Things to do in Penang

It’s a general consensus that Penang is among the top destinations to visit in Malaysia. Small it may be, the charming island fits more into its bag than seems possible – popular food haunts, historic streets steeped with culture, jaw-dropping architecture, vivacious nightlife, and lush nature landscapes.

While the bewitching island is best known for its hawker food and street art, the fun doesn’t end at just those things. From fun-filled activities like having a paintball battle on a World War II battleground to laidback adventures such as exploring historic monuments and colonial buildings, we rounded up a list of 27 best things to do in Penang that even locals would want to partake in.

– Attractions –

1. Explore an enchanting butterfly garden with a waterfall at Entopia

Outdoor Activities Penang - entopia
Image credit: @edaa_shiu via Instagram

Enter the enchanting Entopia and feel as if you’ve stepped into a fairytale-like garden of luscious greens and blooming flowers, with iridescent butterflies roaming freely overhead. Previously known as Penang Butterfly Farm, this familiar haunt among Penang school kids back in the days has since reopened its doors in a new facility in 2016. 

Housed in a huge glasshouse conservatory, Natureland is one of several butterfly aviaries in Entopia that simulates a tropical rainforest. It’s filled with over 300 plant species, artificial tunnels, a waterfall, and even various reptiles. Walkways guide you through the garden, while butterflies fluttering all around creates a picturesque scene for photo ops.

Outdoor Activities Penang - entopia butterfly
Image credit: Entopia via Facebook

Nature lovers can find educational exhibitions in an indoor discovery centre called Cocoon. Learn more about butterflies – including their milestones and metamorphosis, and the diversity of their eggs – through technology-guided museum interpretations.

Not leaving the little ones out of the educational fun, Entopia offers family-friendly learning activities devoted to Mother Nature and various types of bugs too. The kiddos can spend time exploring live exhibits of butterflies emerging from their chrysalises with fresh wings and taking their first flight.

Admission: Adults: RM49/pax | Kids aged 4-12 years old and Senior Citizens: RM29/pax | Persons with disabilities and children below the age of 3 can enter for free
Address: No.830, Jalan Teluk Bahang, Teluk Bahang, 11050 Tanjung Bungah, Penang
Opening hours: Thu-Tue 9am-6pm (Closed on Wednesdays)
Contact: 04-888 8111 | Entopia Butterfly Farm’s website | Facebook | Instagram

Read our feature to find out more about Entopia here.

2. Soak up views of George Town from the Rainbow Skywalk at The Top

Outdoor Activities Penang - the top
Image credit: The Top via Google Photos

Jumping off a cliff with a mere rope attached to your body isn’t for everyone. And we totally get that. But if you crave for the same kind of thrills that involve great heights, the Rainbow Skywalk at The Top, Komtar offers breathtaking panoramic views of George Town without any anxiety-inducing jumps involved. 

Outdoor Activities Penang - the top rainbow
Image credit: Tripadvisor

Jutting out from Level 68 of the building is a glass walkway suspended 816 feet above the bustling city. At night, the glass bridge lights up in rainbow hues – there’s truly no more magical way to experience the vivacity of Penang.

Outdoor Activities Penang - the top bridge
Image credit: @hasifhamsyari via Instagram

If you find yourself trembling in your knees at such a height in the open air, there is an Observatory Deck on Level 65. It’s a glass-floored area set indoors that offers visitors similar photo-worthy views of George Town from a different vantage point. 

Admission: Adults: RM68/pax | Kids and Senior Citizens: RM48/pax
Address: 1, Jalan Penang, 10000 George Town, Penang
Opening hours: Wed-Mon 11am-10pm (Closed on Tuesdays)
Contact: 017-336 8569 | The Top’s website | Facebook | Instagram

3. Marvel at the architecture & antiques of Penang’s heritage mansions

The amount of colonial buildings and heritage mansions that still stand across the island is marvelling. Once the residence of tycoons and influential officers, many grand manors have been revamped into grandiose boutique hotels or house museums that are now open to the public to admire the stunning architecture and timeless charms.

