Penang Tourism Guide

Penang Tourism Guide

Quick Guide

Electricity

Type G – 240V

Weather

JAN
28°C
FEB
28°C
MAR
28°C
APR
28°C
MAY
28°C
JUN
28°C
JUL
27°C
AUG
27°C
SEP
27°C
OCT
27°C
NOV
27°C
DEC
28°C

Language
Malaysian

Currency
Malaysian Ringgit (RM)

Visa
Visa Free

Cost of a soft drink
2.34 RM  (avg)

Cost of a Meal
70 RM (avg)

Average Room Rate
SG$103 / night (3* hotel)

SG$1 = 3.14 Malaysia Ringgit (Exchange rates can vary)

Nestled in the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Penang offers its visitors an intriguing melting pot of urbanised cityscapes and traditional Asian culture. Framed by unspoilt beaches, an abundance of farms and picture perfect mountains, this cosmopolitan state delivers a sensory experience that remains unrivalled anywhere else on the continent.

As a thriving tourist destination, Penang is simply bursting with activities and experiences to excite travellers of all kinds. Our travel guide will help you get to grips with the sights, nightlife, food and hotels on offer, so you can start planning a trip of a lifetime.

Penang is a wonderful state with a mix of history, culture, arts and food. Take a walk back in time when you visit the Blue Mansion built by the late Cheong Fatt Tze or track down the art installations around the island. When you’re done, eat authentic Penang Laksa or Nasi Kandar for a taste of the city.”

By Yafieda

Top Attractions

Penang Hill is an opportunity to have the most spectacular view of Penang Island and the surrounding areas. The climb is equally as exciting as the view; you’ll encounter many intriguing animals who call this area home on your way up.

 

The Street Art in George Town is an opportunity to see how the locals express themselves. From obscure, abstract and electrifying murals to dedications to loved ones and symbols of Penang, there’s something new around every corner.

 

Looking for a nugget of paradise? Penang National Park will have all you dreamed of and more. This 1,212 hectares of untouched, preserved nature lets you chill out on the coast or explore the huge array of flora and fauna at your leisure.

Things to do in Penang

From unique museums to stunning national parks and even vibrant street art, Penang truly has it all. Here are just some of the must-visit places that deserve a spot on every tourist’s itinerary.

Street of Harmony

Image Source: Davidlohr Bueso

Located alongside Jalan Masjid Kepitan Keiling, the Street of Harmony is where the four most prominent religions of the town merge together in a single location, where all are represented by stunning 18th century temples of worship. The first Anglican church of Southeast Asia was built here in 1816 and is a hotspot for architecture enthusiasts. There are many different communities here. The colonial buildings give you a sense of what it was like in British Penang, while a mere few hundred metres away lies the Goddess of Mercy Temple: the centre of the spiritual Chinese community.  There’s also Little India, which brings together all the spices, silks and samosas in one magical location. Finally, there’s the Sri Maha Marimman Kovil, which is the oldest temple of Hindu worship on the island. This is truly one of the most fascinating and multicultural places in all of Asia.

Price: Free

Opening Times: N/A

Address: Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling

Penang Hill

Image Source: Marufish

Home to what are arguably the most spectacular views on the island, Penang Hill is a beautiful, dizzying adventure filled with exotic creatures and breath-taking sights. Among the many fascinating animals on the hill includes the dusty lead monkey, which is known for the large white circles around its eyes, which are similar in appearance to goggles. There’s also the black giant squirrel, which is one of the largest squirrels in the world, growing up to nearly 60cm in length. There’s a viewing deck to make the most of the sights, as well as stunning architecture ranging all the way back from 1800. Not to mention, an Owl Museum, Henna art facilities and the unique Wax Hand merchandise, which is created by dipping your hand into liquid wax and making your own model. Finally, there’s the famous love lock observation deck, where lovers announce their love with decorated padlocks.

