Historical Penang: Things To do in Penang (Travel Guide)

Last updated on November 24th, 2018 at 12:56 pm


There are various things to do in Penang, Malaysia. Penang is one, if not the most popular point of attraction when visiting Malaysia, famous for its historical assets from colonial buildings to preserved heritage areas. And since there is a varied mix of the population in the country, Penang has its rich culture seen in the various religious buildings and most of all, its food. There’s a wide array of cuisine choices, whether you’re eating on a strict diet due to religion or food beliefs, or you’re trying to explore new food. Discover what to see and do in Penang, Malaysia below!

Read here budget travel in Malaysia and how much do you need per day!

Things To do in Penang

Visiting the Colonial Heritage of Georgetown – Georgetown, Penang Malaysia’s capital has its deep historical roots. The Penang State consists of Penang Island and Province of Wellesley (old name), most commonly known now as Butterworth.

Penang was a previous colony of the British Empire. Various signs of the colonization are still evident in the structure of their buildings to preserve the colonial past. In the area where you’ll find the city hall is a green field commonly used for playing Cricket those days, which is close to the Esplanade where you’ll also find Fort Cornwallis.

Visiting Fort Cornwallis in Historical Penang

Clock Tower, historical Penang

Walking around Beach Street – The Queen Victorial Clock Tower is one of the most prominent structures of blue blood in the city. If you look at it closely, its actualy slightly tilted (like the leaning tower of pisa) sue to damages from the period of war.

Walking around Armenian Street

Armenian street visiting historical Penang

Street art in historical Penang

Armenian Street is one of the most popular street in the areas full of the usual Penang Street art and food. If you are looking for places to buy souvenirs, you can buy here from MYR10 (souvenirs, clothes and other things from 2 cents a dollar). The Armenian Street is also close to religious temples.

Food tripping

Fruits visiting historical Penang
Rambutan and jack fruit

You can’t leave Penang without tasting its food. Penang city is predominantly Chinese. However, there are various food choices from Hindu and Malay cuisine. Our suggestion is you keep an open mind and heart to taste lots of variety of food.

Mee goreng in historical Penang
Mee Goreng.
Food tripping in historical penang
Cendol.

Nasi Lemak

Nasi Lemak is the most popular dish served for breakfast in Malaysia. Usually very cheap, cost starts at 20 cents a dollar. It’s rice cooked with coconut sauce, anchovies, peanuts,  and the local Sambal (spicy sauce).

Nasi Lemak in historical Penang

Nasi Kandar

This dish is popular for lunch or dinner. It’s steamed rice with fried chicken, beef, lamb and fish with fried prawns or squid. There are also vegetables like eggplant added to the dish – full meal and local.

Learning about different religions

Walking around historical Penang, you will find different temples, Hindu and Chinese. Also, there are many mosques since most of people in Malaysia are Muslims.

Take the ferry from Penang to Butterworth

Penang is divided to two areas, the main island Georgetown, and Butterworth. You’ll have to travel by ferry. And knowing us, we’ve hitchhiked through various areas of Malaysia already, so there is actually a free ferry ride in the morning, which we’ve took a couple of times. It’s nice to see the views and to watch the people.

Relaxing in Batu Ferringhi

Enjoy Batu Ferringhi while visiting historical Penang

Batu Ferringhi is definitely the second most popular point of interest in the historical Penang, Malaysia after Georgetown. Batu Ferringhi consists of a long stretch of soft, white sandy beach along a winding road named Jalan Batu Ferringhi. It is mostly popular for the beach, which is not usually for swimming, but can be enjoyed with other sea activities, lie water sports. The area also has a popular night market, good for buying souvenirs or gifts for yourself. The only con in this area is that since its touristy, you need to be prepared to pay higher for food, compared to when you are staying in Georgetown.

