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.

Kek Lok Si Temple Penang
Kek Lok Si Temple Penang

 

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion -Blue House Penang
Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion
where to stay in penang malaysia best areas to stay in penang best places to stay in penang
Penang streets

 

where to stay in penang malaysia best areas to stay in penang best places to stay in penang
Georgetown Penang

1. Hunt for Murals in Georgetown

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Penang Street Art

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.

marufish_penang street art wall malaysia
See Ernest Zacharevic’s colorful murals scattered across the city. (Photo: Marufish/Flickr)

 

Image by: Penang trip guide blog.
Georgetown street art. Image by: Penang trip guide blog.

2. Do a Street Food Marathon

street_food_penang_best_things_to_do_when_traveling_to_penang_malaysia2

5-best-street-food-penang

5-best-street-food-penang
Street food along Gurney Drive in Penang, Malaysia

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.

Treat yourself to some authentic Malay Street Food. (Photo: Blue Moon in Her Eyes/Flickr)
Treat yourself to some authentic Malay Street Food. (Photo: Blue Moon in Her Eyes/Flickr)

street food penang

street_food_penang_best_things_to_do_when_traveling_to_penang_malaysia1

3. Satisfy Your Inner Architecture Nerd

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion -Blue House Penang
Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion -Blue House Penang

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion -Blue House Penang

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion -Blue House Penang

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.

The stunning Blue Mansion stands out with its distinct indigo color. (Photo: Stephen Bugno/Flickr)
The stunning Blue Mansion stands out with its distinct indigo color. (Photo: Stephen Bugno/Flickr)

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.

Reminisce the past of Penang (and cool down from the blazing heat) in the city's museums.
Reminisce the past of Penang (and cool down from the blazing heat) in the city’s museums.
  • 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

Penang hill Malaysia
Penang hill Malaysia

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.

Penang-Hill

penang hill
Penang hill
Take a ride up the Penang hill in this historic funicular train.
Take a ride up the Penang hill in this historic funicular train.

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.

Learn the secrets to cooking delicious Malaysian food to impress at your next dinner party
Learn the secrets to cooking delicious Malaysian food to impress at your next dinner party

$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.

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Unleash your inner spider-man climbing the narrow Gecko Tower.

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.

market penang
Head to the market for good vibes and fresh produce.

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.

foods of penang cream
The best place to try out this traditional Malay dessert.

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.

Get at room at the Palanquinn
Get at room at the Palanquinn

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.

Palanquinn Heritage Suites penang 2

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.

Eastern and Oriental Hotel penang
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