Penang Island Travel Guide

Located in Malaysia’s lush northwest, Penang Island is a relaxed yet distinctively multicultural region of the nation. It boasts intriguing architecture, a wealth of culture, stunning beaches, and hospitable residents. It draws inspiration from Malay, Chinese, and Indian cultures, as well as a healthy dose of British colonization. In addition to the meals…

George Town, the capital, exudes a lot of vintage appeal. Ride a trishaw bike through its time-capsule-worthy neighborhoods, or explore the numerous murals to learn about the vibrant street art movement in the city. Don’t stop in the city, though; continue on to the cool top of Penang Hill, tour the Tropical Spice Garden, and relax on Batu Ferringhi Beach in the sun.

After a tiring day of touring, Penang offers some of its distinctive delicacies, which you would be unwise to ignore. Think laksa, nasi lemak, char koay teow, and cendol, an ice dessert made with coconut milk and green jelly noodles. This region of Malaysia is a foodie’s heaven.

Penang Island Travel Guide
Penang Island Travel Guide

Things to do in Penang

Spend some time in George Town

George Town, the capital of Penang, proudly displays the city’s location at the intersection of the east and west. Explore the historic center to witness a blend of opulent British colonial structures, vibrant Chinese shophouses, intricate temples, and towering mosques. In fact, George Town’s rich history is so evident that it was inducted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008.

Find your new favorite food

With dishes like heaps of rich, smokey char koay teow and steamy bowls of tart assam laksa, Penang’s street food culture will take you to a new plane of existence. Take your time exploring the numerous hawker booths and savoring cuisine inspired by Malay, Chinese, and Indian cultures. Alternatively, if you’d rather not miss any delicious bites, sign up for a street food tour guided by a local expert.

Embrace nature at Penang National Park

Penang National Park is a tiny but well-formed park with tranquil woods, beautiful (and sometimes deserted) beaches, and a healthy population of otters, birds, turtles, and other species. For those who are feeling adventurous, the park offers several hiking trails. Alternatively, you may take a boat and get at an unbelievable beach in no time.

Penang Island Travel Guide
Penang Island Travel Guide

Go searching for street art

As you stroll around George Town’s streets and avenues, you’ll quickly notice how many works of street art are displayed on the city’s walls. Murals by local and international artists have been adorning the city, giving even the most drab structures a bright, colorful touch by portraying fragments of real and surreal life. Go for a stroll and select your best for a picture perfect for Instagram.

Ride the funicular up Penang Hill

As soon as you arrive at George Town, you will see Penang Hill. It’s difficult to miss, rising 821 meters straight up from the city’s periphery, and the breathtaking views from the summit include the whole island. To reach the peak, however, you’ll need to take the world’s steepest tunnel track by funicular, which is only one part of the exciting journey.

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