It is no secret that Penang is a paradise filled with heritage gems, seaside thrills, and world-class street food. Whether you are seeking a summer getaway from the bitter winter or a food lover looking to escape the bustling city, the real Penang is best experienced outdoors.
Here are the top 7 outdoor activities every epic Penang trip must include.
1. Food Hunting
With flavour-packed recipes passed down for generations, Penang food staples like Assam Laksa and Char Kuey Teow are raved about, even among locals from other states. The best way to enjoy these delicious dishes is to visit the outdoor hawker stalls in Penang.
A mere 3-minute walk from Tune Hotels Penang, Swatow lane houses many Penang food staples in no-frills stalls. Begin your feast at New World Park Food Court where you can savour authentic Char Kuey Teow, Prawn Mee, and Otak-otak. Dessert must follow at Swatow Lane Ice Kacang which sits in one of the shops at New World Park. Although the 80-year old stall has recently relocated from a more stripped back shopfront, the ice kacang served remains authentic with condiments like red bean and corn syrup.
Penang Road Cendol and Laksa
You have not truly tasted Penang until you’ve tried the famous Penang Road Cendol. Served from a roadside stall, this Cendol comes with a generous helping of bright green pandan jelly strips and finely shaved ice drowned in coconut milk. Be prepared to eat it standing as it’s almost impossible to get a seat during peak hours.
Once you are done with the Cendol, head to the Laksa stall to enjoy a savoury bowl of rice noodles and shredded mackerel in a tangy tamarind broth. This mouthwatering noodle dish is known to attract long lines as well.
Lok Lok, Pulau Tikus Market Hawker Stall
Laden with skewers of bite-sized grub ranging from freshly cut cuttlefish and squid to stuffed fish balls, wantons, and oyster mushrooms, the Pulau Tikus Hawker Stall offers a whopping five kinds of gravies and broths for you to dip your selections in. Visit at night for an epic supper experience!
2. Penang Heritage Walk
A curated trail with over 100 historic sites in the heart of Georgetown, you can go on the Heritage Walk by yourself or follow a local tour. Here are some must-visit gems:
Although it was originally named after the Armenian merchants who traded here, the street is filled with kongsi or Chinese Clan Houses. Khoo Kongsi is among the more well-known ones for its extravagant exterior themed after prosperity and good luck. The ostentatious engravings and interior furnishings will give you an insta-worthy photo that’s worth your visit.
Armenian Street is also known for its street art – often splashed on the side of a turn-of-the-century building. Most of the murals depict everyday life in olden Georgetown. Look out for Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic’s famous creations, most of which incorporate part of the building into the art like the “Little Girl in Blue” mural.
Mere minutes away from Armenian Street is the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, known for its iconic azure blue exterior. A hotel owned by Samadhi, the architectural beauty features 18 suites, each individually themed with colonial-style décor and five-star comfort. Daily tours are available and offer curious visitors a glimpse into the history behind the grand mansion. The 45-minute tour covers the reception hall, the courtyard, and a museum exhibition on the second floor.
A jetty commemorative of the Chew clan who migrated from China in the early 20th century, Chew Jetty is a boardwalk through a waterborne row of wooden houses into a long pier that stretches out into the ocean. A mere 3-minute walk from the Weld Quay Ferry & Bus Terminal, Chew Jetty gives visitors a rare peer into the daily lives of the local Chinese community as well as fishermen. The jetty is open to visitors from 7AM – 9AM.
3. Extreme Excursions
Escape Theme Park, Teluk Bahang
Located in the Teluk Bahang forest, Escape is a theme park which reimagines fun with action-packed rides and obstacle courses set in tropical nature. Start your excursion with Adventureplay where its highlight, Monkey Business, features 110 rope-themed challenges. Glide across the forest like a lemur with the Flying Lemur, activate your wall-climbing powers at the Gecko Towers or leap off the 5-metre Atan’s Leap with the aid of a safety harness.
Advance to Waterplay, Escape’s water theme park, to unleash your inner Poseidon! Take a ride on the Banana Flip where sharply angled waterslides launch you into the air in cartwheels before you land in a splash of cool below. Kids can also have their slice of fun at Discovery Dig – a giant sand pan where eager diggers unearth hidden gems and goodies.
Penang Youth Park
Fitted with workout amenities and hiking trails for both the old and young, the Penang Municipal Park is the place to head to for a pleasant morning walk. Located at the edge of Georgetown, the sprawling park houses a water park, a skating rink, as well as a children’s playground. The occasional sighting of monkeys will give you a glimpse into the Island’s wildlife.
Taman Negara Penang
For more serious nature lovers, a day trip at the Penang National Park will tick the list. Easily accessed from Georgetown via the Rapid Shuttle bus, the park offers a range of outdoor thrills including jungle trekking, fishing, and birdwatching. Although not as child-friendly as the Penang Municipal Park, the trails reward hikers with a true glimpse into tropical nature – with one of its trails leading to Monkey Beach, and the other to Turtle Sanctuary. Plan ahead as doing both trails will take more than a day’s trip.
5. Beach Thrills
Situated inside Penang National Park, Monkey Beach is a secluded and serene shoreline of beautifully strewn rocks and sand. Escape to this paradise with a 30-minute boat ride or a 3-hour hike from the park via properly fitted trails. Expect sightings of tropical birds, insects, and even monkeys on your hike. You may choose to pack a picnic basket or barbeque food as there are designated BBQ pits by the beach. Take a boat ride for your trip back to treat the exhaustion of hiking.
A thrill seeker’s paradise by day, Batu Ferringhi is a long stretch of beachfront resorts – most of which offer water sports like parasailing and kayaking. At night, the streets outside come alive in a long unbroken night market where visitors can haggle over souvenirs and local craft like batik. The market starts as early as 7PM until midnight.
6. Farms and Fruit-picking
Entopia by Penang Butterfly Farm
The largest butterfly sanctuary in Malaysia, Entopia has two sections – Natureland and Cocoon. The main glasshouse area, Natureland, houses waterfalls, artificial caves, and trails where you can wander alongside freely roaming butterflies as well as observe reptiles like iguanas and snakes in their enclosures. Wander indoors into the Cocoon – a double-storey discovery centre devoted to showcasing and enlightening visitors on the life cycle of butterflies through easy-to-understand displays.
Lim Brothers Durian Farm at Balik Pulau
A 45-minute ride from Georgetown, this farm allows durian lovers to indulge in over 20 species of the King of Fruits. Do not worry about dining alone as you are likely to be joined by throngs of tourists. You can also vary your durian feast with locally grown rambutans and langsat.
7. Visit a Temple
Kek Lok Si
Set midway on a hill, the first thing you will see of Kek Lok Si from afar is the 60-metre Kuan Yin, Goddess of Mercy, statue. The temple has several zones including the turtle ponds and an inner section which houses temples, gardens, the pagoda, as well as the four heavenly kings’ pavilion. Linger by the Turtle Liberation Pond where the amphibians are believed to symbolise longevity. Make sure you visit the pagoda of Rama VI, a majestic structure that is considered the sanctuary’s main attraction.
Stay in the Heart of Penang
Unwind and rest up indoors at Tune Hotels Penang after your day of adventure outdoors. Located in the heart of Georgetown and within walking distance to hip cafes and historic places, we offer a budget-friendly retreat with honest comfort and impeccable convenience.
Whether you are a family of 4 or travelling alone, we have rooms to meet your needs. Get in touch with us for more information or to reserve a room today.