Comprehensive Penang Travel Guide for the Budget Conscious
If there’s one place you must visit in Malaysia, aside from its popular tourist attractions, it’s Penang. Situated in the northwest part of the country, Penang is famed for its spectacular natural scenery and awe-inspiring cultural sights. It was listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 2008, too.
Formerly known as Pulau Pinang or Isle of the Betel Nut, Penang is a paradise for every traveler out there. Plenty of sandy beaches, temples, and stunning landscapes can be seen around the region. It is also regarded as the food capital of Malaysia by many.
How to Get to Penang from Kuala Lumpur (KL)
There are a few options to get to Penang when you are in KL. Depending on your preference, you can either choose to go by train or bus, or even take a domestic flight there. Here’s a simple guide on how to get to Penang from KL:
Book your tickets from KL to Butterworth via KTMB Electric Train Service (ETS) and explore the beautiful state of Penang. There are two types of tickets you can choose from when booking—the Gold and Platinum Services. It costs RM 59 for the Gold Service and RM 79 for the Platinum Service.
3 to 4-hr train ride
The rail trip from KL to Butterworth lasts for about three to four hours. Since the ETS is said to be the newest and fastest train in Southeast Asia these days, the whole trip is way quicker and more convenient. All trains depart daily and on time, so be sure to arrive at the station at least 15 minutes before your departure.
Probably the most popular way to reach Penang from KL is through a bus ride. There are numerous buses offering a direct service from KL to Penang, so you’ll never have a hard time looking for one, especially through EasyBook (with 5% cashback). The fare ranges from RM 38 to RM 42 and the trip is roughly 4.5 hours, depending on the traffic condition during that day. It might also take you a longer time for toilet breaks.
Ferry ride going to George Town
Once you get to the Butterworth Railway Station after your train ride, you can walk to the ferry terminal and head over to George Town via 15-minute boat ride. On the other hand, if you rode a bus and alighted at Penang Sungai Nibong bus terminal, you can either ride a taxi or take Penang city bus 401 going to George Town and start exploring around.
Flight to Penang International Airport
Book your flights to Penang International Airport through AirAsiaGo or Expedia, and get 6% cashback on your flight bookings. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for Expedia promo codes to enjoy further discounts! When it comes to flights, it’s always good to read up on some hacks to getting them at a cheaper price. Read our Secret Hacks to Booking Cheap Flights for tips and tricks to getting a cheap flight to Penang.
Where to Stay in Penang
In case you’re in search of accommodations in Penang, you can consider the following:
1. Bayview Hotel Georgetown Penang
Enjoy your stay at a 4-star hotel in the heart of Penang’s capital city. Bayview Hotel Georgetown Penang is a combination of contemporary and timeless heritage. You’ll definitely be able to relax in any of its rooms as well as have a dining experience like no other at its in-house restaurants. Visit its Three Sixty Revolving Restaurant, one of the best things to do at night in Penang, which gives you a panoramic rooftop view of the city.
Score their early bird promo starting at RM 192 or best flexible rate at RM 240. Also, you can book a room with breakfast at RM 275, depending on your accommodation preferences. Your stay will surely be exceptional.
- Location: 25-A, Farquhar Street 10200 Penang, Malaysia
- Website: bhgp.bayviewhotels.com
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/BayviewGeorgetown
2. G Hotel Gurney
Chill out at this ultra stylish hotel in Gurney Drive area. With its chic and urban vibe, you’ll totally love everything about G Hotel Gurney. It also takes pride of its impeccable service and complete guest facilities. So, book an accommodation now starting at RM 600 and experience a fun and relaxing getaway either alone or with your special someone.
- Location: 168A, Gurney Dr, Georgetown, 10250 George Town, Penang, Malaysia
- Website: ghotel.com.my
- Facebook: facebook.com/ghotelgurney.penang
3. Lone Pine Hotel
Have a sweet escape at Lone Pine Hotel. This boutique hotel in Penang has been one of the favorite beachside accommodations of many travelers from across the globe. It’s idyllic charm and amazing facilities make every guest’s stay truly unforgettable. You can easily book a room starting at RM 375 and be rejuvenated even for a short while.
