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30 Things To Do In Penang (Besides Georgetown)

Belicia
Updated May 16, 2018

Penang has always been a popular destination. Even back in colonial times, travellers and immigrants from all the over the world would flock to its shores. Today, Penang is still famous, but for different reasons. In Georgetown, the state’s vibrant capital, a whole section of streets has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The old and the new blend together in a mix of shophouses-turned-museums and humble hawker stalls that have gained fame internationally.

You can travel to the sun-soaked beaches of Batu Ferringhi for a day of water sports or lazy sunbathing. Further out, the towns of Butterworth and Balik Pulau may not be the most well-known, but they offer a glimpse into the authentic way of life in Penang.

Don’t miss out on any part of Penang!

Between figuring out where to find street art and which food stall you have to visit, the amount of information can be a little bit overwhelming. Here, you’ll find 30 things to do in the whole of Penang. Whether you’re travelling solo, as a couple, or with family, there’s plenty of things to do in the Pearl of the Orient.

Top 3 activities to book in Penang

Nature trails and hilltop views

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1. Take the tram up to Penang Hill (from 53 USD)

Situated 812 metres (2,664 feet) above sea level, Penang Hill gives panoramic views of the city, and cool, fresh air. On clear days, you can see the mountains of Langkawi and North Kedah. To get back in touch with nature, you can stroll along nature trails and try to spot some of the 100+ bird species that live on the hill. You can enjoy a meal in some of the grandest colonial mansions, or explore the Hindu temple there.

The trip up to Penang Hill is also part of the fun. Visitors can take the Penang Hill Railway. It’s one of the oldest funicular systems. The trip up takes you past dense jungle and the occasional old bungalow. The railway starts out from Air Itam, and you will have to change trains twice. Ticket prices are 30 MYR (7.35 USD) for adults and 5 MYR (1.22 USD) for children (4-6 years old).

Alternatively, you can opt to take a three-hour hike from the Botanic Gardens to the top of the hill.

For more information about Penang Hill, click here.

Bukit Bendera

Address: Perbadanan Bukit Bendera, Jalan Stesen Bukit Bendera, Air Itam,11500 Pulau Pinang, Malaysia.

Opening Hours: 6.30 am - 11.00 pm (Ticket counter closes at 10.30 p.m)

Access: Take Rapid Bus 204 to Bukit Bendera

Website: Bukit Bendera

Contact: 604-8288880, 604-8288839, 604-8288861, 604-8288862

While you are up on Penang Hill, take the time to check out Kek Lok Si Buddhist Temple!

Penang Hill and Kek Lok Si Buddhist Temple Afternoon Tour

Duration: Approximately 4 hours

Price: from 53 USD

Penang Hill Funicular Ticket

Price: from 7.75 USD

Duration: 1 to 8 hours

Website:

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2. Go exploring in Penang National Park (from 107.98 USD)

Nature might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Penang, but Penang’s National Park has gorgeous trails and beaches for you to explore. It offers two trails – one leads to an old lighthouse that was built in 1883, and the other to Kerachut Beach, which has a Turtle Conservation Centre. It’s a perfect place for a day of picnics, swimming and trekking.

Admission to the park is free, but you will need to bring your passport for registration.

Taman Negara Pulau Pinang

Address: Jalan Hassan Abas, Teluk Bahang, 11050, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Opening Hours: 8 am until 5 pm

Access: Bus 101 runs from the jetty in Georgetown every 10 to 15 minutes. On its route, this bus travels along Chulia Street, KOMTAR, then out of town along the coast through Batu Ferringhi beach. Get off at the last stop where the bus turns around. The trip takes around one hour to get here from Georgetown, depending on traffic.

Website: Penang National Park

Contact: +604 8813500

If you are uncomfortable with a solo trek, you can hire a guide that will ensure a smooth and pleasant trek.

Penang National Park Half-Day Trek

Duration: Approximately 4 hours

Price: from 107.98 USD

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3. Take a calming stroll through Penang Botanical Gardens (from 43 USD)

Source: iStock

Set up in 1844 by the British, Penang Botanical Gardens has a diverse range of local plants that visitors can admire. Most notable among these are the cannonball tree, its trunk is wrapped with vines of showy flowers, and large, round fruits, and the sengkuang tree, which has large buttress roots.

