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Things to do in Penang

Things to do in  Penang

Welcome to Penang

Penang Island, once known as the Pearl of the Orient, is one of Malaysia's most densely populated urban centers. George Town, its bustling capital, showcases the island's long history as trading port and former British colony, as well as the multicultural influence of its tightly knit immigrant communities. Proud of their glittering, modern skyline, Penang Islanders also treasure their heritage: Colonial relics, faded Chinese shophouses, and Buddhist temples line the cobblestone streets of George Town's central UNESCO World Heritage zone. To capture Penang’s diversity, a guided tour is highly recommended. Absorb sweeping panoramas from atop Penang Hill; visit Kek Lok Si Buddhist temple; and relax on the white sands of Batu Ferringhi beach. Stroll through historic Fort Cornwallis and the riotously colorful streets of Little India and Chinatown, and visit the fascinating Penang Museum. A tasting tour of the island's famous food stalls is a must: try the creamy, spicy coconut laksa (noodle soup), prawn fritters, and slow-cooked pork. Nature lovers can explore Monkey Beach and the uninhabited islands of Penang National Park on a day trip, or snorkel and swim in the azure waters of Pulau Payar Marine Park. From Penang Island, many travelers head to Langkawi by boat, or back to the mainland to tour the rolling green hills of the Cameron Highlands. If you have some in Seburang Perai, the peninsular half of Penang State, visit Penang Bird Park, the largest and oldest aviary in Malaysia.

Top 10 attractions in Penang

#1
George Town (Penang Georgetown)

George Town (Penang Georgetown)

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George Town (Penang Georgetown) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that boasts a unique mix of cultures. The beating heart of Penang, George Town offers visitors a heady combination of world-class street food, colorful colonial architecture, and street art. This historic enclave, which can be explored entirely on foot, is also famous for its novelty museums.More
#2
Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion (Blue Mansion)

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion (Blue Mansion)

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Known by locals as the Blue Mansion, Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that attracts visitors with its architectural fusion of European and Chinese styles. Featured in the Oscar-winning movieIndochine, the mansion, an important part of George Town’s heritage, is now part hotel, part museum. Indigo blue walls and decadent ornamentation make for stunning photographs.More
#3
Kek Lok Si Temple

Kek Lok Si Temple

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Kek Lok Si Temple, which translates from Hokkien as the the Temple of Serene Bliss, stands majestically on the slopes of Air Itam, a hill on Penang Island. The largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia, Kek Lok Si attracts thousands of visitors with its 7-story white-and-gold pagoda, golden statues, and an elevated setting that provides panoramic views.More
#4
Chayamangkalaram Buddhist Temple (Wat Chayamangkalaram)

Chayamangkalaram Buddhist Temple (Wat Chayamangkalaram)

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Characterized by glittering stupas and fearsome green dragons, the Thai Buddhist Chayamangkalaram Buddhist Temple (Wat Chayamangkalaram) is one of the most ornate in Penang. The temple’s extravagant exterior alludes to the giant reclining Buddha statue inside, whose position signifies peace and freedom from the material world. Opposite the Thai temple sits a Burmese temple of similar grandeur.More
#5
Penang Hill Funicular Railway

Penang Hill Funicular Railway

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A colonial-era hill station, Penang Hill sits behind George Town, about 2,733 feet (833 meters) above sea level. Visit in style on the Penang Hill Funicular Railway, a cliff-side railway dating back to 1924. The trains and tracks are modern, and the sheer ascents through the jungle and over bridges make for a spectacular journey.More
#6
Penang Bridge (Jambatan Pulau Pinang)

Penang Bridge (Jambatan Pulau Pinang)

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Opened in 1985 following 15 years of planning, Penang Bridge (Jambatan Pulau Pinang) connects George Town in Penang with Seberang Prai on the Malaysian mainland. At 8.4 miles (13.5 kilometers), the cable-stayed toll bridge is the second longest in the country and the fifth longest in Southeast Asia.More
#7
Fort Cornwallis

Fort Cornwallis

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An essential stop for history buffs, Fort Cornwallis is an 18th-century fortress that played a significant role in the history of Penang. The structure, one of the largest standing forts in Malaysia, was built to defend Penang against pirate attacks and is still, to this day, guarded by vigilant cannons.More
#8
Little India

