Penang is famous for its cozy Old George Town, white soft sandy beaches and its variety of delicious food.
I spent 4 days alone in Penang exploring this lovely island and it was a great experience.
GETTING TO PENANG:
There are many forms of transportation to reach Penang from Kuala Lumpur: plan, train, bus, car even a taxi.
From Kuala Lumpur, it usually takes around 4-5 hours to get to Penang. But it just takes around 1 hour flighting from Kuala Lumpur.
The cheapest way would be travelling by bus or train ( to the Butterworth/ Penang ferry- the ferry fare is free).
There are 4 main tourist areas: Georgetown, Batu Ferringhi, Tanjung Bungah and Bayan Lepas. And it is easy to get a affordable hotel/ dorm there, or a gorgeous villa as you expect. The hotels in George town and Batu Ferringhi are more expensive than the other places.
I stayed in a small cozy guesthouse in the center of George Town, Weluz Travel Guesthouse. The owner and staff are very friendly and helpful. It is closed to the bus stop, bus station, Art street and it takes just around 15 minutes to get to the others sight seeings in George Town. The best thing I love about this guesthouse is that they provide bike free for guests. I did travel around the Town on bicycle.
GETTING AROUND PENANG:
As there are various means of transport, tourists can travel around Penang easily. Bus is the most common transport in Penang, I suppost. Meanwhile, you can use taxi, hop- on hop off bus, Free bus CAT to travel around Penang; bike or trishaw to go around George Town.
Rapid Penang CAT is a free shuttle bus which travel around the George town with 19 stops at the strategic points of interest. The bus runs from 6:00 am until 12:00 am midnight. With CAT, visitors can explore the town in comfort without even paying a sen and without missing any nice spots of the old town.
You can download the George town brochure here
And the CAT route here
1. Art street:
Location: around Georgetown (Jalan Penang, Muntri Street, Weld Quay, Lebuh Leith, Armenian Street, Ah Quee Street and more).
Exploring Georgetown by bicycle or on foot are recommended because you can slowly travel through old buildings and can easy find these hidden art pictures as well as sometimes catch amazing street performs of tourists by accident.
As what I have read the Art Street was drawn and completed by a young Lithuanian artist, Ernest Zacharevic. He became popular after the project of a series of mural entitled “Mirrors George Town”in the Festival of 2012.
The paintings represent characters and scenes of people and their life in the town. However, a lot of them were already fading when I visited Penang in October, 2017; then if you don’t want to miss them, hurry come and visit because soon they will disappear or be replaced by the new art pictures.
2. JETTY CHEW (Clan Jetties)
Jetty Chew is the biggest and mostly renowned jetty in six clan jetties in existence in Penang nowadays( the Lim, Chew, Tan, Yeoh, Koay, Lee Jetty). There are 75 floating houses on the Jetty which have been converted into souvenirs shops, food restaurant and home-stay.
Jetty Chew is like a village at the seaside which is a great spot for tourists especially photographers.I highly recommend to visit this attraction in the early morning or evening as you can take a lot of nice photo of sunrise or sunset during two period.
You can catch a CAT free bus to Bus station and walk to Chew Jetty from the Weld Quay Ferry& Bus Terminal, a distance of 250 meters. My first day, I chose bicycle to travel around Georgetown, I stopped my bike in front of Jetty Chew and walk inside.
3. Penang Hill:
How to get to Penang Hill: Rapid Penang 204 bus with RM2 ticket fare is the only bus that takes you all the way from Georgetown to Penang hill. The 204 bus passes Kek Lok Si temple before reaching the Penang Hill train station, so you can combine a visiting tour of Penang Hill and Kek Lok Si. The most convenient way up to Penang Hill is by means of Penang Hill Railway which allows non-stop ride to the top in five to ten minutes.
Opening hours of train ride: from 6:30am- 23:00 pm when the last train leaves the top of the hill. The tickets office closes at 22:30 pm
For Malaysians, the fare for a return ticket is RM10/ adult and RM4/ child. If you are expats having been working in Malaysia for more than 6 months will be considered with this fare as well, RM10. For foreigners, the return fare would be RM30/adult and RM15/child (updated in 2017). You shouldn’t travel to the hill at the weekend to avoid the crowded and crazy long queue. You can pay double for the “fast lane” if the queue is too long.
