50 things to do in Penang

A guide to the best things to do and attractions in Penang

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Things to do

The full list

The ultimate list for your ultimate Penang experience. Think you can check off all 50?

Heritage
Things to do

Heritage

You haven't been to Penang if you don't soak up the city's rich, cultural heritage

Attractions and activities
Things to do

Attractions and activities

The best things to see and do outdoors

Music and nightlife

Music and nightlife

Featuring music festivals, bars with a view, and where to party

Food and drink
Things to do

Food and drink

It's not just about assam laksa and char kuey teow; savour delicious Nyonya food, roti jala and more

Food and drink

Sample a bowl of Penang's signature assam laksa
Restaurants

Sample a bowl of Penang's signature assam laksa

While exploring Balik Pulau, foodies should slip this into their itinerary: Visit the old market to sample the wildly popular assam laksa. If you'd rather stick within the vicinity of George Town, another great place to savour the tnagy noodle dish is Joo Hooi Cafe.Pasar Air Itam Laksa Jalan Pasar, Air Itam.Joo Hooi Cafe 475 Jalan Penang, George Town.

Savour Penang's iconic stir-fry, char kuay teow
Restaurants

Savour Penang's iconic stir-fry, char kuay teow

Easily the most popular hawker dish among locals and travelers alike, char kuey teow consists of flat rice flour noodles, dark soya sauce, chilli paste, garlic, bean sprouts, prawns, Chinese chives and sometimes chicken or duck eggs. There are more char kuey teow stalls than one can count on both hands (and feet), but you can't go wrong with Kedai Kopi Sin Hwa and Ah Leng Char Kuay Teow stall at Kafe Khoon Hiang.Kafe Khoon Hiang 358 Jalan Dato Keramat, George Town.Kedai Kopi Sin Hwa 329 Jalan Burma, George Town.

Beat the heat with an ice ball
Restaurants

Beat the heat with an ice ball

Every city's inhabitants will wax nostalic about a childhood treat; for Penangites, the said treat would be the shaved ice ball. Basically an edible snow ball, each sphere is handmade by tightly packing shaved ice into a ball and drenching the lot in palm sugar syrup and rose syrup. Eating your ice ball is a messy process, but table manners are overlooked when you're eating at a streetside stall. Most ice kacang stalls also serve this sweet treat, but our go-to is Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul (next to Joo Hooi Cafe).Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul 27 & 29, Lebuh Keng Kwee

Discover Penang Peranakan culture through Nyonya cuisine
Restaurants

Discover Penang Peranakan culture through Nyonya cuisine

The birth of Peranakan Chinese or Straits-born Chinese also saw the birth of a new food culture: Nyonya cuisine marries Malay and Chinese flavours. Some traditional dishes include jiu hu char, loh bak, Inchi Kabin, Chicken Kapitan and a plethora of bite-sized sweets called kueh. Here are two restaurants to get your fill:Mama's Nyonya Cuisine 31-D Lorong Abu Siti, George Town (+604 229 1318).Kebaya Dining Room Lorong Stewart, George Town (+604 264 2333).

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Arts and culture

Play hide and seek with Penang's street art

Play hide and seek with Penang's street art

Street art such as the murals of Ernest Zacharevic and steel sculpture of Marking George Town is all over the heritage area of George Town. Either walk or take a trishaw ride through Lebuh Armenian, Jalan Penang and all the narrow streets in-between to have a look at them up close.

Catch performances and free film screenings at penangpac
Theatre

Catch performances and free film screenings at penangpac

penangpac is located on the sixth floor of Straits Quay mall and has a host of theatrical performances as well as foreign film screenings programmed throughout the whole year.

Climb the 500 steps to Waterfall Hilltop Temple
Attractions

Climb the 500 steps to Waterfall Hilltop Temple

Waterfall Hilltop Temple is a splendid representation of the Hindu devotees. It’s a 500-step climb but at the end of it you’ll see a 180-degree view of Mount Erskine and Gurney areas. Before reaching this temple, there are three smaller temples at ground level that are worth a visit too. These temples are in the spotlight each Thaipusam with the one on the hill being the main star.

Contemplate on the paintings at the Penang State Art Gallery
Art

Contemplate on the paintings at the Penang State Art Gallery

Main art galleries such as Penang State Art Gallery at Dewan Sri Penang have exhibitions all year around plus their permanent exhibition and they organise art forums and workshops too. Tuanku Fauziah Museum and Art Gallery on the campus of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) has on-going interesting exhibitions. Their permanent exhibit includes Nyonya and aboriginal pieces and Malaysian traditional musical instrument. Penang State Art Gallery Ground floor, Dewan Sri Pinang, Lebuh Light, George Town (+604 261 3144). Tuanku Fauziah Museum and Art Gallery Universiti Sains Malaysia, Gelugor (+604 653 3888).

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Music and nightlife

Dance the night away at Soju Room
Nightlife

Dance the night away at Soju Room

For the agile and young at heart, shake to the beat at Penang Times Square's very own Soju Room. They play tracks according to the current music trend.

Book a ticket to Penang's largest jazz festival

Book a ticket to Penang's largest jazz festival

Penang Island Jazz Festival is one of the biggest music festivals in Malaysia and a very popular one in Penang, this annual festival sees international and local musical greats coming together for a three-day jazzy feast at Batu Ferringhi. It’s normally held towards the end of November and early December.For updates, check penangjazz.com.

Get dizzy with a glass of toddy at Ong Cheng Huat
Restaurants

Get dizzy with a glass of toddy at Ong Cheng Huat

In some seafood restaurants, this fermented coconut water is offered. Cloudy, sweet-sour and lightly fizzy, one place to try this drink is at Ong Cheng Huat.

Enjoy vivacious drum beats at the Penang World Music Festival

Enjoy vivacious drum beats at the Penang World Music Festival

Penang World Music Festival is also an annual music festival held at the end of March at the Penang Botanic Gardens where vivacious drum beats or gentle strums of strings will serenade you.For updates, check www.penangworldmusic.gov.my.

Chill with the musicians at The Canteen
Nightlife

Chill with the musicians at The Canteen

Live music on weekends can easily be found in places such as Jammin’, a chill out place above Via Pre restaurant and there’s a lovely view of the pier from their balcony where you can sit, chat and sip their gourmet Italian beers. The Canteen has a range of bands range from indie music to pop and jazz. Despite their rustic feel, they have a good sound system. Jammin' Via Pre, Second floor, 5 Pengkalan Weld, George Town (+604 262 0560).The Canteen at ChinaHouse, 153 & 155 Lebuh Pantai, George Town (+604 263 7299).

Lounge with a sunset view and a beer
Bars and pubs

Lounge with a sunset view and a beer

Places such as Straits Quay, Bora Bora and QEII at the end of the pier on Pengkalan Weld, are great to go for drinks while watching the sun setting since they’re located by the water. Straits Quay Jalan Seri Tanjung Pinang, Tanjung Tokong (+604 899 5228). Bora Bora Lot 415, Jalan Batu Ferringhi, Batu Ferringhi (+604 885 1313). QEII Church Street pier, 8A Pengkalan Weld, George Town (+604 261 2126).

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