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sightseeing in Penang

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Wakefield, United...
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sightseeing in Penang

We will be staying at Golden Sands for 5 nights in February.

Are there any decent trips to do whilst there?

Gold Coast
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1. Re: sightseeing in Penang

There are a few decent trips.

Penang Hill,Butterfly Farm,Batik factory,snake temple, Penang city tour and lots more.

Hire a driver for the day, this way you can see what you want.

We enjoyed Fort Cornwallis.

Melbourne, Australia
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2. Re: sightseeing in Penang

I would also recommend

Spice Garden - easy walk from Batu Ferringhi. Lovely gardens and great restaurant !

The Penang Hill funicular is good, but you must book a time when you arrive there. If it is busy and your time booked is and hour or more away dont despair there is a temple nearby that is worth visiting... it is walking distance from the funicular

Georgetown is quite small so you do not need to bother yourself with guided tours There is a free hop on/ hop off tourist bus in Georgetown that will orientate you.

I highly recommend visiting the museum as it loads of interesting information. Georgetown is also very proud of its history and you can get a walking tour leaflet taking you around the old part of town visiting various industries which is worth doing.

Sydney, Australia
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3. Re: sightseeing in Penang

we returned yesterday from our 21st trip to Penang ...and working on dates for our next visit....Funicular Railway..you will get fantastic views of Penang from up top of the hill..BUT watch the weather..if it is a cloudy day forget it ..you need clear sky to capture the view...also NO NEED to book..just utrn up ..buy your ticket and wait for the train

My suggestion to you would be to contact Steven at Ocean Jupiter and arrange a tour with him ...minimum four hours @ RM25.00 per hour ..well worth using his service...the Spice Farm is one LONG walk from Batu Ferringhi..down in Georegtown there are many Temples and again ..a chat with Steven (OJ) you can take in many of these by an air con car

Spice Gardens....Butterfly Farm ...Tropical Fruit Farm...Fort Cornwallis

With Penang Hill ...DO NOT GO on a weekend..you will wait hours

Enjoy Penang and suggest you eat at places like ...Long Beach Hawkers Centre....Living Room....Boatman...Happy Gardens..all at Batu Ferringhi..and down Georegtown ..the Red Garden Hawkers Centre

Wakefield, United...
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4. Re: sightseeing in Penang

Thanks everyone for the fab advice.

London
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5. Re: sightseeing in Penang

Dont forget to visit Kek Lok Si temple. It's off Penang Hill, not all that far from the funicular already mentioned. It's one of the best sights in Penang, and you get amazing views from the top.

Rethymnon, Greece
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6. Re: sightseeing in Penang

great advice

Rethymnon, Greece
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7. Re: sightseeing in Penang

thanks ! great advice. Will do the train

Perth, Australia
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8. Re: sightseeing in Penang

Hi roblady,

If you're keen to see what there is in Penang, this website can be called nothing other than completely and totally comprehensive:

http://www.penang-traveltips.com/

Tim, the author, has listed practically everything there is to see and do in Penang, plus for most things he has included pictures which really helps you decide if you're interested or not.

We’re a bit like Roostown, in that we keep going back and back and back to Penang. While we do visit old favourites, we always find something new to see and do either on Penang Island or within a day trip from the Island. It’s funny though, the first time Sabrina went to Penang she came away saying she was glad she had been, but she didn’t think she needed to go again. That was in 1997, 14 trips ago!! Visits 15 & 16 (9 & 10 for me) to Penang are already booked for this year!!

Depending on how much time you want to spend away from the Golden Sands Resort, you could fill anywhere from one to all five of your days in Penang quite easily.

The way we would do it is to group sights, and make up a couple of days’ worth of sightseeing. You can do your sightseeing either via car with driver, via bus, or a combination of bus and foot… There are of course organised tours available, though we can’t give guidance on these as we stay away, preferring instead to work out our own tours and do them on our own timeframe. If you decide to hire a car with driver we too would highly recommend Ocean Jupiter (http://www.oceanjupiter.com/ ). They offer cars at RM25 per hour and vans at around RM40 per hour (as mentioned, minimum hire is 4 hours).

