Whether you are Malaysian or non-Malaysian, Penang Island, also called Pulau Pinang in the Malay language, is a favorite tourist spot for every traveler. And why not it be? The island is the worthiest of being so. Recently CNN has declared Penang as one of the 22 best destinations to visit in 2023.
So, you certainly don’t want to miss the chance to visit this mesmerising state in 2023. Watch out, the best attractions in Penang that you must visit whenever you come to this charismatic island.
You will get to visit plenty of places as it is rich in culture, heritage, landscape, and nature. From the tropical jungle to exotic beaches, from historical landmarks to modern architecture, there is no shortage of travelling spots. Penang Island has wonderfully managed to combine cultural and religious traditions. Here you’ll see some spectacular temples, mosques, and churches.
The Ultimate Guide to Attractions in Penang: Top 20 Places to Visit.
1. Penang Hill: A Must-Visit Attraction in Penang
Are you exhausted with the tropical weather of Malaysia? And want to experience some fresh and cool atmosphere?
If so, then Penang Hill is the answer for you. With breathtaking views, jungle tracking, forestry landscape and the cluster of several mountain peaks, Penang Hill is an adorable little hill station in Penang Island. The hill station offers a funicular railway, which is the longest track in Asia. Activities like trekking, hiking, train ride and sightseeing attract the most visitors to this destination.
If you want to make your tour memorable, you must not miss this place. Most visitors come here only to ride the funicular train as it is the most fun activity here.
Location: 11500 Bukit Bendera, Penang
Entry time: 06:30 am to 07:45 pm
Admission fee: There is no fee to get entry to Penang Hill. But you have to buy a ticket for the funicular train ride, and the price is different for children, adults, and seniors. At the same time, the service that you choose for the train ride also can cost more or less.
2. Discover the Beauty of Batu Ferringhi Beach
Who doesn’t love sunbathing? Golden sand and shining sun are the true attractions of Batu Ferringhi Beach that make travellers visit this island again and again. Whenever you make your trip to Penang, Batu Ferringhi Beach should be a relaxing leisure holiday destination.
The fascinating view of the beach is always ready to soothe you and make you feel hustle free. Besides sunbathing, you can also go swimming and fishing here. Sunset view is simply incapable when you’re staying here for a night.
And if you decide to stay here at night, there are many top-rated resorts available. Check out Booking.com for more information.
Location: 8, Jalan Batu Ferringhi, 11100 Batu Ferringhi, Pulau Pinang
Entry time: Daily, 24 hours
3. Penang State Museum and Art Gallery
Recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Penang State Museum and Art Gallery is a must-see attraction in Penang Island. The museum is the ideal place for history buffs and is also considered to be one of the best, well-maintained museums in Malaysia.
Here you can acknowledge the deep-rooted history of George Town and the British colonial era. The museum exhibits a number of artefacts like historical documents and relics, ancient weapons, maps, costumes, photographs of old transports, royal families and many more. Visitors will also see some early Penang attractions that have vanished over time.
Location: Lebuh Farquhar, George Town, 10450 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Entry time: Saturday to Thursday 09:00 am to 05:00 pm (Closed on Friday & public holidays)
4. KOMTAR Penang
If you want to see Penang from a bird’s eye view, you should opt for KOMTAR Penang. It is one of the most prominent landmarks on this island for its 65-storey high tower, which is situated in central Georgetown.
Much similar to New York’s Empire State Building, KOMTAR is the home to the state government’s office. It is mainly a mall with an exotic rooftop view.
The lower floors are full of boutiques and electronic shops like cell phones, laptops, and camera selling and repair stores. On the other hand, the top floors are used for office lots.
So clearly, it is a bustling and interesting place where you’ll get lots of jewellery stores, souvenir shops, toy stores, and famous eateries like KFC and MacDonald’s.
To have the rooftop deck view, you get to pay RM 5.00, and it is open from 10:00 am to 10:30 pm. Morning is the best time to take iconic photos. Note: Place not accessible during rain.
Location: 10450 George Town, Penang
Entry time: 10:30 am to 10:30 pm
5. Exploring the Authentic Flavors of Balik Pulau
In English, Balik Pulau means “the back of the island”. And it is worthwhile for its name as this place is located on the west side of Penang Island. Balik Pulau is entirely different from the bustling city life of Penang. It is a peaceful landscape with greenery.
The place is not so developed like other modern cities in Penang, and perhaps for its country-like environment, this place is so popular among visitors.
