Listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 2008, Penang is one of the world’s most renowned holiday destinations, and a top choice for Cuti-cuti Malaysia! Penang is located on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia and consists of two parts: Penang Island where George Town (the capital city) is located and Mainland Penang (Seberang Perai) on the Peninsula. The Penang Bridge and the Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge connects the two parts.
Nicknamed ‘Pearl of the Orient’ and famous as the food capital of Malaysia, its white sandy beaches and heritage status, this little state ticks off many boxes on your travel wishlist. Here’re some things you can see, do and eat while in Penang!
Although small (only 2.5 sq. km), the George Town World Heritage Site is compact enough to be explored by foot, bicycle or trishaw; you can choose to join guided tours, private tours, or you can just walk around on your own. There are more than 1,700 historic buildings as well as an array of trade and art experiences, so really, you’ll find something interesting at every corner.
And yes, the street arts, get your phones ready for the interactive street arts.
No trip to Penang is complete without stuffing yourself silly with Penang food – Char Kuey Teow, Assam Laksa, Hokkien Mee, Curry Mee, Rojak Pasembor, Chendol and many more. If you have a taste for fancier fare, there are a handful of themed cafes and fine-dine restaurants for your selection too, such as Suffolk House Restaurant, 32 at The Mansion, Ferringhi Garden… just to name a few.
Penang Hill, or Bukit Bendera, is another gem of Penang that you must not miss. Catch the earliest tram up the hill at 6.30am or hike up to the top and you will be rewarded with a majestic view as the sun rises over the Andaman Sea.
While you are there, you can take some time to enjoy the treetop nature scenes at The Habitat Penang Hill as well.
After having witnessed sunrise atop Penang Hill, it is only logical to end the day with a sunset by the beach. Penang is famous for its white sandy beaches that stretch along the North-eastern part of Penang island, from Tanjung Bungah, Batu Ferringhi, to Teluk Bahang. More adventurous souls may venture out to Monkey Beach, Pulau Jerejak or Pantai Kerachut, which are less touristy in comparison due to its further-out locality.
Pack your hiking gears along for an adventurous trek to Penang National Park which is just an hour away from George Town city. If you’re looking for ’thrilling city adventure’, The Top Penang Theme Park – Penang’s highest iconic entertainment tower which is located smack right in the bustling George Town city – is for you. Its main highlight is a 360 degrees Rainbow Skywalk at Level 68 of the KOMTAR tower. Absolutely thrilling.
Penang is a melting pot of culture where Malay, Chinese, Indian, British, German, and many more cultural influences exist in perfect harmony. Popular attraction spots include Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, Pinang Peranakan Mansion, Kek Lok Si Temple, Kapitan Keling Mosque, Sri Mariamman Temple and Chew Jetty.
While most come to indulge in Penang food, you can also enrol in cooking classes to learn how to cook signature Malaysian dishes. The best part is – a majority of these classes are easy enough even if you have little to no cooking experience! One of the most popular cooking classes in Penang is the Tropical Spice Garden Cooking School tucked away in the serene Tropical Spice Garden at Teluk Bahang.
When it comes to accommodation in Penang, whether you are on a backpacker’s budget, or have a finer taste for heritage, boutique or luxury hotels, there is something for everyone. Notable heritage hotels such as the Eastern and Oriental Hotel offers visitors a glimpse into Penang’s past, while you experience life like the locals at backpackers’ inns.
In late February 2020, it was announced under the 2020 Economic Stimulus Package, that Malaysians who travel locally can enjoy special personal income tax relief up to RM1,000. Now is the best time to travel within Malaysia and discover all the beautiful sights in our home country!
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