Price: Adult (foreign): RM30.00, Adult Fast Lane (foreign): RM60.00 + children and concession prices

Opening Times: N/A

Address: Jalan Stesen Bukit Bendera

“In Penang, I recommend taking a hike to the top of Penang Hill to gain a better view of your surroundings. Start your walk beside the botanical gardens and as early as possible to beat the midday heat. At the top of the five-kilometre climb, you’ll be greeted with stunning views of George Town from above.”

By Lauren Juliff, Never Ending Footsteps

Escape

A theme park like no other, Escape has back to basics rides that are guaranteed to deliver a thrill. Everything here fits with the concept of keeping the park as natural as possible, so attractions are built around the natural landscape for a “low tech, high fun” experience. The park wants you to forget about the modern world with all its electronics and distractions for a few hours and just be one with nature. That doesn’t mean sitting around a field feeling tranquil: there’s plenty of high octane action here to keep everyone happy, with games and rides for all ages. These attractions include a rope course with three difficulty levels, a zip line, kite flying, tubby tube racing, a climbing tower, kids’ obstacle courses, mazes, burrows, swinging ropes, balancing beams, dunk tanks and much more. It’s a natural wonderland.

Price: 0-3 years: free, 4-12 years: 55RM, 13-60 years: 83RM, 61-100 years: free

Opening Times: 10:00 – 18:00, Tuesday to Sunday

Address: 828 Jalan Teluk Bahang

Chowrasta Market (Chowrasta Bazaar)

Image source: Viator.com

Chowrasta Market is among the oldest markets in Penang and has solidified itself as a landmark of the region. It’s an incredible place for a tourist looking for a bargain, with plenty of unique local items and souvenirs. It’s famous for its cucur udang: crispy pawn fritters, which are considered to be among the best available on the island. You get a real local experience from this market, with lots of hidden gems awaiting to be uncovered. Be aware that the local Penang state government recently announced that the market is being changed into an indoor market, which has divided opinions among locals. Time will tell if the magic of this iconic market will be retained.

Price: Free

Opening Times: 06:30 – 13:00 daily, except hours may differ on Mondays

Address: Lebuh Tamil, George Town, 10100 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Tropical Spice Garden

Tropical Spice Garden is a completely unique place. If you love nature, you’ll be in your element with over 8 acres of secondary jungle to explore. Formally an abandoned rubber plantation, it was founded by David and Rebecca Wilkonson, who transformed this area into one of the most exciting eco-tourism destinations in south east Asia, featuring over 500 different types of fauna and flora. You can take the garden tour to get to know the area, as well as all the unique tropical plants on show, visit the gift shop to take hope some of those spices and even get involved in a cooking school featuring world class chefs.

Price: Adult (Garden Audio): RM26, Child aged 3-12 years (Garden Audio): RM15, Adult (Live Garden Tour): RM35, Child (Live Garden Tour): RM20

Opening Times: 09:00 – 18:00

Address: Lot 595 Mukim 2, Jalan Teluk Bahang, 11050 Penang

Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi

Image source: alex hanoko

With a lineage traced way back 650 years, Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi, is one of the oldest and most renowned Chinese clan houses in Malaysia. Located to the southwest of nearby Georgetown, the building is situated at the end of a long row of 19th century houses (which were once homes for clan members) on the granite square at the opening. Famous as a place of being among separate migrant communities, the site otherwise known as Khoo Kongsi, brought together clans of different territories. The majestic building also includes a traditional theatre and is home to dozens of exciting events throughout the year.

Price: Adult: RM10/pax, Children (under 12 years): RM1/pax, Children (under 5 years): free

Opening Hours:  Open daily from 09:00 – 17:00

Address: 18 Cannon Square, 10200 Penang

The Camera Museum

There are no prizes for guessing what this attraction is all about. The Camera Museum is situation on Muntri Street in Georgetown and has been taking visitors through the history of one of the world most beloved inventions. The displays include the exhibition hall, which features cameras from the eighteenth century through to the present day, giving you a full picture of the evolution of the camera. Visitors also get the chance to handle antique cameras as part of the tour. There’s also a spy room for Bond fans, as well as the dark room, which shows how photography works and has progressed. The stereo room goes back 150 years to early 3D cameras that most people didn’t realise even existed back then. Finally, you can walk inside a camera in the pinhole room: all of which come with a guided tour.