Pinang Peranakan Mansion

Things to do in penang - pinang mansion

A resplendent manor that’s brimming with rich history is the Pinang Peranakan Mansion. An architectural splendour that’s home to thousands of antiques and collectibles, the mansion is now a historic house museum that’s furnished with over 1,000 rare Peranakan antiques and collectibles from around the world.

Things to do in penang - pinang peranakan

Here, you can stroll through the lavish rooms and halls to get a glimpse of the affluent Peranakan lifestyle of the old days. Apart from the collection of Peranakan antiques around the mansion, there are also galleries that house varied collections of traditional Peranakan garments, embroideries, ceramic arts and glassware, and exquisite ornate jewellery. 

Entrance fees are RM20 for adults and free for children below the ages of 6. Informative group tours are available at certain time slots, and are conducted in both English and Mandarin.

Address: 29, Church St, George Town, 10200 George Town, Penang
Opening hours: 9.30am-5pm, Daily
Contact: 04-264 2929 | Pinang Peranakan Mansion’s Facebook | Instagram

Read our feature of Pinang Peranakan Mansion to find out more here.

The Blue Mansion

Things to do in penang - blue mansion
Image credit:
@cheongfatttzemansion via Instagram

Once the home and office of Cheong Fatt Tze – a Chinese tycoon in Penang – The Blue Mansion was built in the 1880s as a gift for the magnate’s seventh wife. The eccentric blue mansion contains 38 rooms, five courtyards, seven staircases, and a whopping 220 windows. Visitors can stroll through the mansion’s stunning central courtyard and main hall to take in its magnificent Straits-Eclectic architecture and artefacts.

Things to do in penang - mansion room
Image credit:
@cheongfatttzemansion via Instagram

If a tour isn’t enough to fully immerse yourself in the opulent ambience and charm of these properties, you can also book a stay in one of their 18 artfully conserved rooms for RM635-RM850/night.

Things to do in penang - blue mansion food
Image adapted from:
@indigo.georgetown via Instagram & @manggaatthebluemansion via Instagram

The majestic mansion isn’t short of dining options either. Indigo Restaurant offers a fine-dining experience that fuses Eastern and Western flavours in its dishes, while Cafe Mangga is a cosy brunch spot set under a gigantic mango tree within the compounds of the Blue Mansion.

Address: 14, Leith Street, 10200 Penang
Opening hours: 24 hours, Daily
Contact: 04-262 0006 | 04-262 5289| Blue Mansion’s website | Facebook | Instagram

Read our feature of Blue Mansion to find out more here.

4. Discover the history of Penang in depth at Fort Cornwallis

Things to do in penang - fort cornwallis statue

Fort Cornwallis is a monumental gem of Malaysia that you may have come across many times in your Sejarah textbook. This historical fortress was built way back during the British occupation of Malaysia as a defensive structure and a military base.

Today, the fort stands as a momentous relic that’s open to the public, offering history buffs and tourists alike a vivid snapshot of Penang’s history.

Things to do in penang - fort cannon

Explore the grounds and learn more about the history of the various buildings and structures within the site – including old mounted cannons, the second oldest lighthouse in Malaysia, gunpowder storerooms, barracks, and a peak-roofed colonial chapel.

Marvel at the famous bronze statue of Francis Light – the Captain who built Fort Cornwallis – that’s erected on a high plinth within the grounds of the fort.

Things to do in penang - fort breakfast
Image credit:
@fort_breakfast via Instagram

There are eateries within the site where you can stop by when you’re done touring the grounds of Fort Cornwallis. The Kota Dine & Coffee restaurant will fill you up with good local dishes, while a cafe truck set up here called Breakfast In The Fort will satisfy you with a delightful breakfast spread and coffee in a historic setting.

Fort Cornwallis
Address: Jalan Tun Syed Sheh Barakbah, 10200 George Town, Penang
Opening hours: 9am-10pm, Daily
Contact: 04-263 9855

Read our feature of Fort Cornwallis to find out more here.