You can stroll amongst the many hills and try to spot the garden’s other inhabitants, black giant squirrels, dusky leaf monkeys, and long-tailed macaques. However, do remember that the monkeys are wild animals and there is a fine for feeding them.

You can hike up to Penang Hill from the Moon Gate in the Gardens.

Penang Botanical Gardens

Address: 10470 George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Opening Hours: 5 am - 9 pm

Contact: +60 4-227 0428

Penang Nature Tour

Price: from 43 USD

Duration: around 8 hours required.

Website:

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Malls, markets and nightlife

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4. Occupy Beach Street

Lebuh Pantai, or Beach Street, is taken over every Sunday by vendors who sell a host of gifts, food and games. It’s part of an initiative that aims to boost Penang as a tourist destination, showcase local artisans, and promote a healthy lifestyle.

The street is divided into four unique Zones, with each Zone supporting a different activity. You can get a henna tattoo or a cool face painting, or join in making some local crafts.

Occupy Beach Street takes place every Sunday from 7 am to 1 pm.

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5. Enjoy the nightlife on Upper Penang Road

Source: iStock

Penang’s nightlife is pretty happening, if you know where to go. The little island has no shortage of rooftop and beachfront bars, as well as pubs and clubs. Upper Penang Road has the highest concentration of all three. It’s popular with expats and westerners.

The street is closed off to traffic, so you can sit at one of the tables set up outside and watch the crowds filter by. Alternatively, you can bar hop along the street.

Some crowd favourites are the Slippery Senorita, a Latin dance club, and the Soho Free House, a British tavern with great happy hour promotions.

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6. Dine by the sea at Gurney Drive

Source: iStock

Gurney Drive is most popular for Gurney Drive Hawker Centre. In the past, the hawker stalls were located at the seafront, but they have since been relocated. Now, besides eating your fill at the hawker centre, there are also other things you can do at Gurney Drive.

A stroll along the promenade in the evening offers great views of the sunset. You can also stop by Gurney Plaza and Gurney Paragon to shop. Both offer trendy and international brands such as Fossil, Sephora and H&M. Some more unique shops to stop by would be Analogue Kaki (Gurney Plaza), a store that specialises in analogue film equipment and Rivet (Gurney Paragon), a lifestyle loft that sells rustic and chic home accessories.

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On the streets of Georgetown

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7. Go on a tour of Penang’s Street Art (from 77 USD)

Aside from its food, Penang is also famous for its street art. In 2012, Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic was commissioned to create a series of murals for the Georgetown Festival. Since then, the local art scene has exploded, with murals and other types of art appearing all over the streets of Georgetown.

Oftentimes, the murals incorporate their surroundings and real-life objects. Kids on A Bicycle by Zacharevic has a real bicycle, and other murals incorporate trees, swing sets, and motorbikes. Another series, Making Georgetown, is made up of wrought-iron sculptures.

Perhaps the best thing about the murals is how they celebrate the energy and life within Georgetown. Some are a celebration of the local culture and lifestyle, while others, such as 101 Kittens, help to spread an important social message.

Some of the artworks are very popular, so expect to queue before you can take your pictures!

For more information, click here.

Private Culture and Street Art Tour in Georgetown

Price: from 77 USD

Duration: around 4 hours required.

Website:

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8. Take a trishaw ride through Penang’s heritage streets (from 37.50 USD)

Source: iStock

Georgetown is a walkable city, but if you want to travel the streets in style, then go for a trishaw ride. It’s a slower way to travel compared to a taxi or bus, but slowing down gives you the chance to drink in the nook and crannies of Georgetown, and it’s a novel experience in itself. The trishaw riders are also full of information about tourist attractions, thanks to training by the government.

The typical rate for a trishaw ride is 30 MYR (7.35 USD) per hour. Some hotels offer packages, or you can look for a trishaw rider around tourist areas.

Penang Highlights by Trishaw from George Town

Price: from 37.50 USD

Duration: around 3 hours required.

Website:

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9. Admire the wide range of architecture around central Georgetown

Penang is an architecture-lovers dream. It’s jam-packed with a wide range of architectural styles, all thanks to the diverse inhabitants of the island. Of course, there’s the colonial architecture, of which you can see many different kinds. Aside from that, it’s fascinating to see how colonial architecture blends with Chinese and Moorish styles as well. Aside from the usual shophouses, you can also see grand mansions, temples, mosques, and churches.

