A Few Hours in Penang

Taking into account traffic and journey time to and from point A to point B, the list of activities below anchors within Penang’s capital city, George Town and each one may take approximately between three and four hours to complete.

Penang Hill
From the heart of George Town, catch Rapid Bus 204 from the jetty on Pengkalan Weld, anywhere along Lebuh Chulia or Komtar, to get to Penang Hill. The journey should be around 40 minutes each way. Do have ready a change of around RM2 per way. Stop at the foot of the hill and get onto the funicular train up at RM10 for MyKad holders or RM30 otherwise for both ways. A couple of hours on the hill will allow you to:

·       Walk along the route to see restored Colonial style bungalows that are now private homes. On this route you can also observe the flora and fauna born out of the hill’s cooler temperatures being 823 metres above sea level. If you prefer, there are also buggies available to take you around the hill at a speedier pace. At the time of writing, the buggy ride costs RM30 for around 20 minutes ride.

·       Take an audio tour at your own pace and time. The audio tour station is near where you get off the funicular train and it’s RM10 per unit. You may also use your own headphones for the rented audio unit.

·       Enjoy a view of that side of Penang island from that elevation. Also a nice photo-op here.

·       Have a bite of local fare at the food court Cliff Café. The assam laksa and ais kacang are quite popular here. All food are halal here.

Bus Rides
If you prefer to be on sea level, then it’s not a bad idea to hop on to the free Central Area Transit bus that ambles through most of the UNESCO heritage site of George Town. More on where to get on or off this bus here.

A more intensive bus tour is the Hop-On Hop-Off bus. The 24-hour fare begins at RM19 with a 24-hour validity, right up to RM45 for non-MyKad holders. Right now, the Ho-Ho buses, as its affectionately called, run on two routes: City and Beach. Sparing around 1.5 for each route may be a good idea. Tickets are available on board the bus. More details here.

Visit Penang’s Clan Jetties
A stone’s throw away from the bus and ferry terminal on Pengkalan Weld is where the clan jetties exist. There are six of these clan jetties left, namely, Koay, Lim, Yeoh, Tan, Lee and the most popular is Chew. Each clan neighbourhood is built on stilts above the sea beside each other and all neighbourhoods are still occupied by families, if not the clans themselves. Strolling on them you’ll be able to discreetly peek into homes, grab a quick lunch at a small stall and even souvenir shop in a couple of stalls.

Ride on the Iconic Penang Ferry
Truly a must do when in Penang. Simply hop onto the ferry from the ferry terminal on Pengkalan Weld that crosses the channel to Butterworth in 15 – 20 minutes per way. There is only one-way fare of RM1.20 (at the time of writing) for pedestrian to pay to return to the island and it’s free to go to Butterworth.

George Town on Foot
Best way to see Penang’s UNESCO Heritage Site is by foot. Simply get into the centre of Lebuh Chulia and walk in any direction from there. Preferably, try to cover a few streets to get a feel of Penang’s architecture, street art, multiculturalism and heritage:
Love Lane
Lorong Stewart
Lebuh Armenian
Lebuh Campbell
Lebuh Muntri
Jalan Penang
Lebuh Pantai
Otherwise, you can try to catch the free Walkabout Tour of George Town which starts at 10.30am to 12pm, every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from the Tourist Information Centre on Lebuh Pantai. More details here.

Image credit: Su Aziz and Leonard Selva