I would not be surprised if you have thought about visiting Penang, Malaysia and backed out because you did not know much about the country nor the city.
Have you? OH MY GOD!
Penang is one of the best places in the world. It sure is in my Top 10 Best Destinations for a Holiday. (Here's a quick introduction to the city from BookmarkTravel.com)
Here I will tell you exactly what you need to know about Penang. So, let’s get you ready before packing.
Of course, there is an airport where to land. Flying is much faster than any other possible way to get to Penang.
Penang International Airport is the third busiest Malaysian airport. It is located 16 km south of George Town, Penang region’s capital city.
How to Get There
If you are visiting from KL, Malaysia Airlines operates more than a dozen flights daily to Penang that last around one hour and a half. Malaysian Airlines charge around $50 per adult, while AirAsia offers tickets at $35.
Flying from Bangkok to Penang costs around $150 by a Thai Airways plane. Still, you can find a cheaper flight with Malindo Air for $110. The flight is two hours long and most likely direct.
From Around the world
To check for your flight from around the world, visit SkyScanner.
There is a train service, KTMB, that takes passengers to Butterworth. Taking the train from Kuala Lumpur means a 6 hours ride for about RM40. It should also be noted that you can hop on that train from Bangkok, Thailand as that is where the north-south line starts, and It goes From Bangkok to Singapore, then to Kuala Lumpur and finally to Butterworth train station in Penang.
You can take one of the many bus services from Kuala Lumpur to Penang. The usual cost of a ticket is around RM40, but it depends on the operator. The most Luxurious bus operator is Aeroline, with tickets costing RM60. A trip by a bus is said to last around 6 hours.
The bus service from Singapore to Penang is slowly diminishing as the ride is around 10 hours long. However, it is far less expensive than any other means. It costs only around SGD50, and you can choose to take a night bus. That way, you sleep in Singapore and wake up in Penang.
From and To the Airport
To get out of the airport and head to your destination, there are many ways. There are public transports as well as private ones. You can choose whatever makes you feel most comfortable.
All taxi counters are available for the visitors in the airport's arrivals hall. You can ask for assistance and the staff will give you a voucher that you have to pay for. The voucher works as payment for your ride from the airport to your first destination in the different 7 zones of Penang.
|1||RM14||Pekan Bayan Lepas. Kompleks Tabung Haji. The Star|
|2||RM22||Sungai Tiram. Bukit Gedong. Bayan Baru. Jalan Tengah.|
|3||RM26||Bukit Jambul, Hotel Equatorial, Hotel Istana|
|4||RM31||Gelugor. Changkat Minden. Island Glade.|
|5||RM38||Georgetown, Hotel Berjaya|
|There is a 50% surcharge when taking the taxi from 12am to 6am.|
Going back to the airport from one of the zones in a metered taxi costs 15% less.
When you land at Penang Airport, you can go to George Town on RapidPenang bus service for its cheap price. You can buy a bus ticket, which costs around RM3. So, you’d be better off if you have some change on you. You can take the 401 or 401E to get to George Town and find connecting buses to your final destination.
There is a bus stop at the end of the terminal at the airport. You will find a RapidPenang employee that will help you with the information needed on the next bus coming, and which bus to take to connect to your destination.
You can rent your own car from the airport, which will ease the stress of transportation afterward. There are several companies available at the airport. You can read, or rent in advance your car on the official Penang Airport website.
Transportation within the City
To get around in Penang is usually a simple question. If you are staying at a hotel in the heart of the city, everything is in a walking distance. All you have to do is find the right shoes to wear. Otherwise, and if you are not close to your destination of choice, you will need some other way to get around.
Taxis are everywhere and they are the most common in Penang. Although they are metered, very few of them actually turn it on. So you have to bargain your fare before getting into the taxi. That way you can avoid negotiations at the end of the ride.
RapidPenang is generous enough to let passengers ride for FREE along the route from the Jetty to the KOMTAR bus station.
Along this route, there are many stops next to many attractions that tourists like to visit.
There are also RapidPenang buses that take tourists around the city for RM1.40 for the first 7km, and RM7 for anything above 28km.
