Searching for the best thing to do in Penang? Even if you have been here multiple times, there’s always something new to see and do in vibrant Penang!
Whether your interests lie in food, culture, history, taking pretty pictures for your social media, hiking, or even riding horses, there’s something for everybody to enjoy!
So check out this a foolproof list of must-see and lesser known places to visit in Penang!
Table of contents:
- Eat Penang Food
- Hike Up Or Ride The Train To Penang Hill (& Habitat)
- Stop By The Penang Peranakan Museum
- Wander Among The Clan Jetties Of Penang
- See The Famous Street Murals Of Penang
- Visit Kek Lok Si Temple
- Admire The Flora At Penang Botanical Gardens
- Climb Up To Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Waterfall Temple
- Soak In The History Of Fort Cornwallis
- Have Fun At An Interactive Museum
- Marvel At The Architecture Of Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi Temple
- Go For A Tour At The Blue Mansion (Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion)
- Visit Penang’s Oldest Taoist Temple, Goddess Of Mercy Temple
- Surround Yourself With Nature At The Penang National Park
- Step Into The Penang Butterfly Farm (Entopia)
- Go For A Tour Inside Tanjung Bungah Floating Mosque
- Conquer Your Fear Of Heights @ The Gravityz
- Ride A Horse At Countryside Stables Penang
- Feel Like You’re On Pandora @ Avatar Secret Garden
- Roam Penang’s Colorful And Lively Little India
- Peek Into The 200-Year-Old Sri Mahamariamman Temple
- Treat The Kids To Adventure Zone Theme Park
- Get Your Adrenaline Going At ESCAPE Theme Park
- Enjoy Penang’s Skyline From The Top Komtar (The Top Penang)
- Jog Or Walk Around Air Itam Dam
- Relax At The New Sia Boey Urban Archaeological Park
- Watch The Sun Set At Batu Ferringhi Beach
27 Best Things To Do In Penang
Some of these are not your usual Penang tourist attractions so pay attention!
1. Eat Penang Food
This goes without saying! Savory Malaysian dishes like assam laksa and Hokkien mee are an absolute must-try!
Local food haunts like Chulia Street Night Market will satisfy your needs for a one-stop location with Penang street food!
You’ll find many local favorites like lor bak, boiled octopus and char kway teow sold at the hawker stalls along this street.
Read more: 11 Best Night Market In Penang – Monday To Sunday (Especially #5)
2. Hike Up Or Ride The Train To Penang Hill (& Habitat)
On a clear day, you can see the whole of Penang and even Langkawi from atop Penang Hill, a popular Penang tourist attraction! The night view is just as nice too!
There are numerous hiking trails of varying height and difficulty to Penang Hill.
Take the 30-minute funicular from Air Itam to Penang Hill if you’re not keen on hiking!
Do expect a long wait if you go during a public holiday or weekend. However, Fast lane tickets are available.
Read more: The Habitat Penang Hill (Ultimate Guide) – With Tips For Entrance Fee Discounts!
3. Stop By The Penang Peranakan Museum
Allow a couple of hours at this stunning museum that is itself a restored building.
There are many exquisite Nyonya-Baba (Peranakan) culture exhibits inside the museum!
It costs RM20 per adult to enter but if you have more than 5 in your group, you can book a private tour for no extra charge!
4. Wander Among The Clan Jetties Of Penang
Chew Jetty is one of the remaining traditional settlements left by Chinese immigrants. It is open to the public from 9am to 9pm to casually observe the local lifestyle.
Some of the jetties can feel very touristy with all the vendor shops!
Do respect the privacy of the families that still live here and refrain from taking photos of the house interiors and families!
5. See The Famous Street Murals of Penang
While you’re moving between places to visit in Penang, you can keep an eye out for these street murals!
They’re easy to spot as there’s often a line of people wanting to have a photo with the murals!
- Along Muntri Street: Girl in blue
- Armenian Street: 2 kids riding a bicycle; Children and dim sum
- Armenian Café: Old man’s face
- Lebuh Armenian: Giant orange cat
- Ah Quee Street: Boy on a motorcycle
- Cannon Street: Boy reaching up standing on a chair
- Chew Jetty: Kids in a boat
- Gat Lebuh Chulia: Kids playing basketball
- Penang Road: Man resting in trishaw
Note: Kek Lok Si has recently suffered from a fire outbreak (Oct 11, 2021). It remains open to the public despite ongoing repairs for the affected prayer rooms.
One of the best places to visit in Penang is this large and picturesque Buddhist temple in Air Itam! Especially when the lights are on for Chinese New Year!
Go early in the day to avoid the heat and the crowds! And for RM2, you can access the pagoda for a view of the city! Prepare yourself to climb 300+ stairs!
