Authored by Anitha Thanabalan (Contributor)
If someone were to ask me about a country that is multi-cultural and multi-ethnic, the first that comes to mind would be Malaysia.
Penang is a very good example the idea of being multi-cultural and multi-ethnic. It is considered to be the most populous island city in Malaysia and because of its magnificent buildings; its capital, Georgetown was inducted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. The history of Penang is very interesting because it was the first British possessions in Southeast Asia.
4 Awesome Things to do in Penang – Malaysia
Just walking around the city of Penang, you realize and can breathe in the history and culture of the place.
1. Sample the streets
Penang is considered to be a diverse city filled with locals, expats, and travellers alike. Because of that, there are so many different types of cuisine in Penang. It is probably one of the most famous places for the ample amounts of street food.
However, for people that are not used to eating on plastic chairs and on the side of the road the concept may seem daunting. However, street food is the way of life for most Malaysians because its inexpensive and easy. It is possible that there may even be restaurants that move around, and they are not in the same place ever, so it is necessary to try those places because they are the most popular.
Because of the mix of cultures, it is also possible to find restaurants and hotels all over, but you don’t really get to know the culture of the place, do you?
2. Where East meets West
Because of the influx of expats and travellers, there have been an abundance of Western restaurants and cafes all over town. Georgetown is one of those places that has influences from all over the place. If you are like me and enjoy sitting at a coffee shop all day working on your laptop there at a few places.
Chulia street is one of the main roads in Georgetown and just on that road you can find so many different types of coffee shops where they serve brunch. You can even do a coffee shop tour and try out the different places and believe me there are so many tours going on in Penang!
3. Rent a bicycle or motorbike
Sometimes the best way to explore a new place is just using your own two legs. However, in Penang there are so many ways that you can explore this great place. You can rent a bicycle or motorbike for a day and take it around the whole island for a very cheap price.
The average rate for a motorbike rental is around 35RM a day with a 150RM deposit. To rent a bike, you just need to pay about 15RM and there are even electronic kiosks set up around the city where you can just put some coins in and borrow a bike for about an hour.
There are so many shops that let you rent the bikes all you have to do is ask and they will give you the right bike so that it won’t hurt your bum at the end of your ride. The one thing that you need to be careful about is that it is completely necessary to have an international driver’s license unless you are from the UK or anywhere that drives on the left side of the road.
4. Trip to the beach
If your idea of a relaxing time is to relax on the beach, one of the best places to do that is Monkey Beach or Turtle Beach. When I went there I was genuinely surprised that there was a beach like this in a place like Penang. I always knew that Penang was an idea but the fact that you could just take a boat or walk an hour and a half through the national park to get there baffled me.
The best way to get to the beach is to either take the bus to the national park, take a Grab, or if you’ve rented a motorbike, drive from Georgetown and head down to Batu Ferrighi. From the national park entrance you can either decide to hike for about one and a half hours or you can take a boat for around 50RM one way and if you are with a big group the price is ideal.
Once you get your group, you just go to any boat trip kiosk and ask them to take you over to the beach. It is around a 15-minute boat ride and beware you will get splashed!
Once you get there you won’t even think you are in Penang anymore.