The Rapid Penang bus system does a good job of servicing the main tourist sights on the island, so if you have the time to wait for buses, this can be a great way to see the island very cheaply. You can't go wrong picking up a Rapid Penang Tourist Passport while in Penang. For RM30 (less than A$10) you get 7 days unlimited bus travel both on Penang Island and, via the Rapid Penang buses, on the mainland (Seberang Prai). Add to that there are some discounts and special deals attached to the card which could save you a couple of ringgit while on holidays :-)

George Town itself (once you get in to town from Batu Ferringhi) is really easy to explore on foot - it’s one of the things we love about George Town, that it is a wonderful city to just wander. It’s great fun to visit the main or better known sights, but to also slip down a little alleyway and discover a beautiful little temple, a graceful heritage building, a tasty little street stall or coffee shop, or even an old building in ruin awaiting someone to restore it to its former glory.

Some examples of day trips or sightseeing we would do or have done…

***

Taman Negara Pulau Pinang (Penang National Park) - Penang Butterfly Farm - Tropical Spice Garden:

You could easily combine the Butterfly Farm ( http://www.butterfly-insect.com/ ) with a visit to the Tropical Spice Garden ( http://www.tropicalspicegarden.com/ ) and/or a walk (hike / trek - whatever you like to call it) in Penang's National Park ( http://www.wildlife.gov.my/tnpp/biindex.htm ). You can get to all of these via Rapid Penang’s 101 bus. From Batu Ferringhi you’ll hit the Tropical Spice Garden first (it’s on the bus route), then the Penang Butterfly Farm (you alight at the roundabout at Teluk Bahang, turn left and walk up the road around 10-15 minutes), and finally the National Park which is at the end of the bus route.

The Tropical Spice gardens are pretty, and good for a stroll. You can take guided tours or wander on your own. They have a shop within the gardens which does some beautiful soaps, spices, etc. The giant swing is a bit of fun as you swing out over open space. You can also stop for lunch at their restaurant on site (we’ve not eaten here).

Sabrina took a friend of mine and I to the Penang Butterfly Farm in 2009 and both of our reactions when walking in was "WOW". Sabrina and I have since visited again (as the Farm has been renovated since 2009) and it still makes you go “WOW” when you walk in and see all the beautiful butterflies flitting through the lovely gardens. They have really beautifully landscaped ponds with koi and mini waterfalls, landscaped flowering gardens, hundreds of butterflies (some that may even stop for a rest on you), a section of various insects, and a (new) reptile section (added as part of the renovations).

The National Park (Taman Negara Pulau Pinang) has a small canopy walkway around 1.5km in. It costs RM5 per person for the canopy walk, free to enter the Park, you register and pay at the main office at the Park. The walk in is fairly easy, with a few picnic benches on the waterfront along the way. Once you get to the Canopy walk you'll also find a small swimming area (sort of a rock pool area). The canopy walk rises between 10m and 15m above the ground. It's not the world's biggest or scariest by any stretch of the imagination, but pretty nice and something a bit different.

Keeping on the National Park topic, you can also do boat trips out to Pantai Keracut or Turtle Beach ( www.penang-vacations.com/pantai-kerachut.html ) and Teluk Duyung or Monkey Beach ( www.penang-vacations.com/monkey-beach.html ). You can speak to the boat owners who congregate near the entry to the carpark at the National Park to hire them as transport, or you could use a tour company to take you out (Blue Whale Cruises is one that has been recommended on the forums before: http://www.bluewhalecruises.com/index.htm ).

***

Kek Lok Si Temple (Temple of Supreme Bliss) - Bukit Bendera (Penang Hill)

Kek Lok Si ( penang-traveltips.com/kek-lok-si-temple.htm & visitpenang.gov.my/portal3/what-to-see/attra… ) is probably one of our all time favourite sights in Penang. Over the years it has expanded, and just becomes more magnificent and intricate each time we go (or so it seems). Combined with Bukit Bendera (Penang Hill) you could be looking at anything from a half to a full day trip, depending on how long you spend at each sight.

You can do both Kek Lok Si and Bukit Bendera easily by bus from George Town. Rapid Penang’s 201 and 203 buses will get you to Kek Lok Si, while the 204 will take you to Bukit Bendera. Depending on whether you are willing/able, it is possible to walk between the two sights ( maps.google.com/maps/ms… ), all up it’s just under 2km.

A visit to Kek Lok Si could take anywhere from an hour to a few hours. If you can handle steps then you can walk up the stairs past market stalls up to the temple. If you’re not in to steps you can walk up the road (though it’s a little steep) to get to the temple (or if you have any mobility issues, then consider taking a car instead of the bus, and get them to drive you up the road to the carpark at the midpoint of the temple complex). Once you’re up at the temple you can visit the Pagoda of 10,000 Buddhas, take the incline lift up to the massive (and beautiful) Kuan Yin statue. There are some great little souvenir type stalls with very good prices within the temple complex itself. And in addition to the beauty of the temple itself, the views over to George Town and over surrounding Air Itam are beautiful.