5. Soak up views of lush nature on a canopy walk at The Habitat Penang Hill

Things to do in penang - the habitat
Image credit:
@thehabitatpenanghill via Instagram

A recent, impressive development on Penang Hill is The Habitat Penang Hill, an eco-park that lets visitors explore a rainforest.

Things to do in penang - habitat bridge
Image credit:
@thehallos via Instagram

Perched on the summit of Penang Hill and spanning the fringes of the island’s oldest rainforest, the rainforest discovery centre was built to conserve, preserve, and protect the diverse ecosystem and biodiversity of the last remaining rainforest in Penang Hill.

Image credit: @edzyl_gu via Instagram

One of The Habitat’s famous attractions is the Curtis Crest Treetop Walkway. It’s a circular bridge above the forest’s canopy where you can appreciate a soaring view of not just the surrounding lush nature, but also the rest of Penang from the island’s highest viewing platform.

Things to do in penang - habitat zipline
Image credit:
The Habitat Penang Hill via Facebook

Other highlights here are the Langur Way Canopy Walk that’s a 230-metre-long bridge suspended within the dense forest canopy, the Calugo Zipline that’ll have you flying through nature, and guided tours to learn about the myriad of flora and fauna along the nature trail.

Admission: Standard Entrance Pass for RM60/pax 
Jalan Stesen, Bukit Bendera Air Itam, 11500 George Town, Penang
Opening hours: 9am-7pm, Daily
Contact: 019-645 7741 | The Habitat Penang Hill’s Facebook | Instagram

6. Be stunned by the beauty of Kek Lok Si temple

Things to do in penang - kek lok si

An unmissable cultural visit when you’re in town is Kek Lok Si, the largest and oldest Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia and an iconic temple in Penang that was built more than a decade ago.

The grand temple sits on a 10-acre site that houses monasteries, prayer halls, temples, magnificent statues, beautiful gardens and a fish pond. A visit here will keep you busy for a good hour or so.

Things to do in penang - temple
Image credit:
@jetevois via Instagram

Apart from serving as an important house of worship for devotees, Kek Lok Si is an architectural wonder. Here, you’ll find a seven-storey structure, also known as Pagoda of Rama VI, or Pagoda of Ten Thousand Buddhas, which has 10,000 alabaster and bronze statues of Buddha.

But the star of the temple has got to be the 36.57-metre-tall enchanting bronze statue of Guanyin, or Kuan Yin the Goddess of Mercy, that’s located at the highest peak of the temple.

Things to do in penang - kek lok si lights

To ring in the Lunar New Year, the temple holds an annual lighting ceremony completed with a spectacular fireworks display – an event that’s a key cultural highlight in Penang during the bai nian celebrations.

Address: 1000-L, Tingkat Lembah Ria 1, 11500 Ayer Itam, Penang
Opening hours: 24 hours, Daily

Read more about the luminous beauty of Kek Lok Si during the festive season here.

7. Make some slithery friends at the Snake Temple

Things to do in penang - snake temple
Image credit:

A place of worship with a sinister twist, the Snake Temple in Penang houses actual slithery reptiles that roam freely within the temple.

Built sometime in the 1850s, this temple was erected in honour of the deity Cheng Chooi Chor Soo – also widely known as Chor Soo Kong – who was believed to have snakes as his disciples.

Things to do in penang - snake
Image credit:
@slabodskij via Instagram

Here, you’ll find dozens of uncaged snakes coiled around the indoor altars and slithering on tree branches within the temple grounds. Some of the snakes housed here are pit vipers, green tree snakes, and pythons, which are said to be harmless, defanged and under the supervision of their handler. 

Daring temple visitors can request for a photo opportunity with a snake for a fee.

Address: Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, Bayan Lepas Industrial Park, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang
Opening hours: 9am-5.30pm, Daily
Contact: 04-643 7273

8. Marvel at a floating mosque, Tanjung Bungah

Things to do in penang - floating mosque
Image credit:

Perched along the coastlines of Tanjung Bungah, the Floating Mosque is a famous landmark and the first mosque in Malaysia to be built on the sea. While the grand mosque is actually built on stilts, it gives a magical appearance of floating on water during a high tide.

