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08 January, 2014

Free things to do in Penang


Free things to do in Penang

Penang island is one of the most popular places to visit in Malaysia and it appeals to both foreign and locals alike. When you mention Penang to a Malaysian, the first thing that comes to mind is the local hawker food. Yes, Penang is very well known for their hawker food which can be found all over the island. As for the general tourist, the island is filled with loads of interesting stuff that can easily occupy your time here by walking around on foot.

While there are many attractions available on the island, I have decided to come up with a list of Free things to do in Penang and they are in no particular order. Most of them can be found in George Town, the capital while others are in Batu Feringgi area. The list is;

Penang UNESCO George Town
Going around George Town in Penang
1. Heritage Walk in the UNESCO part of George Town Penang
The best way to explore the UNESCO core heritage zone of Penang is on foot and the best part of George Town is that a huge portion of the city is dedicated to the heritage zone therefore many visitors are seen moving around on foot or via rented bicycles. There are also the street arts which is spread all over the heritage zone where you need to explore and find them. A must-do thing when in Penang.

2. Visiting Rope Walk Market (Lorong Kulit Flea Market)
Known as the Penang Flea Market or Lorong Kulit in Malay, this unique market situated along Lorong Kulit which translates as Skin Lane. Known for second hand goods, antiques and collectibles and also many new things, the entire market sits in a square with bustling life. Best time to visit is on the weekends where many petty traders set up shop on the five foot ways outside the market. Must visit for collectors' and market lovers. Alternatively, there is the Lebuh Aceh Flea Market (Pasar Karat) which is a daily affair that starts at about 5pm. This is located next to the UNESCO Headquarters Building along Armenian Street.

National Park in Penang
Penang National Park
 3. Exploring the Smallest National Park in the World
The Penang National Park is located at the end of Teluk Bahang and the best way to get here is to take the RapidPenang Bus 101 which costs RM2.70 from Georgetown one way. The journey is about 40 minutes and entrance to the park is free. However, note that the park closes at 5pm. The beauty of this park is that is is divided by rainforest and sea so you will experience the best of both worlds. There is a 250 meter Canopy Walk here but a fee of RM5 is applicable for those wanting to try it our. Truly for the nature lovers and recommended to start early here. Treks can take from one to four hours here too so best to be prepared.

4. Visiting the Wat Chayamangkalaram Temple in Burmah Road
The Wat Chayamangkalaram temple along Burmah Road was built by a Buddhist monk who came from Thailand on five acres of land which was donated by Queen Victoria was to as a gesture of goodwill to Thailand and the Thai community. The temple celebrates four important events, namely the Thai New Year, Wesak Day, Merit Making Day in July and the anniversary of the construction of the reclining Buddha. On these occasions, the temple is thronged with devotees burning joss-sticks and making offerings. If you have a thing for temples and culture, this is a must-visit and best before lunch. Located in the Pulau Tikus area near to Gurney Drive too. 

5. Check out Kek Lok Si Temple (Temple of Supreme Bliss)
To get to Kek Lok Si Temple, one needs to take a public bus there and upon arrival, you can easily make your way up to the temple passing a variety of stalls selling Buddhist prayer items among the general touristic things. When you reach the top, you will see beautiful statues of the Goddess of Mercy (Guan Yin) and other Chinese statues. A great place for photography and also best visited in the mornings before the main crowd arrives. Also, try visiting on a weekday to avoid the weekend crowd. 

Gurney Hawker Center
Gurney Drive Hawker Center in Penang
6. Visit Gurney Drive for a Local Food Fiesta
You may already have heard  about this place, but sentiments aside as many locals will claim that this is the ultimate tourist spot, however, it is in fact, THE most popular hawker area in Penang which is also the best place to find all the local Penang favourite hawker dishes. Located at the end of Gurney Drive where a round about sits, the place is best visited from 5pm onwards. Try all the local Penang hawker foods here. Gurney Drive is divided into two sections, a halal area and a non-halal area. Most recommended for foodies as hawker food in Penang is a must try. 