7. Admire The Flora At Penang Botanical Gardens
An impressive garden with numerous trails and a 50m-high waterfall, it shares a common trait with Taiping Lake Gardens:
Both are transformed abandoned quarries by past British colonial administrators.
Today, the gardens are still well kept and some of the original trees are now giants! Including the unusual Cannonball trees!
- Free entry
- No WiFi
- A shuttle service is available
- This is where you can start your hike up to Penang Hill!
8. Climb Up To Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Waterfall Temple
Not far from the botanical gardens:
Waterfall Hill Temple or Thaneer Malai as locals call it, requires visitors to climb 500+ stairs to reach the magnificent temple complex!
Because of the necessary physical effort, you’ll likely have the breathtaking views of the surroundings to yourself!
9. Soak In The History Of Fort Cornwallis
Fort Cornwallis is another famous Penang tourist attraction for history buffs with pleasant views of the sea at the upper level!
Because of that, it’s an especially popular location for sunset strolls.
The entrance fee for foreigners is quite steep at RM20 per person. But you can still admire the fort from afar.
It’s a 15-minute walk to this late 18th century British Colonial fort from Chew Jetty.
10. Have Fun At An Interactive Museum
Try an interactive Penang museum for a slice of fun for the whole family!
There are so many interactive museums in Penang which provide welcome relief from the afternoon heat too!
And you’re guaranteed to bring back some wacky photos for souvenirs!
- Wonderfood Museum
- Upside Down Museum
- Penang 3D Trick Art Museum
11. Marvel At The Architecture Of Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi Temple
In the day, you can visit this historical Chinese clan house – a cluster of ornate buildings that include a temple, a large hall and theatre.
Be on the lookout for evening cultural shows here (on the last Saturday of each month). The lit courtyard against the temple architecture create the perfect backdrop!
12. Go For A Tour At The Blue Mansion (Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion)
We have another architectural old-world wonder in this list of Penang attractions!
Visitors can either choose to stay, dine (Indigo restaurant) or come for the daily tours at The Blue Mansion.
Take note of the tour times (11am and 2pm from Friday to Sunday) and be punctual!
There is no limit for the number of tour participants so try to go on a less busy day to avoid compromising on your experience there!
13. Visit Penang’s Oldest Taoist temple, Goddess of Mercy Temple (Kuan Yin Temple)
Kuan Yin Teng as Penangites refer to it, has survived its fair share of violence during the Japanese invasion and back in the 1960s.
The still-standing roof is a testament to ancient Chinese craftsmanship!
Many devotees flock to this temple during Chinese New Year, the annual feast days for Guan Yin as well as on the Jade Emperor‘s Birthday.
14. Surround Yourself With Nature At The Penang National Park (Pantai Keracut Beach)
Take a day to explore the national park when you want to get away from the busy city!
There are two main trails here – the easy coastal trek to Monkey beach or an inland jungle trek to a turtle sanctuary.
You’ll probably need 2 days to cover all the highlights for both trails:
- Kerachut Beach (Pantai Keracut) – the turtle sanctuary and meromictic lake are here
- Monkey Beach (Teluk Duyung)
- Muka Head Lighthouse – additional steep climb from the coastal trail
15. Step Into The Penang Butterfly Farm (Entopia)
There’s much more than just butterflies at Entopia, it is an education and research hub that has outdoor gardens!
And an indoor discovery centre with interactive exhibits on insects and other invertebrates!
Besides the butterfly farm is the Tropical Fruit Farm with 25 acres of organically fruit, including durian and cherries! You can easily spend your whole afternoon at Entopia!
Read more: Penang Durian Farm – 9 Best Places To Eat Durian In Penang
16. Go For A Tour Inside Tanjung Bungah Floating Mosque
Tanjung Bungah Floating Mosque extends out into the sea, not far from George Town. Its RM15 million construction began in early 2000s with its official opening in 2007.
It is only during high tide that the mosque appears to be on the sea!
And if you meet the dress code, you can enter the prayer hall for a free 30-minute tour of the elegant mosque!
17. Conquer Your Fear Of Heights @ The Gravityz
Note: Temporarily closed (since Nov 2020) until further notice.
Gravityz gives Penang visitors a wholly unequal perspective. To see Penang from the 65th floor of Komtar! That’s ~240m above the ground! And almost level with Penang Hill!
This is the highest rope course in the world and certainly not an experience that you will forget in a hurry!
You can walk, sit or be suspended at the high-altitude platform. Or take on the flying fox!
18. Ride A Horse At Countryside Stables Penang
While far from George Town (30-40 minutes’ drive), horse riding at Countryside Stables Penang is a relaxing pastime that requires no serious commitment!
The entrance and lesson fees are affordable!
