Penang the popular touristic locations of Malaysia also known as the ‘Pearl of the Orient’ draws visitors for its diverse culture, rich heritage and history, beaches and of course the mouthwatering cuisine. Penang is also close to heart for Malaysia was our first international trip ever, our honeymoon destination and first time ever we tried any adventure activity that is parasailing at Batu Ferengi Beach.
Penang is a popular tourist destination with loads to offer to its visitors no wonder it has been listed as one of the best destinations by CNN and finds a place amongst the top 10 islands to visit by Yahoo. Here are our top picks on best things to do in the beautiful state of Penang.
Batu Ferringhi Beach
Batu Ferringhi is one of the best beaches of Penang popular for the wide range of water sports activities it hosts like like parasailing, surfing, kayaking or jet skiing. The long stretch of golden sandy beach is great for the adventure sprees at the same time tranquil atmosphere makes it an ideal spot to soak up the balmy sun. Do not miss the vibrant night market at the Jalan Batu Ferringhi, a great place if you are looking to shop some local art and handicrafts for take-home souvenirs and also to try out some delicious street food.
If you are staying around Batu Ferringhi it is easier to explore the attractions in Teluk Bahang which is not very far and has a plenitude of Penang points of interest.
Tropical Spice Garden
The Tropical Spice Garden is one of the top Penang tourist attractions with over 500 species of spices and herbs. Discover the fascinating collection of the wide variety of plants and exotic herbs on your own with an audio guide or join one of the guided tours where a specialist walks you through interesting facts of the garden. Join the cooking class for hands-on experience on traditional cooking methods from professional chefs using a selection of fresh spices and herbs directly from the farm. Get more information on visiting hours and tours here.
Penang National Park
The Penang National Park is the smallest National park but rich in diverse flora and fauna species. The nature trails of the national park start along the coastline and meander through the lush vegetation. One of the trails leads along the headland to the 19th-century Muka Head lighthouse with several beaches along the way including the popular Monkey Beach. The Monkey Beach gets very crowded for it can also be reached by a ferry from Teluk Bahang Jetty.
The other trail known as the Pantai Kerachut trail winds through the thick canopy of the mangroves to a rare meromictic lake and further to some of the lesser-known beaches. If you are planning to hike the trails then do not forget to carry along plenty of water and some insect repellents.
Penang Batik Factory
Local Handicrafts always make for some great souvenirs to take back home and in Penang, it has to be Batik. Batik is an ancient art form and an age-old technique of wax-resist dyeing on the fabric which is said to have originated in Indonesia. Established in 1973 the Penang Batik Factory in Teluk Bahang has emerged as a pioneer in Batik manufacturing specializing in hand-drawn and hand-block printed batiks.
Take a guided tour of the factory workshop and watch the artisans at work using the traditional methods for designing and printing the batiks on fabrics. Go Batik shopping in the factory boutique which offers an array of high-quality Batik clothing and other items like bags, mats, hand-held fans, tablecloths and more.
Entopia by Penang Butterfly Farm
A visit to the Butterfly Farm was a fascinating part of the Penang trip. We got to see thousands of the beautiful and exotic butterflies fluttering amidst the lush green garden featuring over 200 plant species, waterfalls, ponds, and caves. The Butterfly Farm opened in 1986 houses a varied collection of butterfly species with over 15,000 free-flying butterflies. A feast for eyes indeed!
The sanctuary which houses several other insects and reptiles in a recreated natural habitat also serves a research center for breeding programs of the butterflies. Check the Visitor Info on Entopia Site for more information on schedule and ticket. here.
Tropical Fruit Farm
The farm has an amazing collection of over 250 varieties of tropical and sub-tropical fruits including Durian which is popularly known as the ‘King of Fruits’. We learned more about the fruits and the organic methods of growing them during the one hour guided tour of the orchard. The tour ended with a tasting of these rich and succulent fruits and freshly squeezed fruit juices and cocktails.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site George Town the capital of Penang state in Malaysia is a flourishing tourist destination. The city has a rich colonial heritage and is home to some of the remarkable colonial-era heritage buildings and historical landmarks like Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower and 18th-century Fort Cornwallis.
George Town Penang Street Art
The most popular draw of the city is the mural trail where you get to explore some funny and awesome murals by Lithuanian artist, Ernest Zacharevic which are iconic Georgetown landmarks. We find the street art very fascinating for we believe they have a story to tell like the ones in the Georgetown portrays the life of the locals of the city of Georgetown.
Also Read: If you love street art you will love the Comic Strip Walk in Brussels which is based on the comic of Tintin.
Another important street art not to miss are the wrought iron caricatures marking the important streets of Georgetown. These caricatures actually depict the anecdotal stories of the respective streets.
George Town is also home to some of the magnificent temples.
Kek Lok Si
Kek Lok Si is the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia and a popular pilgrim destination. The complex comprises of numerous monasteries, temples and beautiful landscaped garden. The most impressive part of the temple complex is the seven-story Pagoda adorned with thousands of alabaster and bronze Buddhas.
Another popular highlight of the temple complex is the statue of Kuan Yin, Goddess of Mercy which stands on an elevated platform and can be reached by a cable car.
Khoo Kongsi is one of the important historical landmarks of Georgetown. Khoo Kongsi where Kongsi means clan or family house is a Chinese clan house of Khoo family.
The Khoo Kongsi which is over 100-year-old is an architectural masterpiece with elaborate ridge decorations and stuccowork on the roof and impressive murals and intricate carvings on the exterior as well as the interior of the building. The Khoo Kongsi complex comprises of opera stage, terrace houses, and shops.
Dhammikarama Burmese Temple
Dhammikarama Burmese Temple formerly known as Nandy Moloh Burmese Temple was built in 1803 is the oldest Buddhist temple in Penang. The temple is some 15 min drive from the Khoo Kongsi and across the street of another beautiful Buddhist temple Wat Chayamangkalaram famous for the large statue of Reclining Buddha.
Dhammikarama Burmese Temple
The Dhammikarama Burmese Temple features a huge Pagoda, a 200-year-old well and the huge marble statue of Buddha in the interior decorated with statues of the Buddha and mythical creatures, colorful murals, and paintings depicting the life journey of Buddha.
Penang Hill is one of the top Penang attractions a couple of km ride from Kek Lok Si temple. The summit of the hill offers a breathtaking panorama of the city of Penang and can be reached by funicular railway. The top of the Penang Hill can also be reached by hiking which starts at the entrance of Penang Botanical Gardens and takes around 2 to 3 hours.
The major points of interest on the Penang Hill are the colonial-era buildings from the 18th-century, self-guided nature walks or guided tours of the hill, Penang Hill Mosque and the Sri Aruloli Thirumurugan or Penang Hill Hindu Temple one of the oldest Hindu temples from the 1800s. Check the Penang Hill Site for more attractions and fun activities.
Have you visited Penang? What is your favorite part of visiting Penang? Do share with us in comments.
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