0 Best Penang Attractions Every Tourist Must See

Penang, also known as Malaysia’s pearl of the orient, is a state located at the north-west coast off the Malaysian peninsula. It’s divided into two major parts: the Penang Island and Seberang Perai in the mainland. However, when people say they’re going to Penang, chances are they are going to the Penang Island where most of the attractions are located.

Best known as the food capital of Malaysia, it doesn’t have a shortage in interesting sights to see. Whether you’re looking for a trace of history, a fusion of culture, a variety of tasty culinary or unspoiled natural sites, this city has everything for everyone.

0 Most Popular Attractions in Penang

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Penang Attractions FAQs

What are the Must See Attractions in Penang?

If you have limited time in Penang, we recommend visiting six must see attractions: Penang Hill, Old Streets of George Town, The Clan Jetties, Kek Lok Si Temple, Batu Ferringhi Beach and Penang National Park.

Penang Hill

Penang Hill, or Bukit Bendera as the locals refer to, is one of the major tourist attractions in Penang. It’s a series of hills with the highest one standing at 833 meters above sea level. You can enjoy the view of George Town, the Penang Island, even Seberang Perai and the first Penang bridge from the top of the hill. There are 2 options to reach the top: with funicular train or through the hiking trail loved by nature lovers.


Colourful shophouses, old-fashioned colonial style buildings, long line of street food carts, distinct aroma of spices, and mural arts on the walls are some of the things you will typically find when you walk along the heritage site of George Town. you can book a private guide, but we would definitely recommend sightseeing in Georgetown on a traditional bicycle.

  The Clan Jetties

The Clan Jetties, also part of the heritage site of George Town, are waterfront stilt houses that belong to the Chinese clans who came to Penang back in the 19th century. Each jetty was named after a different clan and today there are Lim, Chew, Tan, Lee and Yeoh, while Peng Aun and Koay jetty have been demolished. Chew Jetty is the most tourist-friendly as well as the most crowded one with souvenir and food shops lined up. For a more quiet alternative, Tan Jetty with its red stilt house at the end of the jetty, which happens to be a temple, can be a good choice.

  Kek Lok Si Temple

Kek Lok Si Temple, which can be translated as ‘Temple of Supreme Bliss’ is one of the biggest Buddhist temples in South-East Asia. Located in Air Itam, near the Penang Hill, it boasts a seven-storey Pagoda and a massive 36 meters Kuan Yin statue. The best time to visit the temple is probably during the Chinese New Year celebration days as the temple is decorated with thousands of colourful lights and lanterns that makes it a sight to behold.

  Batu Ferringhi Beach

Batu Ferringhi Beach, is Penang’s main beach attraction located in the north side of the island. The white-sandy beaches stretch about 4km with hotels, resorts, restaurants and markets along the line. It also hosts a range of water sports and horseback riding. Keep in mind that some areas of the beach are strictly tailored for hotels and resorts guests.

  Penang National Park

One of the best choice for a day-trip from George Town, The Penang National Park located at the northwestern tip of the island, comprises a beautiful rainforest, several trekking rails, secluded beaches, a meromictic lake, a lighthouse and a canopy walkway. One of the highlights of Penang National Park besides its rainforest and trekking rails are its beaches, which are less-crowded and less commercialized than its popular sibling Batu Ferringhi.


Which Attractions are a Day trip from (George Town) Penang?

Penang National Park 

Penang National Park offers a complete day-trip experience for nature lovers. Start with jungle trekking in the morning and end your day with sunset viewing at one of the secluded beaches inside the national park, or go up to the Muka Head lighthouse for stunning views of Straits of Malacca.

Balik Pulau

Balik Pulau, which literally mean ‘the back of the island’, is located on the other side of Penang Island, away from the hustle and bustle of George Town. Experience the authentic slow Malay village life by cycling through the rice paddies and ‘kampung’, tasting fresh milk and ice cream at the Audi Dream Farm or eating the famous Balik Pulau Durian at one of the tropical fruit farms.

Pulau Payar Marine Park

Pulau Payar Marine Park is an uninhabited island located between Langkawi and Penang. As it is an uninhabited island, hence there’s no accommodation available in the island however, you can go for a day-trip from Penang by ferry. Enjoy a relaxing day by diving or snorkeling in the crystal clear water, lazing at the small white sandy beach or soaking up the spectacular sights of the underwater marine life and coral reefs.


Is there an Attractions pass?

The local Government has launched The Travel Privilege Card – Penang. The card can be bought at the Penang Tourist Center office or selected museums for RM20 and valid for one year. It can be used to get up-to 20% discounts in over 100 outlets, museums, and attractions throughout Penang.


What Attractions can you visit in Penang at night?

Penang may not be a metropolitan city that knows no sleep, however, it has its own charm for the night strollers.

Penang Hill

If you’re keen to enjoy the panoramic night view of the city from the top or looking for a dinner at an unusual spot, you can go up to the Penang Hill.

Penang Culinary

Food lovers can satisfy their hunger of Penang culinary at the Gurney Drive Hawker Centre or Chulia Street in George Town that only opens when it starts to get dark.

Batu Ferringhi Night Market

Batu Ferringhi Night Market is a sidewalk bazaar that opens at dusk until past midnight daily. It offers a range of cheap souvenirs for you to take home with, such as handmade crafts, paintings and t-shirts.

Kek Lok Si

If you happen to visit Penang during Chinese New Year period then you may not want to miss the chance to visit Kek Lok Si at night where you can enjoy the colorful lights and lanterns decorated throughout the temple as well as fireworks show. The temple extend its operation hours until 10pm or even midnight to celebrate Chinese New Year.

