Penang Malaysia things to do — 9 awesome things to do in Penang from cooking curries to zip-lining
Discover a unique blend of East-meets-West heritage, rich historical museums, and delectable cuisine that will leave your taste buds tingling. Let’s have a look at Penang Malaysia things to do – 9 fantastic things to do in Penang, from making curries to zip-lining with Focus Asia Travel, down below.
1. Hunt for Murals in Georgetown
Take a trishaw through Georgetown’s crowded streets, looking for Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic’s oil painting murals on the deteriorating UNESCO heritage walls. This graffiti art, made in 2012 as part of the Georgetown Festival of Arts and Culture and spread across the capital, combines real-life artifacts with graffiti. Visit Cannon Street, where a painted youngster “stands” on an actual chair, or Armenian Street, where the artist’s best-known “Children on a Bicycle” mural (above) depicts two painted children riding a real bike placed against the wall.
2. Do a Street Food Marathon
While the better-known Gurney Drive Hawker Centre boasts a motley collection of tourist-driven food stalls, the New Lane Hawker Centre remains a local favorite thanks to its authentic Malaysian touch. Gorge on hot skewers slathered with nutty satay sauce, or some char koay kak—chewy rice cakes stir-fried with crunchy bean sprouts and pork lard. Having trouble sniffing out the best of the best? Enlist help from Food Tour Penang ($300), whose foodies will whizz you in and out of alleyways to taste the best of Penang.
3. Satisfy Your Inner Architecture Nerd
Architecture fans, unite! Penang’s colonial heritage has resulted in a plethora of spectacular buildings: Set off for the Blue Mansion (14 Leith St., Georgetown, Penang, seen left), so named for its unusual blue-washed walls. With Gothic louvered windows and geometric tiles, the 19th century home adds a European twist to traditional Chinese architecture. After that, stop at St. George’s Church (1 Lebuh Farquhar, Georgetown, Penang), Southeast Asia’s oldest Anglican Church, to see its lofty Doric columns and pointy steeple.
4. Go Back in Time
Learn about Penang’s history (and get out of the hot sun) at one of the city’s museums. Handwritten records of Captain Francis Light, who established Penang in 1786, may be seen at the Colonial Penang Museum. Head up the hill at Batu Maung to visit the Penang War Museum, a British-built citadel that was subsequently taken by the Japanese. The World War II-era interrogation rooms may still be found concealed in the maze of tunnels.
- Colonial Penang Museum: 7 Jalan D.S. Ramanathan, 10350 Penang, (+60) 17-666-2789.
- Penang War Museum: Lot 1350, Mukim 12, Daerah Daya, Batu Maung, 11960 Penang, (+60) 4-626-5142.
5. Ride the Funicular
Sit back on this vintage funicular train and take in the breathtaking vistas as you ascend Penang Hill. When you reach the top, take a pair of binoculars and proceed to the viewing deck, where you’ll be amazed by the city’s undulating terrain. Make a reservation for a guided nature walk ($29 weekdays, $38 weekends) through Penang Hill’s historic tropical rain forest. Breathe in the fresh air and watch birds glide through leafy canopy to feel revitalized.
Jalan Bukit Bendera, 11500 Air Itam, Penang.
6. Learn to Cook Malaysian-style
Become the next Malaysian MasterChef at Tropical Spice Garden, a former rubber plantation that now houses a culinary school surrounded by the diverse species of the rainforest. Choose your favorite herbs and spices from the overwhelming selection and prepare a genuine bowl of laksa under the supervision of expert local chefs. Classes are limited to ten people, so reserve your spot ahead of time.
$447 per person. Lot 595, Mukim 2, Jalan Teluk Bahang, 11050 Penang, (+60) 4-881-1797.
7. Feel the Thrill at Escape Theme Park
Remove your eyes from your cellphones and send excitement coursing through your veins at this natural-themed thrill park. This amusement park, with the slogan “low tech, high fun,” is all about having fun in nature and will make you feel like a kid again as you swing like a monkey from tree to tree, climb to the top of Gecko Tower, or zip-line through ravines and treetops on The Flying Lemur.
8. Shop for Mementos from Chowrasta Market
At this training ground for your haggling abilities, soak up the lively atmosphere and peruse the fresh goods. As you make your way through the sea of people clamoring for items under large sun umbrellas, fill your bags with nutmeg and pickled mangoes, or a pair of artisan Nyonya beaded slippers. Don’t miss out on the real Malaysian cuisine at the street food stalls.
Lebuh Tamil, Georgetown, Penang.
9. Eat the Best Chendol
Beat the heat with a big bowl of chendol: coconut milk brimming with worm-like pandan jellies and shaved ice, garnished with kidney beans and palm sugar syrup. Ask any local, and they’ll point you to Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul for the best chendol in town. It’s a refreshing respite from the beating sun and a must-try for the sweet-toothed.
Where to Stay
On a Budget: Below $1000
The Loft Suites at the Palanquinn Heritage Suites boast a spacious living room and natural sunlight in the bathroom equipped with a retractable roof. A stone’s throw from this boutique homestay, you’ll find a handful of attractions, including the Gurney Drive Food Market and the Reclining Buddha Temple.
In the Middle: Below $1500
Clove Hall will spoil you with its Peranakan décor steeped in colonial history. Enjoy a night of Anglo-Malaysian luxury in the signature Clove Suite, where you can laze on planter’s chairs and drift off to sleep on the king-size four-poster bed draped with mosquito nets.
High-End: $2000 and above
The Eastern and Oriental Hotel, a heritage hotel founded over 130 years ago and witness to both World Wars, has received a touch of elegance from history. The Corner Suite, a 2013 addition to the hotel, will give you a taste of luxury with its wide living room and sea views, while all of the contemporary facilities will transport you back to the twentieth century.