The best part about wandering about Georgetown is that you don’t just get to see the architecture. Maybe you’ll stumble across some great food, local shops, or some street art. A stroll about downtown Georgetown is sure to give you some insight into local life as well as architecture.

See our full list of recommended hotels in Penang and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Penang

Explore Penang's diverse cultures and religions

See our full list of recommended hotels in Penang and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Penang

10. Tour the six Clan Jetties on the waterfront

Source: Rachel

Perched on the backwaters of Georgetown, the six Clan Jetties hark back to a time when Penang was an important maritime port and immigrants came to make their fortune. The six Clan Jetties are Chinese settlements, and are made of houses built on stilts over the water. Each jetty is home to a different clan – Lim, Chew, Tan, Yeoh, Koay, Lee and mixed surnames. Relationships between the clans were bitter, and fights would often break out.

The Chew Jetty, is the most established, with the most houses and a souvenir shop. Do note that people still live in the houses, so be respectful during the visit!

The jetties can be found at Weld Quay, near to Penang Ferry Terminal.

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11. Kek Lok Si Temple (from 75 USD)

Source: iStock

Kek Lok Si Temple is said to be one of the biggest Buddhist temples in the whole of Southeast Asia. It’s an important pilgrimage centre for Buddhists from the various Southeast Asian nations, and it’s usually packed on the weekends.

The sprawling temple complex is already a sight to behold, but some highlights of the temple are the Guanyin Statue and the Kek Lok Si Pagoda. Guanyin is the Goddess of Mercy, and the temple houses a 36.5-metre-high (119.8-foot-high) statue of her.

The Kek Lok Si Pagoda combines influences from three countries. The base is Chinese, the middle Thai, and the top Burmese. If you enter the Pagoda, you can see the different styles of Buddhas, shrines, and decorations. The top of the pagoda also offers stunning views of Penang and the entire temple.

To get there, you can take a taxi or public bus. Plan to spend a couple of hours exploring. Do note that you will have to pay to access various parts of the temple. Fees range from 3 MYR (0.7 USD) to 2 MYR (0.5 USD).

Kek Lok Si Temple

Address: 11500 Ayer Itam, Penang

Access: Take bus #203 or #204 to Air Itam Market. From Georgetown, the ride is about half an hour.

Website: Kek Lok Si Temple

Contact: 04-8283317

Half-Day Penang Kek Lok Si Temple Private Tour

Price: from 75 USD

Duration: around 3.5 hours required.

Website:

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12. Walk among snakes at the Snake Temple

Take a wild guess about what this temple’s main attraction is. If you guessed snakes, well, you wouldn’t be wrong! The Snake Temple was built in 1805. Legend has it that when it was built, snakes, particularly pit vipers, starting taking shelter in the temple. The monk who built the temple allowed them to stay, and the snakes have been coming ever since.

Whether or not that legend is true, nobody really knows. Today there are less snakes in the temple then before, but there are still enough to leave you feeling unsettled. They’re free roaming, and most of them are pit vipers. Usually, they can be found coiled on twigs near the altars, or in the trees in the courtyard.

So far, there have been no records of someone being bitten at the Snake Temple. All the same, watch where you step and exercise caution! Snake Temple is a bit out of the way compared to other temples, but if you have children, then this will definitely be interesting for them.

Snake Temple

Address: Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Opening Hours: 9.30 am - 6 pm.

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13. Soak in the spirituality of the Street of Harmony

Throughout the centuries, immigrants from all over the world have made Penang their home. When they came to Penang, those immigrants also brought their religions with them. There’s nowhere in Penang where this rich and diverse mix of religions can be seen more clearly than along Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, the Street of Harmony.

It’s so named because it draws together Georgetown’s four main religions. At the northern end of the street stands St. George’s Church. Further down, you’ll smell the heady scent of incense from the Goddess of Mercy temple before you see it. Next, the colourful, elaborate gopuram (tower) of Sri Maha Mariammam Kovil rises into the air. It’s the oldest Hindu temple on the island. At the end of the street is its namesake, the sprawling Kapitan Keling Mosque. It’s a curious blend of colonial and Moorish architecture.

If you want to visit the church, temples, and mosque along Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, it’s advisable to go around the evening, when Sri Maha Mariammam Kovil is open. Remember that these are places of worship, so dress appropriately and be prepared to take off your shoes.

