What to do in Penang
After a visit to Kuala Lumpur , Ipoh and a short stopover in Cameron Highlands , it was Penang’s turn during our tour in Malaysia. An island about which we have heard many positive things, but which at first sight were a bit disappointing. In Penang you really end up in a big city and not on an island such as Langkawi. After a few days we discovered a number of nice places that we would like to share. Discover below what you can do in Penang.
1 Kek Lok Si Temple
Admittedly, after three weeks in Malaysia you have seen most of the temples after a while. Nevertheless, we decided to visit the Kek Lok Si Temple and we have not complained. It is the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia. Very impressive! From this temple you have a beautiful view over the city of Penang. The Kek Lok Si Temple is free to visit except for a small part where you pay 5 MYR per person. In addition, if you do not want to go up on foot, you can also pay MYR 10 to get to the top with a lift.
2 Street Art
In Penang, and especially Georgetown, you can find a lot of street art. The reason for this lies in 2009 when street art had to make the city more beautiful in order to get on the UNESCO World Heritage Site (which we succeeded). In the city center you can take a whole route and walk along this beautiful art. You can obtain a map with the walking route for free in both the airport and port.
3 Penang Street Food
Penang is best known for its excellent food. It is therefore called the food capital of Malaysia. And that may be true. You should definitely try the Mee Goreng, Assam Laksa and Popiah dishes here. In addition to a street art guide, you can also get a free guide to Penang’s street food at every airport and port in Penang. A nice and cozy food market where we have been several times is The Jetty Food Court . The Pad Thai of barely 10 MYR (about 2 euros) is delicious!
4 Penang National Park
Although we mainly describe Penang as a busy island because of its bustle in Georgetown, you can also find a very beautiful piece of nature in the Penang National Park. Even though this is the smallest national park in the world with its 23 km², you can admire a lot of fauna and flora here, such as turtles. The park opens every morning at 8 a.m., although it can also be closed during some periods (especially when there is a lot of precipitation).
5 Clan Jetties - houses on the water
A very unique and special place is Clan Jetties. This is a neighborhood that is built entirely on stilts in the sea. And although there are some tourist stalls here, this is above all a real residential area. If you come in the evening to have a beautiful sunset, you will see different people sitting in the living room. This district is mainly inhabited with Chinese who work at sea. The district is touristy, so it is also safe to visit.
Visiting 6 Beaches
To our great surprise, Penang is an island where the beaches are not as nice as we thought. If you are really looking for a beach holiday, it is better to go to Langkawi or another island for a few days. If you still want to enjoy the beach in Penang, it is better to go to Batu Ferringhi, Moonlight Bay or Monkey Beach. At Monkey Beach you have to take into account aggressive monkeys that like to touch your things. Batu Ferringhi is the easiest to get to and you also have the option to book some water activities here. Along the way, you’ll come across a smaller, secluded beach at Moonlight Bay. Also worth stopping for a while.
7 Water Theme Park Escape Penang
The big surprise of Penang was the water park Escape. In addition to the longest water slide in the world, you will also find an entire adventure park and numerous water slides here. It reminded us a bit of Xplor in Mexico , and that’s a big compliment. A must do for anyone traveling through Malaysia with children. Please note: all slides only open after 2 pm. It is the intention that you visit the adventure park with climbing course and trampolines in the morning, in the afternoon you can cool off in the swimming pools. You can book these tickets and other tours here.
8 Chulia Street and Love Street
Chulia Street and Love Street are two cozy streets where you have a lot of dining options. Chulia Street is especially nice during the day and Love Street at nightfall, as you have a lot of cafes here that are open until late. You can easily visit these two streets together as they are close to each other. You should also not plan too much time for these two streets. Besides the fun and dining options, there is not much to do here.
9 Hin Bus Depot
Another nice place to eat is the Hin Bus Depot. This small market with local products is somewhat hidden behind a facade and you really have to know it. But that only makes this trendy place cozier. On most weekdays and on weekends there is a DJ present which provides a nice vibe.
Transportation in Penang
Penang has an excellent bus network and you can get almost everywhere by public transport. The only drawback is the number of stops and the duration of a ride. It takes you an hour from the center of Georgetown to the Escape water park. A journey that only needs to take half an hour by taxi. You buy a bus ticket from the driver when you get on the bus.
Vervoer in Penang
Penang beschikt over een uitstekend busnetwerk en je kan dan ook bijna overal geraken met het openbaar vervoer. Het enige nadeel is het aantal stops en de duur van een rit. Zo ben je vanuit het centrum van Georgetown naar het waterpretpark Escape een uur onderweg. Een rit dat met de taxi maar een halfuur hoeft te duren. Een busticket koop je bij het opstappen van de bus bij de chauffeur.
Grab and Taxi
In all honesty, we did not take a single taxi in Penang. For the simple reason that we didn’t come across any when we needed it. In addition, the Grab application is so easy that we have also used it here. Keep in mind that the app only works well in busy areas. If you go to the national park, it is better to register a Grab car for several hours via the application. A Grab taxi for 4 hours will cost you about 90 MYR.
Rent a car or moped
Unlike other regions in Malaysia, Penang is easy to reach by car or moped. Traffic is calmer and you can easily park almost anywhere. However, the cost is still higher than with public transport or a Grab taxi. You do, of course, have the freedom to go anywhere without having to worry about the return journey or the number of hours you stay somewhere. We ourselves were able to completely tick off this list of Things to do in Penang by using a Grab taxi and public transport.