You can visit the official website of Penang hill to update new information and tickets price here.
You can pay around RM10-RM30 for a buggy ride to bring you to view all the spots in the hill and give you a briefing of the surroundings. Try to bargain the price if the driver has got more customers in 1 ride.
Both the train ride and the view at the top are amazing. There is much to do at the top of the hill: Have a coffee, eating, shopping, taking photos, enjoying the view visiting Hindu temple, visiting the Love lock street.
4. National Park:
If you only have a few days in Penang, make sure that the National Park is on your itinerary.
How to get to the National Park: By 101 bus you can easily get to the Park with the RM4 ticket.
This is a nice place for photographers to capture the wildlife, particularly monkeys and lizards. The trekking paths are easy and a bit of hiking up and down the hill. There are some resting areas where you can sit down and enjoy the fabulous nature with cool atmosphere. I love it so much, I took most of my time taking photos and relaxing and enjoying the nature. You can also opt for water taxi to the beach or other spots of the National Park.
Penang National Park is definitely an option for those who want to run away from the busy city for a while to enjoy the fresh air
5. Kek Lok sik temple
Opening hours: 9am-5:30pm
How to get to Kek Lok Si: the Penang Rapid 204 bus (RM2). Besides, you can also catch 201,203,206,306,U502 bus around Penang to reach the temple.
There are many stalls selling souvenirs, local products on boths sides of the street in front of the temple.
Kek Lok Si is one of Southeast Asia’s largest Chinese Buddhist temples with millions of magnificent images of Buddha and hundreds of beautiful carvings and sculptures.
The seven-storey main pagoda combining a Chinese octagonal base with a middle tier of Thai design and a Burmese crown was completed in 1930. You can climb to the top of the pagoda and enjoy the great view of Penang city. The entrance fee is RM2.
6. Kuan Yin Temple:
Opening Hours: Early morning to late evening.
Location: Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling
Kuan Yin Temple is a very old, traditional Chinese temple which is known as Temple of the goddess of Mercy. It is a small temple but is one of the most important temples in Penang. The local people usually go to the temple to pray and make vow.
7. Penang Snake temple:
Opening Hours: 06:00 – 19:00
Location: Bayan Lepas
Price for visiting Temple: Free. RM20 for taking photos with the snakes.
The Penang Snake Temple is about 3km from the airport in Sungai Kluang, Bayan Lepas. There are buses available from the airport to the temple and from the temple to George Town.
Penang is recommended for tourists because there are plenty of destinations for travelers to choose. I would love to visit Penang again to discover the other parts of National Park.
8. Kapitan Keling Mosque
Opening Hours: 09:30 – 17:30
Entrance fee: free for all visitors.
Kapitan Keling Mosque or Majid Kapitan Keling, the oldest church in George Town, was established with a large site endowed by a the East Indian company in 1801. “Keling” in Melayu term mentions people of Indian origin, and the mosque has been an important place of worship and an important community center for Indian Muslim.
Over the years, the mosque has been renovated and expanded many times into the largest mosque in George town nowadays. Visitors are welcome within the grounds of the mosque and the long walkway around the prayer hall. And don’t forget to wear proper when entering the mosque.
9. St. George’s Church
Opening time for visitors: Monday to Thursday (10:00 am to 4:00 pm)
Entrance Fee : Free
St. George Church in Penang, the oldest Anglican church in south Asia, was completed in 1818. The Church was awarded as the National Heritage Status in 2007 and from then the building has been renovated and re-colored and nowadays reopen for public service and visiting.
10. The Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower
The Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower or Jubilee Clock Tower was built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. The tower is 60 feet tall, situated beside the Penang Port Commission. As you notice there is a metal nut structure beside the tower which symbolizes for betel nut, called as “buah pinang” by local Malaysian. The tower is not really an attraction but more than a stop-by spot in Penang.