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Lose yourself in the rich history of Penang Island

See our full list of recommended hotels in Penang and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Penang

14. Get a dose of culture at the Penang Peranakan Mansion

Source: Rachel

The Peranakans were a prominent community in the Straits Settlements, mainly made up of Chinese who adopted select Malay and British ways. While there still are Peranakans today, the culture has started to disappear. The Penang Peranakan Mansion recreates what a rich baba’s (Peranakan male) home would have looked like in the 19th century.

It is housed in one of the heritage mansions, and it is an ornate sight. It has been fashioned in classic Peranakan style, with an eclectic mix of English and Chinese influences. There are also lots of memorabilia, antiques, and artefacts. To learn more about this once-great culture, you can join a free guided tour (11:30 am or 5:30 pm) or visit the mansion yourself.

Penang Peranakan Mansion

Address: 29 Lebuh Gereja, Georgetown

Opening Hours: 09.30 am - 5 pm, Monday – Saturday

Website: Penang Peranakan Mansion

Contact: +604 264 2929

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15. Learn more about Penang’s elusive history at the Penang State Museum and Art Gallery

Source: Will Ellis

In World War ll, the Penang Secretariat Building was bombed, destroying most of the British and Japanese records about the island. Thus, it’s hard to piece together a comprehensive history of Penang. However, a visit to the Penang State Museum can give you more insights into the history of the island.

Housed in a grand colonial building, the museum was established in 1821, and it houses both national and state treasures. A walk through the museum’s permanent exhibit will take you through a history of Penang. It charts major events in Penang’s history like the Penang Riots of 1867. You can also view a replica of a Chinese trader’s home, as well as a Peranakan marriage chamber.

The admission fee is 1 MYR (0.25 USD).

Penang State Museum and Art Gallery

Address: Lebuh Farquhar & Lebuh Light

Opening Hours: 9 am - 11 pm

Website: Penang State Museum and Art Gallery

Contact: +604 261 3144

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16. Wander about ruins from World War 2 at Tanjong Tokong

Source: polkadotjub

For history in its rawest form, go to the Tanjong Tokong World War ll relics. The coastal defences were built by the British in anticipation of an invasion by the Japanese. Today, the site is still standing, but they have been left to the elements. Nothing much has been done to preserve them, which creates an old, eerie atmosphere, as well as the perfect backdrop for some cool photos.

You can enjoy the sea breeze along the retaining wall built in front of the nearby Tua Pek Kong Temple, and then get a meal at the Sea Pearl Lagoon Café, a nearby seafood café. It’s a bit out of the way, but if you like ruins and exploring, then it’s worth a visit.

Tanjong Tokong World War ll relics

Address: Tua Pek Kong Temple, 338 Mukim 18, Tanjong Tokong

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17. Visit Fort Cornwallis

Source: iStock

Built in the late 18th century, Fort Cornwallis is the largest and most intact fort that can be found in Malaysia. It was first built by Sir Captain Francis Light, from the British East India Company.

The fort was built to defend Penang from enemy attacks, but it was used more for administrative and storage purposes. Some of the highlights of the fort are the statue of Sir Captain Francis Light, which overlooks the Fort Entrance. Another highlight is the Sri Rambai, the largest of the fort’s cannons. Legend has it that infertile women will be able to conceive if they place flowers on the barrel of the canon.

The fort is a great place to learn more about the early history of Penang and the trade agreements of the British East India Company.

Admission is 3 MYR (0.74 USD) for an adult, and 2 MYR (0.49 USD) for a child.

Fort Cornwallis

Address: Padang Kota Lama, 10200 Penang, Malaysia

Opening Hours: 9 am - 6.30 pm daily

Contact: 04-261 0262 / 0263

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The part we've all been waiting for ... food!

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18. Expand your waistline with Penang’s Street Food (from 62 USD)

We can’t say enough about Penang’s street food. The island is a melting pot of cultures and nationalities, and the food scene is a wonderful reflection of that. Here, you’ll find roadside pushcarts and packed hawker centres that serve up a variety of Chinese, Malay, and Indian dishes. From oily, stir-fried char kway teow to curry-drenched plates of nasi kandar, Penang’s street food might not be the healthiest, but no trip is complete without trying at least one or two dishes.

