Looking northward towards Batu Ferrenghi – Image courtesy Gregg Cure/Wikimedia Commons
As one of South-East Asia's most popular islands, the historic island of Penang is virtually unchanged from its heyday as a major British trading post and the site of the first British settlement on the Malay Peninsula.
What to do and see in Penang
Penang Island is well known for its rich multicultural history complete with Malay, Chinese, Indian and European influences.
Explore George Town’s fascinating collection of ornate old Chinese merchant houses by cycle or trishaw, wander crumbling Fort Cornwallis – the island's oldest building – then ride the funicular train to the cooler climate of Penang Hill.
Later unwind with a Sundowner cocktail at the famous E&O hotel before dining on a choice of Malay and Chinese cuisine downtown – Penang is renowned as the 'food paradise' of Malaysia.
Sunbathe, swim or watch a sunset from the beach at Batu Feringghi.
Out of town, the island is easy to explore by hire car, motorcycle or bicycle; the mountainous interior is accessible by foot on a choice of 30 hiking trails.
Explore this picturesque spot along a network of scenic walking trails.
Hike to the summit along the 5.5km-long trail that starts in the nearby Botanical Garden or choose the easy route to the top aboard the funicular railway (photo).
As well as the panoramic views at the summit, enjoy a visit to Kek Lok Si Temple – the largest in Malaysia – and the lavishly decorated Hindu temple.
More about Penang Hill…
Kek Lok Si Temple
Admire the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia, founded in 1890 by an immigrant Chinese Buddhist using Burmese, Chinese and Thai designs to construct the seven-tier, 30m-high tower.
More about Kek Lok Si Temple…
Penang Butterfly Farm
See more than 4000 butterflies from 120 species in one of the world’s largest butterfly farms.
Tour the scenic maze of narrow alleyways and broad streets by trishaw to experience the best of this fascinating and colourful Chinese town.
Enjoy the plethora of small traditional shophouses, impressive colonial architecture and exquisite Chinese and Indian temples.
Pop into ancient shops that continue age-old crafts such as fortune-telling, joss-stick making, rattan weaving and woodcarving – all in the shadow of modern, towering skyscrapers.
The best of George Town’s major attractions, include…
Penang’s oldest building, which dates back back to 1786.
More about Fort Cornwallis…
Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion
This unique UNESCO Heritage-awarded mansion (photo) features a fascinating blend of eastern and western décor.
More about Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion…
(Dragon Mountain Hall) – Penang’s most famous and ornate clan house.
More about Khoo Kongsi…
Penang Museum and Art Gallery
A fascinating collection of ethnological artefacts from Penang’s diverse cultural groups.
More about Penang Museum and Art Gallery…
Sri Mariamman Temple
George Town’s oldest Hindu temple.
Eastern & Oriental Hotel
One of Asia’s most famous hotels.
More about must-see attractions in George Town…
Shopping in Penang
Choose from a vast range of Asian antiques and art, including ivory, pewter, batik paintings, pottery, jewellery and woodcarvings, easily available from Georgetown’s shopping malls or small craft shops as well as Batu Feringghi’s night bazaar.
Best beaches in Penang
While Penang’s beaches (and sea water) can no longer compare with those on Langkawi, Pangkor, Tioman or Redang islands, there are still a number of good beaches to enjoy.
The popular resort strip that stretches along the northern coast from Batu Ferringhi to Teluk Bahang offers a huge choice of luxury 5-star resorts, many of which feature large, sculptured swimming pools set in lush landscaped gardens.
After dark the main artery along the strip provides a lively nightlife with a choice of restaurants, bars, nightclubs and art galleries as well as a bustling night market with bright streetside stalls selling fake watches, T-shirts and batik clothes.
For a choice of less developed beaches take a boat directly from Batu Ferringhi Beach or a taxi to the western edge of Teluk Bahang on the north-western coast of Penang Island, and follow a walking trail to several better swimming beaches that lie beneath the lighthouse on Muka Head.
Don't miss panoramic views from the lighthouse over the surrounding islands and Penang National Park – a pristine reserve that is home to 417 flora and 143 fauna species.
Where to stay in Penang
Penang offers a good range of hotel and resort accommodation to suit all honeymoon budgets, including the following…
Location: Stewart Lane, George Town, Penang
Ave nightly price: AUD270 per room
Description: Seven Terraces is only a 5-minute walk from the significant Goddess of Mercy Temple and the popular Penang Peranakan Mansion. It features an outdoor swimming pool and provides free Wi-Fi access throughout the entire property. Featuring a balcony, spacious air-conditioned rooms come with an electric teakettle, a personal safe, ironing facilities and a flat-screen cable TV. Private bathrooms have a hairdryer, shower facilities and complimentary bath amenities. Seven Terraces operates a 24-hour front desk and provides luggage storage. Guests can request massage services. Airport transportation and shuttle services can be arranged for additional charges. The property is just a 10-minute walk from Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, Penang Museum and the large Chinese clan house of Khoo Kongsi. Penang International Airport is a convenient 20-minute drive away.
