. Penang tourist attractions include many interesting temples, fabulous beaches, delicious food tastings and many more. We loved visiting Penang, and know we will definitely be back. Visit this amazing place and decide for yourself which is the best place in Penang.  There are plenty of things to do in Penang, and sometimes it can be difficult to figure out which ones you should tackle first.  This is our Top Things to do in Penang list.  It is not an exhaustive list but does give you an indication of some of the great things there are to there.  Hopefully, this list will help you in planning a trip to Penang.

Where is Penang?

Penang is a Malaysian state located on the northwest coast of Malay Peninsula. The state is divided into two parts: Penang Island, where the capital city, George Town, is located, and Seberang Perai on the Malay Peninsula.  Due to its geographical location and history, Penang is at the crossroads of Malay, Chinese and Indian cultures and cuisines.  This makes Penang, especially Georgetown, an experience unlike any other you will have.

Don’t Forget

Don’t forget the weather in Penang can be hot or hotter – so it pays to plan when you are going to do activities.  We took advantage of our jet lag and got out and about very early (probably too early) and managed to see loads of street art without anybody else around.  The best part of all we were able to finish our self-guided street art tour with a very strong black coffee – Malaysian style.

Top 10 Things to Do in Penang

Top things to do in Penang
Photo by Red Morley Hewitt via Unsplash
  1. Wander around Old George Town – Old George town is a heart of the city and a really interesting place in Penang, for a visitor to see. If you are wondering which places to visit at Georgetown Penang a good idea is just to wander through the labyrinth of old streets and observe the colours and the structure of many traditional buildings.
  2. Visit Penang Khoo Khongsi temple – A 650 years old temple where the Chinese families gather to worship their ancestors. Due to its many unique decorations, the temple is one of the most popular in Penang.
  3. Visit the big Buddha at Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram – Certainly one of the highlights of Penang, this Thai Buddhist temple contains one of the world’s longest reclining Buddha statues, as well as several coloured statues of Devas and other mythical creatures.
  4. Try a watersport at Batu Ferringhi beach – Batu Ferringhi is a popular town in Penang with its long sandy beach being the main attraction there. This Penang beach is perfect for learning a new water sport or just enjoying a long evening walk.
  5. Visit Kek Lok Si Temple – The largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia and an important pilgrimage centre for Buddhists is a perfect place for a visitor to learn more about the culture of Penang. Due to its popularity at nighttime during holiday days, it is considered a Penang night attraction.
  6. Admire the view from Penang Hill – What to do in Penang hill is up to you, the only thing you should not miss is the view from the top of the hill. At 830 meters above the sea level, on a nice day, you have a chance to observe the panoramic view of George Town and the eastern coast of Penang Island. There are a few interesting temples on the hill and many food stalls around them.
  7. Learn history at Fort Cornwallis – If you are interested in local history, Fort Cornwallis is a good place to visit and get an idea of how the British conquerors maintained their control over the area.
  8. Visit Snake Temple – This interesting Buddhist temple must be included in your “Penang temple list” due to many snakes that roam freely around the temple, the place became one of popular Penang attractions. Even though most of them had their venom extracted it is still advised not to bother with them.
  9. Travel back in time at the Pinang Peranakan Museum – Certainly one of Penang points of interest, this museum is located in a refurbished Peranakan mansion from the 1900s. The museum houses exhibits of different lifestyles of the Baba and Nyonya, prominent communities in Penang, Malacca, and Singapore in the past.
  10. Enjoy a Penang food tour – Penang is a perfect place to embark on a culinary marathon as the city is ranked as one of the cities with the best choice of foods in the world. A good place to start the tour is along the Gurney Drive.  Book your Street Food Tour Today.


Free things to do in Penang

Top things to do in Penang
Photo by Chinsoontan via Pixabay
  1. Visit the Nutmeg Factory – You don’t need to spend a fortune on your Penang activities, as some of the things to do in Penang are completely free. In the Nutmeg Factory, you can learn about this interesting fruit called Nutmeg and observe the production process. The tour is free, though you are encouraged to visit a shop and purchase some products.
  2. Admire the street art – When considering which things to see in Penang, this outdoor art gallery is one of “must visit places in Penang”. The streets of George Town are literally filled with interesting pieces of graffiti. Due to the number of art murals in the city, hunting for them all can be an all-day
  3. Trek in Penang National Park – The National Park is famous for being the smallest national park in the world with the area of only 2.5-hectare. Even small, the park is rich in biodiversity and a good choice for a Penang family trip. There you can find beautiful lakes, wetlands, mangrove plantations, coral reefs and turtle nesting beaches. Even better, this nice place to visit in Penang has no entrance


Top Things to do with Kids

  1. Escape Adventureland – Definitely one of the most fun places to go, this outdoor, eco-conscious theme park is a great way to spend one day in Penang. Try a zip-line, a free fall from a 20 meter-high jump platform or some other jungle activities, suitable for all ages.
  2. Visit The Interactive Museum – If you are looking for things to do in Penang with kids, you have to include this unique museum on your itinerary in Penang. In this 3D museum, you can get fed by a giant shrimp, try yourself in making Teh Tarik or enjoy a cup of coffee with the wax figure of Chief Minister of Penang.
  3. Observe interesting bird species in Penang Bird Park – The park is believed to be one of the most beautiful places in Penang. Even though it is not located on Penang island, it is still considered a “Penang hotspot” and worth to be included in your Penang tour.

Top Things to Eat in Penang

Top things to do in Penang; What to eat in Penang
Photo by Melvinchia via Pixabay
  1. Assam laksa – White rice noodles, shredded fish, sliced pineapples, cucumber, onions, red chillis, lettuce, mint leaves steeped within the tamarind-flavoured soup this dish is a perfect mixture of a sweet, sour and spicy combination and considered the best food in
  2. Char kuey teow – Literally translated into “stir-fried rice cake strips” is a popular noodle dish in Malaysia. Though delicious, Char kway teow has a reputation of being unhealthy due to its high-fat
  3. Koay Teow Th’ng – The dish typically comes with slices of pork, fish or eel balls, fish cake and a tasty broth with flat rice noodles. Trying this noodle soup is a must do in Penang.
  4. Teochew Chendul – Eating a Teochew Chendul is an experience you will never forget. A bowl of shaved ice filled with chewy green rice flour jelly, red beans, fresh coconut milk and a splash of brown sugar syrup is one of Malaysian favourite

What to do in Penang?

There is plenty to do and see in Penang. These are our highlights which give you a taster for the top things to do in Penang.  What you choose to do is ultimately up to you, your tastes, budget and time.  Hopefully, this list of the Top Things to do in Penang gives you a view into some of the great things Penang has to offer.

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Top Things to do in Penang, Street Art in Penang

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We are Cath & Andy, avid travellers who are either travelling or planning the next trip. Come along and join us for the ride as we house sit and explore new destinations. On Red Door Ponderings you will find destination guides, travel essentials we love, and information about long-term travel in your 40s and 50s with your significant other.


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