Dishes that Penang is best known for include char kway teow, asam laksa, and cendol. Hawker food can be found in nearly any street of Penang, but to find everything in one place, stop by hawker centres such as Joo Hooi Café or the Gurney Drive Hawker Centre.

If you’d like to know more about street food, click here.

Eat Like A Local: Penang Street Food Tour

Price: from 62 USD

Duration: around 3.5 hours required.

Website:

Local Market and Food Walking Tour in Penang

Price: from 42 USD

Duration: around 2 hours required.

Website:

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19. Café hop through Georgetown

Hawker food may be what Georgetown is most famous for, but it also has a thriving café scene. If coffee and cake are what you’re craving, there are no shortage of options. From ice cream made with liquid nitrogen to tarts that are exploding with fresh fruits, you won’t have enough time or stomach space to take in all that Penang’s cafes have to offer.

Here are some of our favourites:

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The Safe Room

The Safe Room offers liquid nitrogen ice cream, as well as an open-concept kitchen so you can watch the magic happen.

The Safe Room

Address: 42, Lebuh Campbell, George Town, 10100 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Opening Hours: 12 noon - 11 pm (Tuesdays - Thursdays) 12 noon - 12 midnight (Fridays - Sundays) Closed on Mondays.

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Pik Nik

Pik Nik was one of the first cafes to open in Penang. It’s full of character, with bright colours and quirky chairs. It is well-known for waffles, which are both sweet and savoury.

Pik Nik

Address: 15, Jalan Nagor, 10500 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Opening Hours: 3 pm - 12 midnight (Sunday - Thursdays, except Tuesdays) 3 pm - 1 am (Friday - Saturday). Closed on Tuesdays.

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Tavern In The Park

Located in the Hin An Bus Depot Art Centre, Tavern In the Park fits right into the artsy vibe. The café is in a spruced up wooden cottage, which is perfect for a relaxing afternoon.

Tavern in the Park

Address: 125, Jalan Timah, George Town, 10150 George Town, Malaysia

Opening Hours: 11:30 am - 10 pm. Closed on Tuesdays.

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Dolce Dessert Café

Dolce Dessert Café offers a cool retreat from Penang’s heat. The inside of the café has cute murals all over the walls. It’s also famous for the wide range of desserts that you can find – cakes, tarts, puddings, and macarons can all be enjoyed here. Their passionfruit cheesecake is a must.

Dolce Dessert

Address: 18, Jalan Kek Chuan, George Town, 10400 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Opening Hours: Tuesdays to Thursdays 12 noon - 10.30 pm. Fridays - Saturdays 11 am - 11.30 pm. Sundays 11.30 am - 10.30 pm

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The China House

This is where you go if you can’t make up your mind. The China House combines three heritage homes, creating three distinct atmospheres. Visitors can dine in a courtyard café, a hall, and a bar. The China House’s wide selection of cakes is a beautiful sight to behold.

The China House

Address: 153 & 155, Lebuh Pantai and 183B, Lebuh Victoria, 10300 Penang, Malaysia

Opening Hours: 9 am - 12 midnight

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20. Eat again at the Chulia Street Night Market

Source: len_j_p

We’ve already talked about the wonders of Penang’s street food. But for an experience that you can write home about, grab a meal at the Chulia Street Night Market.

At night, pushcarts will take over Chulia Street, along with tables and chairs parked haphazardly at the roadside. Dining at Chulia Street is generally quick and fuss-free, but you’ll be at the mercy of the weather. If you get a table right by the road, cars and buses will whizz by as you enjoy your food.

Some recommended things to try are the char kui kah (fried carrot cake – but it’s actually radish and rice cake, with eggs and / or prawns thrown in) and the wanton mee. If you’re unsure which stalls to go to, just look for the ones with the longest queues!

If it does start raining, you can order takeaway and head back to your hotel.

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Sun, waves and sand (and more!) at Batu Ferringhi

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21. Enjoy a romantic sunset at Batu Ferringhi’s beach

If you’re looking for beach, waves, and sand, look no further than Batu Ferringhi Beach. It’s just a fifteen minute drive from Georgetown, and you can also take a bus. You can head down for an afternoon of water sports, such as jet skis or banana boating, and be back at the beach by 7.15 pm to watch the sun set. The Batu Ferringhi is a mix of public beaches and those taken up by hotels. One recommended beach is the one beside Golden Sands by Shangri La Resort.

