Heading to Penang this year-end holiday? Lucky you! From exploring hidden beaches to snapping Instagram-worthy spots around the island and the mainland, there's no shortage of things to do in one of Condé Nast Traveler's Readers' Choice list of 30 Best Islands In The World! Here's how to best experience Penang this year-end holiday.
Take a stroll in Malaysia’s first urban archeological park
Photo credit: @penang.experience (IG)
Sia Boey – the first urban archaeological park in Malaysia is home to Penang’s latest Instagram superstar: koi-filled revitalised Prangin Canal. Flanked by impressive pre-war shophouses and modern shopping malls, it also features aged-old trees and a super cool playground for the kids to let off some steam.
Catch some funfair vibes at Pesta Pulau Pinang
Every year, thousands of people flock to Pesta Pulau Pinang, drawn there by the bright lights, thrilling shows and good bargains. This year is no exception. Expect unique rides, various stalls selling local products and concerts by local performers. There's nothing quite like the spirit of a funfair, and this month-long Pesta has it in spades.
Date: December 1-31, 2019
Venue: Tapak Pesta Sungai Nibong Pulau Pinang
Visit Butterworth Fringe Festival
Photo credit: Butterworth Fringe Festival 2019 (Facebook)
Rhythmic drums, spellbinding circus elements and highly-charged musical performances are set to draw big crowds to the Butterworth Fringe Festival. The two-day, free-to-attend festival is a good fest to hit with your family, thanks to the lively cultural and artsy performances and food stalls selling tantalising street bites. There will also be interactive workshops, cool artisan bazaar, fun activities and more for the whole family. It’s heart stopping, it’s jaw dropping and it’s going to be amazing!
Date: December 7 & 8, 2019
Time: 5pm - 11pm
Venue: Padang Pemuda Merdeka, Butterworth
Snap perfect Instagram photos at Pulau Jerejak
Photo credit: @ijai501 (IG)
Only Pulau Jerejak could take its colourful history and transform it into an Instagrammable spot for IG chasers. The former prison island now features a rainbow jetty, a Stairway to Heaven installation and an Avatar-inspired LED garden alongside the island’s historic prison and more! If all you care about is taking Insta-worthy snapshots (which is totally understandable), a picturesque outing in this treasure trove of history and heritage should top your list.
Address: No. 1, Mk. 13, Daerah Timur Laut, Pulau Jerejak,
E-coupon is available at: https://mypenang.gov.my/nature-adventure/ecoupon/147/
Learn to make Nyonya kuih
If you want to explore Penang’s Peranakan culture but your time in Penang is limited, then get straight to cooking at Kuih Culture. Located at Lebuh Kimberley, Kuih Culture offers intimate nyonya kuih-making workshops, where the chef shares tips on making these Insta-ready Nyonya treats within the hour. According to Kuih Culture’s chef Jason Wong, the kuih making workshop is ideal for family bonding or just a way to improve your culinary skills. The workshop also includes a short documentary screening and brief tour around the gallery featuring interactive murals, too! Prior booking is required.
Address: 59A, Lebuh Kimberley
Contact: +6011 5622 2080
Fees: (Locals) RM20 per adult and RM15 per child
(Foreigners) RM30 per adult and RM20 per child.
Cycle around balik pulau
Photo credit: mataharicycletours @karen_png (IG)
Spend a day journey through Balik Pulau on two wheels and experience an authentic heart-to-heart connection with rural Penang. According to Matahari Cycle Tours operator, SJ, cycling around Balik Pulau is akin to taking a ride into history, culture and the real Penang. “Not only will you enjoy a scenic ride but will also be introduced to bedak sejuk (cooling rice powder panacea), get to sample nutmegs and make a stop at a fish farm to learn about our folk’s industries. You’ll meet plenty of locals and see plenty of Penang’s landscape as you cycle at a leisurely pace,” he says.
Contact: +6019 4480 440
Rate: From RM260 per pax
Go trekking at the Penang National Park
Photo credit: @mkomlossy (Instagram)
Grab your boots and go trekking at the Penang National Park. The trekking trail will reward you with a solid workout, a close encounter with baby sea turtles at the turtle sanctuary, and wow-worthy views from the Muka Head Lighthouse. Look out for foraging long-tailed macaques, civet cats and flying lemurs before venturing off to undeveloped, fine-white-sand beaches where you can enjoy a well-earned cool off after a day of trekking.
Address: Jalan Hassan Abbas, Teluk Bahang
Operating hours: 8am-5pm
Ride a trishaw in George Town
Riding a trishaw around the heritage city of George Town is like getting a front row seat to soak in George Town’s sights and sounds! The trishaw rider will take you to top tourist spots around George Town such as the Fort Cornwallis, the Clan Jetties, Armenian Street, the Peranakan Mansion and more. You could easily hire a trishaw at Armenian Street and surrounds for approximately RM 50 per hour.
Hunt some murals around the island and mainland
Photo credit: @mkomlossy (Instagram)
The 7th most Instagrammed City for Street Art in the world should be on every street art lover's bucket list. The heritage city of George Town’s street art scene is all the rage, but it’s worth checking out other murals reviving Butterworth’s and Balik Pulau’s derelict buildings, too. Here are some must-haves: Little Children on a Bicycle in Armenian Street, the Elephant Mural in Butterworth Art Walk and the Roti Man in Balik Pulau. If you only want to check out the murals around George Town, then opt to be picked up from your hotel and taken on a tour by purchasing an e-coupon here.
Take the ferry from the island to the mainland...and back
If you only have time to do one thing in George Town, this should be it: 20 short minutes will take you through a highlight reel of the city's must-hit sights, including the KOMTAR Tower, Penang Bridge, and a full view of the George Town and Butterworth skylines. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a jellyfish frolicking alongside the ferry. This cross-strait transit has been operational since 1894, making it the oldest ferry service in Malaysia. The fare is priced at RM1.20 for pedestrians.
Venue: Pengkalan Weld, George Town
Hit the Penang Bird Park
The first and largest bird park of its kind in Malaysia is an unmissable checkpoint on the Seberang Perai tourist trail. Observe exotic birds ranging from tiny sunbirds to gigantic 8-foot tall ostriches frolic in an environment that imitates their natural habitat. Two geodesic domes and two walk-in-aviaries keep hundreds of tamed birds such as peacocks, ducks and macaws, offering priceless memories and exciting moments for all. Don’t forget to time your visit to coincide with the park’s bird show, happening daily at 11.00am & 3.30pm.
Address: 45, Lintang Kurau 7, Chai Leng Park, 13700 Perai
Operating hours: 9am-7pm including weekends & all public holidays
Ticket price: RM38 for adults, RM20 for children below 12 years old, RM25 for MyKad holder and RM15 for MyKid holder. Free admission for physically and/or mentally handicapped.