Where are the best places to visit in Penang, Malaysia?

Mudassir Ali
Feb 12, 2020 05:23 AM 0 Answers
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Mudassir Ali
- Feb 12, 2020 05:24 AM


Terribly sorry for being the latecomer but as of my answer, this question only has 2 answers at the moment (and I’m pretty sure one of them was a copy and paste job from one of Penang’s many tourism pages – Not that it’s any less informative, just less “real” and tangible y’know?) and as a lifelong Penangite AS WELL as a Quoran, I cannot let this injustice stand!

First of all, WELCOME TO PENANG! I’m not gonna bore you with the details and history and stuff you can get off Wikipedia, I’m just gonna recommend you my top spots to visit and my favourite hangouts on the island.

Below is a list of places or things to do here that I’ve done and enjoyed and have gotten some great feedback whenever I bring along my international or out-of-state friends to try. Bear in mind that the items/activities/food that I list below can sometimes be a signature dish that’s really popular in Penang and as such will be somewhat of a common thing to see upon your arrival on our tiny island, BUT, the locales I list down below are places where I think serves the best of these dishes and are the ones that I frequent mostly due to the fact that my tastebuds deem them the best of the best. Of course, these kinds of things are subjective and as such, if you meet another Penangite, be sure to ask what their favourite thing/place to do/eat is and we’ll all give you a pretty diverse answer all round. I would also like to highlight that this list is a reflection of my personal preferences and that in no way or form am I affiliated with the places that I am recommending.

Also, Penang is a massive food haven and the items I list below is by no means a complete listing of the things you can experience in Penang. If you think I’ve missed out on a few things, let me know in the comments and I’ll add them up! Or better yet, write your own answer to supplement this one! Represent! =D

Without further ado, let’s go!
If You’re coming to Penang, chances are you’re coming here because you heard that the food here is fantastic! Well.. Yeah.. I’m not gonna say anything contradictory here. The food here really is fantastic. =) Sure, it may be about the same price as the food you can get elsewhere in Malaysia, but I assure you, the taste and the portions are definitely the best you can get.

These are my favourite food places on the island, but please note that some of the food on the list may contain items that might cause an allergic reaction (seafood, peanuts, lactose, etc) so please make sure you ask about the contents of your food if you have any dietary restrictions whatsoever.

Penang Road Cendol

Getting tired of walking around Penang exploring the sights and sounds? Cool yourself down with a bowl of Cendol! Cendol is a cooling desert that’s made out of shaved ice, palm sugar, red beans, and pandan-flavoured jelly noodles, (sometimes also containing corn and nuts) typically sweet and refreshing! the best one can be found sold at Penang Road, at 27 & 29 Lebuh Keng Kwee, 10100 Georgetown, Penang. They’re called “Penang Road Famous TeoChew Chendul” and they’ve been in business for generations! They also have a few other branches, but personally, the on at Penang Road is the best!

Penang Road Laksa

Also conveniently located near the Cendol store is the Penang Road Laksa! If you’re feeling hungry and want something spicy and savory, I strongly recommend you give this dish a try. Its essentially rice noodles, served with some mint, pineapple and an assortment of other local salads in a fish broth with a side of fish paste. Its a delicacy here on the island and its so famous that you can basically find Penang Laksa almost everywhere you go here in Malaysia because people can’t seem to get enough of it! The rest aren’t very good though, at least not like the one you get here, original from Penang. =) Also, most of the stores in Penang that sell these Laksa will have their own take to it so while I prefer the one near Penang Road Cendul, you might want to try a few and see which style agrees with you best.

Also, if you’re already loitering around Penang Road, there’s a stall further down from the laksa and cendol that serves Muah Chee.

Its glutinous rice balls rolled with peanut and sugar and boy are they divine! they’re light and chewy and sweet and tasty. What more do you need to know? Oh, they’re also DIRT CHEAP!

Bangkok Lane Fried Mee

This dish.. Oh my good God, this dish. This here is my favourite offering of Penang and one that has NEVER disappointed me when it comes to impressing tourists. That right there, my friends is a dish of friend noodles that’s topped with some gravy squid, fresh vegetables and fried tofu. I’m sorry, I don’t think I’m doing this dish justice but if you like fried noodles and are not allergic to seafood, I cannot recommend this enough. He’s located at Bangkok Lane (Key in Bangkok Lane Mee Goreng in your Waze and you’ll get right there!) and opens everyday except Mondays. Go, get yourself a plate (order a non-spicy one if you’re not feeling adventurous) and get yourself some Pat Poh Guling Peng (Pat Poh – Eight Treasures, a herbal drink which is rather bitter but when added with “Guling” which is sweetened milk, balances out rather nicely. Peng just means “iced” in Hokkien, one of the languages the Chinese of Penang speak).