Price: Free

Opening Hours: Open daily from 09:30 – 18:30

Address: 49 Lebuh Muntri | (Muntri Street), George Town, Penang Island 10200

Penang National Park

This astronomically sized national park covers 1212 ha of land and sea, including 417 flora and 143 fauna species. This is an archaeological and scientific goldmine, which is frequently used by researchers to further their work. This park is so huge, it includes various forests, lakes, beaches and coastal seas. It’s fair to say there’s a little more to Penang National Park than a swing set and a climbing frame. So important to the environment, this land has been left untouched by logging crews since the 1950s. The park is located around half an hour from Georgetown but it will take you a lot longer than that to see all it has to offer.

Price: Adult: 5MYR, Children: 3MYR

Opening Hours: 07:30 – 18:00 daily

Address: Jalan Hassan Abas, Teluk Bahang, Penang Island

Street Art – George Town

Image source: shankar.s

Malaysia has a vast cultural heritage and street art is just one example of how that heritage has evolved and is being carried on today. This isn’t exactly a single location like many of the entrants on this list, but there are plenty of guides online if you want to find the best street art Penang has to offer. This is much more than local kids tagging their names on the sides of bus stops: street art took off in this town after the work of Ernest Zacarevic in 2012 set the locals imaginations ablaze with a stunning collection at the George Town festival. Now there’s an incredible selection of art to see scattered throughout Penang, including 52 iron structures and the famous 101 lost kittens’ project.

Price: Free

Opening Hours: N/A

Address: George Town Lebuh Pantai, Penang Island 10300

Upside Down Museum

Image source: Guian Bolisay

This is a museum with a twist that will leave you in a spin. The Upside Down Museum lets visitors move through an upside down house, including a kitchen, living room, bedroom, bathroom and even upside down shops and cafés, if you fancy a bite with a world bending difference. Its entrance fee is a little high but it’s a wonderful tourist destination known for taking great holidays snaps and mesmerising children. Shoes must be left at the entrance and you’ll want to arrive early to avoid large crowds, as it does get extremely busy for such a small venue.

Price: RM11 – RM27

Opening Hours: Monday – Friday: 09:00 – 17:20; Saturday – Sunday: 09:00 – 18:30

Address: 45, Lebuh Kimberley, George Town, 10100, Pulau Pinang

Shopping in Penang

If you’re looking to hunt down some bargains and snap up some souvenirs, Penang’s fantastic shopping centers are just the place to be. These expansive malls offer a selection of luxury retailers and local merchants, meaning you’ll be shopping until you drop.

“Immerse yourself in Penang’s diverse culture and delicious cuisine. The capital George Town is UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its numerous Chinese style shop houses found all over the city, plus Malay and Indian architecture. Get out the city and witness the Sea of Clouds from 830 metre Bukit Bendera Hill, with panoramic views of Georgetown. As you explore, have a caffeinated quirk, coffee in a bag!”

By Kach Howe, Two Monkey Travel Group

Gurney Paragon

Address: 163 C & D, Persiaran Gurney, Georgetown

Hours: 10:00 – 22:00

An upmarket shopping centre situated next to the famous Gurney Plaza, Gurney Paragon is home to high end stores, such as Michael Kors, Fred Perry, Sephora and more. Plenty of places in Penang have a rustic, back to basic feel but the Paragon is more modern, focusing on luxury rather than history. There’s everything you expect here, including the odd Starbucks and a TGI Friday, but there’s also a wonderful amount of world class restaurants and exclusive fashion stores to explore.

