Penang’s best: what to do & see

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Penang, an island in Malaysia on the west coast of pen uncial Malaysia. It is a must-visit place in the country, as it has so much to offer. It is also said to have the best food in Malaysia. If you ever plan a trip to this amazing country, do not skip Penang. Here are my favorite nine spots to see and explore in Penang.

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1. George Town – murals hunt
Murals or wall art is what attracts many tourists to come to Penang. Started in 2012 as a part of art project called Mirrors George Town, Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic painted some of the first beautiful murals to be found in George Town. Some murals have an interesting 3D effect, where an unused bicycle, motorbike or a swing is attached to the wall instead of being actually painted on that wall.
How to get there: it’s all around the old town! Get a map with murals points on it and walk around to find all of them! It’s fun! One tip: do not go around midday: it is very hot and the sun position is straight above which results in rather bad lighting for pictures.

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2. Little India
Little India is part of George Town, just next to the ferry port. When you walk its narrow streets, it feels as if you were actually in India. Shops with Indian goods, clothes and jewelry, Indian restaurants and cafes, smell of Indian spices and incense, street food, and much more. There is a small Hindu temple nearby where you can see morning and evening prayer. If you are a vegetarian, that is the place for you! Food is just amazing in Little India, definitely try Sri Ananda Bahwan restaurant and Thali-NR!
How to get there: you can not miss it, few minutes from ferry port.

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3. Kek Lok Si temple
The Kek Lok Si Temple is a Buddhist temple with Chinese architectural influence situated in Air Itam area in Penang. It is one of the best known temples on the island. It is also said to be the largest Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia. One can climb one of the towers for just 2 ringgit, to see the beautiful view of the forests and Georgetown. Take some time to explore and walk around its area, as there are many different interesting points and spots.
How to get there: public bus 204, costs 2 ringgit. Ask the driver to tell you where to get off, but you would see the temple from the bus when you are near!

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4. National Park and Turtle beach
The park is located at the very northwest of the Penang island. What to do: hiking the trails, trek the jungle, chilling at the beach, canopy walkway and camping…Relax from the city noise and enjoy fresh air and nature. On my way back I met a German guy who has been camping for 3 month there already and was planing to stay one more month. Wow!
How to get there: bus 101 from anywhere from George Town or anywhere also on the island. Get off at the last stop. For going back wait at the bus station on the right and when the bus passes, go the other side of the road.

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5. Floating Mosque
Floating Mosque or Masjid Terapung is a Malay mosque built on the bay. The mosque is not actually floating but standing on pilings and stilts. By the way, it is the first mosque to be built in the sea in Malaysia. Quiet place, not many people around (during no-prayer times), peaceful sound of the ocean, beautiful architecture. One has to be dressed accordingly to be able to go inside, especially ladies. In front of the entrance you can borrow long black garment and scarf to cover your head.
How to get there: bus 101 from anywhere from George Town or anywhere also on the island. And ask the driver to stop next to the floating mosque.

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6. Hill top Temple
Hilltop Temple is one of the oldest Hindu temple in Penang. It was originally located within the grounds of the Penang botanical gardens. This site is as old as the founding of George Town itself. In 1850 the authorities took over the area to establish the botanic garden, and the temple has been moved, leaving at its original site a small shrine. The temple has traditional Hindu architecture and a beautiful view of Penang island. It is 513 steps to climb up to the temple, so try to avoid going at midday when it is the hottest.
How to get there: bus 101 from Little India in George Town, and then long walk (about 35min) or a taxi.

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7. Nagore Square
Nagore Square’s Nagore Mews is a small area with old empty heritage houses, which collects many wall paintings from the Urban Xchange International Street Art Festival. You would not find this place in typical tourist guidebooks, but it is definitely worth going there. In the evening the Nagore Square area has an amazing atmosphere with artistic vibe, lights, hipster restaurants and cafes. I really like that area as it is not too touristy or overcrowded. During the day, this place has a feeling of being abandoned, which gives it certain charm. The murals here are truly artistic, especially the face of a woman in grey tones.
How to get there: just 10-15 minutes walking distance from Little India.

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8. Gurney Drive
Gurney Drive is a popular seafront promenade in George Town, located next to Gurney Shopping Mall. It is famous for the ‘hawker food’ sold from the food stands located along the sea line. There are so many food stands to choose from, with Thai, Chinese, Malaysian and Muslim specialities. One local friend told me it is not the best food place in Penang, but it has certain vibe and nice street-food atmosphere. The view from the promenade is also worth to see.
How to get there: bus 101 till Gurney Shopping Mall.

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9. Penang Botanic Garden
If you want to get away from the city crowd and the heat or just love nature, that is the place to visit. Botanic garden is said to be ‘People’s favorite park’ in Penang. It is a perfect place to enjoy and relax surrounded by nature and learn about the various botanic specimens. The garden is also famous for its cute inhabitants – monkeys. Those from the first sight cute creatures would not hesitate to steal some food that you might have in your hands. The best time to visit Botanic Garden is in the morning, when there are no tourists, it’s not too hot and locals come here to jog and exercise.
How to get there: bus 101 from Little India in George Town, and then long walk (about 35min) or by taxi.

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One Thought on “Penang’s best: what to do & see

  1. Pingback: Getting Indonesian visa in Penang | the Dreamer Lab

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