Penang is considered to be one of the most visited places in Malaysia. It is mostly famous because of its street food and street art. The main location where you can stay in Penang is GeorgeTown. It is a beautiful place and there are literally so many things to do in Penang. Here is a list of the best things to do in Penang. My stay in Penang was just for 3 days and all the things included below can be done in 3-4 days.
These things which are included down below are personally experienced by me. The list is not long enough but it is perfect for a 3-day trip. If you want you can visit other recommended places, but make sure you don’t make your list very long for just a few days. Keep the list short and make sure you enjoy every moment of your trip.
Let’s start with the best things to do in Penang.
Enjoy the street food in Georgetown.
Yes, this is literally on the top of my list. The street food in Penang is just Awesome. You can literally try various things here. The best part of this street food is the cost. Boy, oh boy the food is so cheap here. You can expect a one-time meal anywhere between RM 4 – RM 12 (Rs.69 – Rs.209/$0.9 – $2.9). There are so many things out there, sometimes you even get confused about what to have and what to not.
The things which I tried when I was in Penang were
- Lok Lok.
- WanTan Mee.
- Char Koay Teow.
- Assam Laksha.
- Nasi Kandar
- Chendol (Sweet Dish)
You can do your research according to the food you like. I chose these things according to my liking. You can choose yours. As the price is very minimum it won’t break your bank even if you don’t like some of the dishes.
You can have these dishes on Chulia Street or you can visit the food hub near the Chew Jetty. Both these places have so many options. There is also a famous place just after the Chulia street named as Red Garden Food Paradise. You will find many options in this place.
You can choose any of these places, you won’t regret going to any of these places.
Take a walk in the city of GeorgeTown.
Another reason people visit GeorgeTown is the beautiful street art you can find on the walls of the building in GeorgeTown. The interesting thing is that it is totally free and no one is going to charge you if you click pictures over here. The people in this town are very co-operative they will be happy to guide you if you are lost or you cannot find any street art you are looking for.
This street art is not located in a single place. You have to search for them on the street. There is no definite guide you will get to visit them. The children on the cycle are kind of the main attraction as it is easy to find. Many people first find this place and then move forward to the next one.
There are people who can take you on the cycle and show you all the street art, but they charge you. It is better to take a walk down the street and explore them yourself.
You will also find many temples while you are exploring the city. There are different types of temples, each one with different architecture and with different significance. You will get overwhelmed by seeing these temples. Some of them have no entry fee and some of them charge you to enter. Make sure you follow all the rules if you visit these places because you don’t want to disrespect anyone here.
Some of the places are even banned for any photos/videos. Make sure you don’t shoot here, or else you might get into trouble.
Visit the beautiful beaches of Penang National Park.
The major highlight of my trip was the Penang National Park. Nothing can match the beauty of this place. Located on the northernmost tip of Penang, this National Park is a beautiful place with the perfect beaches to relax.
There are two main beaches on this Island.
- Monkey Beach. (If you want to swim)
- Turtle Beach. (No swimming allowed/ No Food Stalls)
There are many ways you can reach the beaches. You can trek your way up to the beaches or you can take the boats which you will get at the entrance of the National Park. Another option is you trek to one beach and then you take a boat to another beach and then back to the entrance.
You can do whatever according to your liking and your budget.
The entrance fees for the National Park are nill. You won’t have to pay anything, all you have to do is make an entry at the office and you are good to go.
The ferry prices which you will be quoted at the entrance are RM 100 (Rs.1750/$24). For a group of 6 to 7 people taking the ferry would be a good option. If you are alone the best thing to do would be trek all the way to the beaches and ask people to share a ride. If you have the money you can opt to go on the boat alone.
Both the beaches are very beautiful and pleasant. If you ask me, first you should go to the Turtle beach and explore the area around and then come to the Monkey beach. The reason is that you are not allowed to swim on the Turtle beach, because of the Jellyfish and the steep slopes on beach. So, best you trek to turtle beach and trek back to Monkey beach so you can swim here.
Whatever suits you, you can do that. Keep this National Park on the top of your list if you love trekking and that sorts of things. You will definitely love this place.
Witness A Beautiful Sunset at the Chew Jetty.
This place was not mentioned on any other blog which I read about Penang. This is a less explored place in Penang. I guess people mostly go to famous jetties to watch the sunset. When I arrived at this place there were hardly one or two people here. Only the local people were seen around this jetty.
There was some kind of walkway through the water. There were people living on the banks of this walkway. I even asked one of the locals about this place. He said this place is actually not a tourist spot and not many people come here as they don’t know about this place.
Only local tourists are seen around here. This place is visible from the neighboring jetty, but most of the people cannot find the entrance from where this place is accessible.
If you want to visit this place go to chew jetty and ask any local about this place, they will be happy to help. They will also guide you to this place. For reference, you show them the photo. There is no exact name for this place as much as I know. Maybe there is a name, many local people also called it the chew jetty as it is very near to chew jetty.
Take a walk down the Lebuh Chulia street.
The best place you can try some of the best street food is Lebuh Chulia Street. This street is a big lane around 400 m – 500 m having all sorts of street food. You get everything from mouth watery spicy food to fresh juices. There is no way you can try everything on this street in just 3 days.
