1. POKE AROUND GEORGE TOWN’S ART STREET:
Location: around Georgetown (Jalan Penang, Muntri Street, Weld Quay, Lebuh Leith, Armenian Street, Ah Quee Street and more).
Exploring George Town by bicycle or on foot is recommended because you can slowly travel through old buildings and be able to easily enjoy these hidden art pictures; or if you are lucky, you sometimes catch amazing street performs of tourists by accident.
As what I have read, the Art Street was drawn and completed by a young Lithuanian artist, Ernest Zacharevic. He became popular after the project of a series of mural entitled “Mirrors George Town” in the Festival of 2012.
The paintings represent characters and scenes of people and their life in the old town. However, over the years, a lot of them already faded; then if you don’t want to miss this, hurry up, come and visit because soon they will disappear or be replaced by the new art pictures.
2. DISCOVERING JETTY CHEW (Clan Jetties)
Jetty Chew is the biggest and mostly renowned jetty in six clan jetties in existence in Penang nowadays (the Lim, Chew, Tan, Yeoh, Koay, Lee Jetty). There are 75 floating houses on the Jetty converted into souvenirs shops, food restaurants and guesthouses.
Jetty Chew is like a floating village at the seaside which is a great spot for tourists especially photographers. I highly recommend to visit this attraction in the early morning or evening as you can take a lot of nice photo of sunrise or sunset during these periods.
You can catch CAT free bus to the Weld Quay Ferry & Bus Terminal and walk to Chew Jetty, a distance of about 250 meters. My first day, I chose bicycle to travel around Georgetown, I stopped my bike in front of Jetty Chew and walked inside. Very flexible and convenient when travelling by bike.
3. TAKE A TRAIN RIDER UP TO PENANG HILL
How to get to Penang Hill: Rapid Penang 204 bus (ticket fare: RM2) is the only bus that takes you all the way from Georgetown to Penang hill. The 204 bus passes Kek Lok Si temple before reaching the Penang Hill train station, so you can combine a visiting tour of Penang Hill and Kek Lok Si temple in 1 day. The most convenient way up to Penang Hill is by means of Penang Hill Railway which offers non-stop ride to the top in five to seven minutes.
Opening hours of train ride: from 6:30am- 23:00 pm when last train leaves the top of the hill. The tickets office closes at 22:30 pm.
Ticket price: For Malaysians, the fare for a return ticket is RM10/ adult and RM4/ child. If you are expats being working in Malaysia for more than 6 months will be considered with this fare as well. For foreigners, the return fare would be RM30/adult and RM15/child (updated in 2017). You aren’t recommended to travel to the hill at weekends to avoid the crowded and crazy long queues. However, you can pay double for the “fast lane” if you want to travel faster.
You can visit the official website of Penang hill to update new information and tickets price here.
On the top of the hill, you can pay around RM10-RM30 for a buggy ride to bring you to all the spots and give a briefing of the surroundings as well. Try to bargain the price if the driver has got more customers in 1 ride.
Both the train ride and the view at the top are amazing. There is much to do on the top: sipping a cup of coffee, shopping, taking photos, walking around, enjoying the view, visiting Hindu temple, visiting the Love lock street.
4. TREKKING IN PENANG NATIONAL PARK.
How to get to the National Park: By 101 bus you can easily get to the Park with only RM4.
This is a nice place for photographers to capture the wildlife, particularly monkeys and lizards. The trekking paths are easy and a bit of hiking up and down the hill. There are some resting areas where you can sit down and enjoy the fabulous nature with cool atmosphere. I love it so much, I took most of my time taking photos, relaxing and enjoying the nature. You can also opt for water taxi to the beach or other spots of the National Park if you travel with family or you want to save time for other spots.
Penang National Park is definitely an option for those who want to run away from the busy city for a while to enjoy the fresh air. So even if you only have a few days in Penang, make sure that the National Park is on your itinerary.
5. VISITING KEK LOK SI TEMPLE
Opening hours: 9am-5:30pm
The entrance fee: RM2 (2017)
How to get to Kek Lok Si: the Penang Rapid 204 bus (RM2). Besides, you can also catch 201,203,206,306,U502 bus around Penang to reach the temple.
There are many stalls selling souvenirs, local products on boths sides of the street in front of the temple.
Kek Lok Si was completed in 1930, it is one of Southeast Asia’s largest Chinese Buddhist temples with millions of magnificent Buddha statues and hundreds of beautiful carvings and sculptures.
The seven-storey main pagoda is the fabulous combination of the ancient Chinese temple’s architecture with Thai design in the temple’s tiers and the Burmese crown . You can climb to the top of the pagoda and enjoy the great view of Penang city. At the time of my visit in 2017, they were building the railroad from the entrance to the highest level of the temple and I believe it is completed now.
6. ENJOY A TRISHAW TOUR OF GEORGE TOWN.
Travelling around the heritage town by trishaw ride is relaxing and interesting, but before you get on one, make sure that you work out the price with the driver. Most of trishaw drivers are knowledgeable and well English spoken. Take a tour around the heart of the old town by trishaw is a great way to see the city.
7. SHOOTING AROUND CENTRAL GEORGE TOWN
If you are into shooting pictures, then Georgetown is a right place for you. Getting lost around the old town and taking photos of old buildings, art streets, people in the town and their life are my hobbies. Just capture whatever I like, old or new, dark or bright, busy or simple, colorful or black and white, all the things give me a set of unique photos. I’m not really good at photograph, but I always try to chase the better photos, Penang gave me a chance to practice my skill. Got some lovely photos which I am really happy with and it will be great to look back on later then.
8. HOP ON FREE CAT BUS FOR A FREEZING TOUR
Rapid Penang CAT is free shuttle bus which travels around George Town with 19 stops at the strategic points of interest. The bus runs from 6:00 am until 12:00 am midnight. With CAT, visitors can explore the town in comfort without even paying a cent and without missing any nice spots of the old town.
Some nice spots that you should check out: Little India-Lebug Pantai, Musuem-Lebuh Farquhar, St George’s Church-Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keliang, Sri Penang Hall-Lebug Light, Weld Quay Bus Terminal (walking distance to The Chew Ferry).
You can download George town brochure here
9. ENJOY COZY NIGHTLIFE IN PENANG
Georgetown night streets are cozy with many colorful lanterns in front of each buildings and restaurants. And there are many fun places and activities to stroll around in the evening, such as: bars, pubs, nightclubs, shopping, night market, food street or even walk around the peaceful town at night. I am not a fan of clubs, so night markets and street food are my best choices. It is easy for you to find a local market where sells souvenir, T-Shirts, shoes as well as many cheap delicious street food.
10. COMPLETE YOUR DAY IN A LANTERN RESTAURANT
Ending my last night by enjoying traditional food in a very special restaurant with many colorful lanterns. The food there, to me, is more delicious and cheaper than Kuala Lumpur’s. But anyway, every city has its own unique beauty, it’s just the way how we look at it.
Hope you have a great time in Penang. All the best!!!!