Before talking about Top things to do in Penang George Town, Malaysia
Before talking about Top things to do in Penang George town, let’s learn a bit about George Town Penang. George Town is not only the biggest city in Penang but a UNESCO world cultural heritage city. Penang George Town shows a good mixture of Chinese Malay, Indian, and Malay culture. Its street art, food, buildings, and the way people dress made Penang George Town more interesting than any other cities in Malaysia.
It has too many things to offer and you might be puzzled what to do first! I know exactly how you feel! I will help your time in Penang easier and enjoyable! Here are top things to do in Penang George Town!
Top things to do in Penang Georgetown
1. Start your morning at a local market in Penang Georgetown
The first thing I recommend on Top things to do in Penang Georgetown will be starting your day at Penang local market. Penang George Town morning market is busiest in the morning. The restaurants at the local market are full of Chinese people enjoying breakfast, and the streets are full of people buying fresh ingredients for their family! It won’t be easy to get up early after struggling with heat through the night (especially if you stay in a fan room like me), but you won’t regret visiting here! You will be surprised by this lively morning market and the people there!
2. Find different kinds of old buildings in Penang
As soon as you get to George Town (Penang), you will be impressed by seeing different styles of architecture such as colonial architecture, religious buildings, and old trade buildings.
I remember all those old beautiful buildings with a long history that captured my eyes, I spent the first couple of days just taking pictures of buildings on the street everywhere I went. All you need to do to find these buildings is walk around the city! Enjoy!
3.Experience amazing Penang Street Art
One of the most popular and typical things to do in Penang Georgetown is to enjoy the Street Art! There are beautiful mural paintings such as the little children on a bicycle, Kung Fu Girl, and funny wrought iron caricatures throughout George Town and some parts of Penang.
4. Visit beautiful temples in Penang
When you stroll around Penang George Town, you can easily find Chinese temples built by early Chinese settlers of Hokkien, Cantonese, and Hainanese communities. It will be interesting to see the differences between Chinese Temples and Thai temples, even though they are rooted in the same religion, Buddism.
Goddess of Mercy Temple (Kuan Yin Teng)
Kuan Yin Teng is one of the oldest Chinese temples in Penang. There are pilgrims here all year around. This temple gets busier, especially around Chinese New Year. The red lights are lit, people light joss sticks and candles to pray for their family’s health and other personal wishes for the coming year. Why don’t you go to Kuan Yin Teng and make a wish by lighting the free joss sticks? Who knows? Maybe your wish can be granted! But be careful what you wish for! 😉
Thean Hou Temple (Penang Hainan Temple)
If you are sick and tired of busy temples, Thean Hou Temple on Lebuh Muntri will be a perfect temple to visit. It’s quieter and more peaceful than other temples in Penang. You will see what I mean once you get here.
- Entrance fee: Free
5. Visit Koo Kong Si Penang
Visiting Koo Kong Si is another typical thing to do on Top 10 things to do in Penang Georgetown. It is a Clan house whose family name is Koo. Koo Kong Si is a place for people whose surname is Koo worship their ancestors. Also, you can see its interesting carvings and pretty lampshades with colorful Chinese characters.
- Entrance fee: RM 10
- Opening hour: 9am – 5pm
- Koo Kong Si location: 18, Cannon Square, 10450 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
6. Visit the Clan Jetties
Clan Jetties are floating wooden villages near the Penang Pier where Chinese immigrants settled down in the 19th century. There are six clans, but Chew Clan is the most famous and active clan in Penang Georgetown. Each clan has its own temple to worship their own gods and goddesses.
- Address: Pengkalan Weld, George Town, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
- Best time to visit: I advise you to visit the Clan Jetties early in the morning (you can get away from all the crowds and watch the locals do their own morning rituals) or around sunset time (Clan Jetties are located near the sea. It’s nice to watch the sunset on the floating village).