You need at least a week to try everything on this street. First, you should take a walk down this street and check everything that is available here. The street food which I mentioned above is also available here. If you cannot decide what to get, do one thing. Look for a place where there is a lot of crowds and try that dish, you won’t get disappointed. I did it many times, as I was not sure about the dishes. Sometimes there is a huge queue at some places, and you will have to stand for around 15-20 min until your turn comes.
Penang is all about eating spicy, oily foods the whole day. So, for something healthy, there is a fruit vendor on this street which sells almost every fruit and also makes some fresh juices from them. You should avoid any packed fruit juices like Tropicana and other brands here. The reasons for this, are the prices are also very low and they even give you fresh juices prepared in front of you.
If you are a Shawarma lover from India like me, you will be disappointed by the type of Shawarma you get here. There is more amount of vegetables than the chicken and you will find the Shawarma to be a little sweet which doesn’t turn out good. These shawarmas are very different from the ones we get in India. There is a very high possibility that you will not like the Shawarma. You can try yourself and see.
Just explore and have whatever you like. The important is you enjoy these moments.
Visit Little India In Penang.
This is exactly as it sounds, it is like small India. There are women selling sweets which we find in India outside the temples. The same menu, the same aroma you get around the streets of India in the markets.
There was a place like a theatre, not sure if it was a theatre but it has this board of Robot 2.0. The Rajnikanth and Akshay Kumar Starrer movie which was recently released in India. The language was not Hindi here, I think I saw a Telugu sign on the board. I’m guessing it should be in the Telugu Language.
They also had some India folk songs all along the streets. The faces are similar to the people of India and even their way of talking was very familiar. For that moment, I thought I was in some market in India.
There are shops where you can get the sherwanis which people wear during weddings in India. There were also a lot of options for the Ladies including the sarees, drees, the traditional clothes. Almost everything was available here.
Many Indians traveling here will find the place like home and will definitely love being here. There is also a Mehandi shop for the girls where they make these designs on your hand in the Indian style.
Enjoy the adventurous activities at Batu Ferringhi Beach.
Batu Ferringhi beach is the most happening beaches in Penang. Unlike the beaches I mentioned above, this beach is full of people and very much alive. Most of the time this place is crowded and you will find hardly the beach without any people.
If you are coming from the National Park, then you can get a direct bus from National Park to the Batu Ferringhi Beach. The fare is also not so high. Taking public transport will help you save a lot of money in the city.
You can swim here if you want or just take a walk around the beach. You should also check out the adventurous activities on this beach. The various activities you can do on this beach are –
- Para Sailing.
- Jet Skiing.
- Banana Boat Ride.
Many people offer these services on the beach. You can choose from any of these places around. Again, a group here can be very helpful to get some discounts, but for a solo traveler, you will have to bargain if you want to do these activities.
The whole beach is divided into zones named as zone A, B, C, D. Some part of the beach is private property and only for the people staying in the premises of the hotel. I am not 100% sure about this, but when I was walking down the beach there was separation on the beach by the ropes and the guards were not allowing anyone to enter that part of the beach. Maybe, there could have been a special occasion and that could have been the reason.
Taste the Tandoori Naan and The Clay Pot Biryani at Restoran Kapitan.
This is hands down my favorite restaurant in Penang. It is also one of the most recommended places in Penang. It is located on the Lebuh Chulia Street just a 300 m from the street food stall of Chulia Street. If you are Indian you will feel like home when you go there. The waiters here, talk in Hindi. They are people from India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh. The guy who served on my table was from Himachal Pradesh. He was very friendly and we had a long chat while I was here.
The main reason for the popularity of this restaurant is the Tandoori Naan and The Clay Pot Biryani. It was the best Tandoori I ever had in my entire life. They have an interesting way of serving the Tandoori. From the name you might have guessed it, they serve the Tandoori with Naan. First, I thought how would it taste because in India I never had this type of Combination. In India tandoori is a dish which you eat without any bread directly with the chutney/sauce.
Having heard a lot about this dish, I ordered the Tandoori Naan. The dish was served after a few minutes with the Tandoori on the Naan and some spicy and sour chutney/sauce. After having the first bite, my reaction was wow, I have never tried such a delicious Tandoori ever. The best part was the price. In India, we get a half tandoori for around RM 20 (Rs.350/$4.9), while the price for a full tandoori with naan just cost me around RM 12.5 (Rs.220/$3)
The next dish was the clay pot biryani. When I (any other Indian) hear the word biryani, they picture a plate full of rice made with spices and pieces of Chicken in it. The concept of the clay pot biryani is totally different in Penang, they serve well-cooked rice with chicken tandoori on the other plate with some kind of gravy. I wasn’t sure if he served me the right thing so I cross-checked with him again.
I realized why there is so much demand for this place after having the dish. Make sure you visit this place during your stay in Penang.
There are no such things as the best things to do in Penang or anywhere. Everything you do is the best until you enjoy doing the thing. You can read hundreds of articles about the best things to do or the top things to do you won’t find those best if you don’t really enjoy them. So even if you do a few things and enjoy those, it is far better than doing everything and just rushing everywhere without having fun.
That’s it for today’s blog.
Hope you like the recommendations.
See you in the next blog.
Keep Traveling, Keep Budgeting.
Founder – Stubborn Hippie,