If you’d rather stay sand-free, there are lots of bars and restaurants along Batu Ferringhi that also provide great views of the setting sun.

See our full list of recommended hotels in Penang and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Penang

22. Make a splash with some water sports (from 144 USD)

Batu Ferringhi’s smooth sands and beautiful waters are perfect for beach and water sports. If you’re looking for something that’s a little more adrenaline-pumping than sunbathing, you can go jet-skiing, parasailing, or deep-sea fishing. Alternatively, you can stay out of the water and drive a beach buggy through the sand, or take part in a game of beach volleyball or Frisbee.

There are a few companies along the Batu Ferringhi beach that offer these activities. You can stroll along the beach and compare the prices for different companies before making up your mind.

Pulau Payar Marine Park Snorkeling Tour from Penang

Price: from 144 USD

Duration: around 8 hours required.

Website:

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23. Take a cooking class (from 126.25 USD)

Much Malaysian cooking uses spices – curries, gravies, and meats are often flavoured with them. Where better to learn about some local cuisine than in Batu Ferringhi’s Spice Garden?

The Tropical Spice Garden features three trails of different kinds of flora and fauna. It’s an award-winning farm that places an emphasis on being eco-friendly.

It has recently opened its own cooking school that teaches both adults and kids how to make Nonya, Thai, and Malay cuisine. The dishes use spices from the surrounding gardens. Each four-hour class is about 233.20 MYR (58 USD) per person.

Tropical Spice Garden Cooking School

Address: Lot 595 Mukim 2, Jalan Teluk Bahang,11050, Penang, Malaysia.

Opening Hours: 9 am - 6 pm, last admission at 5.15 pm.

Website: Tropical Spice Garden

Book a Cooking Tour here before you head over!

Experience Malaysia: Authentic Malaysia Cooking Tour

Price: from 126.25 USD

Duration: around 6 hours required.

Private Tour: Wet Market and Malaysian Cooking Lesson in Penang

Price: from 107 USD

Duration: around 5 hours required.

Website:

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24. Learn about the art of batik printing at the Penang Batik Factory (from 77.50 USD)

Source: iStock

Established in 1973, the Penang Batik Factory is one of the pioneers in batik manufacturing in Penang. Batik is a dyeing technique that uses wax. At the Penang Batik Factory, the batik is hand-drawn or block-printed. Each piece features patterns and colours on both sides of the fabric, unlike other batik factories.

You can buy batik art or clothing at the factory, or watch the batik be produced in the Workshop – it’s full of artists who are drawing, colouring, and block-printing the fabric.

Free tours of the Batik Factory are available.

Penang Batik Factory

Address: 669m, Mk. 2, Teluk Bahang 11050 Penang

Opening Hours: 09 am - 5.30 pm. Closed on public holidays.

Contact: +604 885 1284 or +604 885 1858 or +604 885 1302

You can try and make your own batik handkerchief by going on a tour.

Flavours Of Penang Including Batik Workshop and Local Lunch

Price: from 77.50 USD

Duration: around 5 hours required.

See our full list of recommended hotels in Penang and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Penang

25. Get a good bargain at the Batu Ferringhi Night Market

Source: iStock

At night, Batu Ferringhi’s pasar malam (night market) takes over the main road. There, you’ll find a long line of roadside stalls stretching up the road, selling everything from (fake designer) bags and watches, (pirated) DVDs and (legit) food and souvenirs. Get ready for crowds and humidity. Do note that all the prices listed are suggestions; you have to bargain, or you won’t be getting your money’s worth. Then again, for some people, bargaining is all part of the fun. Even if you’re not looking to buy anything, just drinking in the liveliness and atmosphere of the night market can be fun too. For an adventure, take a trishaw ride through the market and the back streets.

The night market starts at around 6 - 7 pm, and doesn’t wind down till 11 pm.

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26. Watch butterflies at Penang Butterfly Farm (from 55 USD)

Located right at the end of the tourist strip in Batu Ferringhi, Penang Butterfly Farm is home to over 4,000 butterflies from over 120 species. A visit to the butterfly farm will leave you surrounded by beautiful, fluttering butterflies in a lush garden setting. You can find rare species too, such as the Indian Leaf and the Yellow Bird Wing.

