It’s easy to understand why Penang is called the Pearl of the Orient. Its landscape of Colonial, Oriental and local influences, together with a social fabric woven of Asia’s richest cultures has made it a most extraordinary little island. With so many activities, architectural and gastronomic wonders to enjoy during your visit to Penang, we recommend the following 10 MUST DO Things for an unforgettable moment in Penang.
1 – Catch the ferry to Mainland and Back
Since 1920s, these ferries transport both passengers and vehicles across to the mainland and back. The breezy yet gentle passage makes this ride a novelty for most visitors to Penang. Many Malaysians now travel to Penang preferring the Penang Bridge to Ferry ride, saving time and avoiding congestion. However, most Malaysian would have wonderfully memory of riding the ferries.
2 – Trishaw Ride Around Georgetown
Multi-coloured trishaw can be seen all over Georgetown at any time of the day to show passengers the highlights of the city. Trishaw ride are no longer the mode of transport for the local, but mainly reserved for leisure rides for foreigners these days. These Trishaw paddlers also serve as tour guides and will be glad to bring you around.
3 – Take a Train Ride up Penang Hill
Quiet and green, Penang Hill offers a short reprieve from the heat below with its slightly cooler temperature. Take the train ride to Malaysia’s very first hill station to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the Penang Island. If you are visiting in the early afternoon, drop by David Brown’s Strawberry Hill for an English Afternoon Tea of warm scones with clotted cream and fresh strawberry.
4 – Dig Into Hawker Fare at Gurney Drive
Although hawker food can be found throughout the island, the mere mention of Gurney Drive brings visions of mouth-watering food to the initiated. Lined with vendors cooking up just about every dish popular on the Penang palate, it is a spot packed with food connoisseurs every evening, come rain or shine.
5 – Discover Georgetown’s Heritage Landmarks
One of the most charismatic elements of Penang is its blend of Colonial and Oriental heritage buildings. Many present day business and even government services are located within these gorgeus buildings localed in the city centre. Central Georgetown itself is a treasure trove of lovely Oriental buildings in bright colours and delicate designed. Many are accompanied by dramatic stories of the island’s prominent families and leaders from eras past.
6 – Laze on the Beaches of Batu Ferringhi
Although not very far from the city centre, Batu Ferringhi appears to be a world away with it sandy beaches, blue waters and palm trees. Try your hand at the parasail, banana boat and jet ski or you find these taxing, simply drop onto the fine sands and soak up the sunshine!
7 – Visit Chowrasta Bazaar
A must visit stop for visitors looking not only for authentic Penang delicacies but also for those attracted to the old world charm of this island. Many of the goodies you will find here are unique to Penang and still retain the flavours and aromas that made them famous in the first place.
8 – Enjoy a Fruit Feast in Balik Pulau
Fruit orchards are abundant on the western part of the island. Mid year especially, sees numerous fruits stalls by the road leading to Balik Pulau. Stop by at one of them for a feast of Durians, mangosteens and rambutans or visit one of the fruit orchards where for a fee, you can savour an ‘All you can eat’ buffet.
9 – Enjoy Seafood Cuisine at Teluk Kumbar
Located along the southern shoreline is a string of little restaurants offering absolutely delicious seafood cuisine. Given the proximity to local fishing villages, much of the seafood comes right off the returning boats. The freshness of the catch no doubt explains why the seafood here are extra delicious! Best to arrive in time to catch the sunset while tucking in your feast!
10 – Hop onto a Round Island Tour
See the sights without the hassle or worry of getting lost by signing up for a Round Island Tour. It usually takes you to the main tourist haunts in Georgetown as well as on a ride around the island. Catch the sights of the busy and thriving city on one side and the quiet and calm forests on the other. Most hotels and tour agents offer this servie at a relatively low price.