Image source: Craig Morey

1st Avenue Mall

Address: Jalan Magazine, Georgetown, 10300 Georgetown

Hours: 10:00 – 22:00

 

One of the most fashionable malls is Malaysia, 1st Avenue is a whopping 655,000 square feet of shopping heaven. Known for its popularity among young, wealthy professionals, this mall offers seven stories of fashion stores, sporting goods, jewellery, electronics, music, furnishings and entertainment, as well as some of the best restaurants in the city. What else would you expect from the coolest mall in town? If you need any more convincing, there’s also the tourist privilege passport, which is available at the information Counter on the 2nd floor. Using this you can get discounts from various outlets, as well as a collectable postcard if you spend more than RM100 (the equivalent of just under £20). Finally, don’t forget to visit the 8th floor, where you’ll be greeted with stunning panoramic views of the beautiful city of Georgetown.

Queensbay Mall

Address: 100 Persiaran Bayan Indah, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang
Hours: 10:30 – 22:30

While not quite as flashy as our previous entrants, Queensbay Mall offers no less than an excellent shopping experience and Is widely considered among the best malls on the island. It has five levels of stores, both international and local. You really get a sense of everything Penang has to offer both from its home grown sellers but also its place as a vast internationally minded city. This is one of the largest shopping malls in the world (ranked 25th overall) with an incredible 2.5 million square feet of retail goodness at your disposal. Seeing everything this mall has to offer isn’t just a great experience, it’s quite the workout!

Fun Facts

  • Penang is actually the birthplace of shoe designer Jimmy Choo.
  • Only a few years ago, Penang was an unloved, undervalued area of Malaysia. Then UNESCO titled its capital as a World Heritage site, since then the area has undergone significant development and revamping of its natural wonders.
  • During August, George Town is transformed into a month long festival of the Arts. From dancing to acrobatics and live interpretive art to musical performances, this is an incredible time to be visiting Penang.

Food in Penang

Whether you want authentic Malaysian cuisine in a laid back environment or a fine dining experience with flavours you’ll simply adore, you’re sure to find something to whet your appetite in Penang’s famous restaurants and eateries.

“Penang is famous across all of South East Asia as being not only Malaysia’s food capital, but perhaps the food capital of the entire region. It’s not about swanky restaurants, think more street stalls and hawker centres with a gorgeous mix of Malaysian food – Indian, Malay and Chinese, and everything in between, Penang Laksa being a favourite of many.

Being an island in Asia of course you still get the standard gorgeous beaches, but also you can visit the island’s UNESCO site, its capital Georgetown. Also, en route to the airport be sure to stop in at the snake temple, with pit vipers slithering their way through the whole complex. Eeeek”

By Johnny Ward, One Step 4Ward

Chin’s Stylish Chinese Cuisine

Address: Tanjong City Marina, Church St Pier, 8A Pengkalan Weld, 10300 Georgetown

Image source: Alpha

Known for great ambience and even better food, the upmarket Chin’s Stylish Chinese Cuisine can be found at the end of Church Street Pier in Weld Quay Penang. This restaurant has gathered an extensive following, with rave reviews from critics and customers alike. The contemporary Chinese décor sets the tone perfectly, as does the elegance of the furnishings. This delicate tone gives the impression that this is a restaurant intended to please even the most discerning of pallets. Its unique but authentic take on Szechuan cuisine doesn’t disappoint. This is style and substance all mixed up in one stunning eastern package. It’s easy to see why customers from across the globe flock here time and time again.

New Lane Hawker Centre

Address: Lorong Baru (New Lane), Off Macalister Road, Georgetown, 10040 Penang

Image source: tbiley

There are five Great Hawker Centres scattered throughout Penang but to many, New Lane Hawker Centre will always be the best in town. Hawker Centres are simply food courts made up of the very best street food the island has to offer. As anyone who has been to Penang will tell you, the street food is an absolute must to get the most out of your visit. At 4pm every afternoon, the busy streets, previously flooded with cars, empty to make way for this bustling outdoor food centres. This is more than a simple food court: this is where the best street food chefs come to show off their culinary skills and vie for your attention with the best dishes they have to offer. It’s an incredible atmosphere that must be felt to be believed and one of the best ways to feel part of this amazing town.