Here you can do cycling by the side of the golden paddy field, taste some tropical fruits, meet the herd of goats in the dairy farm, and have relaxation in the countryside atmosphere. Moreover, Balik Pulau offers so many outstanding staycations that you’ll surely love. To know more about accommodations and to get the best deal, visit booking.com.
6. Discovering the Rich History of Pinang Peranakan Mansion
To introduce the Peranakan culture and heritage, Penang has elegantly restored the Pinang Peranakan Mansion. It is one of the unique museums in Malaysia. The museum displays more than 1,000 pieces of antiques and collectables that reflect the Baba-Nyonya culture.
The mention will give you a transparent view of the old Chinese houses and how they used to decorate houses with their customs, traditions, and grandiose. The building is designed with the influence of both Chinese and European architecture. All of these will give you a unique view, and you can have your Instagram worthy pictures as well.
Location: 29, Church St, Georgetown, 10200 George Town, Penang
Entry time: Daily 09:30 am to 05:00 pm
Admission fee: Adult RM 20.00 & Child (below 12) free
7. Exploring Fort Cornwallis
Fort Cornwallis makes its position in your must-visit list by being the largest standing fort in Malaysia. The fort is named after Charles Marquis Cornwallis (the Governor-General of Bengal), and It is one of the oldest colonial structures in Penang.
Though only a set of ten-foot high outer walls remain of the fort, still it is enough to give you an idea about its massive size. The architectural design of Fort Cornwallis reflects the other British forts that are set in India.
Location: Jalan Tun Syed Sheh Barakbah, George Town, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Entry time: 09:00 am to 10:00 pm
Admission fee: With Mykad, Adult RM 10.00 & Child RM 5.00｜Without Mykad, Adult RM 20.00 & Child RM 10.00
8. Visiting Penang Heritage Buildings
Town Hall and City Hall are the two heritage buildings in Penang Island that are rich with history and architectural wonder. Built-in front of the Esplanade, both buildings are recognised as George Town’s UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Penang Town Hall
Located in George Town, Penang Town Hall is the oldest municipal building in Penang. It was built in the Victorian period and used for social events. At that time, only the European elites were allowed to enter the Town Hall and attend those events.
But nowadays, the Town Hall is open for public exhibition and hosts the annual George Town Festival.
Location: Georgetown, 10200 George Town, Penang
Penang City Hall
Built-in 1903, the City Hall in Penang is a reminder of the British colonial era in the State. Now it is used as the head office of the Municipal Council of Penang Island. You must visit the City Hall only to be a witness to the Victorian architecture and the fascinating view of the building.
Location: Jalan Padang Kota Lama, George Town, 10450 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Entry time: Monday to Friday 08:00 am to 05:00 pm
9. Penang National Park
Although Penang National Park is the smallest national park in the world, it still contains more than 410 species of flora and 143 species of fauna. Animals like leaf monkeys, snakes, otters, hawksbill turtles, and dolphins are available at the park.
But the star attraction of the park is its lovely pristine beaches. The park has nine beautiful beaches and is widely known for the stunning sunset view of the beaches.
You can come here for a day tour and do activities including hiking, sightseeing, boating, and camping.
Location: 4, Jalan Hassan Abas, Teluk Bahang, 11050 Tanjung Bungah, Pulau Pinang
Entry time: Monday to Saturday 08:00 am to 05:00 (Sunday 08:30 am to 05:00 pm)
10. Penang Floating Mosque
One of the unique attractions in Penang is Penang Floating Mosque, the only mosque that is built in the ocean water. Locally known as Masjid Terapung, it was built mainly to replace an older mosque (Tanjung Bungah Mosque) that was destroyed by the tsunami of 2004.
The building is seven-storey, and it looks most stunning because of its Moorish design that is combined with Middle Eastern and local elements. It also has a towering minaret that is used for Azan(call for prayer).
You’re allowed to swim in its ocean water only when the tides are bearable. So you can bring your swimsuit but make sure you dress moderately to give respect to the mosque.
This outstanding mosque is worthwhile to make its space on your trout list.
Location: Jalan Batu Ferringhi, Tanjung Bungah, 11200 Tanjung Bungah, Pulau Pinang
Entry time: 05:00 am to 09:30 pm (Friday visitors are not allowed from 12:00 pm to 02:30 as it is prayer time)
11. Teluk Bahang Beach
If you’re looking for a weekend retreat, then you’re highly recommended to take a tour of Teluk Bahang Beach. As Penang is an island, it is very obvious that you’ll see many beaches here. Teluk beach is rocky, shady, and less crowded. That’s why it is ideal for those who want to spend some quality time with serene beauty.
