Things to do in Penang, Malaysia

Places to visit in PenangImage adapted from: @jo1in, @flo_hptan 

Ever since George Town got inscribed its UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2008, the stream of tourists along the city’s streets has been never-ceasing. Though it seems like George Town is all Penang has to offer – apart from its food – the truth is that Penang has much more sights you should not miss on your next visit.

Here are some lesser-known places in Penang to make a trip for.

1. Take a S$2.30 boat ride to Pulau Aman for fresh seafood and an easy hike

Pulau AmanImage credit: @ifandonlyiffah

As far as any Penangite is concerned, Pulau Aman is synonymous with cheap seafood and Mee Udang (prawn noodles) – not to be confused with Penang Hokkien Mee, also referred to as prawn noodles. To get to the island, make your way to Batu Musang Jetty along the south of Mainland Penang’s coastline and hop on a boat for a 10-minute ride that costs just RM7 (S$2.30).

Restoran Terapung Pulau AmanFresh out of the sea and directly into the stomach!
Image credit: @hafiffymuhamad

If you are early, you might be able to see fishermen docking in with their catch of the day. Scurry over to pick your fresh favourites like prawns, crabs and fish. Then, head to the floating restaurant, Restoran Terapung Pulau Aman, to get your seafood cooked on the spot – either with noodles or on their own at no extra cost.

Restoran Terapung Pulau AmanMee Udang
Image credit: @jagadeesensupramaniam

This is also where the famous Mee Udang is served and you can get it from RM10 (S$3.30) per bowl.

Pulau AmanImage credit: @adimuhaiminhakim

To ease your stuffed belly, take a short and easy 1km hike up the small hill to catch panoramic views of the island and its surroundings.

Batu Musang Jetty (Boat transfer to Pulau Aman)
Address: Batu Musang Jetty , 14100 Simpang Ampat, Penang
Opening Hours: Departs to Pulau Aman every two hours from 8AM (last boat at 6PM)
Ticket price: RM7 (S$2.30)

Restoran Terapung Pulau Aman
Address: No 120, Pulau Aman, 14100 Simpang Ampat, Penang
Opening Hours: 10AM-6PM daily
Telephone: +6 019-476 6125

2. Cafe hop and take #OOTD shots at Cubopark container market

CuboparkImage credit: @archiplan_id

Cubopark’s exterior may seem a little underwhelming but it proves to be the opposite once you enter into this shipping container mall. Located close to the shopping hub of Gurney Drive, this sprawling enclave is a haven for those who delight in gastronomical adventures and artistic knick-knacks. 

CuboparkImage credit: @eugene0903

Within the compound are spaces for live performances, exhibitions and events. Dozens of local entrepreneurs flock here to sell their products from delicious food to eccentric art at the bi-weekly art and craft market.

SYST PenangSYST Penang is a popular cafe at Cubopark which serves Hong Kong-style desserts and toast, and has eye-catching neon decor
Image credit: @ifat2015 

CuboparkImage credit: @yhtan20

There are spots decorated with repurposed junk, neon lights and hanging plants for you take shots of to earn social media points. With so many F&B outlets and bars located at this alfresco mall, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it’s time to drink or dine!

CuboparkImage credit: @krystallau_

Address: 6 Jalan Tanjung Tokong Tanjung Tokong, 10470 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Opening Hours: 4PM-2AM daily
Telephone: +6 012 420 2285

3. Have a durian farmstay at an eco-resort in Balik Pulau

Balik PulauGreen Acres, a 16-acre durian orchard in Balik Pulau
Image credit: @mytravelguide

When durian season comes by, it seems like everyone in the region goes berserk, and rightly so – they don’t call it the kind of fruits for nothing. But what if we throw in a staycation in durian paradise?