Nasi Kandar Line Clear

Address: 177 Penang Road, Penang

Nasi Kander is a Malaysian dish of flavoured steamed rice served with a variety of curry based dishes and is an absolute must if you want to get a sense of what it’s really like to live and eat in this incredible island. Open 24 hours a day, Nasi Kandar Line Clear may be far removed from other high class restaurants, but it’s no less delicious. Located down a long alleyway along Jalan Penang, this offers food for only RM6.50. This is the cheapest of its kind in Penang and you won’t believe the quality of the food you can get for that price. For reference, that’s just over £1 for a single meal. Their daily specials are the stuff of legend among locals and it’s easy to see why. It’s the best value for money you’ll find in Penang, and maybe anywhere in the world.

Joo Hooi Café

Address: 475 Jalan Penang, Georgetown Penang

Image source: StephenHii

Another venue known for its popularity with locals, this café has a lively ambience that is bubbling with activity and conversation. Dishes cost next to nothing, which is simply incredible considering the quality that’s on offer here. The café is famous for its Asam Laksa, Rojak, Duck Meat Kway Teow Th’ng and more: there’s more to enjoy here than some restaurants. Outside there’s the iconic Penang Road Famous Teochow Cendol stall, which serves a simple but refreshing dish made from coconut milk, cendol, shaved ice, gula Melaka and kidney beans. It’s perfect for a hot summer’s day.

Suffolk House Restaurant

Address: 250, Jalan Ayer Itam, 10460 Georgetown

Far from the rustic, back to basic affair of cafes and street food, this is fine dining at its best, located within the stunning venue of Malaysia’s only surviving Georgian mention. It was originally built in the early 1800’s and still stands as majestically to this day. In fact, it’s so sought after that it has become a much loved wedding venue, and when you take a look at the stunning architecture, it’s easy to see why. The venue is also well known for its place in the hit UK TV show Indian Summers, but not as much as it’s known for its world class cuisine, headed by legendary executive chef Mathjis Nanne. They offer an incredible fusion of European dishes flavoured with herbs and spices, all of which are locally sourced. This place is both timeless and innovative.

Bite N Eat Bindigil Biriyani

Not the easiest restaurant to find on this list, Bite N Eat Biryani is located in a little corner of market street in George Town and has a lot more to offer than its fast food like name would suggest. This is a restaurant specialising in Dindigul style biryani, using the trademark seerage samba rice. It is as authentic as they come with a traditional Indian flavour: the restaurant only uses recipes passed down through generations and all the spices come directly from India itself. This dedication to authenticity shines through in the food, delivering one of the best Indian dining experiences in Malaysia.

Woodlands Vegetarian Restaurant

Address: 60, Lebuh Penang, George Town, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang

There are very few vegetarian Indian restaurants on the island, so it helps that Woodlands Vegetarian Restaurant happens to be an excellent one. It is known for its exquisite Woodlands’ special tali: a rice dish accompanied by nine sides. including dhals, vegetables and gravies. Be aware though that the menu does change throughout the day, with different dishes being available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you’re a vegetarian, then you’ve found your ideal eating spot. If you’re not, with food this good, it’s unlikely you’ll miss meat during your visit. This local legend is the perfect place to refuel after a long walk around Georgetown.

Nightlife in Penang

Indulge in a night to remember with Penang’s raving nightclubs, lively bars and sophisticated restaurants.

Image source: fitri agung

QEII

Address: Tanjung City Marina, Church Street Pier, 8A, Pengkalan Weld

QEII is a posh, fine dining restaurant by day and trendy nightclub by night. It overlooks the marina, standing on stilts in the water and playing dance and house music all through the evening. Few places are recognised as being among the best restaurants or nightclubs in Malaysia and this manages to be both. You can make a whole day of it at Tanjung City Marina, have a world class meal by day and dance the night away.