The beach is very close to Batu Ferringhi. At the same time, you can get easy access to places like Monkey Beach, Teluk Duyung, and Pantai Mas.
Camping at the beach is a great way to enjoy the night view. Moreover, the seafood is fresh and delicious here, don’t forget to try them.
Location: SBLH 3592 Persisiran Pantai Hujung Batu, Jalan Teluk Bahang, Teluk Bahang, 11050, Penang
Entry time: Saturday & Sunday 10:00 am to 08:00 pm｜Tuesday 10:00 am to 10:00 pm｜Friday 24 hours (Closed on Monday, Wednesday & Thursday)
12. Penang Bridge
Similar to London Bridge, Penang Bridge is an attraction that welcomes most visitors to the island. The bridge is 13.5km long that connects the island with the mainland. The bridge is considered the longest bridge in Malaysia and the fourth-longest bridge in Southeast Asia.
When you are heading to the island through the bridge, you have to pay a toll as it is the toll bridge. And you surely don’t want to lose the chance to take pictures of this wonder.
Location: Seberang Perai – Penang
Entry time: Daily, 24 hours
Admission fee: You have to pay a toll (one way) when you’re heading to the island.
13. Kek Lok Si Temple
To pay a visit to one of the largest Chinese Buddhist temples in Southeast Asia, you must come to Kek Lok Si Temple. It is the chief pilgrimage centre for Buddhist believers, especially those who come from Singapore and the Philippines.
The temple has a monastery centre, prayer halls, and gardens. But the unique attraction of the temple is its seven-storey white and gold Pagoda of Rama Ⅵ. Here you’ll see numerous images of Buddha and many different sculptures that are engraved in both the interior and exterior sides of the temple.
It doesn’t matter you’re from which religion, temple’s outstanding design and serene beauty will surely impress you.
Location: 1000L, Tingkat Lembah Ria 1, 11500 Air Hitam, Pulau Pinang
Entry time: Daily 08:30 am to 05:30 pm
Admission fee: There is no charge to enter the temple, but pay RM 2.00 to enter the Pagoda and Elevator.
14. Clan Jetties Of Penang
Some centuries ago, a lot of people had moved to Penang from China, and Clan Jetties are the last bastions of those people. There were seven jetties, but now six remain as one was demolished by fire. Among these jetties, the Chew Jetty is the most popular and tourist-friendly.
Clan Jetties reflect the old Chinese tradition, and its overwater settlement makes those houses more spectacular. The houses are made of a particular type of wood and aluminium that allow them to stay near the water.
To get to the Jetties, you have to pass the long walkway, and the path is made of wood. The impressive view of Clan Jetties makes visitors overwhelmed. There is also a temple which surely will attract your attention.
Location: Pengkalan Weld, George Town, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Entry time: Daily 09:00 am to 09:00 pm
15. Penang Botanic Gardens
With 50 hectares of green land, Penang Botanic Garden is the home of hundreds of exotic plant species. The park is also known as Waterfall Garden as it has a 122-meter high waterfall that flows through the mini pond area.
You will see the park divided into twelve sections:
The Formal Garden, Fern House, Lily Pond, Tropical Rainforest Jungle Track, Cactus House, Fern Rockery
Perdana Plant House, Aroid Walkaway, Horticulture Centre, Quarry Recreational Park, Nursery, Orchidarium
All these sections contain so many natural wonders that you will love to explore. At the same time, you can have some spectacular views to take your Instagram worthy pictures.
Location: Kompleks Pentadbiran,Bangunan Pavilion, Jalan Kebun Bunga, 10350 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Entry time: Monday to Friday 08:00 am to 05:00 pm (Closed on Saturday & Sunday)
Admission fee: No charge is available.
16. Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower
Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower shows you the Royal connection that Penang Island had in the Victorian period. In fact, the 60ft height of the Memorial Clock Tower represents the 60 years reign of the Queen.
The Victoria Memorial Clock Tower is set in Georgetown, and it is best known as the “leaning tower of Penang”. In World War Ⅱ, there was a bomb attack around the clock tower. Since then, it has learned to one side and looks much like the leaning tower of Pisa.
You’re humbly welcome to witness this historical landmark.