Things to do in penang - floating mosque inside
Image credit: via Instagram

Erected to replace an older mosque which was destroyed in a tsunami disaster, the seven-storey Floating Mosque boasts a Moorish architecture – an ornate Islamic-influenced design – with touches of local designs. Its prominent minaret tower is an imposing and gorgeous one, and a symbol of Islam’s presence where the calls for prayers are announced during the day.

The mosque is opened to the public daily. Do note to dress decently, with your arms and legs covered, and to remove your shoes before entering the sacred building.

Address: Jalan Batu Ferringhi, Tanjung Bungah, 11200 Tanjung Bungah, Penang
Opening hours: 5am-9.30pm, Daily
Contact: 012-405 1324

9. Explore the abandoned and storied Crag Hotel

Things to do in penang - crag hotel
Image credit:
@tik_tok via Instagram

Perched atop Penang Hill are the remnants of Crag Hotel. The derelict structure has its fair share of stories that dates back to the mid-1880s, when a Scotsman named Captain John W Kerr built a bungalow on Penang Hill and named it The Crag.

Things to do in penang - crag queen
Image credit:
Penang Hill via Facebook

The grand residence operated as a hotel for a short period of time when the famous Sarkies Brothers purchased the bungalow, but was left abandoned when WWII erupted. After a decade, the building was converted into a primary boarding school – then known as Uplands School – that had once been visited by the late Queen Elizabeth.

Crag Hotel - RSC
Image credit: @tik_tok via Flickr

When the school moved to a new home in 1977, the former hotel site was left abandoned again, weathering away over the years. Its decaying form incited spooky rumours about the bungalow and caught the attention of many filmmakers, eventually becoming filming locations for award-winning films including Indochine and British series Indian Summers.

Today, the Crag Hotel remains untouched and is slowly consumed by vegetation.

Read our feature of Crag Hotel to find out more here.

10. Go for a morning walk at the Penang Botanical Gardens

things to do penang

Often overshadowed by the more stand-out tourist spots on the island, Penang Botanical Gardens is a tranquil sanctuary of greenery that’s perfect for those who simply want to step away from the hustle and bustle of George Town.

Located at the foothills of Penang Hill and just minutes away from the city centre, this historical garden is a verdant paradise with an immense collection of flora. Marvel at the expansive greenery, alluring gardens, and stunning waterfalls, and let the singing of birds accompany you during your morning stroll or jog.

things to do penang - botanical

There are also several hiking trails that lead up to Penang Hill near the Penang Botanical Gardens, including the Moongate Hiking Trail. While there is a staggering amount of trails in Penang that lead up to Penang Hill, the Moongate trail is a popular one that’s innocuous enough for hikers of all levels.

Monkeys swarm the grounds occasionally, so do refrain from having a picnic here – you wouldn’t want these sneaky friends snatching food out of your hands.

Address: Kompleks Pentadbiran, Bangunan Pavilion, Jalan Kebun Bunga, 10350 George Town, Penang
Opening hours: 6am-8pm, Daily
Contact: 04-226 4401

11. Learn more about local culture through teddy bears at the TeddyVille Museum

Things to do in penang - teddyville
Image credit:
@danielkurniawanhandoko via Instagram

Who says a visit to the museum has to be all pompous and intellectual? TeddyVille Museum will surely bring out the inner child in anyone.

Occupying two locations in Penang – one on Penang Hill and another in Batu Ferringhi – this museum exhibits an incredible collection of teddy bears dressed and posed as Penangites to showcase the history and local culture of Penang.

Things to do in penang - teddy museum
Image credit: via Instagram

You’ll also find life-sized teddy bears resembling renowned figures from Penang, such as Tan Sri P. Ramlee, Dato’ Jimmy Choo, Dato’ Nicol David and Dato’ Lee Chong Wei. There are also collections of teddy bears from bygone eras, so visitors can learn about the origins and tales behind the legendary toy.