Soju Room

Address: B2, Entertainment City, Penang Times Square, 10150 Penang

Specialising in electronic dance music, Soju Room is located under Penang’s Times Square and has been keeping up to 1500 people raving all night since 2000. Known as one of the trendiest places in Penang, this is one of four Soju clubs, all of which are famous for pumping tunes and captivating live entertainment. Its futuristic circular stage and neo industrial décor makes this among the most stylish nightclubs around, complete with flashing lights, lasers and ultra-modern furnishings. A trend setter, as well as being a great place to let your hair down, Soju Room is a night out to remember.

Slippery Senoritas

Address: Lot B3A, The Garage, No 2, Penang Road, 10000 Penang

Image source: Krista

The most popular dance club in Georgetown, Slippery Senoritas is as unique as it is popular. Famous for its flair bartenders, they have been mesmerising crowds for years with their death defying fire breathing performances. This is beyond show-off bartending, but they can do that as well. You don’t just get a drink at Slippery Senoritas, you get a show as well with shakers, limes and liquors being thrown through the air and mixed into a delicious cocktail with ease and finesse. One of the oldest nightclubs on the island, this opened in 2001 and changed the nightlife of Penang forever and for the better.

Three Sixty Revolving Restaurant & Sky Bar

Address: 25A Lebuh Farquhar, 10200 Penang

This revolving restaurant is very much like QEII in the sense that it excels at both dining and as a place to drink into the early hours of the morning. However, this is a more relaxed affair. First you can sample the very best Peranakan cuisine in Malaysia, but also enjoy a unique experience with a dining room that revolves 360° degrees. For post (or pre meal) drinks, you can take to the stunning sky bar. This features an absolutely breath-taking view of the city. While QEII will get your heart pumping, Three Sixty Revolving Restaurant and Bar is more a place for quiet reflection as you take in the magic of Penang.

Jammin

Address: 5, Weld Quay, Georgetown, Penang

Another restaurant/bar hybrid here, Jammin sits above the excellent Via Pre Italian restaurant on the second floor. This is a bar that takes its beers seriously with a wonderful selection from specialist breweries. If you’re a beer connoisseur, you’re unlikely to find better. This is a stylish venue quite distinct from the restaurant below, with cool modern décor rather than the rustic feel of Via Pre. The venue also regularly features live music if you’re in the mood for something a little different.

Top Tips

  • Penang is known to be a food capital, so make sure you explore all of the hawker food stalls; we recommend trying a bowl of Assam Laksa and Fried Koay Teow.
  • Carry cash. Most places in Penang prefer cash and a lot of places, especially coffee shops or hawker stalls will not the facilities to accept card payments.
  • There are a range of dress codes throughout Penang, for example, some beaches have banned bathing costumes. The best way to avoid getting in trouble or dressing inappropriately is to look for signs and look at what others are wearing around you.

Hotels in Penang

Luxury Hotels in Penang

A grand hotel steeped in history, the Eastern and Oriental Hotel was founded by the Sarkies brothers in the late 1800s and is a throwback to the British-Raj era, which gives the hotel its signature style. It has the longest seafront of any hotel in the world. Indeed, when you look at the high ceilings and stunning décor on display, it’s clear that this is a hotel that doesn’t do things by halves. The rooms are absolutely picturesque; you’ll feel like you’re in a world of your own in these mesmerising showcases of design. The hotel also boasts two outdoor pools, four onsite restaurants, a full service spa, breakfast, childcare, a fitness centre and a 24-hour business centre, along with air conditioning and Wi-Fi. It’s one of the most expensive hotels in Georgetown, but in this case, you get what you pay for.

From a hotel steeped in history to one that’s positively futuristic, Lexis Suites has been known to blow people away with its modern take on style. Despite its cosmopolitan good looks, this hotel is actually a very tranquil place, located about 15-20 minutes from the airport in a fishing village. So if you want to be in the heartland of Penang, then maybe look for something a little closer to Georgetown. However, if you want to come back after a long day on your feet to total serenity and an incredible beach view, Lexis Suites is the place for you.