Location: Lebuh Light, George Town, 10450 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Entry time: Daily, 24 hours
17. St. George’s Anglican Church, Penang, Malaysia
Set just next to the Penang State Museum, St George’s Anglican Church is the oldest Anglican church in Southeast Asia and one of the oldest buildings in Penang. So if you want to be a witness to the old architecture of the British period, you should definitely pay a visit to this church.
It was designed by Robert Smith (a military engineer), and the architectural style is much like Greek and relatively modest. Its interior design is outstanding as it is a cool pastel blue with a marble floor.
Moreover, its outside decoration is also enchanting, which is a memorial to Sir Francis Light, and it’s set in the form of a Greek temple. You surely should take some pictures of this historical wonder.
Location: 1, Lebuh Farquhar, George Town, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Entry time: Monday to Thursday 10:00 am to 04:00 pm (Closed on Friday to Sunday & public holidays)
Admission fee: No charge is available.
18. Kapitan Keling mosque
The Kapitan Keling Mosque in George Town, Penang, is a stunning example of 19th-century Islamic architecture. Initially built by Indian Muslim traders, the mosque has undergone several renovations over the years, with the most recent one in 2003.
Despite the updates, the mosque’s original aesthetics have been preserved. Visitors can stroll through the surrounding gardens for a peaceful experience, but non-Muslims are not permitted to enter during prayer times. As the largest mosque in George Town, the Kapitan Keling Mosque is a must-see for anyone interested in Islamic history and architecture.
19. Cheong fatt tze mansion
The Blue Mansion, also known as Cheong Fatt Tze, is a stunning guest house located in George Town, Penang. This well-preserved architectural gem seamlessly blends old-world grandeur with modern amenities.
With 18 spacious rooms, open courtyards, a pool, and an oriental garden, guests are sure to enjoy their stay. If you’re unable to book a room, don’t worry – you can still purchase tickets for a tour of the mansion and experience its beauty firsthand.
20. Penang Bird Park
Penang Bird Park is the must-visit attention for bird lovers and those of you who admire nature. The park was established in 1988. It is the first and largest bird park in Malaysia.
Here you’ll see more than 300 species of birds along with other animals like monkeys, crocodiles, turtles, and pythons. Birds like kingfishers, flamingos, ostriches, storks, mandarin ducks, swans and numerous tiny sunbirds are available at the park.
The park has created an atmosphere with waterfalls, ponds, and bamboo plants to give the birds an utterly natural habitat. So besides birds, you can enjoy the natural sight at Penang Bird Park.
Location: Jalan Todak Seberang Jaya, 13700 Perai, Penang
Entry time: Daily 09:00 am to 06:00 pm
Admission fee: With Mykad, Adult RM 38.00 & Child RM 15.00｜Without Mykad, Adult RM 45.00 & Child RM 20.00
Where to Stay in Penang
If it’s your first time in Penang, it can be overwhelming for you to choose accommodation. But you don’t have to be so tense because we have your back.
As Penang is a state on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia, and we already have listed plenty of attractions of the state above, so staying in one accommodation will certainly not fulfil the thrust of your travel soul.
Here you will have a list of hotels from different cities in Penang so that you can explore every attraction and enjoy your nightlife scene at Penang.
Best Hotel in Georgetown: The Prestige Hotel Penang
Georgetown is the capital city and a treasure trove of Penang. Being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, George Town offers uncountable historical and cultural attractions such as churches, temples, colonial architectures, and many more. To visit and enjoy all these you should stay at The Prestige Hotel Penang.
It is a mid-range hotel with tons of facilities like accommodation with a restaurant, free parking, a gym, an outdoor swimming pool, a 24-front desk, and free wi-fi access throughout the hotel. All guests will get rooms that are equipped with a private bathroom, air-conditioning, and a flat-screen TV.
Moreover, you can enjoy a buffet breakfast every morning at your accommodation. And the best part is the price starts from only RM 359.00.
Best Resort in Batu Ferringhi: PARKROYAL Penang Resort
Best Resort in Batu Ferringhi: PARKROYAL Penang Resort
Batu Ferringhi is a sort of paradise to visitors. Malaysian or non-Malaysian, no one will miss this place whenever they visit Penang. It is located on the north shore of Penang Island and is widely popular for white-sand beaches, luxury resorts, and fresh seafood.
PARKROYAL Penang Resort is one of the best resorts in Batu Ferringhi. At the same time, it is not so expensive. Anyone who has a mid-range budget can afford this resort.
