What are the best things to do in Penang, Malaysia?  Even if you only have a day to spare in Penang, don’t miss out on these activities.

What to do in Penang

1.  Take the Funicular Railway to the top of Penang Hill

This is on the top of our list on the best things to do in Penang.  Penang Hill is more than 800 metres high and is Penang Island’s highest peak.  Enjoy the cool breeze and fantastic views here. While you are at the top of Penang hill, check out the vibrant nature spots such as the Monkeycup Eco Garden, musuems, and traditional places of worship.  The new kid on the block is ‘The Habitat’ located a few minutes walk from the top station of the Penang Hill Funicular Railway.  Try out the Habitat Rainforest Trail and the Treetop Walk at the Habitat.

Top of Penang Hill best things to do in Penang
Top of Penang Hill, one of the best things to do in Penang

How to go to Penang Hill:  Take Bus 204 from Weld Quay Bus terminal or Komtah Bus Station.  Taxis are inexpensive in Penang.  A taxi from Georgetown to Penang Hill will cost about RM$25.

2. Visit Kek Lok Si Temple (极乐寺), the Temple of Supreme Bliss

Another of the best things to do in Penang, Kek Lok Si is a must-go place if you visit Penang.  Better known as ‘Temple of Supreme Bliss’, Kek Lok Si is Malaysia’s largest Buddhist temple, and is a majestic sight to behold. The key feature at Kek Lok Si is the 7-tier Wan Fo Tar (pagoda of 10,000 Buddhas) and an awesome 37 metres bronze statue of the Goddess of Mercy.  Perched atop of Crane Mountain, the views at Kek Lok Si is truly astounding.

Kek Lok Si (Temple of Supreme Bliss), the top things to do in Penang
View from Kek Lok Si, also known as the Temple of Supreme Bliss. It is the biggest Buddhist temple in Malaysia

How to go to Kek Lok Si: Take Bus 204 to Air Itam.  Taxis will cost about RM$25 from Georgetown.


How to cover Penang Hill and Kek Lok Si in half a day:

The most convenient way is to book a day tour that will bring you to both places within half a day, with time on your own to explore the places of interests.  Otherwise, taking a cab within George Town is relatively inexpensive.


 3. Visit the Pinang Peranakan Mansion

The mansion used to be the home of a rich Baba (Peranakan Chinese), but now serves as a museum to give a first-hand view of how the Peranakans lived in the early part of the century.  There are over 1,000 pieces of antiques and collectibles of the era on display in the mansion.  This was also the filming site of Singapore’s hit drama ‘The Little Nyonya”.

Pinang Peranakan Mansion
The Pinang Peranakan Mansion is a great example of how the Peranakans lived in the early part of the century

4.  Go for a Food Marathon in Penang

Penang is also known as Malaysia’s food capital.  So ditch the diet and indulge in some of the best Asian food in Penang.  These are the best places for a food indulgence:

Jooi Hooi CafeThis place has all of Penang’s best dishes – assam laksa (broad noodles in a thick sour and spicy broth), rojak (fruits and vegetable salad in a sweet black sauce), char kway teow (fried noodles) and chendol (a dessert of shaved ice and coconut milk).

Address:  475 Jalan Penang, George Town, 10450 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Jooi Hooi Cafe Penang Malaysia
Assam Laksa at Jooi Hooi Cafe, Penang, Malaysia is a must-try

Penang Road Teochew Chendol. This is a makeshift stall located just outside Jooi Hooi cafe.  In fact, the chendol served at Jooi Hooi is from this famous stall.  There’s always a long queue at the stall.  Order at the stall and stand around the narrow lane to enjoy your dessert.

Address:  475 Jalan Penang, George Town, 10450 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Penang Road Teochew Chendol
The Penang Road Teochew Chendol is famous all over Asia and is easily the best in the region

Gurney Drive Hawker Centre. Also known as Anjung Gurney, Gurney Drive Hawker Centre is the most popular and well-known hawker centre in Penang.  Although popular with tourists, the locals are still hanging out at this location.  This is also the place locals will bring their foreign friends to have their first taste of Penang food fare. Gurney Drive Hawker Centre operates only in the evening and the most popular stalls usually sells out at about 10pm.

Address:  172, Solok Gurney 1, Pulau Tikus, 10250 Jelutong, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Gurney Drive Hawker Centre
If you have time to cover only one hawker centre in Penang, make sure it is Gurney Drive Hawker Centre. This is one of the most popular hawker centres with the best Penang cuisines around

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The ‘must-try’ food at Gurney Drive Hawker Centre are the typical Penang street fare – assam laksa, fried kway teow, prawn noodles, wantan noodles, rojak, satay, lok-lok and barbequed seafood.. Take a food heritage walk to taste the best of Penang’s cuisine.

5.  Discover George Town Heritage Zone

Take a Trishaw Ride

Trishaws are the olden ways of transportation in Asia, but are now a fun and unique way to explore the city.

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Hire a trishaw to explore the colonial architecture of George Town and the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Trishaws at Penang
Trishaw rides are almost becoming extinct in Asia. It is a fun way to explore George Town comfortably

Marvel at George Town’s Street Art

These 3D artwork is testimony to Penang’s culture and way of life, and is a fun way to incorporate yourself into a wonderful photo opportunity.

Penang Street Art and Wall Murals
The street art in Penang are so well-done and creative, they look like a living scene. Incorporate yourself into the photography of these wall murals for a creative touch

6.  Ride to the top at The Top at KOMTAR

The KOMTAR was revamped in recent years and now boast some of the best attractions in Penang.  It is the tallest building in Penang and home to the open deck observatory ‘The Window of the Top’.  For the brave ones, challenge yourself by walking through the glass-bottomed Rainbow Skywalk.  At this same location, visit also the Avenue of Adventures featuring a Science Discovery Centre, a 7D Discovery Motion Theater and a Jurassic Research Center.

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Want to get to the top of KOMTAR. Pre-book tickets to skip the queues and save time to enjoy the beautiful top of the world scenry.

 The TOP at KOMTAR Rainbow Skywalk
The TOP at KOMTAR Rainbow Skywalk. This is the highest point in Penang. Photo source: The TOP

7.  Go to Escape Adventureplay Theme Park

A half hour drive away from George Town will bring you to Escape Adventureplay Theme Park.  More suited for young families, there are more than 38 activities in Escape Adventureplay Theme Park including ziplines, waterslides, rides and games.

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Tickets are cheapest if you buy them online up to 61 days in advance.

Escape Adventureplay Theme Park
Escape Adventureplay Theme Park. Source: https://www.lipstiq.com

Want to add more to this list of best things to do in Penang?  We love to hear from you. Leave your feedback in the comments box below.

Best Things to Do in Penang

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