Penang is quite a big island, and there is much to see in the Pearl of the Orient. As you might know, Georgetown is a UNESCO World Heritage site, so if you love history and culture, then this is definitely the place to be! But Penang has a lot to offer than the beautiful colonial buildings and hip street art.
Here are some of the top things to do in Georgetown and elsewhere on Penang:
The absolute best way to discover Georgetown is walking along the Heritage trails in the city and looking for hidden street art. It’s so much fun to find cool street art, that always blends in perfectly with the colonial buildings, yet gives such a fun twist to the atmosphere of the city. Sometimes you might need to wait in line to take a picture with some of the more popular street art, but it’s definitely worth the wait 😉
Admire Colonial Buildings
Stroll through the city center and admire all the colonial buildings and influences. Some streets like Armenian street and Love Lane are particularly nice and it’s also cool to see all the different temples all around the place. The best way to soak in the city’s atmosphere is wandering around the streets and admire all the heritage sites.
Batu Ferringhi is the popular beach area about 30 minutes from Georgetown. It’s nice to soak up the sun and feel the ocean breeze on your face as you stroll along the white, sandy sand. And when you’ve had enough of beaching, have a coffee at the Ferringhi Coffee Garden.
The water is not the clearest and there are a lot of jetskis that roam around, but it’s definitely nice to chill on the beach for a bit.
Kek Lok Si Temple
This stunning temple is located on one of the hills surrounding Georgetown. There is a really large Buddha statue, which looks pretty impressive, especially from far away! From the temple, you also have a gorgeous view over the city. There’s also a lovely Pagoda sitting in the middle of a small pond, and you can catch your breath while you sit in the shade and look at the Koi fish swimming around.
Tropical Spice Garden: Tour & Cooking Class
Andrea loves cooking, so we had a fun cooking class at the Tropical Spice Garden near Batu Ferringhi. They have cooking classes every day except Mondays, and each day there is a different cuisine that they teach about. We chose to go for Indian cuisine! Included in the price is also a short tour in the beautiful Tropical Spice Garden where we had a tour by a friendly older man, who said that he’s the oldest employee of the Spice Garden!
After the tour, we had a cup of delicious ‘Catwhiskers’ tea and we visited the Spice shop, where Andrea bought loads of spices (they are so cheap compared to when you buy them in Europe!). Then we started the cooking class! We were fortunate enough to actually have a private cooking class, because no one else seemed to have signed up for that particular day. It was a fun class and we made some delicious lentil Daal and semolina Tosai. Yum!! I definitely recommend this fun activity!
Visit the website: tropicalspicegarden.com
The view from Penang Hill is absolutely beautiful… At least that’s what we’ve heard. We wanted to go, but when we arrived at the cable car, they said that it was closed due to the flood that happened on the 5th of November, which by then was already 3 weeks ago.. hmm.
When you do decide to go, be aware though that during the weekend there can be long queues at the funicular; I’ve heard waiting times can be up to 2 hours! So better to go during the week if you can.
There are some many amazing cafes in Penang, that it’s impossible to try them all. And new ones keep opening up! All the cafes have something special and most of them are pretty hipster and instragrammable. Also, Penang is quite famous for their coffee, so specialty coffee is widely available!
Have a look at my post about Best cafes to work from, to discover some of my favorite cafes in Penang.
The Clan Jetties of Penang are traditional wooden houses on stilts on the seaside. Although a slightly touristic place, it’s still pretty cool to see how people used to live on the sea and marvel at the wooden structures.
There are quite a few big shopping malls on Penang, including a big outlet mall. I really liked the Gurney Plaza mall as well as the 1st Avenue Mall. Both also include a cinema and a karaoke place, which is a good option on a rainy day. The Gurney Plaza mall also has a great and big food court!
There are quite a few museums in Georgetown, but because we’re not really museum people, we didn’t visit any. I’ve heard that the Penang 3D Trick Art museum is quite fun as well as the Made in Penang Interactive Museum and the Camera museum. There are a lot of museums though, so if you love museum, then you won’t be bored in Penang 😉