7. Treat yourself with nice local food in Penang
Are you a type of person who thinks about what to eat for lunch while you’re having breakfast? Do you feel like eating again when you see delicious food right in front of you even though you just finished your meal or dessert? If you say yes to the questions that I asked, Penang George Town will be a perfect place for foodies like you and me! Treating myself with Penang food was my favorite thing to do on my Top 10 things to do in Penang Georgetown list.
Welcome to heaven! Try famous local dishes like Char Kway Teow, Penang Asam Laksa, different mee (=noodles), and desserts like Chendol and Ice Kacang! They are waiting for you to be eaten at food street stalls and night hawkers! All you need is to follow your nose and eyes! Go for whatever looks good, whatever smells great! 😉
Oh, you are still not sure what to eat? Don’t worry! I’ve already found must-try food in Penang for you!
Top 10 Penang food to eat
8. Wander around Penang Little India!
Wandering around Penang Little India was one of my typical things to do on Top 10 things to do in Penang George Town list. As you step into Little India, you will feel welcomed by the exciting Indian music, special Indian spices, and beautiful flowers. You will also see Indian women who are wearing traditional colorful dresses, an Indian man reading a newspaper while waiting for his Rotti Canai on his chair at the food stall on the street. Little India in Penang (George Town) has a special vibe that is very hard to explain. The only way to find out is to go to Little India, and feel it by using all your senses!
9. Chilling on the Penang beach (Batu Ferringhi)
Are you exhausted by boiling weather in Penang Georgetown? Are you craving for some beach time? No worries! I can’t say beaches in Penang is the best but it’s quite refreshing to change the view from busy streets and crowds of Penang Georgetown. There is a local bus to Batu Ferringhi and enjoy a little beach time. You can also see unexpected monkeys! Don’t bring bananas unless you want your quiet beach time to be interrupted!
10. Penang Kek Lok Si temple (Air Itam)
Kek Lok Si temple is not only the biggest temple in Malaysia but an important temple for pilgrims from other parts of Southeast Asia. If you read my blog posts, you would know that I’m not the biggest fan of temples. But surprisingly I liked Kek Lok Si temple because it wasn’t just AFT (Another Fucking Temple), there was something special about Kek Lok Si.
11. Going up to Penang Hill (Air Itam)
Going to a Penang Hill is one of the most popular things to do in Penang. I really enjoyed exciting train ride! After 10 minutes, you will be on the top of Penang Hill. The view here in Penang Hill is really stunning. You can look down the whole Penang. It’s a great way to spend a day here at Penang Hill.
- Entrance fee: RM 30
- Opening hours: 6:30 AM – 10:30 AM
12. Visit Protestant Cemetery in Penang Georgetown
Are you struggling with the crazy hot weather in George Town, Penang? Why don’t you go to the cemetery? There are only a few people visiting this place. So you can stroll around the cemetery on your own! Walking in the cemetery all alone… doesn’t it sound like one of the best ways to get away from the hot weather?! 😉
- Entrance fee: free
- Visiting hours: 9 am – 5 pm
- Location: Click here to see the location on the map.
13. Buy a second-hand book in Penang
If you are a second-hand book lover and a budget backpacker, Penang is a perfect place for you to buy cheap books! I only paid RM 20 for Life of Pi and Frankenstein. RM10 each! You can also exchange books, so feel free to look around the second-hand bookstores in Penang!
14. Watch the sunset at the little park near War Memorial
The War Memorial is only 10-20 minutes away from the center of George Town depending on where you stay. It’s a nice way to finish a hot day in Penang by just sitting by the sea, feeling the cool breeze on your face and seeing the beautiful orange sky.
15. Get lost Penang Georgetown
The best way to explore Penang is to get lost. You will find cute little shops, amazing street art on the random streets, food stalls that are not on Tripadvisor, and local people who you can chat with. Penang is a very special place with so many different kinds of people and so many different cultures, you will enjoy getting lost in here. Even if you really get lost and don’t know how to go back to your hostel or hotel, don’t worry. Penang people are so friendly and they speak fluent English, you won’t have a problem to find your way back. Then, I hope you enjoy Penang Georgetown!