50 things to do in Penang: Attractions and activities

From bargaining at the night markets, watching the sunset on Batu Ferringhi and counting exotic birds at Penang Bird Park, these are the city's best things to do outdoors


Hop aboard the funicular train to reach Penang Hill

While there are myriad methods to get to the peak of Penang Hill, the easiest and most scenic way is to hop aboard the train. It takes just five minutes to reach the top in a comfortable air conditioned coach. Pack some food and drink to enjoy a picnic at the peak.

Penang Hill Jalan Stesen Bukit Bendera, Air Itam (+604 828 8880).

Air Itam

Snuggle before a romantic sunset at Batu Ferringhi

Sunsets on the stretch of beach at Batu Ferringhi are a sight to behold. Here's a tip: Scorching hot days produce especially spectacular sunsets in vibrant shades of fuchsia and vermillion. Book a room at a beach resort in the area to enjoy sundown from your hotel bar or a private beach. The Hard Rock Hotel caters nicely to families with kids while the luxurious Rasa Sayang Resort is recommended for honeymooners. Meanwhile, the spacious Lone Pine Hotel is suited for travellers who crave a bit of privacy.

Lone Pine Hotel 97 Jalan Batu Ferringhi, Batu Ferringhi (+604 886 8686).
Hard Rock Hotel Penang Batu Ferringhi beach, Batu Ferringhi (+604 881 1711).
Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa Batu Ferringhi beach, Batu Ferringhi (+604 888 8888).

Batu Ferringhi

Embark on a short sea voyage via ferry

The short ferry ride to and from Butterworth is a fun way to cross the Selatan Strait while enjoying the fresh sea breeze. If travelling by vehicle, you can even drive up a ramp and park on the ferry itself. Buses and taxis are at the ready at both Butterworth and Pengkalan Weld terminals to transport you to your final destination.

Pengkalan Sultan Abdul Halim Off Lebuhraya Lingkaran Luar Butterworth, Butterworth.
Pengkalan Raja Tun Uda Pengkalan Weld, George Town.


Learn to cook authentic Penang cuisine

Cooking classes are a terrific way to get to know a country or city's regional cuisine. Tropical Spice Garden and Nazlina Spice Station  Both make these classes fun and satisfying. Nazlina will begin her class with a tour of a wet market in George Town and in both you’ll end up eating what you cook!

Tropical Spice Garden Cooking School Tropical Spice Garden, Lone Crag Villa, 595 Mukim 2, Jalan Teluk Bahang, Batu Ferringhi (+604 881 1797).
Nazlina Spice Station 2 Lebuh Campbell, George Town. (+6012 453 8167).

Teluk Bahang

Enjoy thrill-seeking rides at ESCAPE theme park

Kids and adults alike love this theme park surrounded by nature. ESCAPE provides a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of George Town and encourages breaking a sweat while having fun. Some highlights and attractions include the Tubby Racer, the Flying Lemur and Atan's Leap.

ESCAPE 828 Jalan Teluk Bahang, Penang.

Teluk Bahang

Flag down a bus to enjoy fuss-free travel

Zip across Penang Island for cheap by taking advantage of Rapid Penang's services. The bus ride from Pengkalan Weld bus station to Balik Pulau cuts through the old part of George Town before hitting the expressway that leads to Jelutong, Bayan Lepas and the airport. It's fun to watch the landscape morph from that of a concrete jungle to lush, green hills.

Explore the island by bus using Rapid Penang.


Put your bargaining skills to the test at these markets

Markets in Penang either open at daybreak or close to dusk. Falling into the first category, Bazaar Chowrasta is a popular destination for fresh produce and secondhand goods, and Pulau Tikus market is frequented for tasty hawker fare. The Tuesday night market at Tanjung Bungah, on the other hand, boasts of exotic fruits such as jackfruit, durian and rambutan.

Bazaar Chowrasta Jalan Penang, George Town.
Pulau Tikus market Jalan Pasar (off Jalan Burma), Pulau Tikus.
Tanjung Bungah market Jalan Tanjung Bungah, Tanjung Bungah.

George Town

Explore the world's smallest National Park

Penang National Park may be the smallest national park in the world but once you’re in it, you’ll not hold on to that idea. There are enough challenging trekking routes to test your stamina and they all lead to wondrous views of the water. Another way to access one of the loveliest beaches in Penang located within the park is by boat that you can take at the park’s entrance on Jalan Hassan Abbas.

Penang National Park Teluk Bahang.

Teluk Bahang