Top 5 things to do in Penang, Malaysia

Top 5 things to do in Penang, Malaysia

Georgetown

Georgetown, the capital of Penang state, is located on the north east corner and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. Whether you’re after culinary delights, architecture, shopping or art – Georgetown has it all.

What’s really cool about Georgetown is the street art, there are well over 15 intricately designed artworks randomly splayed around town, and well over 30 art markings (steal bent into caricatures) that detail the history of Penang.  You can find maps that list where they are all over town; we used it as a day adventure to try and find them all and tick them off the list. There are plenty of bicycles to rent and guided walking tours on offer.

If that’s not up your alley, follow the rule all Penangites use: Let your nose direct you where to go. Get lost in the narrow streets and you must try the hawker food too! It’s fast, full of flavor and delicious!

Batu Ferringhi Beach

Penang’s second favourite destination, located north of the state is sure to offer an amazing respite from any hustle and bustle with its sandy shores and vast open sea. Check into any one of the resorts that line the stretch (my pick is the Shangri La) and spend your afternoon soaking in the soothing sound of lapping waves and bright sunny rays of this tropical paradise.

At night, the popular tourist strip comes to life as traders hawk their wares while eateries bring out their best menus to satisfy even the most discerning of palates. The Batu Ferringhi night market offers some eye-catching knick-knacks including wood carvings, silver jewellery, crockery and display items.

National park walks

It’s the smallest National Park in Malaysia, but definitely worth a visit for some fresh air and a look at the local flora and fauna.

Penang’s National Park is home to one of the world’s nine ‘meromictic’ lakes (a body of sea water and fresh water that do not mix) here there is also a turtle sanctuary nearby. Entry is free and there are plenty of maps and advice given from the staff at the entry. Nature walks rate from easy to challenging throughout, it’s also a great spot for picnics, swimming, fishing, trekking and camping.

Those heading to Monkey Beach will also get a good view of … well, a lot of monkeys! They appeared harmless; just keep your wits about you. Boat rides can also be arranged or those who want to visit the nearby islands

Langkawi Beach

Technically not in Penang, but a somewhat short boat ride to find. Langkawi island is situated 110km north of Penang and is worth the wait once you get there. The best thing we did in Langkawi was… absolutely nothing at all.

Take a tour around the island, book into a hotel for a night, but if you only have one day (like us) head straight to Cenang beach and chiiiiillll out!!! If you walk along the beach you’ll see an abundance of hotels and restaurants that offer great atmosphere, food and refreshing drinks (a good respite from all that relaxing you’ll be doing.) My pick is head to the north end of the beach to the Meritus hotel and enjoy what’s on offer.

The Eastern and Oriental Hotel.

The “E & O” as it’s usually known, was established in 1885, and is situated right by Georgetown. For a complete contrast of moods and themes to your trip, this hotel is definitely worth checking out as it has stood as a testament to the grand elegance of the British colonial era.

There are two areas to the hotel, The Heritage Wing, which offers Moorish minarets and soaring echo-dome lobby provide the backdrop and the Victory Annexe which offers a classical yet contemporary feel.

Book in for high tea or if you can, try and stay here a night just for the experience. If you don’t have time to stay, but seek an afternoon of respite from the hot and bustling streets, ask reception for a tour around their poolside terrace, bars and plethora of colonial grace and luxury.

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