Little India

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Colorful Little India is a three-street community in already eclectic Georgetown that envelops visitors with the sights and sounds of a small street in Mumbai. On Jalan Pasar (Market Street), colorful storefronts scrawled in Brahmi script blare Hindi melodies. The community is of the oldest Indian enclaves in Malaysia and dates to the earliest British settlements of Georgetown in the late 1700s.Wind through the narrow streets and you’ll find sari and cotton clothing shops, wedding florists, Bollywood posters and DVDs, spice merchants, gold jewelers and an abundance of eateries with popular Indian favorites such as roti, briyani rice and tandoori chicken as well as Malaysian Indian fusion cuisine. On nearby Jalan Bandar, the Sri Mahamariammam Temple, built in 1883 in the ornate and towering South Indian style, it is the oldest Hindu temple in Penang. The area really comes alive during Indian holidays such as Deepavali (Diwali) festival of lights each autumn.More
#9
Khoo Kongsi (Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi Clan House & Museum)

Khoo Kongsi (Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi Clan House & Museum)

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Hidden in a maze of alleyways in Georgetown sits Khoo Kongsi (Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi Clan House & Museum), one of Malaysia’s most important clan houses. The legacy of the house dates back more than 650 years to the Khoo Kongsi clan from west China and manifests itself in intricate carvings, murals, and timberwork.More
#10
Pinang Peranakan Mansion

Pinang Peranakan Mansion

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A visit to the Pinang Peranakan Mansion provides a good introduction to the history and culture of the Peranakans (also known as Babas and Nyonyas). These Straits Chinese settlers were unique to this part of the world, and adopted certain ways of life from both local Malaysians and the colonial British.With more than 1000 items on display, this opulent mansion showcases a typical affluent Baba household from a century ago, giving an insight into their lavish lifestyle, as well as their many customs and traditions. Built at the end of the 19th century, this courtyard house features traditional Chinese carved-wood panels combined with English tiles, European furniture, and Scottish ironworks.A trip to the Pinang Peranakan Mansion can be incorporated into a heritage tour of Penang, which includes visiting other cultural and architectural wonders, such as Khoo Kongsi and Fort Cornwallis.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 1 Day in Penang

How to Spend 1 Day in Penang

Colonial Sites in Penang

Colonial Sites in Penang

How to Spend 3 Days in Penang

How to Spend 3 Days in Penang

Recent reviews from experiences in Penang

star-5
Great tour
Leigh L, Jan 2020
Penang: Round Island Half-Day Gems
Shared a ton of information with a lot of enthusiasm, very good English and went above and beyond to show us so much around the island.
star-5
Great tour
patriciavitalich, Nov 2019
Penang: Flexible Half-Day Escapes
He showed us a few things we wanted to see and left the rest to him.
star-5
I was in Penang for work and I had...
Tracey H, Sep 2015
Penang Tour: Penang Hill and Kek Lok Si Temple
I was in Penang for work and I had only a day to see the sights.
star-5
Great fully packed day in Penang.
jfischkoff, Jan 2020
Penang: Flexible Full-Day Adventures
He took us around George Town to see the Clan Jetties, an old mosque, street art, antiques Chinese mansions etc.
star-5
Super
aisthu76, Jan 2020
Penang: Flexible 6-Hours Highlights
The six hours tour was too good,we were able to see the temples ,the Anglican church as well as the Kapitan Keling Mosque.
star-5
Very good package, excellent service
txywishes, Dec 2019
Penang: Flexible 6-Hours Highlights
For the places to visit, we selected a bunch from the places listed in the package description and also requested to visit some shops where we could buy the tambun (green bean) biscuits and preserved nutmeg.
star-5
Penang Express Tour
joanncamacho, Jul 2019
Private Tour: Full Day Center Penang Island Tour
This tour was perfect for us since the pace was not too fast and we were able to see the major sites in the city in one day.
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After docking we met up with Wong and...
Marion B, Jan 2017
Orang Utan Island and Taiping from Penang
To see the Orangs we walked in a cage unfortunately not good for photography.
star-5
From start to finish the tour was first...
margaret.smith93, Feb 2018
Orang Utan Island and Taiping from Penang
Following the Museum we set off to see the Orangutan's.
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As our cruise ship was scheduled to...
bobmsp, Mar 2018
Penang Hill Funicular Ticket
We had also purchased hop-on-hop-off bus tickets the bus stops right outside the funicular station and wanted to see as much of Penang as we could in the time we had available.
star-5
The local tour company in Penang...
Jenny, Dec 2016
Penang Tour: Penang Hill and Kek Lok Si Temple
Our guide was very knowledgeable and patient, allowing us to stop at whatever particularly interested us and gave us heaps of time to see what we wanted to see.
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The audio tour of Penang was great...
Ann G, Jan 2017
Remarkable Penang Self-Guided Audio Tour
The self-guided tour is a great way to visit a city.
star-5
Wonderful tour with an excellent caring guide
w0ngpk08, Oct 2019
Penang: Flexible 6-Hours Highlights
Really enjoyed the trip which allows us to pick your attractions too.
Frequently Asked Questions
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