The state of Penang or Pulau Pinang in Malay is one of the most popular tourism destinations in Malaysia despite being the second smallest state after Perlis.
Divided into two, Penang comprises Seberang Perai on the mainland and Penang Island. You can find a whole lot of things to do in Penang, with something to do for everyone. Penang’s capital, Georgetown, is home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its culture, food and many green spaces have always been the pride of Penangites and a paradise for tourists.
Here are just some things you can do in Penang!
1. Snake Temple
The Snake Temple is a beautiful piece of Chinese-style architecture that also home to dozens of pit vipers and tree snakes. Built in 1850, the temple honours a Buddhist monk named Chor Soo Kong, who used to heal the sick and provide shelter to snakes. It was said that when the temple was completed, pit vipers settled into the building and have made it their home ever since. Once you enter, you’ll see the reptiles everywhere, slithering on the floor and coiled around structures, as they’re as free to roam the temples as other visitors.
2. Avatar Secret Garden
Located at Tanjung Tokong, the garden is inspired from the wonderful Pandora world from the movie Avatar. With thousands of lights strewn on trees and along the walkways, it’s like entering a whole other world, one with bright dreamy lights. The best part? It’s completely free and you can take as many dazzling pictures as you’d like.
Address: 336, Jalan Tokong Thai Pak Koong, Tanjung Tokong, 11200 Tanjung Bungah, Pulau Pinang.
Opening Hours: 8 a.m.-12 a.m. (Daily) Light Turns On at 7:35 p.m.
3. Kek Lok Si Temple
The 131-year-old temple is the largest temple in Malaysia. If you’re up for a hike, consider climbing the steps up the 7-storey pagoda for a good view of Penang Island. The temple itself is beautifully maintained, making it a beautiful oasis with greenery everywhere. There is also a bronze statue of the Goddess of Mercy, Guanyin, the tallest one of the goddess in the world. Even if you’re not Buddhist, you can still appreciate this temple and even go for a wishing ribbon on your way out. Don’t forget to drop by the Ayer Itam Market below for a bowl of laksa!
4. Gurney Drive
Gurney Drive Hawker Centre is the biggest and arguably the most popular one in Penang. Been around since the 1970s, this hawker centre is especially popular with tourists thanks to its large variety of dishes and strategic location. You can find favourites like Char Kuey Teow, Rojak Pasembur, Hokkien Mee and Soya Beancurd. It starts from 6pm until late and can get quite crowded so you’d want to take the bus or get dropped off.
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5. Penang Hill
Also known as Bukit Bendera by the locals, Penang Hill is set 821m above Georgetown, offering visitors an amazing view of city and a cool, highland-like climate. The most convenient way to get atop the hill is by riding the Penang Hill Furnicular train, the oldest in the world! Once up there, explore the multiple lookout points and hilltop attractions like The Habitat, SkyWalk and various other nature walks.
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6. Entopia by Penang Butterfly Farm
Nature lovers, this is one for you! Entopia is a giant conservatory that specialises on butterflies, allowing them to flutter freely amid lush greenery. Even the exterior is made up of a massive green wall and is the largest vertical garden in the country. Entopia is divided into two sections, Natureland and Cocoon. The former is a glasshouse area complete with waterfalls, gardens and trails. Apart from free-flying butterflies, there are also frogs, koi and turtles around. The Cocoon is a two-storey centre designed for younger visitors and is also where you can see how Entopia’s butterfly breeding programme works.
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With something for everyone, Penang has a lot to offer in terms of food, nature and attractions. Hopefully this list can help you plan your next trip to this beautiful state. See for yourself why Penang is one of Malaysia’s top destinations and book that trip!