Balik PulauImage credit: @flyingtothe_

As Penang is slowly moving rapidly towards eco-tourism, more farm stays are being introduced at the Balik Pulau region. It doesn’t matter if you are a durian fan or hater of durians, though, because all of the farm stays offer magnificent views and a resort-like experience – the good durians will just seem like an extra plus point. 

Bao Sheng Durian FarmImage credit: @leothu

Bookings can be done via AirBnB or on the resorts’ various websites. A few recommended ones are Bao Sheng Durian Farm, Karuna Hill and Green Acres Orchard and Ecolodge with prices starting from RM 395 (S$130) to RM 760 (S$250) per night.

Outdoor jacuzzi at Karuna Hill A durian staycation complete with an outdoor jacuzzi at Karuna Hill – yes please!
Image credit: @stephy.hng

Do note that the owners are not commercial durian sellers and open their estates for visitors to have a wholesome experience dining on durians and having a momentary hiatus from urban life.

Bao Sheng Durian FarmView from Bao Sheng Durian Farm’s deluxe room
Image credit: @worksavetravelrepeat1.0

Each durian farm stay operates differently. Green Acres Orchard and Ecolodge offers private tours to the durian farm, while Karuna Hill serves guests durians from their own orchard every day. Bao Sheng Durian Farm offers personalised tasting sessions for guests.

Green Acres Orchard and Ecolodge
Address: No. 402, Mukim 4, Batu Itam, Balik Pulau, 11000, Penang
Telephone: +6012 428 6368 / +6019 479 1190

Karuna Hill
Address: 849, BHRN 125, Bukit Kechil Mukim 2, 11010 Balik Pulau, Pulau Pinang
Telephone: +604 866 2078

Bao Sheng Durian Farm
Address: 150 Mk2 Sungai Pinang, Balik Pulau, 11000 Penang
Telephone: +6012 411 0600

4. Bask by the pristine beaches of Penang National Park

Monkey BeachA rope swing at Monkey Beach
Image credit: @lilgetaway2019

Think all the best beaches in Penang are in Batu Feringghi? Beach, please! 

Drive further past all the tourist-filled beaches and head to Penang National Park, the smallest national park in Malaysia. Arm yourself with flip flops, a bottle of water and good hiking shoes because you are going to conquer a hill before you reach the beach.

Penang National ParkImage credit: @suvee_7

There is no entry fee, but you have to register so they know you have entered the premises. There are a number of trails that you can hike which will lead you to various clean, pristine beaches.

Muka Head lighthouseMuka Head lighthouse
Image credit: @zyxuz

If you choose to hike to Monkey Beach, you’ll be traversing the coastline. If you’d like something more challenging, take an extra 30-minute hike up to the lighthouse at Muka Head from the beach. Here, you can catch gorgeous views that span all the way up to the borders of Thailand.

Pantai KerachutStreams flowing out from the meromictic lake at Pantai Kerachut.
Image credit: @eizac

The journey to Pantai Kerachut is also as exciting as you will be hiking through the lush rainforest, to get to the other side of the national park. There, you’ll be able to see the unusual meromictic lake – a lake where two layers of fresh and salt water do not mix. You can also say hello to baby turtles at the Penang Turtle Sanctuary.

Penang Turtle SanctuaryA baby turtle being cared for at the Penang Turtle Sanctuary
Image credit: @shoutrageous

Address: Pejabat Taman Negara P. Pinang, Jalan Hassan Abbas, 11050 George Town, Penang
Opening Hours: Daily, 8AM-5PM
Telephone: +604 881 3530

5. Embark on a 12km cycling adventure along Penang’s East Coast

Penang BridgeThe first Penang Bridge
Image credit: @magnumoh

One of the best ways to experience Penang’s coastline is on two wheels – without a motor. Instead of manoeuvring through the busy streets of George Town, go rogue and get on the 12KM bicycle lane starting from Weld Quay that will lead you out of George Town to Penang’s second bridge, Jambatan Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Syah.