Extra food joints to check out:
Sri Ananda Bahwan or Karaikudi restaurant for authentic Indian food
Taman Tun Sardon Food Court for authentic Malay breakfast items (must go during breakfast hours and try the “Serabai Manis”)

Wading through the historic buildings and attractions of Penang can get tiresome and confusing. If you only have a few days to kill though, Here are a few places that I think would definitely be worth the visit.

As Penang depends on the tourism industry economically, it will naturally charge some admission for access to some of its attractions. While I try to make sure my recommendations stay on the FREE side of things, I will highlight, for your convenience, where entrance fees are expected and how much it is approximately.

Penang Street Art (Free, unless you charter bicycles to take you around)

A few years ago, at the behest of the Penang government, Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic was commissioned to breathe some life back into some of the old walls of the historic buildings that line the streets of Penang and as a result, one of the most famous tourist attractions we have were born! These paintings range from historic to endearing and are beautifully drawn to reflect what life in Penang and Malaysia in general are like for its inhabitants. I personally find his work amazing and have it in my list of things to do one of these days, should I have some free time to take a picture with each and every one of the street art that we have on display. Take note though, some of the art produced were time limited whilst newer ones do pop up here and there from time to time as more people get on the street art bandwagon so you might end up with ones that are not in any of the “official” street art lists! Do check them out if you have a day to burn on the island.

Penang National Park (free entrance, but you will have to register with the rangers to keep track of her visitors)

Using technology all day can get tiresome and after a while, you just need a place to disconnect and unwind. What I typically do in situations like that is hurry off to the nearest forest and jump in for a few hours of hiking and nowhere is it better of a place to do that here in Penang than our National Park. It has a few trails of differing difficulties that can cater to all adventurers young and old. If it’s too difficult, there are also boat services available to take you to the end destinations; one of the pristine beaches of the Penang National Park.

To my knowledge, the Penang National Park has 3 beaches in its compounds, all three of which are very clean and well kept, more so than the other more accessible beaches in Penang owing its beauty to its relative seclusion from the others.

The easiest to access would be the Monkey Beach and Pantai Kerachut, both of which are a relatively easy hike of 2 hours from the main entrance. To get to the good stuff though, you’ll need to set aside 3 to 4 hours to get to Teluk Kampi, an amazingly beautiful, secluded patch of heaven on earth. Seeing that patch of beautiful sand and shimmering waters through the leaves as you emerge from an ass-kicking 4 hour hike, I tell ya, nothing else compares. Makes all the pain worthwhile.

Each of the beaches in the Penang National Park has their own attractions though, so be sure to visit them all while you’re there to make the most of your trip. Pantai (pantai basically means beach, in Malay) Kerachut has the Meromictic lake which has layers of water that do not intermix. Monkey Beach has a route further up (add 40 minutes ish to your hike) that leads to the Muka Head Lighthouse (which you can climb to the very top) which affords you a view of the Malacca Strait from 227 meters above sea level while Teluk Kampi has the best beach of the three and provides camping grounds should you want to set up tent there for the night (make sure you clear this with the park rangers first, though).

Escape Adventure Playland (RM 50 for 4-12 year olds and RM 72 for 13-60 year olds, free for those below 3 and above 61 – Purchase online at their page for lower prices)

And finally we have Escape. Here’s why its awesome:
Its basically a playground for adults (sure, kids can go too, but let’s face it, its for adults).
It’s one of the only places I can think of that allows me to climb and jump from platform to platform and unleash my inner child. You get to use muscles that you never thought you had.
It’s massive. The RM 72 entrance fee, for me, is very worth it for access to a compound as large and with activities as diverse as they have.
The flying fox station alone is worth the entrance fee, personally. It goes on for quite a while and is pretty high up so you have a great view of the whole compound from it. Bird’s eye view, of sorts.
The theme park is well equipped, the staff is friendly and the’re professionals. You can bring a change of clothes and bathe immediately afterwords in the toilets or even eat in the food court (very pricy for locals, though. And food isn’t as good as the ones you can get outside).
Extra places to check out:
Sleeping Buddha Temple, Kuan Yin Temple, Kek Lok Si Temple, Snake Temple for the views, architecture and culture
Penang Hill (Bukit Bendera) for the view and the experience of riding a tram uphill (RM 40 for foreigners, RM 8 for locals)
Chong Fatt Tze Mansion, Penang Museum, Penang Free School, and Penang War Museum for its history

And that’s it!
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, Faris”, I hear you say.. “That can’t be all that Penang has to offer” you say.

Well, that’s true. But for me to include EVERYTHING there is to see and experience here, that would undermine the excellent work done by the other folks who have reviewed and compiled libraries worth of information on Penang that are leagues ahead of the ones I have to offer, so maybe you wanna check them out for more details?

As promised, this write up was just to let you know in my voice, what exactly it is about my home that I love so much and what I wish more people knew about Penang. I hope you enjoy this answer and your time on this tiny island I call home and see you around!

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