A hotel that truly has to be seen to be believed, Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa is possibly the most unique hotel in Penang. Its pools are surrounded by overhanging rain trees, which make this place feel completely secluded from the rest of the world. It’s got a certain peaceful magic that is completely its own. The hotel is beautifully decorated, with stunning rooms that come with a beautiful sea view. The breakfast is outstanding with big portions, so make sure you work up an appetite. The hotel is also known for excellent customer service, with its friendly staff earning them fans across the globe.

To live in the lap of luxury during your stay in London, you will need to be spending approximately 15,000 rupees per night’s stay (on average). These prices are influenced significantly by the length of time you stay, the size of your group and when you choose to visit London.

Mid-Range Hotels in Penang

As its name suggest the Hotel Central Seaview’s main selling point is its incredible sea view from its outdoor pool. The hotel is pretty well decorated and comes in around the mid-range level. While you can get better decorated rooms for this rate, nowhere in this price range can match its view or beach side locations. On a side note, being out at the beach does add around ten to fifteen minutes to your journeys compared to hotels closer to Georgetown, but considering the tranquillity that’s on offer here, we find it’s worth the extra steps. The hotel also comes with a refrigerator, a daily housekeeper, satellite TV, barbecue grill and a dry cleaning service, alongside WI-FI and free parking

Another favourite mid-range hotel is the Spices Hotel located in Georgetown. It features 15 rooms decorated with Art Deco flair, along with fantastic amenities, including LED TVs, free Wi-Fi and relaxing rainfall showerheads. A complimentary manager’s reception is offered daily and bikes are available to rent from this hotel, meaning you can start your day sightseeing with ease.

This building may look as standard as a hotel comes, as a simple grey, office block like building. However, Hotel Royal really shows you that you can’t judge a book by its cover, as inside this hotel is a class act all the way. The lobby is absolutely breath-taking with a deep wooden décor, a spiral staircase and even a chandelier to boot. The rooms are a little simpler but retain that classic upmarket hotel feel, so much so you may find yourself unable to believe this is a mid-range option. Its location is fantastic, with the best transport links of any hotel on this list. The breakfast is also very impressive for the price.

Budget Hotels in Penang

With prices coming in at under SG$35, Tune Hotel is an astonishing bargain of a hotel. It might not have the polish of other hotels on this list but for the money you are spending, you’re getting clean, decent looking comfortable rooms, surrounded by some of the island’s most beloved tourist attractions. The Camera Museum, Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi, Clan Jetty and Pinang Peranakan Mansion are all within twenty minutes of the hotel. The cost includes air conditions, private bathroom and Wi-Fi.

You won’t believe how much space you get for under SG$35 with the Ink Hotel. It’s stylishly decorated, cool and comfortable, in a great location and is an incredibly high standard for what you’re paying. It’s a little out of the way than Tune Hotel, around five minutes or so, but it does make up for that with its earthy wooden style and ultra-spacious rooms. Wi-Fi and air conditioning come free, and the rooms even come with a TV and cable channels.

Despite its upmarket sounding name, the East Indies Mansion hotel is a very affordable place to stay and is astonishingly good value for what’s on offer here. It’s decorated beautifully with a down to earth, rustic, relaxing feel to your surroundings. It’s almost like being in an upmarket yoga resort and while that might not be to everyone’s taste, there’s no doubt of the value that’s on offer here. It’s an award winning hotel in the heart of George Town, with a rich, vibrant history dating back to the mid-1800s.

Another wonderful spot for the budget conscious, Nostalgia Inn is a great place to stay if you really want to get a feeling for local culture with old school, traditional décor bringing you that authentic Penang experience. They’re also known for their friendly customer service and for being surrounding by excellent food stalls. This hotel isn’t for everyone but for those who don’t mind getting back to basics, this is an absolute steal. Free hot beverages are served from the lobby and the room comes with a TV, refrigerator, private bathroom and air conditioning. It’s located in Georgetown and is an excellent location for most tourist destinations.

