The “Pearl of the Orient” can refer to both the Philippines as well as Penang, one of Malaysia’s most beautiful islands – one rich with culture, history, food and art. It’s easy to see why Penang is quickly becoming one of Asia’s hottest destinations.
Home of the UNESCO World Heritage Site George Town, Penang is bursting with art. With over 50 murals and sculptures to be found around George Town, you can follow routes or guides to maximize the experience, or simply get lost. No matter which you choose, you will surely end up enjoying the vibrant art scene either way.
Although you can find the usual, and still fun, beaches filled with parties and people in Penang, the island also offers small, quieter white sand beaches. You can visit one such beach in the Penang National Park. It may be a little out of the way, but it’s worth it.
One of the greatest things about Penang is, of course, the food. Rich thanks to the fact that it’s a bit of a melting pot, Malaysia has so much to offer you. You can try to acquaint yourself with mee, which is a Malaysian street food staple, dive right into the smelly, fruity world of Durian, or just hang out at one of the small, local café that’s littered around the city called kopitiams.
Hole-in-the walls, hawker markets, street food – you won’t have a hard time looking for something to eat. And chances are? It’ll be delicious.
With IG-at-every-corner worthy art, beautiful beaches and an awesome food culture, you better get your camera and stomach ready for all the beauty Penang has to offer.
Penang International Airport is situated in Bayan Lepas. If you're coming from Kuala Lumpur you can take a domestic flight via Air Asia, Malaysia Airlines, Malindo Air or Firefly.
It's a 20-minute or less ride going to the city depending on the traffic. The most convenient and utilized transportation in Penang is Uber. Way cheaper than taking a cab.
The capital of Penang, George Town is a cultural and rustic city that will take you back in time. This is where you will find the old British colonial buildings, kopitiams and scattered street art. It's best to rent a bike to discover all the charm and beauty at the heart of Penang.
An old colonial hill station located in Air Itam, you can enjoy the panoramic view of George Town with the 2 prominent Penang bridges. If you want to escape the heat and busy-ness of the city this is the best place to go for much needed calm and relaxation. Best to go on a weekday to avoid the large crowd. A return railway ticket for adults is RM30.
Gurney Drive is a residential and commercial area with a popular seafront promenade containing a deluge of malls, hawker delights and exciting restaurants that take off at night time, giving the unique experience of dining by the sea.
A beautiful and cozy Airbnb home that we stayed at around the Gurney area. Walking distance to the nearby malls, nice restaurants and small shops. Click here to know more about this listing in Airbnb.
A visit to Penang won't be complete if you haven't visited Batu Ferringhi. If you want to experience Penang's lively nightlife Batu Ferringhi is definitely the place to go to. One of Penang's most popular destinations among locals and tourists. Batu Ferringhi's beachwalk has a number of five-star hotels and big restaurants that will be great for couples, friends and family alike. Don't miss out on the popular night market!
The town next to Batu Ferringhi, a visit to the Teluk Bahang Dam is often enjoyed for its quiet and beautiful scenery. If you are looking for a thrilling and outdoor adventure head up to the ESCAPE Adventure Play where you can free fall from a 20 metre-high jump platform, zip-line, sit downhill in a tube slide and swing on a tree rope . Click here to learn more.
A marina which hosts many beautiful yachts and boats, multiple restaurants and a beautiful harbour view. Perfect for a leisurely walk or a place to have dinner with family and friends. It is recommended to go there at night time to avoid the afternoon heat. A huge Tesco is just around the corner if you need to grab some of your supermarket must-haves.
Hin Bus Depot Art Center
A great place for art lovers, this old bus depot was converted to an art centre that holds art exhibits, restaurants, coffee shops and a weekend market. A popular place among locals, you will see the hip, young and the new generation crowd hanging out here.
Located in Tanjung Bungah, Tsunami Village is a Chinese seafood restaurant named after the tsunami incident that happen in year 2004. It serves delicious and fresh seafood with a spectacular view of the beach.
There is no lack of food options here in Penang mainly due to its diversity in ethnicity and culture. You won't get hungry with so much street food hawkers littered around the city.
If your airline doesn't have a direct flight to Penang, a convenient and alternative way to get there is to take a 4 hour and 30-minute bus ride to Penang. Aeroline offer customers a smooth and comfortable ride going to and from Kuala Lumpur (and many more cities in Malaysia and even Singapore!). The double decker bus is equipped with an an entertainment system, comfortable chairs and a toilet. The package includes a small meal. Click here to learn more.
Photos property of Lívph