To visit Bukit Bendera ( http://www.penanghill.gov.my/ & www.penang-traveltips.com/penang-hill.htm ) you will need to take the funicular railway to the top of the hill. The views from Bukit Bendera/Penang Hill are beautiful (you can visit day time or night time as the railway runs until 9pm from the bottom, and 10pm from the top). At the top there is an Owl Museum ( https://www.facebook.com/owlmuseum ), a Hindu Temple, a Mosque… We’ve not been up since the new funicular railway started running (though plan to on our next visit to Penang), however when we visited in the past there were market stalls and little hawker stalls (someone else may be able to confirm what other facilities are currently operating up Penang Hill).

If you’re in to temples there are also a few other temples in and around Kek Lok Si and Penang Hill you could consider visiting including Thni Kong Tnua (Jade Emperor’s Pavilion - penang-traveltips.com/jade-emperor-pavilion.… ), the Bat Cave Temple ( www.penang-traveltips.com/bat-cave-temple.htm ), and the Ayer Itam Maha Mariamman Temple ( penang-traveltips.com/ayer-itam-mahamariamma… ).

***

George Town Heritage Zone

We won’t list a detailed walk or anything here, we will just say that you should absolutely visit the heritage zone, and that we have found (if you are able) that walking is the best way to check it out. The Penang Travel Tips website actually includes some (free) walking tours giving people a good coverage of George Town’s heritage and cultural sights (http://www.penang-traveltips.com/george-town-walking-tours.htm ).

These sights are all very close together, walking distance from KOMTAR...

**The George Town Street Art ( penang-traveltips.com/george-town-street-art… ) - over the past year street art has been popping up all over the George Town heritage zone, comprising murals and sculptures. We can’t wait to check them out when we get to Penang, and have already marked them on our pocket map so we can stroll around the heritage zone checking them out.

**Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi ( penang-traveltips.com/leong-san-tong-khoo-ko… ) - one of the most beautiful and famous clan houses in Penang! The wall murals inside are simply beautiful, and the clan house itself is wonderfully restored. Khoo Kongsi will cost you RM5 to enter but it is well worth the price, the wall murals are spectacular.

**Cheah Kongsi ( www.penang-traveltips.com/cheah-kongsi.htm ) - one of the oldest clan houses in Penang and well worth a visit. It’s perhaps less well known to tourists than the Khoo Kongsi, and does not cost an entry fee, but if you find it you need to ask a clan member if it is alright for you to enter - they are generally more than happy to share their clan house with you, they are very proud.

**Hock Tiek Cheng Sin Temple ( penang-traveltips.com/hock-teik-cheng-sin-te… ) is worth a photo stop, there is lots of great information on the walls just inside the entry showing details of their restorations.

** The Kapitan Keling Mosque ( penang-traveltips.com/kapitan-keling-mosque.… ) - very photogenic! We've not been inside the mosque as we're not generally appropriately dressed (given we wear short sleeved shirts and shorts), but even if you only see the outside it is a lovely mosque!

**The Choo Chay Keong Temple (penang-traveltips.com/choo-chay-keong-temple… ), attached to the Yap Kongsi is worthy of a photo, particularly as you are in the area already. Though small it’s one of our favourite temples.

** Kuan Yin Teng Temple (www.penang-traveltips.com/kuan-yin-teng.htm ) - a small but wonderfully smoky temple, one of the oldest and most important in Penang!

**Colonial Buildings around Fort Cornwallis - including City Hall, the Supreme Court and other Court buildings, and you could visit Fort Cornwallis itself.

** Head down Beach Street for the great buildings along there including some wonderful restorations (www.penang-traveltips.com/beach-street.htm ).

**Clan Jetties - these are quite a sight to see, our favourite is the Chew Jetty. One of the houses has even got a small lawn front "garden".

**Protestant Cemetery ( penang-traveltips.com/protestant-cemetery.htm )- serene, peaceful, beautiful!!! If you like cemeteries the Western Road Cemetery ( penang-traveltips.com/western-road-cemetery.… ) is also beautiful (and huge).

Outside of the heritage zone (technically walkable if you don’t mind walking a few kilometres, though perhaps easier to just hop on the Rapid Penang 101, 103, 104 or 10 bus along Jalan Burma and hop off at Lorong Burma) are the beautiful

**Wat Chaiyamangkalaram (Temple of the Reclining Buddha - penang-traveltips.com/wat-chaiyamangkalaram.… ) on Lorong Burma on the way out towards Gurney Plaza - Sabrina's favourite, she has visited it so many times she now refers to it as "my friend Wat".