Getting Around in Penang

No matter where your destination may be or what your budget is, Penang has many transport options and travelling routes to help you get there.

“The best way to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of George Town in Penang is to cruise the streets by trishaw. Hire one for the day and let him take you to all of the best sights as you jump on and off snapping photos of restored colonial buildings and Chinese shop houses.”

By Elaine Brindamour, Suma Lifestyle

Image source: shankar.s

One of the most common ways to get from point A to point B is by using the public buses. There has been a lot of thought and improvement put into the Rapid Penang bus service recently, meaning it now offers quick and easy travel with clear signage and informative drivers. Better still, holidaymakers can purchase a Tourist Passport for use on these busses for only RM20, which gives you one full week of unlimited travel on all Rapid Penang routes and services. In terms of cost and convenience, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything better.

In addition to the Rapid Penang busses, you’ll also be able to use the Rapid Penang CAT, which is a free shuttle bus service that helps tourists reach the most popular attractions. These mainly operate around the inner city of George Town and run from early morning to midnight every day, meaning you can save your money for the fantastic venues, shops and restaurants in the town.

While renting a car is an affordable option in Penang, you can avoid all the fuss of speed limits and parking by opting for taxis instead. These can be found all around the city and offer reasonably priced fares. Please be aware though that many taxi drivers do not use meters, so it is worth agreeing a set price before you start your journey.

Image source: Phalinn Ooi

Pedal-powered trishaws, also known as becas, can also be a fun and entertaining mode of transport. They offer a more relaxed and cultural way of exploring the streets, allowing you to fully appreciate the scenery and architecture close up. As with the taxis, it is always worth agreeing a set rate with the driver before you set off and for longer sightseeing sessions, it is advisable to agree on an hourly rate. Alternatively, if you don’t mind pedalling for yourself, you can hire a bicycle and carve out your own path through Penang.

By Taxi: You will be able to find the taxi rank located outside of the arrivals hall. Simply request a taxi, pay for your fare at the desk then take it to the allocated taxi rank. A  journey to George Town will take approximately 25 minutes and prices range from 14-40MYR depending on which zone of George Town you are going to. Taxi services will include a 50% surcharge for those passengers travelling between 12am and 6am, regardless of where you are travelling.

By Bus: There are 3 bus routes that journey from Penang Airport into the city centre. The first is The Rapid Penang service that can be found on the ground floor of the arrivals lounge, tickets cost 2-3 Ringgit from here. Take the U401 route, which makes multiple stops along the way that should take you to your hotel or near your required location. Buses run every 30 minutes and operate between 06:35 and 23:00.

“Most people discount the fact that Penang does have an excellent beach that faces the Andaman Sea and Malacca Straits. Batu Ferringhi is its name. Located at the northern tip of Penang, Batu Ferringhi offers beach goers all you’d expect at a reputable beach – fine pristine sand, beach activities (including para-sailing, banana boat rides and jet skiing) and even horseback riding by the beach.”

 By Tom, 2BearBear

Best Time to Visit Penang

Image source: Schristia

While Penang offers pleasant climates all year round, with temperatures staying above the 25° mark, we recommend planning your visit around February and early March. You’ll be able to enjoy warm days and stunning sunshine, which will really make the beach settings and beautiful garden scenes completely unforgettable. This is also a fantastic time for bustling crowds flocking to Georgetown, along with lower season prices that are definitely worth taking advantage of.

If you are planning to travel to Penang during a different time of year, be aware that the wettest months occur between May to November.

Flights to Penang

Image source: dion gillard

Now you know everything there is to know about Penang, the only thing left to do is book your flights and start planning your journey. Visit Expedia for the best rates on flights.

You can get a direct flight from Singapore to Penang and it will take you only 1-2 hours, meaning Penang is ideal for a quick escape. Airlines flying to Penang includeJetstar Asia, AirAsia, Tigerair, Cathay Pacific, China Southern Airlines, Malaysian Airlines, Wings Air and Thai Airways International.