Enjoying the Sunrise at Four Points

We aren´t early birds but we couldn´t miss this scenery while staying in the beach. Not all beaches are created equal, yet every beach is beautiful in its own way. It´s always a perfect moment to walk around when the beach is empty. A good time to relax and enjoy a good talk.

Sunrise historical Penang

Eating at Eatery Restaurant

Hainan chicken rice in historical Penang
Hainanese chicken rice.
eating Pizza in historical Penang
Pizza and coffee.
Tasty burguers in historical Penang
Burguer and frites.
Yummy pasta in historical Penang
Yummy Pasta.

We do have favorite places to eat, and during this trip The Eatery is one new discovery for us. Here you can find both local and Western choices. Meals are affordable, and frankly have big servings, so you can even share your meal and still feel full. The restaurant has an amazing view of a private beach. I mean who doesn’t like having dinner with the sound of the waves? The food is delicious with very friendly staff, and we had an amazing time, just being in a place distant from city noise where you can relax and have quality time together.

Our favorite local dish was Hainanese Chicken rice. We also tasted delicious pizzas and burgers. We really loved the Carbonara pasta.

Enjoy a private beach in a luxury resort

Luxury in historical Penang
We’ve been a couple of times in the historical Penang Malaysia and it’s always nice to see the culture and good food, however sometimes you might want to have some distance from the hustle of the city. The perfect area for us to stay in was around Tanjung Bungah beach. This place is surrounded by private resorts with the convenience of a beach all by yourself.

Four Points by Sheraton is one of the luxury resorts in this area, where we stayed in. Convenient access to everything, 10 minute walk to the bus station to go to the city. If you are spending a day for relaxation and needed to stay in, this is definitely our strongest recommendation for this area.

Views from our room in historical Penang

Having a private beach is just so refreshing. Being able to enjoy the sun, and also still enjoy the company of other people, without the place being too crowded is a nice change from very touristic beaches. The private beach in Four Points is so beautiful.

Even the views from our room already feel so refreshing to look at. The internet at Four Points was so good, compared to our previous experience in Batu Feringi and other parts of Penang, which was a highly preferred feature for us since we work a lot online. Tell me, how difficult can it be to stay indoors with this beautiful view outside?

If you can catch the sunset, which usually happens between 6 in the morning to 6:30, then I can’t stress to you enough how you should not miss it. The sunset just looks surreal with the Four Points private beach, in front of the breakfast views, or just from your room window. There’s always this feeling of peace when you watch these sunrises and sunsets. I think every time you have to chance, you shouldn’t really miss them.

Breakfast in historical Penang

Buffet breakfast historical Penang

We love breakfast buffets. Sometimes, a stay in a hotel can be quite lonely, especially if you didn’t plan anything to do. It’s not the case for us, and you need to make sure this doesn’t happen to you. There are always new places to visit and explore, and every hotel is full of amenities. For us, we love to always be on schedule for breakfast because it’s the time that you enjoy buffet cuisine, which in Four Points was a mix of local and international cuisine, sumptuous and with a variety to choose from, whatever you’re feeling to eat that day. It’s also the time of the day when almost all of the people in the hotel are out in one place, so it’s nice to socialize or just observe various people in the morning.

Resort in historical Penang

The place is definitely a nice getaway from Penang, but I see it as a very romantic place. This Pavilion is a very nice area to spend with your special someone, or for any special occasion, anniversaries, proposals, and even weddings. We were able to enjoy the view of the newly enhance pavilion with the morning sunrise. Loved it a lot.

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So there you go. A nice quick guide and where to go and what to do when you are visiting the historical Penang, Malaysia. Do you know any other activities that we might have missed? Make sure to let us know in the comments!

Hope you had an amazing read. And if you want to visit Malaysia, here is a full guide how to do it! Cheers to all you wanderlusts. x

Ruben Arribas is a Spanish traveler who has traveled more than 70+ countries around the world. He believes in travel without money. Recently, he finished a bicycle trip, 9500 km, from Madrid to North Cape.

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