Malaysia is one of the most underrated countries for travel in Southeast Asia but it is incredible and Penang Island is definitely one of my favorite places in Malaysia. Here are a few fun things you can do while visiting to make the most of your time.
First, you want to base yourself either in or within like a 20 minute drive of George Town as this is likely where you spend most of your time. George Town is like a multicultural capital of the Penang Island it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although the island of Penang is like dotted with high-rise buildings and everything else you would expect in a big city Georgetown remains untouched from the colonial era and just walking the streets feels like you are taking a step back in time.
To get around, you can use Grab they don’t have UBER anymore but this is like basically the same thing and a 15-minute Grab ride will set you back about eight to twelve Malaysian ringgit which equals about $3 so it’s pretty cheap.
Once you get hungry, you will be spoiled for choice – Penang has the most amazing food. If you feel like a Western breakfast I recommend going to Pit Stop for their bacon and eggs or there’s a place called Mug Shot cafe for bagels and coffee. If you are into the more street food scene there are “hawker centers” which is like a food market and they are dotted all around Penang. They have some pretty crazy stuff like frogs, sharks, and soup.
Another cool place for a dinner is called Bangkok garden BBQ. Here you can order some meats, noodles, and vegetables off the menu. There is a round BBQ in the middle of the table where you can put your own meat on and cook it. So if you are looking for something a bit different for dinner, this is just a really cool place to go.
If you are looking for a mainstream tourist attraction or want to get some cool pictures for the gram, there’s an Upside-Down Museum which is pretty trippy. The interior of the museum is all upside down and the staff there can take your phone or your camera and they will give you these poses to do so that when you like get the photo and flip it upside down, it looks like you are standing on the roof. So if you are in Georgetown, definitely check it out and get some fun new pics to confuse your friends.
Also, if you are into shopping, there are so many places to shop in Penang. If you are looking to keep the money you spend to a minimum, then the markets are the place for you. There are these jetties in Georgetown where you can walk overtop the water and they have lots of little shops where you can buy affordable clothing, souvenirs, and other touristy stuff. But if your budget is a bit bigger and you want to go all out shopping there are also a few shopping centers in Penang. The Gurney Plaza is a seven-story shopping center filled with all the big brands you find in any Western country.
Penang Island is a lot more than just Georgetown too, so if you wanted to escape the madness of the city then you can take a walk or run up Penang Hill for some amazing views of the city. If you are feeling lazy, there is a bus or train you can take up.