4 Things to Do in Penang Malaysia
Speakers emitting the precious salah at sunrise and sunset.
Penang, Malaysia is a culturally diverse island that embodies the range of Malaysian culture.
Cruising around the streets of this spot sitting in the Strait of Malacca introduces you to a range of foreign influences, including Chinese, British and Indian elements, making for a fascinating melting pot unlike anywhere on earth.
I vividly recall waking at sunrise each day at the morning prayer blared from mosques located around the island, beginning my day with a loving, peaceful, soothing message dripping with devotion.
One look toward the strait in the east and the towering, lush mountains to the west put me at ease.
I was amid nature in a suburban – to urban – setting.
Getting around the island is a breeze. The bus system is top notch, with buses arriving and departing frequently from various stations around Penang. Super way to traverse the area on the cheap.
If you are heading to Penang soon here are 4 things to do.
1: Visit Georgetown
Visit Georgetown to get a feel for this colorful, fascinating neighborhood.
Georgetown is perhaps the crown jewel of Penang for its colonial vibe and heavy Chinese, British and Muslim influences.
I recall seeing mosques, Chinese shops and British architecture mashed together in a flowing, eclectic hodgepodge that both delights and dazzles.
Restaurants dot the city, as do a wide range of storefronts offering pretty much anything and everything.
If malls are your thing (see thing to do #2) you have a collection of spots to choose from in Georgetown.
All roads lead to Rome and yes, all roads seem to lead to Georgetown on the island of Penang.
2: Stop by Queensbay Mall
Do you need a little change up?
Stop by Queensbay Mall.
We spent a month in Penang, in the Bayan Lepas neighborhood where the mall is located. This is a quiet, residential ‘hood that consists mainly of homes, a handful of shops and this huge, modern and yes, air-conditioned mall.
The range of stores and restaurants is quite eye-popping. Kelli and I often enjoyed pancakes at Paddington’s, a fun eatery focused on breakfast fare. But you can choose from spots offering everything from traditional Malaysian street food grub to Western options. Yes; they got you covered with McDonald’s and Pizza Hut if you are jones-ing for some junk food.
Walk around this huge mall to get your cardio on in an air-conditioned, cool, dry environment. Do some shopping or if you have a few spare hours and wouldn’t mind watching a flick in a beautiful theater for dirt cheap prices, catch a movie.
To combat the growing piracy issue in the country, watching a movie in Malaysia is an inexpensive, fun way to spend the afternoon.
3: Visit Penang National Park
We spent a hot, steamy morning at Penang National Park on the northern end of the island.
You can take the bus for transport on the cheap, being dropped off right at the entrance to the park, which is a sweet deal.
Scenic views of the Strait of Malacca tease your senses as you make your way toward this jungle paradise.
This is a small park (the smallest in the world) so no need to worry about running out of steam from a walking distance perspective. However, the tropical environment can be brutally challenging because the intense heat and stifling humidity may cause sauna-like conditions.
Bring plenty of bottled water. Drink plenty of bottled water.
Prepare for some hilly conditions too. Just take your time, enjoy wandering under the jungle canopy and be on the lookout for wildlife; you may spot slow loris, tree shrews and leatherback turtles.
Bring plenty of sunblock and insect repellent too. When you stroll on the beach you cannot hide from the sun. Ditto for trying to hide from mosquitoes in the thick jungle.
4: Enjoy World Class Street Food
Penang and Malaysia in general is know for its street food around the world.
This delicious, flavorful, tasty fare dots the island.
Look for stalls or carts and…..go wild.
Enjoy savory dishes and sweet numbers like the beloved roti. Just make room for seconds. Or thirds. Or do a bunch more cardio by hiking around the island. Burn more calories. Eat more food.