The resort offers 24-hour room service, an outdoor pool, four dining options, rooms with sea or hill views, a gym, spa and wellness centre, club, free parking, and, of course, free Wi-Fi all over the resort. All the rooms come with modern decoration, a LEB TV, tea/coffee making facilities, and a minibar. In short, you’ll have all the luxurious service at a moderate price.
The price starts from RM 372.00, and the accommodation is available on booking.com
Best Resort in Tanjung Bungah: Lost Paradise Resort
Tanjung Bungah is a less crowded and family-friendly area in Penang. The place is located just between Georgetown and Batu Ferringhi. So after visiting Georgetown and before going to Batu Ferringhi, you can spend some quality time at Tanjung Bungah and enjoy its beautiful beaches and low hill views.
There are many outstanding resorts available at Tanjung Bungah, and Lost Paradise Resort is one of them. This resort will impress you with its traditional architecture and a beautiful infinity pool. Amenities like air-conditioned rooms, spa, sea view, flat-screen TVs, en suite bathroom, free wi-fi access, and tea and coffee making facilities are available here.
And the fun part is all these facilities come in only RM 240.00.
How to get to Penang
Most of the travellers start their journey from Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, to reach Penang. So here we have covered how you can get to Penang by different transports. The distance between KL to Penang is only 354.6km, and it takes about 4 to 6 hours to get there. Of course, the time depends on traffic and what transport you have chosen.
There are four ways to get to Penang: flight, drive, bus, and train. Here we have explained one by one to make your travel simple.
Penang has an International Airport, so visitors from inside or outside Malaysia can get easy access to Penang. The flight price is not so high, and if you manage to bargain, you can get the ticket at a cheap price. Airlines like AirAsia, Malaysia Airlines, and FireFly have regular flights that you can take. It may cost you RM 75.00 to RM 112.00.
On the other hand, if you choose to fly from KL, it will take only one hour and twenty minutes to reach Penang. Low-cost companies like Malaysian Airlines, AirAsia, Malindo Air operate several flights in a day from Kuala Lumpur to Penang. To catch the flight, you get to reach KLIA or KLIA2 airport.
For the best price, book your flight ticket from Skyscanner. Here you can also check out the flight schedule and which flight is available right now.
If you are going on a family vacation, then driving your own car may be the best option. It will take approximately 4 hours to reach Penang. But you should definitely avoid weekends as the traffic is heaviest on those days. On the highway, the toll for a vehicle may cost RM 50.00.
The bus is the cheapest and most popular way to get to Penang from KL. From KL’s large TBS Bus Terminal, you will get dozens of buses departing every day on this route. The bus trip takes around 5 hours to reach, and the ticket price is between RM 30.00 to RM 40.00.
Check out the bus schedule, price, and book your ticket from 12GoAsia.
Most travellers choose the train to get to Penang as it is faster than the bus, cheaper, safer, and comfortable. If you take the ETS high-speed train, you’ll reach Penang within 4.5 hours.
The ETS train has two types of services: Gold and Platinum. The Gold service will cost you RM 59.00 while the Platinum service will cost you RM 87.00 as this one is slightly faster than the Gold service.
Whether you catch the train from Terminal KTM or KL Sentral Railway Station, it will leave you at Butterworth Railway Station (Penang Sentral). You can get to the island from Butterworth within 15 minutes by ferry service. Buy your train tickets from 12GoAsia and enjoy their service.
Penang Island will never fail to make you wonder. Every corner of the state has some hidden gem, and you just have to explore them. Good luck with your next vacation, and make sure you share your travel story with us.
Let us know which attraction did you like most in the comment and keep travelling!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is Penang popular for?
Penang is popular for its rich history, diverse culture, and delicious food.
What is Penang Island known for?
Penang Island is known for its rich history, diverse culture, and delicious food. Some of the top attractions include exploring the historic Georgetown area, visiting the Kek Lok Si Temple, trying local street food at hawker centers, and taking a scenic cable car ride to the top of Penang Hill.
Is Penang worth seeing?
Absolutely! Penang is a beautiful and culturally rich destination in Malaysia, with plenty of things to see and do. From exploring historic Georgetown to trying delicious local food, there is something for everyone in Penang. Check out this 3-day itinerary for some ideas on how to make the most of your trip.
How many days do you need to see Penang?
While you could easily spend a week or more exploring Penang’s offerings, three days is enough time to see the highlights.