Penang is a must visit, make sure you include it!

Penang Island

If there is one place in Malaysia that shows how the British in the 16th century left their mark in exotic South East Asia, I would have to say that it’s Penang Island.

Initially a trading outpost discovered by Captain Francis Light in 1876, today is it regarded as the food capital of Malaysia, due to the multicultural aspect of the island.

George Town is listed as an UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. Located at the north western part of Peninsula Malaysia, the island’s name, Pinang, is actually the Malay word for the Areca nut.

Penang is connected to the mainland by the famous 13.5 km Penang Bridge, a visit to this “Pearl of the Orient” is certainly worth it, for a glimpse into the fascinating world of Malaysia.

Places To See in Penang:

Old George Town

Penang Georgetown

A Unesco’s heritage site, the inner city of George Town has the ambiance of a colonial past with its Straits architecture.

Each street and building here has their own unique history.

Penang Snake Temple

Penang Snake Temple

The Penang Snake Temple or “Chor Soo Kong” Temple is filled with pit vipers and other serpents.

These snakes are said to be rendered docile by the smoke from the scared joss sticks and incense. But as an additional precaution, the vipers have also had their venom glands removed, which is a relief when you are standing less than an arm’s length from them!

Kids love them and they are a great photo opportunity.

Penang Butterfly Farm

Penang Butterfly Farm

A great stop which is very popular with tourists and a favourite with kids. Here you can see plenty of colourful butterflies and other Penang creatures. It is well worth a visit, best to arrive right on opening before the multitude of tourists get here, make sure you listen in to the guided walk through by one of the staff.

Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram (Sleeping Buddha Temple)

A Thai Buddhist temple that is well known for having the 3rd largest reclining Buddha statue.

The temple was built in 1845 on a piece of land given by Queen Victoria as a gesture of goodwill to boost trading relations with Thailand.

Kek Lok Si Temple

Kek Lok Si Temple Penang

This is the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia and is continually growing! Well maybe not literally but they are constantly adding to it, so it is getting larger everyday.

It is also located near the Sleeping Buddha Temple where a small community of Thai-Malaysians.

The Spice Garden

The Spice Garden is the only one of its kind in South East Asia.

Visitors can get to roam the 8 plus acres of secondary forest and learn about the various spices that can found in nature around this part of the world.

Also, there are cooking classes where you can get to learn how to use these spices in your cooking.

Penang Hill

Penang Hill

Take the tram to the top of the hill, make sure you sit at the front of the tram to really experience the ride, both on the way up and even more so on the way back down!

It is located 830 meters above the sea, Penang Hill (Bukit Bendera in Malay) is around 3 degrees cooler than the surrounding coastal region.

The hill was originally cleared by Captain Francis Light to plant strawberries. Apart from the majestic views offered by Penang Hill, visitors can also get to experience the “Canopy Walk” from treetop to treetop through the jungle.

Where to Stay in Penang?

There is something for everyone here on Penang Island. You have cheap budget accommodation for the backpacker, family accommodation in Penang resorts on the beach and 5 star luxury if you want to spoil yourself.

So do take the time to read through the accommodation pages on this website to see what will suite your budget and needs.

What To Eat in Penang?

Penang Food

The population of Penang really love to eat and the choices they have are quite incredible. Not surprisingly, street food in Penang offers a huge variety and these varieties come from all the major races in Malaysia.

You can get Chinese, Malay and Indian food served steaming hot within minutes and you know the best bit is the prices are a fraction of what it will cost you when you eat in a restaurant.

  • Penang Char Koay Teow
  • Flat rice noodles stir fried with eggs, bean sprouts, cockles and prawns. No equal in taste!
  • Nasi Kandar
  • Hot steaming rice served with a long list of curries. I would classify it as a one-stop curry station cooked with aromatic spices.
  • Penang Assam Laksa
  • Actually there are two types of Laksa. One is curry Laksa cooked with rich coconut milk, while the other one, which Penang is actually famous for, is Assam Laksa, cooked with tamarind giving it a tangy taste. Personally, I prefer the curry version but ladies seem to love the tamarind version.
  • Rojak
  • The word “Rojak” is actually used to describe a wild mix of fruit turned into a salad, marinated with crushed peanuts and shrimp paste. It can only be found in South East Asia and there is actually no word that can describe the taste of it. You have got to try it to be able to appreciate this dish.

Getting to Penang Island

Penang is accessible by road, Rail and air.

Visitors can take the North-South Highway by car or by bus for a 5 hours trip from Kuala Lumpur to Penang. Daily flights from KL are also available on Air Asia, Malaysia Airlines and Firefly.

Train services are provided by KTMB. For more information, please check the following websites below:

Have A TIP about your time on Penang?

Do you know an interesting way of getting to Penang?

Best hotels to stay at?

Best food areas?

Best things to do?

Cheap alternatives?

Tell us all about it, share your Penang tip with your fellow travelers.

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