Penang is one of Malaysia’s most visited tourist destinations and my favourite city in Malaysia too. Also known as "The Pearl of Orient" and "The Silicon Valley of the East" for its massive electrical and electronics industry, it has a lot to offer visitors – history, culture, exotic foods, beautiful beaches and more. There are so many things to do in Penang . Here are some of them.
The capital of Penang, Georgetown, is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site because of its well-preserved historical buildings.
The Cheong Fatt Tze’s Mansion is one of the most iconic boutique hotels in Malaysia and was constructed before the end of the 19th century. It is also called the Blue Mansion because of it’s indigo blue colour. The Chinese-style mansion was the favourite and most lavish home of a famous merchant called Cheong Fatt Tze, also known as the “Last Mandarin and First Capitalist of China”.
It incorporates Feng Shui principles and has won several accolades including being named one of the 10 Greatest Mansions in The World by Lonely Planet in 2011. Several famous movies have also been filmed here. You can stay at the hotel for a unique experience. If you are not staying there, you can visit for a guided tour of the mansion.
Penang Hill is the oldest British hill station in Southeast Asia, and dates back to the late 1700’s. The cooler climate at its peak provided residents with a welcome escape from Penang’s scorching heat. The funicular train will take you to the top of the hill resort which has panoramic views of Penang. At the top there is a hotel, a beautiful mosque and an owl museum as well as indigenous flora and fauna. Expect to spend a few hours there.
Fort Cornwallis is the biggest and the most intact fort that can be found in Malaysia. It was built by Sir Francis Light, who is credited as being the founder of Penang, over 2 centuries ago. The star shaped Fort Cornwallis is where Sir Francis and his crew from British East India Company landed in Penang on 11th August 1786. They then proceeded to take possession of the island from the Sultan of Kedah. At the fort, you will see a military barracks and offices as well as the gunpowder room, numerous cannons, prison cells, a moat and more.
Batu Ferringhi is known as Penang’s favourite beach. It is popular for its watersports as well as parachuting, horse riding and more. At night, it becomes a lively night market with stalls selling everything from souvenirs to electronic items, to cheap clothing. Do practice your bargaining skills before you go and be careful of buying fake products. And after you’re done shopping, there are loads of restaurants where you can have a delicious meal. We enjoyed the vibe there and found lots of bargains.
Penang Toy Museum is one of the largest toy museums in the world. It contains over 100, 000 toys from around the world. The museum is divided into sections like the Chamber of Horror, Chamber of Monsters, Hall of Cartoons, Chamber of Fantasy, Chamber of Comic Book Heroes etc. There are life-size models of Hulk, Batman, Kung Fu Panda and other characters. Kids and adults will have fun here.
Masjid Terapung Pulau Penang, better known as the Tanjung Bungah Floating Mosque was the first mosque in Malaysia to be built on the sea. The mosque is built on stilts but it appears to be actually floating during high tide. Built in 2005, the current mosque replaced an older mosque which was destroyed during the 2004 tsunami.
KOMTAR Tower is tallest skyscraper in Penang and the eleventh-tallest building in Malaysia. Named after the second Prime Minister of Malaysia, KOMTAR is an acronym for Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak. You can get panoramic views of George Town and beyond from the Rainbow Skywalk and Observatory Deck, indulge in retail therapy, and marvel at the exotic aquatic life at the aquarium. You can also get your adrenalin pumping at The Gravityz, a 90-metre-long rope course and zip-line attached to the exterior of the 65th floor.
How to get around Penang
The public transport is easy to use and quite safe. Penang also has a free shuttle bus for tourists that stops at the main attractions in Georgetown (MPPP Rapid Penang CAT). It is a government service.
Have you been there? What are your favourite things to do in Penang ?
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