First-time riders will feel at ease with the friendly instructors, clean stables and healthy horses! You can have a go at feeding or brushing the horses too!
19. Feel Like You’re On Pandora @ Penang Avatar Secret Garden
Note: Appears to be temporarily closed.
Behind Thai Pak Koong Temple in Tanjung Tokong is a small garden.
Strings of LED lights give the trees an ethereal look much like the forest scene in James Cameron’s movie, Avatar!
Come just before sunset to meander along the shore and watch the sunset before 7:35pm when the garden transforms into Pandora!
Read more: Love Lane Penang: What To Love About This Popular Street In George Town
20. Roam Penang’s Colorful And Lively Little India
Little India of George Town stretches over Chulia Street, Queen Street and Market Street with an abundance of currency exchange services!
It is busiest before and during Deepavali and Thaipusam!
Expect to find sarees to fit any budget with costume or gold jewelry shops to help you complete the look.
Try authentic and vegetarian-friendly Indian food and snacks (NR Sweets)!
21. Peek Into The 200-Year-Old Sri Mahamariamman Temple
Arulmigu Sri Mahamariamman Temple of Queen Street is the oldest Hindu temple on the island. You’ll probably pass by it if you’re walking around Little India!
Various puja (rituals) occur daily throughout the day and during festivals when it is full of devotees!
Inside the temple, are the Hindu deities such as Lord Subramaniamx Durga and Ganapathy.
22. Treat The Kids To Adventure Zone Theme Park
Kid-friendly places to visit Penang definitely include this air-conditioned indoor theme park inside Golden Sands Resort!
It is essentially a giant jungle gym (of over 10,000 sq ft) for kids!
Parents and guardians can join in the fun for free! There are drop slides, a ball pen, game zones and birthday party rooms.
Don’t forget to bring socks and long sleeved tops for everyone who’s playing!
23. Get Your Adrenaline Going At ESCAPE Theme Park
ESCAPE Theme Park has two sections – a waterpark and an adventure park! You might want to get a multi-day pass so you can try both!
This should definitely be in your consideration for things to do in Penang with kids!
Highlights Of The Adventure Park:
- Kite Flyer (50m swing through the jungle)
- Tubby Racer (Ride a rubber tube down a slide!)
- Zip lines
- Flying fox
- Monkey Business (High rope obstacle course)
Highlights Of The Water Park:
- Water obstacle course
- Lazy river
- Wave pool
- Water slides (Banana Flip, Family Twister, Speed Racers)
24. Enjoy Penang’s Skyline From The Top Komtar (The Top Penang)
You don’t have to suspend yourself from the side of the building to get a good look of Penang from above!
Instead, there is a glass platform (Rainbow Skywalk) that visitors can walk out on.
If you plan to check out the family-friendly indoor theme park at The Top Komtar, there is a different ticket (The Top Fun Pass) that lets you access Rainbow Skywalk multiple times in a day!
25. Jog Or Walk Around Air Itam Dam
Kek Lok Si is visible on the way to Air Itam Dam, the first dam in Penang!
It hardly ever gets mentioned in lists for the top Penang attractions but nature lovers and fitness enthusiasts will appreciate it.
Locals love to frequent this scenic area for a morning or evening jog/ walk. The path around the lake is ~3km long with 4 to 5 slopes.
It’s a short shaded hike up (40-50minutes) from the car park at the bottom of the hill to the dam for unbeatable views!
Early risers will be treated to the mist among the trees and cooler temperatures!
26. Relax At The New Sia Boey Urban Archaeological Park
A particular drain canal filled with koi at this park went viral in social media for its resemblance to clean Japanese drains.
Now, the new urban park is bringing activity back to this older part of town.
The attractive and well-maintained contemporary park features a playground for kids and hot-air balloon shaped lanterns that lend a dreamy atmosphere when evening comes!
Read more: 19 Best Cafe In Penang With Great Coffee (Includes New Cafes)
27. Watch The Sun Set At Batu Ferringhi Beach
But the landscape has seen much development including high-rise buildings!
Water sports bring noise to the peaceful beach and affect the water quality.
However, there are restaurants nearby that still make the beach a convenient venue for visitors to take in the sunset!
Getting To Penang Tourist Attraction
If you can’t decide what the best things to do in Penang are, let us help!
Our experienced local guides will bring you around Penang to their favorite places from morning to evening!
RayTheTour offers private tours in Penang, Cameron Highlands, Ipoh as well as other towns in Perak – including Taiping!
These tours can be just for one day or for multiple days!
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There’s a reason Penang is on the bucket list for so many local or foreign travelers!
It’s hard to run out of things to do in Penang! From museums, parks, temples, historical sites and theme parks!
Figuring out where you want to go beforehand will help you to maximize your time in Penang! Use this list to help you do that!
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