**Dhammikarama Burmese Buddhist Temple (opposite Wat Chaiyamangkalaram - penang-traveltips.com/dhammikarama-burmese-t… ) - the first time we visited this the standing Buddha was all white, a couple of years later it had a few gold stripes, then more gold stripes, now the robes are completely gold. There complex has expanded over recent years, so make sure you don't stop just at the Buddha at the start - wander the gardens behind.

**Wat Buppharam ( www.penang-traveltips.com/wat-buppharam.htm ) - a very interesting mix of Chinese/Malay and Thai Buddhist architecture with some Hindu detailing thrown in.

***

You could also consider a day trip off the island… If you like Orang Utans it’s worthwhile visiting Bukit Merah Laketown Resort ( www.bukitmerahresort.com.my/orangutan.htm ). Bukit Merah has the Orang Utan Island, an Eco Park, and a Water Park. We visited the Orang Utan Island and the Eco Park for the first time in February 2011, and have already decided we're going back again!

We would recommend going on a weekday so there are less people, we (ourselves and Maggieomx) were (other than the staff) the only people on Orang Utan Island when we visited. You have to catch a ferry / boat out to the island, they run half hourly on weekends and every 45 minutes on weekdays (so you get a bit more time on the island on weekdays).

The Orang Utans are basically able to roam the island freely, it is the tourists who are in the cage, as you walk out in a mesh enclosed tunnel to visit with the Orang Utans. You can also view the Orang Utans playing at the water’s edge from a boardwalk platform area (so no mesh to look through). In addition, the nursery for the baby Orangs (when we visited they had successfully bred 16 babies, and had two in the nursery) has one wall of glass where you can watch the babies sleeping, eating, or just being little ratbags and climbing all over their cots - absolutely gorgeous and completely mesmerising. There is also a glass enclosed training section where you can see the "toddler" Orang Utans learning things such as climbing etc. The idea of this place is that when fully rehabilitated the Orang Utans will be released back into the wild in Sarawak.

We got to Bukit Merah fairly late in the afternoon so by the time we got to the Eco Park ( www.bukitmerahresort.com.my/ecopark.htm ) some of the animals had been returned to their beds for the night (the bunnies, guinea pigs etc.), however we still got to check out the monkeys, binturong, lizards, deer, chickens, koi and a few others. You can purchase food at the entry to feed the animals, they have information as to what you can feed to which animals.

We hired a car and driver through Ocean Jupiter (http://oceanjupiter.com/ ), combining our visit with a trip up Maxwell Hill / Bukit Larut in Taiping. If you wanted to make it a real animals day, you could combine Bukit Merah with the Taiping Zoo. Some people are a little wary about zoos (we personally enjoy them, plus recognise that without them there would be many completely extinct species around the works), especially in Asia as some are still very much focussed on small cages. We found the Taiping zoo enclosures to be large and open, and very few of the animals to be caged as such. We have friends (lilandnorm on this forum) who got there mid-morning and happened to jag feeding time, so they even got to help feed the hippos!

***

We’ve probably written more than enough here, but figure it gives you a bit of an idea of some of the things you can do. There is, of course, plenty more, and we’re sure others will have heaps more recommendations for you!

Hope this helps,

Lise & Sabrina

england
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9. Re: sightseeing in Penang

Wow, what a comprehensive list. We are staying in BF for only7 days and now I'm thinking that probably isn't long enough. We do want some relaxing time as well as sightseeing but will certainly start to plan our time to see as much as we can. Thank you for all the ideas.

Newcastle, Australia
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10. Re: sightseeing in Penang

Hi Ka-bee,

Don't be overwhelmed by Lise and Sabrinas list, 7 days is comfortable period of time but you will not regret staying longer. You will find that the attractions are kind of grouped and you can plan accordingly.

Reputable companies like ocean Jupiter are well priced and will help you plan it all out. The good thing is you don't have to cram everything into a small time frame. What you don't see today you can see over the next couple of days.

Probably the only place out of the way is the Snake Temple but then again I haven't researched or explored what other sites are in that vicinity, the experts here could help you anyway. If you're averse to snakes, go see it anway!!

Best advice is don't rush, just enjoy, you have certainly picked the right destination to do both. Have a good holiday.

Regards Phill.

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