- Location: 97, Batu Ferringhi 11100, Penang, Malaysia
- Website: lonepinehotel.com
- Facebook: facebook.com/LonePineHotel
Places to Visit in Penang
Penang is a Malaysian state that’s rich in Chinese heritage. You’ll find a ton of temples, museums, and mosques around, but there’s more to it than these. Once you travel to Penang, make it a point to check out these must-visit places:
1. Penang Hill
Embrace the nature by visiting the striking Penang Hill. Also known as Bukit Bendera, this popular tourist attraction is surrounded by lush greenery and it has a perfect cool weather. You can either hike up the hill or take a train ride to the top. It’s an ideal spot for picnics and some nature tripping.
- Location: Jalan Stesen Bukit Bendera, 11500, Penang, Malaysia
2. George Town Streets
Walk along the streets of George Town and be in awe with its murals. Aside from the traditional-style and colorful buildings present here, travelers are amazed by the unique and interesting works of art in the streets. Apparently, there are plenty of art murals around, so you really need to allot more time hunting these. You can rent a bicycle or hop on a trishaw for a breezy tour of the streets.
3. Kapitan Keling Mosque
Be sure to pay a visit to the first-ever mosque that’s built in the 19th century when in Penang. Kapitan Keling Mosque was named after the kapitan of Keling, Cauder Mydin Merican. This whitewashed Indo-Moorish structure is a Penang landmark to see. You need to keep in mind to dress decently when entering the mosque and no shoes are allowed inside.
- Location: Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, George Town, Penang, Malaysia
4. Batu Ferringhi
Another place not to miss in Penang is Batu Ferringhi. It consists of tons of dining and accommodation options, a long stretch of white beach, and night markets. There are a lot of things you can do while here, including various water activities. A visit here would totally be one for the books.
- Location: Jalan Batu Ferringhi, 11100, Penang, Malaysia
Go on a unique adventure with your family or friends at ESCAPE. Enjoy outdoor play in a natural setting and simply seize the day. It specializes in ziplining, but you can also try other thrilling activities, such as free fall, tree rope swing, and inner-tube slide. It will surely be a day full of excitement.
- Location: 828 Jalan Teluk Bahang, 11050 Penang, Malaysia
6. Kek Lok Si Temple
One of the highly recommended spots to visit in Penang is the Kek Lok Si Temple, the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia. The enchanting temple is a significant aspect of Chinese cultural rituals and Buddhism in the region. It is adorned with plenty of carvings, images of Buddha, sculptures, archways, and pagodas, attracting numerous travelers.
- Location: Kek Lok Si Temple ,11500 Air Itam, Penang, Malaysia
7. Little Penang Street Market
Your trip to Penang wouldn’t be complete without visiting the Litle Penang Street Market. In fact, street markets have been a thriving business in the region. It offers tons of food choices, hand-crafted souvenirs, and other great finds along with lively street performances.
- Location: Upper Road, 2, Jalan Penang, 10300, Penang, Malaysia
8. Pinang Peranakan Museum
Take a tour back in time at Pinang Peranakan Museum. Housed in a renovated Peranakan mansion, this museum showcases the lifestyles and tools of Nyonya and Baba. It’s absolutely a great place to learn more about the history of Penang.
- Location: 29, Church Street, 10200, Penang, Malaysia
9. Wat Chayamangkalaram
Drop by Wat Chayamangkalaram, a Buddhist temple that was commissioned by Queen Victoria in 1845. It’s a notable sight to everyone, as it houses the largest reclining Buddha statue in the world. You’ll certainly be surprised to see this 180-foot gold-plated reclining Buddha statue in person.
- Location: 24, Lorong Burma, 10300, Penang, Malaysia
10. Penang Botanical Gardens
Be one with nature at Penang Botanical Gardens. It’s a perfect destination for a nice stroll on one afternoon with your loved ones. The park is open to everyone while the waterfalls and reservoir are private properties, so you need to make arrangements with the Penang Water Authority first prior to your visit.
- Location: Jalan Kebun Bunga, 10350, Penang, Malaysia
A worthy escapade
Penang might not be as popular as the other destinations out there, however, it’s also a great place to explore. Keep in mind this travel guide when planning to fly to Penang soon. Check out the best travel deals at Shopback, too, to save more!
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*Featured Image Credit: Georgia Ho