Penang Things to Do
As well as having plenty to see there are lots of tourist friendly activities available in Penang. Tour agencies are available across Georgetown and most accommodation can also provide help on the best things to do during your stay. A good start is often one of the popular tours of Georgetown itself, whether you choose a cycling tour, a street food tour or even a food tour is up to you!
Dedicated foodies may want to take advantage of their time in Malaysia’s food capital and take a cooking class. These often include an interesting and informative trip to a local market, before spending several hours learning how to prepare and cook some traditional Malaysian dishes. Popular features on these menus often include adam laksa and nasi lemak among other local favourites. Usually the classes last a half day, taking place either morning or afternoon and cost on average USD50 per person, so a little pricier than some other South East Asian destinations but well worth the money.
Penang’s beaches are also home to plenty of activities, whether that's relaxing and soaking up some sun or something involving a little more energy. Batu Ferringhi beach is the most touristy beach on Penang and where many resorts are based and is also the best spot if you're looking to take part in some water sports. These include jet skiing and paragliding and there are many touts along the beach with whom you can haggle until you get a deal that you're happy with.
Further along the coast to the northwest are other beaches like Monkey Beach, Tuka Head and Teluk Campi. In this area you can hike to a picturesque pre-war lighthouse for some great views. Snorkelling is also good at these beaches and snorkel gear is readily available.
Jungle trekking and camping is another popular activity in this region of Penang, as the national park was established back in the 1920s and contains relatively untouched jungle. There are many trails throughout the park and a couple of camping spots but it's not recommended to explore without a guide. Most tour companies will offer various packages that include jungle trekking and camping overnight if you want more time in the national park. Prepare for hot temperatures, high humidity and bring plenty of insect repellent and sun cream.
For a more relaxed experience you might like to try out some of the island’s golf courses. There are several country clubs in Penang and they often feature spas and high-end restaurants as well as well designed courses. Popular resorts include Bukit Jawa with a 36-hole layout, Penang Golf Course West and Penang Golf Course East. The best way to organise a round is to call.
Shopping on Penang
Penang is also notable for its shopping - from interesting markets to more luxurious shopping malls. If you like to travel to shop, you're in the right place. Some of the best markets include the flea market which takes place next to the city stadium on the bus line and features fruit, veg and various other bits and pieces. The Night Market at Batu Ferringhi is also worth a visit, and has souvenirs, jewellery and other trinkets available - it's a popular stop off with tourists to the area.
For more upmarket shopping 1st Avenue Penang is the newest mall and has seven floors as well as a cinema on the top floor. A little life-hack: there is an open terrace on the 7th floor of the mall from where you have a beautiful view of the island. Gurney Plaza is the largest shopping mall and has many popular brands including Rolex, TopShop and Calvin Klein amongst others.
Finally, Malaysia is famous for its numerous festivals which are celebrated throughout the year, many in Penang. Make sure to check a calendar before your visit to see what will be going on while you're there - just a couple of highlights are Chinese New Year and the month long Georgetown Festival that takes place in summer.