Read more on RapidPenang and the bus stops here.
This three wheel means of transport are slowly disappearing. They were the most used before modern day engineering came to Penang. Now, they are available mostly around George Town and are used as a novelty by tourists. You can negotiate your price before jumping inside, but it is always nice to tip your peddler for their huge effort.
Where to Stay?
It is always important to book where to stay beforehand. And it is also important to book the best deal for you. Below, I’ll give you the types of accommodations available in Penang, and suggest the best deals and most reputable names there.
There is one thing in common between all of the luxury hotels in Penang, and that is going above and beyond to please their guests. They take pride in having the best interior designs for their hotels, round-the-hour room service, and the onsite facilities. They almost all take residence next to beaches, so they offer their guests the best view and the most luxury possible.
Best Hotels Deals
There are hotels with lesser levels of luxury, but their level of comfort remains roughly the same. They offer spacious and comfortable guestrooms. They are usually located not far from Penang’s historical landmarks. An average price for these hotels is $40. I highly recommend these three: Tune Hotel ($25), East Indies Mansion ($50), and Hotel Sentral Seaview ($35).
Airbnb Best Deals:
There are a lot of houses listed in Airbnb for Penang, Malaysia.
For families looking to stay together, finding the right home may come as an annoyance. To solve that out for you, you can stay at SEAFRONT Duplex Suite George Town ($62/night), or Brand New Luxury Holiday Condo ($67/night).
If you are a backpack traveler with a sociable attitude, therefore a shared room may be your best choice. So, you should consider staying at Tido@ Penang ($9/night), or Qube @ Beach Resort ($11/night).
You can also find houseboats in Penang, They offer the same comfort of your home, but with luxury and closer to the water front.
Check out this list of great cafes in Georgetown, Penang courtesy of NomadicNotes.
Top 5 Things to Do
There many landmarks and attractions in Penang, Malaysia that are considered a must-see. This list includes the 5 best things that if you don’t cross over in your itinerary, it’s like you have not been to Penang at all.
Kek Lok Si Temple
Malaysia largest Buddhist Temple is located next to Penang Hill. It is divided into three zones; the first is the temple grounds where you can find shops and food stalls.
The second zone is has temples, gardens, the pagoda, and the four heavenly kings pavilion.
The third is home to the enormous statue of Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy. You can book a tour here.
One of the most fun outdoor activities for those who seek adventure in Penang is Escape Adventureplay. As part of the fun and cool activities, there is zip lining and free falling from a 20-meter-high platform. There are also rope swings and water parks to name a few more activities.
Escape Adventureplay is open Tuesday to Sunday, sometimes Mondays when it is a holiday. The ticket price is RM60 for adults and RM 45 for the kids. RapidPenang 101 bus can take you there.
Penang War Museum
Considered the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia, Penang war Museum first opened in 2002 as a memorial to its dark days. It was built by the British as a fort, but it fell during the world war II. Now, visitors can access it for free to explore where people were tortured and murdered.
They can walk and even crawl through the narrow spaces, some of which can lead directly to the beach. There are also cannons and ammunition used during the war.
Batu Ferringhi Night Market
At this market, there are more 100 shop stalls stretched on over 1 kilometer of space. It opens usually at 6pm daily and stays up to midnight. There is a variety of everything, which makes this market the best for visitors. It is advised to have as much cash and change on you before going diving into the market.
Made in Penang Interactive Museum
As its name suggests, it is a museum of interactive 3D arts made by Penang’s artists. Its creativity is only complete when visitors get involved with the art. You can take a picture that looks so real at first glance that you may even fool yourself once in the future. The museum is open from 9am to 6pm, so you can plan your day ahead.
Leaving Penang, Malaysia
When time comes, you need to pack your bags and go back home. However, such a stay in Penang will always be remembered and you will want to explore more of Malaysia.
In that case, whenever you decide to come back again, read our Penang Travel Guide for updates, or read about other cities to visit in Malaysia, such as Kuala Lumpur travel guide.
Do you have any more questions? Let us know in the comments and will answer as soon as we can.
See you next time.
And have a Great Holiday.