Penang's Second bridgePenang’s second bridge at sunset
Image credit: @shivonneying

It’s best to embark on your cycling journey in the early evening. You can opt to take several stops; one at Karpal Singh Drive where you can have dinner, another at the Penang Bridge, and a third at Queensbay Mall (desserts maybe?) – before heading all the way up the spiral bridge till you see the twinkling lights of the second link.

Jambatan HarapanJambatan Harapan, a spiral bicycle bridge located close to Queensbay Mall
Image credit: @kt_cyclone_sb

You can head back the same way you came. There will be sufficient streetlights to guide you back in the dark.

Rent your bicycle here from RM2 (S$0.65) per use and RM1 (S$0.33) per hour. Get your cycling route here.

6. Feed and pet adorable goats at Saanen Goat Farm

Saanen Goat FarmImage credit: @c_poh_leong

Have a field day petting goats and other farm animals at Saanen Goat Farm located at Balik Pulau.

Saanen Goat FarmImage credit: @anceejay

This family-run farm has about a hundred goats, as well as other animals like rabbits, chickens, geese, dogs and cats. Visitors can enter and feed the goats pre-packed grass at no cost. If you are lucky, you might even get to witness the birth of a kid!

Saanen Goat FarmThere are also deer roaming around in the farm
Image credit: @maytengho

You can support the farm by purchasing any of their products, namely: Fresh goat’s milk, nutmeg yogurt drink, goat’s milk pudding and goat’s milk with brown sugar bun. Because really, what’s a field trip without something to chow down on?

Saanen Goat FarmImage credit: @gynee315

Address: 298 Mukim 1 Sungai Pinang, 11010 Balik Pulau, Penang
Opening Hours: 10AM-5PM
Telephone: +6019 516 3017

7. Check out an abandoned hospital and conquer obstacle courses at Pulau Jerejak

Pulau JerejakImage credit: @normahahmad76

Just a stone’s throw away from the Southeast bay of Penang Island is an islet often seen, but not visited by many – not even the locals. Talk to the older generation of locals here and they might recount the notoriety surrounding Pulau Jerejak; It was dubbed the “Alcatraz of Malaysia” as it used to house a maximum security prison, a British detention camp and a leper colony. Now, all that is left are ruins of history and an air of mystery.

Pulau JerejakTry your hand at rock climbing
Image credit: @jerejakrainforestresort

If you’re looking for an adventure, hop on a boat at Pantai Jerejak Jetty and you’ll reach the island in 10 minutes. Here, you get to experience the great outdoors with activities such as rock climbing, archery, zip lining, jungle trekking, mountain biking and abseiling.

Pulau JerejakRuins on the island
Image credit: @theislanddrum

Muster the courage to explore the 3km Prison Trail that leads you past the former leprosy colony, tuberculosis hospital, to where criminals convicted of heinous crimes and drugs were detained. *Cue Law & Order: SVU theme song* The Razak and Balqis trail will lead you pass the Russian memorial cemetery, pre-war underground bunker and the British detention camp.

Pulau Jerejak Jetty (Boat Transfer to Pulau Jerejak)
Address: Pulau Jerejak Jetty, Gelugor, Penang
Opening Hours:  Departs to Pulau Aman every two hours from 6.30AM (last boat at 10.30PM)
Ticket price: RM25 (S$ 8.30) for adults, RM17 (S$ 5.30) for children
+6 04-660 7776

8. Explore The Habitat, a nature reserve with canopy trails and ziplines

The HabitatA Dusky Leaf Langgur sheltered from the midday sun.
Image credit: @thehabitatph

funicular train up to Penang Hill and a short walk from the station will bring you to The Habitat, the 130 million-year-old tropical “Garden of Eden” of Penang. Be enveloped by the cooler temperature, the sound of nature, and – take a deep breath – fresh unadulterated air.

