Penang, Malaysia—a gem of Southeast Asia that blends historical grandeur with modern vibrancy.  Situated on Penang Island, which is connected to Peninsular Malaysia by the striking Penang Bridge.  Our Penang travel guide offers an array of attractions for tourists and photographers alike.  Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a street food connoisseur, or simply in it for the landscapes.  Penang provides a colorful palette of experiences.

Discover Georgetown: A UNESCO World Heritage Site

Georgetown, Malaysia - Penang travel guide

Georgetown stands as the cultural heartland of Penang, adorned with historical landmarks like Fort Cornwallis, the Kapitan Keling Mosque, and the unique Street Art in Georgetown.  Additionally, there’s Hotel Penaga which is an example of cultural tourism.  What’s more, each street and corner tells a story.  Especially through the vivid street art depicting scenes of local life.  Not to be missed is the Chew Jetty, where houses on stilts showcase the historical settlement of Chinese immigrants.

Architectural Marvels and Scenic Views

Georgetown, Malaysia - Penang travel guide

Penang doesn’t shy away from modernity. Komtar Tower, the tallest building on the island and the sixth tallest in Malaysia, offers a breathtaking viewing platform.  In fact there’s a similar viewing platform in Auckland, New Zealand.  For those who love a panoramic view, a ride on the Penang Hill Railway provides a picturesque vista of the city from above.  In addition, there’s some excellent birdwatching opportunities at the top.  Nearby, the architectural splendor of the Kek Lok Si Temple and the historic intricacies of Khoo Kongsi are a testament to Penang’s cultural richness.

Living History and Local Life

Penang travel guide, Fort Cornwallis

During my stay, I resided at Hotel Penaga in Georgetown, which offers a private Jacuzzi in each room.  Consequently, adding a touch of luxury to the heritage ambiance.  In contrast is the fortitude of Fort Cornwallis.  In fact, the largest fort in Malaysia.  This offers a glimpse into the island’s colonial past and its role in the spice and silk trading routes.

Street Food and Nightlife

Penang Road, Georgetown

No Penang travel guide would be complete without mentioning the essential street food!  For food lovers, Gurney Drive is the go-to for an endless array of street food stalls, offering local delicacies that promise to delight your taste buds.  After sunset, Penang Road comes alive with bars and clubs, perfect for those looking to experience the island’s nightlife.

Chew Jetty

Chew Jetty, Penang

Whilst in Georgetown it’s worth taking a walk down the Chew Jetty.  The Chew Jetty consists of houses on stilts built over the Malacca Strait.  The construction of the Chew Jetty started in the 19th century by Chinese immigrants with the surname Chew.  In addition, you’ll see lots of shops selling clothing, souvenirs and ice-creams on the jetty.  As a result, this must be a great source of income for the locals!

Practical Tips for Travelers

  • Getting Around: Take bus number 204 from the Jetty to Penang Hill’s funicular.  Locals are friendly and most speak good English, so don’t hesitate to ask for directions.
  • Avoid Taxis: Taxis tend to overcharge.  Use public transport or ride-sharing apps for the best rates.
  • Best Time to Visit Sights: Avoid midday heat for outdoor activities.  Early mornings or late afternoons are ideal for exploring.

Engage with Penang’s Culture

No Plastic Bags Street Art, Penang

Penang’s street art goes beyond decoration; it’s an expression of identity.  Famous pieces include the children on a real bike or the boy reaching up to a hole in the wall.  What’s more, these seamlessly integrate  with the urban landscape, each telling a different story of this vibrant island.

Penang Travel Guide – Join the Journey

Have you ever visited Penang or is it on your travel bucket list? Share your experiences or ask questions in the comments below—I’m eager to hear about your adventures or help with your travel plans!

Crossing the Malacca Strait

Ferry from Georgetown to Butterworth - RM3

Arriving in Penang via the bus/train station in Butterworth? You’ll take a short boat ride across the Malacca Strait.  Indeed, this Provides stunning panoramic views of Georgetown as well as Penang Hill.  As a result, the trip is not just a transfer but an introduction to the scenic beauty of Penang.  Furthermore, an essential part of our Penang travel guide.

How to Travel From Penang to Kuala Lumpur

Bus from Penang Butterworth to Kuala Lumpur

To get to the Penang bus / train station you must take the ferry from the Pangkalan Raja Tun Uda Ferry Terminal in Georgetown (close to Chew Jetty).  If you choose take a taxi to the train / bus station.  Then you’ll have to drive all the way out to the bridge and back and it will cost you 20 times the price of the ferry.  I did not see where to pay for the ferry and no-one asked me to pay so my ride on the ferry was free.  As a result this made the ride over to Butterworth more enjoyable.  Lastly, the journey took about 20 minutes and the pier in Butterworth is joined onto the train and bus stations.

The bus, train and ferry station are located next to each other in Penang Butterworth.  The bus takes around 4-5 hours to get to Kuala Lumpur and the price is about 30-40 RM.  Finally, only 1 stop at Ipoh on the Penang to Kuala Lumpur bus.  Alternatively, there are KL Sentral direct buses, be patient as you select your bus.

Kuala Lumpur to Melaka

A visit to the points of interest of the UNESCO city of Georgetown, Penang before taking the bus to Kuala Lumpur