Penang Butterfly Farm considers itself it to be more than just a tourist attraction – it’s an important conservation and breeding centre and is internationally-renowned. So when you stop by on your trip, don’t just admire the butterflies; take a second to learn more about these winged beauties and what is being done to protect them and their habitats.

Penang Butterfly Farm

Address: No. 830, Jalan Teluk Bahang

Opening Hours: 9 am - 5.30 pm Monday - Friday; 9 am - 6 pm Saturday & Sunday

Contact: +604 885 1253

Private Tour: Discovery Tour of Entopia Butterfly Farm in Penang

Price: from 55 USD

Duration: around 4 hours required.

Website:

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27. Learn about the father of batik at the Yahong Art Gallery

Batik printing is an ancient craft that dates back to as early as the 4th century BC. However, one man is credited with transforming it from a craft to a modern form of art. The batik artwork of that man, Chuah Theng Teng, can be found in the Yahong Art Gallery of Batu Ferringhi. The art gallery is famous for displaying his batik artworks, as well as the works of his sons and other Malaysian and Asian artists.

Here, you’ll find a wide range of art, ranging from batik to watercolour and jewellery. Other exhibits also include an ancient Malaysian medicine horn and a Sarawak tribal chief’s staff.

Yahong Art Gallery

Address: 58-D, Batu Ferringhi, 11100 Penang, Malaysia

Opening Hours: 10 am - 10 pm

Contact: (604) 881 1251

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The lesser-known parts of Penang

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28. Visit Penang Floating Mosque

Source: iStock

Tanjung Bungah is a quiet town sandwiched between the tourist hot-spots of Georgetown and Batu Ferringhi. It does have some attractions, though, and one of them is the Tanjung Bungah Floating Mosque. Situated along the beach, the mosque is perched on stilts. During low tide, you can walk below the mosque. It was the first mosque in Malaysia to be built in the sea.

If you’re on the way to Batu Ferringhi, this is a nice place to stop by to get some cool pictures. A visit inside the mosque will have to be arranged with the mosque officials, and you will have to be appropriately dressed.

Tanjung Bungah Floating Mosque

Address: Tanjung Bungah Road, Pulau Pinang, 11200, Penang, Malaysia

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29. Take a ferry to Butterworth

Source: iStock

Most people associate Penang with Georgetown and Batu Ferringhi, but Penang is also made up of the town of Butterworth. Located on the mainland, you’ll have to take a ferry to get from Penang Island to Butterworth. The ferry ride is already part of the fun – it gives you a chance to soak in the breeze and enjoy the view of Georgetown. Cars are also ferried across, and the ferry is rustic and full of character. It makes for an interesting (if not very clean) experience.

In Butterworth, you can visit the Nine Emperor Gods Temple, which is a sprawling Taoist complex. The Penang Bird Park is also found on the mainland, and you can walk in enormous aviaries with over 300 bird species.

As night approaches, you can take another ferry back and admire the lights of Georgetown from afar.

Ferry tickets are 1.20 MYR (0.29 USD) for adults and 0.60 MYR (0.15 USD) for children.

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30. Take a bus ride up to Balik Pulau

For an escape from the city and touristy sights of Georgetown, head up to the sleepy little town of Balik Pulau for the afternoon. Found in the south-west of Penang Island, you can reach Balik Pulau via taxi, but for an authentic experience, why not try taking the Rapid Bus? It’ll take you through Georgetown’s heritage streets, past the Snake Temple, and through the rolling greens of the jungle.

Balik Pulau consists of just one main road. You can navigate the town easily on foot, and look around for rice paddies and fruit farms. Balik Pulau is most well-known for it’s Thai laksa, which is more creamy than the usual asam laksa.

If you’re not keen on the bus, you can opt to cycle or ride a motorbike to Balik Pulau. That’s an option that will give you a lot more freedom to drink in the peacefulness of the Malaysian countryside.

See our full list of recommended hotels in Penang and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Penang

Georgetown, Batu Ferringhi and a lot more!

Georgetown, and specifically the UNESCO World Heritage Zone, might be the part of Penang that most people visit, but confining your trip to just the heritage streets will never give you the full Penang picture. So don’t be afraid to hop in a cab, or on a bus or ferry and explore the rest of the state. It won’t disappoint.

This article was originally published on Jun 14, 2016

Belicia is a clueless child in between polytechnic and university. She loves playing with words and cameras, and in her free time tries to stay curious and keep exploring the world. To her, the...Read more

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