The HabitatTake in views while you rock on a giant swing.
Image credit: @feesax

After purchasing your entry ticket at RM 53 (S$17.50), you will be greeted by a guide that will lead you halfway up the 1.6KM Nature Trail. The guide will explain a little bit about the history and biodiversity of the park, and point out certain landmarks where you can probably spot the Dusky Leaf Langgur or the Red Giant Flying Squirrel.

Langur WayLangur Way
Image credit: @maya_astuti08

Don’t leave without going up Curtis Crest, a sizable tree top circuit – the highest viewpoint in Penang. You’ll be able to take panoramic pictures of George Town, capturing Penang Bridge and the state of Kedah at the horizon.

The Flight of the ColugoImage credit: @lyanaishak

Sway away on the giant swings located along the main path or divert to another canopy walk called Langur Way. For those who seek a little more excitement, try The Flight of the Colugo at an additional RM99 (S$32.50) – it’s an adventure course comprising of 5 zip lines, an abseil station, and a rope bridge to conquer.

The Habitat CafeImage credit: @yoonpauline

At the end of the trail, you can chillax at The Habitat Café with tea and desserts to conclude your journey.

Address: The Habitat Penang Hill, Bukit Bendera, 11300 Penang, Malaysia
Opening Hours: Daily, 10AM-6PM
Telephone: +604 826 7677
Ticket price: From RM 53 (S$17.50) for adults. Find the full list of ticket prices here.

9. Take a dip in the turquoise quarry pools of Guar Petai (Frog Hill)

Guar Petai (Frog Hill)Image credit: @jo1in

About 40 minutes from Penang Island lies pools of turquoise that reflect the sky. Guar Petai (Frog Hill), an abandoned quarry located at Tasek Gelugor has turned itself into a natural theme park of sorts, which Instagram junkies and biking enthusiasts flock to. It seems to be an unclaimed piece of land and hence, there are no facilities of any sort – no toilets either, I’m afraid. 

Guar Petai (Frog Hill)Image credit: @its.albert.yoon

Google is one way to navigate there but once you get close, do ask passers-by to get the exact point of entry as it is difficult to locate.

Guar Petai (Frog Hill)Image credit: @_irwxn

Take a mini hike up the mount of red clay and rock for a better view of the pools. You might see some locals somersaulting into the water too!

Guar Petai (Frog Hill)Image credit: @flo_hptan

Psst, it’s best to head here earlier in the day because it can get really hot towards the afternoon.

GPS Location: GPS: 5.44593, 100.47361

10. Watch butterflies hatch at Entopia

EntopiaNatureland, a glass dome filled with flora, fauna, and loads of butterflies
Image credit: @jianwoei

Formerly known as Penang Butterfly Farm, Entopia has metamorphosed into a full-fledged insect sanctuary. Purchase an entry ticket at RM65 (S$21.30) and stand enthralled as you walk into Natureland, a giant glass dome where you can watch thousands of butterflies flutter around and feed on cut fruits. 

EntopiaImage credit: @amin_wongso

There’s also The Cocoon, an indoor space where you can learn about the various stages of insect growth. In fact, there is a section where you can see butterflies ballooning their wings as they emerge from their cocoons.

EntopiaButterflies completing their metamorphosis
Image credit: @trippinsince81

Getting to learn about insects in such a close-up manner makes them less frightening…although abhorrence towards cockroaches might remain unchanged for some.

EntopiaImage credit: @myentopia

Address: No.830, Jalan Teluk Bahang, Teluk Bahang, 11050, Pulau Pinang
Opening Hours: Daily, 9AM-6PM
Telephone: +604 888 8111
Ticket price: From RM 65 (S$ 21.30) for adults. Find the full list of ticket prices, click here.

Non-touristy activities in Penang Island, Malaysia

Just when you thought Penang was getting a little stale, the little island has made its way to enrapture you again. Guess it’s time for another Penang road trip – and this time, you’ll be taking on an adventure outside the confines George Town.

Read our other Penang guides here:

Drop us your email so you won't miss the latest news.