Shangri-La's Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa, Penang
Location: Jalan Batu Feringgi, Penang
Ave nightly price: AUD233 per room
Description:Overlooking Batu Feringgi Beach, Shangri-La's Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa, Penang offers spacious rooms surrounded by 30 acres of tropical gardens. It has 5 dining options, 2 pools in the Garden Wing and 1 adult pool in the Rasa Wing. The resort also offers complimentary WiFi resort-wide. Shangri-La's Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa, Penang offers free shuttle services to the UNESCO heritage city of George Town, located a 20-minute drive away. Rooms at Shangri-La Rasa Sayang have views of the sea or hills of Penang. They are spacious and decorated with wooden carvings and colourful fabrics. Private bathtubs and free internet are provided for guest’s comfort. Guests can workout at the well-equipped gym or enjoy massages and treatments like aromatherapy at CHI, The Spa. The swimming pools and yoga pavilion are other good relaxation options. Rasa Sayang Resort has a 9-hole golf course, an Eco Centre and Adventure Zone, and a spacious play area for children at a sister property. Feringgi Grill offers European dishes with beautiful views of landscaped gardens. It also provides a great selection of wines and cigars. Guests can savour authentic local dishes at The Spice Market Café or enjoy drinks at the Pinang Restaurant and Bar. The Rasa Deli, located under the rain trees, provides take away cookies, cakes and sandwiches.
Eastern & Oriental Hotel
Location: Farquhar Street, Georgetown, Penang
Ave nightly price: AUD205 per room
Description: These luxurious 19th-century heritage suites occupy a prime seafront location in Georgetown. Offering 24-hour butler service, 5-star amenities include a large outdoor pool, first-rate spa and free Wi-Fi. Featuring classic wood furnishings and floral prints, spacious colonial-style suites come with ample lounge and work areas. They come with a safe, cable TV and large bathrooms with a claw-foot bathtub. Lazy afternoons in the sun can be spent by Eastern & Oriental’s outdoor pool, which features views of the sea. Other recreation options include a fitness center and bike rental services. Eastern & Oriental Hotel has 6 dining options, including The 1885 which serves traditional English afternoon tea. Sarkies Corner offers a range of international and local dishes. A 15 minute walk from Penang’s UNESCO Heritage Site, Eastern & Oriental Hotel is 3.2 km from popular Gurney Drive. It is 19.3 km from Penang International Airport.
Golden Sands Resort by Shangri-La, Penang
Location: Jalan Batu Feringgi, Penang
Ave nightly price: AUD141 per room
Description: Featuring 3 outdoor pools in beautifully landscaped grounds, Golden Sands Resort by Shangri-La, Penang is a four-star property in the heart of the popular Batu Ferringi Beach. It offers free WiFi and a complimentary 2-way shuttle to UNESCO site, Georgetown. Enjoy stunning views of tropical greenery or the ocean at comfortable seating areas situated by over-sized windows. All rooms come with DVD players, 32-inch flat-screen TVs and a pillow menu. Golden Sands by Shangri-La, Penang features Adventure Zone, a family entertainment centre and Cool Zone Kid's Club. Active workouts can be enjoyed at the tennis courts and well-equipped fitness centre. Overlooking the tropical garden, international buffet spreads are available at Garden Café. Other dining options include at Sigi’s Bar & Grill on the Beach and two lounges. Within walking distance of Batu Ferringi’s night market, Golden Sands Resort by Shangri-La, Penang is a 20-minute drive from central Georgetown and about 20 km from Penang International Airport.
PARKROYAL Penang Resort
Location: Jalan Batu Feringgi, Penang
Ave nightly price: AUD119 per room
Description: Situated along Batu Ferringhi Beach, PARKROYAL Penang offers 4 dining options and an outdoor pool. Rooms feature sea or hill views, with free internet access and 24-hour room service. Rooms at PARKROYAL Penang are decorated in a modern Asian style. Offering air conditioning and a marble bathroom, they come equipped with a satellite TV, in-room movies and tea/coffee maker. The renowned St. Gregory Spa features a range of facial and body treatments. Other facilities include tennis courts and a fitness center. Guests may have Asian and international dishes at PARKROYAL’s Tamarind Brasserie or Cool Bananas Poolside Café, which features sea views. For drinks, Javana Lounge and Sunset Bar are available. The hotel is 17.7 km from Georgetown and about 30.6 km from Penang International Airport.
Find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about these and more hotels in Penang Island at TripAdvisor.
Best time to honeymoon in Penang
Anytime, but especially ideal during the dry season from December to March. Penang enjoys a year-round warm climate, with an average annual temperature of 28°C (82°F). Wet season thunderstorms usually clear quickly.
For more climate info: Penang Weather Guide…
Getting to Penang
Penang Island (28km²) is located in the Melacca Straits, just off the north-west of Peninsular Malaysia. The island is easily accessible by air from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore and by ferry or road from the mainland town of Butterworth.
Information on how to get to Penang Island…
Latest update Penang honeymoon destination:
3 July, 2017
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