Authored by Anitha Thanabalan (Contributor)
If someone were to ask me about a country that is multi-cultural and multi-ethnic, the first destination to come to mind would be Malaysia.
Penang is a very good example the idea of being multi-cultural and multi-ethnic. It’s considered to be the most populous island city in Malaysia, and because of its magnificent buildings; it’s capital, Georgetown is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as of 2008. The history of Penang is fascinating 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 realise that you can breathe in and take in the history and culture of the place. There is no better way to see the city than organising a tour on the Hop-on Hop-off bus. However, you get around is entirely up to you. Now let’s check out these four great things to do in Penang.
1. Sample the Streets of Penang
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 ample amounts of street food.
However, for people that are unfamiliar to eating on plastic chairs and the side of the road, the concept may seem daunting. However, street food is the way of life for most Malaysians because of 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 get to know the culture of the place, do you?
2. Penang Places where the Eat meets the West
Because of the influx of expats and travellers, there has 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 in a few places.
The 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 stop in at a coffee shop tour and try various places, but 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 low price.
The average rate for a motorbike rental is around 35RM a day with a 150RM deposit. To rent a bike, you 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 nearly 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 essential 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. Take a trip to a Penang 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 to Penang, I was genuinely surprised that there was a beach like this in Penang. I always knew that Penang was an idea but the fact that you could 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 enjoy a hike, or you can take a boat that cost approximately 50RM one way. If you are with a big group the price is ideal.
Once you get your group, you 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.