The Top

Take a chance to see Penang from a different perspective at The Top @ Komtar. Located on level 65 and 68 of Komtar are the Observatory Deck and Rainbow Skywalk where you can enjoy 360 degree view of Penang as well as experience the thrill of walking on a glass walkway at the highest building in Penang.

Penang Avatar Secret Garden

The Penang Avatar Secret Garden brings the Pandora world from the movie Avatar to real life. This attraction really only comes alive at night as it displays vibrant colors of lights placed on trees and plants. You can walk through while admiring the dream-like ambience of the garden and capture some shots for your instagram photo stock.


What are the Best Penang Attractions for couples?

Heritage Walk

Couples can enjoy their time strolling or cycling around the heritage area of George Town and visiting historical or cultural spots such as Pinang Peranakan Mansion, Khoo Kongsi Temple, Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion or Kapitan Keling Mosque.

  Day Cruises

Enjoy a day cruise with your partner and experience some of the best snorkelling locations near Penang. Its a perfect day out in the humid Malaysian weather.

  Unique Dinner Experience

There are also many restaurants, cafes and bars with a view in Penang that may suit your romantic evening, from the highest restaurant in Penang located at Penang Hill to the green-surrounded restaurant at the Tropical Spice Garden.


Are there any Shore Excursions for Travellers on Cruises?

Shore excursions are available for cruise ships travellers as most ships dock at the Swettenham Pier near the heritage area of George Town. If you’re looking to save some money and flexible day trips, check our private guided tours.


What Penang Attractions can you see on a Budget?

Penang is one of the best budget destinations as it has plenty of free attractions and activities with affordable public transportation to travel around. Hop-on-Hop-Off bus is available at a quite reasonable price if you have limited time to visit all the attractions in Penang or you can purchase the travel privilege card to get cheaper entrance fees to attractions and shop discounts.


Is there public transport?

The Rapid Penang Bus is the only land public transportation hub available in Penang on both the island and the mainland. However, it serves many routes and operates throughout the city up to the less-developed areas such as Balik Pulau and Gertak Sanggul fishing village, located at the southern part of the island.

Rapid ferry connects the Penang island in George Town and the mainland in Butterworth. Even though Penang has two bridges connecting each part of the province, the ferry is still a favorite choice for some people commuting between the two, as it is inexpensive and offers a unique experience of riding the oldest ferry service in Malaysia.

There are taxis available, however, it’s not a popular choice as it can be quite expensive and difficult to hail due to the small number of vehicles. Most taxi stands are located near the shopping malls or hotels.


Is there a Hop on Hop off Bus?

The Penang Hop-On Hop-Off Bus offers 2 different routes, the city and the beach route. There are 4 types of tickets; 3 days pass, 24 hours, 48 hours and single trip ticket.


How far is the Airport from Georgetown?

Penang International Airport located at the southern part of the island, approximately 16km from the city centre in George Town can be reached after 45-60 minutes drive, depending on traffic conditions. Buses, taxis and shuttles are available for airport transfer.

Buses – The Rapid Penang bus is the most affordable option to reach the city centre. It has a few routes that go to and from the airport.

  • Bus no 102 will take you from the airport to the northern part of the island through George Town, ending at the Teluk Bahang bus stop right in front of the Penang National Park entrance.
  • Bus no 306 will pass by Air Itam from Airport and end at the Penang General Hospital.
  • Bus no 401 will stop by the airport en route to Balik Pulau from George Town or vice versa.
  • Bus no 401E is the express bus, that has similar route to the bus no 401, however, it will take you straight to the heart of George Town via Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway.
  • Rapid Penang Airport Transit is an additional route to the existing airport routes that will take you to Weld Quay from Airport and vice versa. Unlike the others, this bus is only available every 45 minutes and operates from 6am to 10pm daily.
Taxis and Shuttle

If you need more space for your luggages or are looking for faster and more convenient way, opt for taxis or car hire that can be booked in advance.


What Penang Attractions can you see on long Airport Stopovers?

If you only have a few hours stopovers in Penang then Queensbay Mall, Snake Temple and The War Museum are the best places to visit as they are located quite near the Penang airport. However, for longer hours or even a day, a short trip to George Town heritage area is also possible.


When is the Best time to visit Penang?

Penang is great to be visited all year round as there’s no extreme difference in between the seasons and it hosts different type of events almost every month. However, Chinese New Year period (generally in January or February) is always a good choice as it combines perfect sunny weather and celebrations.


Are there annual events in Penang for Tourists?

Penang hosts a range of annual events for both tourists and locals to participate in. Some of the most notable ones are:

  • Georgetown Festival, a month-long arts and culture celebration.
  • Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, a two-day event held at the Padang Kota Lama that allows visitors to marvel at the sights of Hot Air Balloons flying above the city.
  • Penang International Food Festival, the newest addition to the list of biggest events in Penang, showcasing Penang’s rich food culture.
  • Kek Lok Si Display of Lights which is held every Chinese New Year period.


What’s the Weather like in Penang?

Penang has warm and humid weather throughout the year. However, the month of September to November are considered as the monsoon season in Penang. A typical day on these months can start with gloomy weather, heavy rain, clear sky then another heavy rain. It’s best to always bring umbrella if you happen to visit Penang during this period.


Where are the Best Areas to Stay in Penang for Tourists?

  • George Town – If you’re keen to explore more of the city, George Town is the best area to stay as it’s the city centre and there’s Komtar Bus Terminal where most Rapid Penang buses make their transit before heading to all the other areas of Penang.
  • Batu Ferringhi – With its hotels, resorts and night market, Batu Ferringhi is another popular option, especially if you’d like to spend more time at the beach.  
  • Balik Pulau – Guesthouses and homestays are available in Balik Pulau for a more relaxing ambience and nature-surrounded stay.


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