Top 10 Things to Do in Penang
What to See in Penang
Penang has plenty of must-see attractions that you should cover in your itinerary if you wish to experience Penang in a short space of time. In our list of Top 10 Things to Do in Penang, we skip the unimportant sights, and instead focus on places that can be considered the essence of the island - so much so that to miss them would be as good as not having been to Penang in the first place.
When handpicking selections for our list, we decided upon an interesting and eclectic mix of modern and quirky offerings, family-friendly amusement parks, and natural and cultural attractions, all of which are suitable for visitors of all ages.
1Penang Hill Ayer Itam
Penang Hill, or Flagstaff Hill (Bukit Bendera) as it is officially known, rises 821 metres above sea level, providing a welcome break from the heat below. One of Penang’s most popular attractions, a trip up is a not-to-be-missed experience, providing visitors with breathtaking views of the whole island all the way to the top. The best way to reach the summit is to hop onboard the funicular train that travels all the way up in half an hour. Highlights at the peak include a pretty Hindu temple, church, mosque and even a snake show where you can take photos with a tame python for a fee. Read More...2Kek Lok Si Temple Ayer Itam
Amongst the largest Buddhist temple complex in Southeast Asia, Kek Lok Si Temple stands on top of a hill in the little town of Air Itam. Founded more than a hundred years ago, the complex is filled with beautifully-landscaped gardens and sacred temples. A striking seven-tiered pagoda called The Pagoda of 1000 Buddhas - which combines Thai, Chinese and Burmese styles in one structure - houses a stunning collection of Buddha statues made from all sorts of precious materials. Also found within the temple complex are the statues of The Four Heavenly Kings, guarding the four points of the compass - North, South, West and East - with the statue of The Laughing Buddha in the middle. Read More...3Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion Leith Street
The home of an influential Chinese industrialist in the early 1890s, the award-winning Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion represents the best of 18th and 19th-century Chinese architecture. Relying heavily on feng shui design, a team of master craftsmen from China took more than seven years to build the mansion, including its five granite courtyards, 38 rooms, seven staircases and 22 stained glass windows. Locals call it the Blue Mansion and it remains one of only three traditional Chinese mansions outside of China. In 1989, it was restored and converted into a 16-room boutique heritage hotel/museum combo best known for its indigo blue façade. Guided tours take place at 11:00, 13:30 and 15:00, with an entry fee of RM12 per visitor. Read More...4Escape Adventureland Teluk Bahang
The few hours spent at Escape Adventureland Penang are likely to rank as some of the most thrilling and emotionally-charged moments of your life. After all, hurtling speedily through the open air, dozens of feet off the ground, is pretty memorable. A park specialising in zip-lining (or, as Australians call it, flying foxes), there are other fun activities here including a free fall from a 20m jump platform, an inner-tube slide and tree rope swing. Open: 09:00 - 18:00 Tuesday - Sunday Address: 828 Jalan Teluk Bahang,11050 Penang Tel: +604 881 1106 Read More...5Adventure Zone Theme Park Batu Ferringhi
While on vacation, parents can find it a little hard to keep the little ones entertained while simultaneously having a good time themselves. The 10,300sqft, Adventure Zone Theme Park is Penang’s answer to that. Geared towards families, with plenty of offerings to keep youngsters of all ages occupied, it is home to more than 30 activities and is divided into three zones – the special features section, kids area and toddler sector with modular play equipment.
The major highlight for both kids and adults can be found at the special features section, where there are three slides – the first two (Astra slide and double drop slide with ball pit exit) are designed for children, but the third is a 24ft-high drop slide perfect for all ages. At the kids’ area, you can expect ladder climbs, swinging steps, pull up ramps and hurdles and more, while the toddler section is filled with padded ramps, climbs and tumble towers sure to excite kids under the age of four. There is free Wi-Fi available, which is great for parents that just want to chill out at the onsite café, or you can go for a 15-minute Segway ride. Open: 10:00 – 19:00 Address: centre Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa and Shangri La Golden Sands Resort, Jalan Batu Ferringhi Tel: +604 886 19116Made In Penang Interactive Museum Georgetown
The Made in Penang Interactive Museum really helps shake off pre-existing ideas of boring, outdated museums, instead offering visitors a fun, exciting way to view artwork with exhibits that have clever 3D imagery features. For example, a portrait of the Penang Snake Temple, with a large 3D snake slithering out from the framework.
A museum where getting involved is truly part of the fun, pictures range from historical images such as battleships being blown up by cannons, to elevators with iconic horror movie characters inside. The trick is that artists have used different colours, textured contours and some props to create each unique photo. Open: 09:00 – 18:00 Address: No.3, Pengkalan Weld, George Town, Penang. Tel: +604 262 61197Penang War Museum Bukit Maung
Built by the British army on top of Bukit Maung in the 20th century, the Penang War Museum is historically significant for its past. Used as a Japanese army base during WWII, tales of prisoners of war being tortured for information colour its walls. As a result, the hill itself has earned a reputation among locals as being haunted – in fact, they shy away from climbing the hill after dark. Despite its sordid past, when it was turned into a museum (nearly three decades later), restoration works maintained its network of underground tunnels and ventilation shafts, making for a pretty cool complex to explore. Besides that, you can also see the base’s old ammunition bunkers, cannon firing bays, sleeping quarters and medical infirmary. Read More...8Fort Cornwallis Lebuh Light
Fort Cornwallis is one of Penang’s most well known landmarks. Within its ten-foot-high walls (which are laid out in the shape of a star), you can see a 17th century chapel, some prison cells, ammunition storage area, and more. There are even some pretty cool old bronze cannons, including a Dutch one which superstitious locals believe has a positive effect on women’s fertility. Named after Charles Cornwallis, the former Governor General of India, it was originally built entirely out of wood, but refurbishment over the years has led to its current concrete facade. Read More...9Penang Khoo Khongsi Georgetown
Penang’s Khoo Khongsi is a Chinese clanhouse for individuals with the surname Khoo. A clanhouse acts as a representation of a specific family’s social and spiritual commitments between extended relations, ancestors and the outside community. Also known as Dragon Mountain Hall, it represents good luck and wealth, with stone carvings that adorn the entrance hall and pavilions. Murals portraying birthdays, weddings and, most memorably, the 36 divine guardians sprinkle the interior. Overhead, massive paper lamps cast the clanhouse in an orange glow and stunning ceramic sculptures of immortals, carp fish and dragons dance across the roof ridges. Read More...10Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram Burmah Road
A Thai temple built in 1845, Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram houses the giant Reclining Buddha statue. Measuring 33 metres long, it is said to be the third largest of its kind in the world and signifies Buddha’s total detachment from worldly matters during the last days of his life. Famous as Buddha’s final resting pose before his death, besides the lounging Buddha statue you can also find smaller Buddha sculptures in various guises and positions around the temple, as well as those of Thai deities. Furthermore, the temple is also home to colourful murals depicting Buddha’s life story. Read More...