7. Check out the Snake Temple
One of the lesser visited places, the Penang Snake Temple is absolutely one-of-a-kind temple where live green vipers are rared here. The temple is filled with the smoke of burning incense and the vipers are believed to be rendered harmless by the sacred smoke, but as a safety precaution, all the snakes have also been de-venomed but still have their fangs intact. If you dislike snakes, avoid this place but for the fun of it, it is a great place to grab some fun photographs. It is also probably the only snake temple in the world too. Take a bus from Komtar to the Penang Snake Temple at the Bayan Lepas area. Admission is Free.

8. Visit the Clan Jetties in George Town
The Penang Clan Jetties are one of the very unique places to visit. They are also located around the harbor area of Georgetown and make up part of the UNESCO Heritage area. The Clan Jetties are located down from Lebuh Chulia at Pengkalan Weld (Weld Quay), There are currently six clan jetties left where each jetty is named after a Chinese clan. The Chew Jetty is the most tourist-friendly with the most stilt-houses and with the longest walkway. A must visit if you love culture and heritage and easily accessed by foot or bicycle. Best to visit in the mornings. 


Night Market Batu Feringi
Batu Feringgi Night Market
9. Explore the Nightlife at Batu Feringgi
The most liveliest part of Penang is found here at Batu Feringgi and the nightlife here is simply amazing for the visitor not only because of the restaurants and bars, but also the night market that stretches for a few kilometers along the main road here. Stalls come to life in the evenings selling all sorts of souvenirs, accessories, apparels and even art. This is one of the most recommended places to visit if you have a thing for night markets and lively places. Take a RapidPenang Bus from Gerogetown to Batu Feringi. Cost about RM2.00 one way and frequent buses ply the route.


Penang Little India
Little India in Penang
10. Walk around Little India in Penang
Little India in Penang is located around King and Queen Street where you can find the best of the Malaysian Indian culture on the island. Explore Indian shops, restaurants and business as they go about their everyday life here while you can easily do it on foot. One of the must-try things are the Indian snacks from a road side stall. They serve some awesome deep fried Vadeh's and Curry Puffs. If you are vegetarian, they do have them as well. 

Another experience here is the Indian Banana Leaf meal which is best taken for lunch. Simply walk into one of the Indian restaurants and ask if they serve banana leaf meals, then complete your experience by eating with your hands. That is how its done here and as a tourist, you should also experience this culture.

George Town
George Town in Penang
There you have it, a list of Free Things To Do in Penang for those on a budget. Most of the places require walking unless you rent a bicycle, then that should speed up things. Some of the attractions require a bus ride to and from and that is minimal cost but the attractions are all free. If you want to experience something unique, spend about RM60 to RM90 for a traditional trishaw as he will take two persons on a heritage ride around George Town. Well worth it if you ask me as I have done it before. Another great place to explore is Chulia Street in George Town area. This is where most of the backpackers hangout too.

You can also check out my other article of Free Things To Do in Kuala Lumpur if you are visiting the capitol of Malaysia. 2014 is the official Visit Malaysia Year and I hope that you are planning to visit this beautiful melting pot of Southeast Asia. Read my article on Why Visit Malaysia in 2014 and I hope you enjoyed my article on Free things to do in Penang.

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5 comments:

hcvvorld of Travels and Photography said... 8 January 2014 at 20:43

Lorong Kulit!!! that place is sooo nostalgic to me~~ I always walked to that place on the way back from school~

Mr Lonely said... 10 January 2014 at 09:22

thanks for the guide, i will follow it~

Regards, www.lonelyreload.com (A Growing Teenager Diary)

David Jr said... 10 January 2014 at 21:57

Thanks. I hope those visiting Penang will check this place out, it's really one of the things that make Penang and Malaysia.

EJ said... 21 January 2014 at 13:59

It's amazing how the streets are clean despite of being crowded. :)

EJ said... 21 January 2014 at 14:29

It's amazing how the streets are clean despite of being crowded. :)

Item Reviewed: Free things to do in Penang Description: Rating: 5 Reviewed By: David Jr
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