Officially an UNESCO world heritage site, the area of George Town in Penang is a tourist paradise. It still holds all the charm that most Town start to loose as the tourists flock in.
Things To Do:
The old town is full of history and culture, make sure you pick up a leaflet from your hotels reception (or pop into another hotel) that lists all the free walking tours, they change every month. There a great way to learn about the city, we really enjoyed the night time Little India tour.
Penang Hill can be easily accessed by taking the 204 bus, get off at the very last stop. A return ticket to the top of the hill costs RM60, or you can travel 1 way for RM30 then walk back down, although the stairs are on the other side of the hill, you will need to take a different bus back to George Town. On a clear day the views are amazing, you can see the whole island and all the way to Butterworth.
Fort Cornwallis is a traditional British Fort, it has good views over the sea. It costs RM20 and you only need about an hour there to really appreciate it.
The reclining Buddha at Wat Chaiyamangalarom is supposedly the biggest in the world. The Buddha itself is very impressive but so is the outside of the temple. On a sunny day the light reflects beautifully off the mirrored dragons that guard the entrance.
Penang was a really good place to relax after weeks of traveling. The massages were cheaper than anywhere else in Malaysia and Sean got a wet shave for just RM5 (quoted RM25 in Langkawi). After our pampering we spent an evening ten pin bowling at the Praning Mall, was RM4 per game during happy hour.
The street art around George Town is insta-famous, wondering down all the narrow alleys counting the paintings can be great fun, especially with kids. (We don’t have kids but still had a great time seeing who could spot the most.)
Where To Eat:
As well as street art, Penang is also famous for its food, these were our favourites:
Chinese – Tai Tong
You won’t find this on TripAdvisor but it is on Google maps, located in the heart of China town. We passed this everyday and it was always full with locals, we took this a good sign and decided to try it. The prawn curry was amazing, as I’m writing this we have been traveling for 11 weeks and Sean still insists that this is in his top 3 meals so far. Prices were very reasonable.
Indian – Thali NR Sweets Cafe
We passed this during our Little India tour and decided to go back for dinner. It’s a completely vegetarian restaurant and their combo meals are perfect for trying a little bit of everything. They also sell hand made India sweets. It was really cheap, meals started at about RM7 to about RM15.
Western – Safe Rooms
This was a bit on the pricey side especially on a backpacking budget but the cream of mushroom soup was to die for and exactly what you need when craving a little taste of home.
Foreigners can buy a 7 day, unlimited bus pas for RM30 (you need to present your passport) at any of the information stands at the main bus stations. Buses are regular and go to all the main tourists stops, there are also regular buses to and from the airport.
From the Cameron Highlands we took a bus to Butterworth Ferry terminal for RM35, from there the ferry takes you direct to George Town, it costs RM1.20. The bus makes one stop at Ipoh along the way, we took the 9am bus and got to our hotel around 3pm.
Where To Stay:
We stayed at the Apollo Inn which was perfectly located on the edge of the UNESCO world heritage site of George Town and is minutes away from the Komter bus station for easy access to the rest of Penang. Free breakfast and free afternoon tea was included daily, and the rooftop terrace was a pretty place to relax and take some photos. (£18/night on Hotels.com)