Penang is a magnificent island state located on the northwest coast of Malaysia. It is renowned worldwide for its rich cultural heritage, ambient location, mouthwatering seafood and stunning natural landscape. Often considered one of the best destinations to travel in Southeast Asia, the state features well-preserved colonial architecture, vibrant street art and teeming markets that add to its charm.
Things to see and do in Penang
- Start your Penang adventure by hopping on a tricycle (trishaw) and exploring George Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the colonial buildings and colourful street art that line the city's winding streets. Pay attention to the island's multicultural legacy by visiting famous landmarks like Khoo Kongsi, Pinang Peranakan Mansion and Kapitan Keling Mosque.
- Visit Kek Lok Si Temple, one of the finest and largest Buddhist temples in Southeast Asia. The temple complex is nestled on a hilltop overlooking George Town and offers beautiful views of the surrounding area. Marvel at the impressive pagoda of Rama VI and the towering Goddess of Mercy statue, with the temple's intricate design, sculptures and carvings.
- Penang is the famous food capital of Malaysia, and embarking on a culinary marathon is one of the best things to do in Penang. Try iconic dishes like 'Char Kway Teow' (stir-fried noodles), 'Assam Laksa' (spicy noodle soup), 'Nasi Kandar' (mixed rice) and the delectable 'Penang Curry Mee' at the various food courts and hawker centres across the island. Gurney Drive and New Lane in George Town are the state's famous food havens.
- Penang boasts many picturesque beaches like Batu Ferringhi and Teluk Bahang. Enjoy water sports, play beach volleyball, sunbathe on the golden sands or stroll along the coastline. Watching the sun hit the horizon at Batu Ferringhi Beach is genuinely a surreal experience.
- Take a funicular train ride to Penang Hill, the island's highest point. Enjoy jaw-dropping panoramic views of the island and the Strait of Malacca amidst the lush greenery and minty-fresh air. Explore The Habitat, an ecological park featuring an enchanting canopy walk and the iconic Curtis Crest Tree Top Walk for a thrilling experience amidst nature.
- Visit the Penang Butterfly Farm to witness the fascinating world of butterflies. Wander through this lush tropical garden filled with thousands of colourful butterflies and learn about the life cycles and habitats of these creatures. It is a beautiful experience, especially for families and nature lovers.
- Roam around the city to find various murals and installations created by local and international artists. Each piece of art reveals a different aspect of Penang's history, culture, and traditions. Remember to take out your camera because these works of art provide fantastic photo opportunities.
Tips for travellers
Penang enjoys tropical weather for most parts of the year, so the best time to visit is during the dry months from mid December to late February. George Town is the best place to stay in Penang, among the heritage houses, street art and the island's best hawker stalls.