Things to do in penang - teddy
Image credit: via Instagram

Teddyville Museum @ Batu Ferringhi
Price: RM27/pax for adults, RM22/pax for students, and RM15/pax for kids. Children aged below 3 years old can enter for free.
Address: DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Penang, 56, Jalan Low Yat, Puncak Ria, 11100 Batu Ferringhi, Penang
Opening hours: 9am-6pm, Daily
Contact: 016-550 5949

Teddyville Museum @ Penang Hill
Price: RM20/pax for adults, RM15/pax for kids, and RM60-110 for Family Package
Address: Penang Hill, Level B3, Astaka Bukit Bendera, Jalan Tunku Yahaya Petra, 10000 Bukit Bendera, Pulau Pinang
Opening hours: 9am-6pm, Daily
Contact: 04-890 5345 | Teddyville Museum’s website | Facebook | Instagram

– Activities –

12. Discover Balik Pulau on an ATV with Penang ATV Eco Tour

Outdoor Activities Penang - ATV
Image credit: Penang ATV Eco Tour – Balik Pulau via Facebook

If tackling rocky trails and unpaved roads on an ATV sounds intimidating, try a guided ATV tour instead. Penang ATV Eco Tour offers a scenic, sightseeing ATV tour of Balik Pulau – an area far off from the city of George Town.

Whether you’re looking to bask in the untouched nature of Balik Pulau, or try riding an ATV for the first time, this tour is an easy and leisurely one that’s perfect for groups of friends and families of all ages to try out.

Outdoor Activities Penang - ATV ride
Image credit: Penang ATV Eco Tour – Balik Pulau via Facebook

The trail extends over 10km long and takes approximately an hour to complete. As there will be a tour guide leading the way and snapping pictures of your adventure, all you have to do is enjoy the ride and revel in your surroundings.

Trudge along on your ATVs to see a scenic landscape of the village, as well as prime views of palm trees, fruit orchards, vegetable farms, and the stretching mountains. If you’re opting for an adventure in the evening, a gorgeous sunset view will be visible during your ride. 

Outdoor Activities Penang - ATV guide
Image credit: Penang ATV Eco Tour – Balik Pulau via Facebook

A single-seated ATV is priced at RM100, while a two-seater is priced at RM150. Though it might not be the typical, challenging ATV ride that requires you to plough through bumpy terrains, the stunning nature scenes you’ll be soaking up on this trail will be worth your time and money. 

Address: 298, Mukim I, Kampung Perlis, 11000 Balik Pulau, Penang
Opening hours: 9am-6pm, Daily
Contact: 013-480 3866 | Penang ATV Eco Tour’s website | Facebook

13. “Fly” down the longest zip coaster in the world at ESCAPE Theme Park

Outdoor Things To Do Penang - ESCAPE theme park

A thrilling day awaits adventure-seekers at ESCAPE theme park in Penang. Before you daredevils roll your eyes, ESCAPE isn’t a tame scene with easy-going rides, fun performances, and pretzel stands. This theme park is a full adventure course and large-scale waterpark, home to record-breaking exhilarating rides suitable for a wide age group.

Outdoor Things To Do Penang - zipline
Image credit: Escape Theme Park, Penang via Facebook

Set amongst a foliage of nature and lush trees, ESCAPE’s variety of rides, including obstacle courses, will have you feeling like Tarzan conquering the forest as you triumph through them. Start off high with Adventure Play, a ride comprising ziplining, tree-climbing, and rope-balancing at a height – an adventure indeed. There’s also the Tubby Racer, which will send you skimming down a sloped hill on a tube at maximum speed.

Don’t miss out on the newly-launched Zip Coaster ride, certified by the Guinness World Record as the longest in the world. Similar to a zipline but with heart-stopping loops and drops, you’ll feel like you’re flying through the forest for the ride’s duration of 6 minutes.

Outdoor Things To Do Penang - ESCAPE

Another ride that has made it into the Guinness World Record books is the Tube Water Slide, where you’ll be whizzed down a whopping distance of 1.1km. There are also a variety of other water activities including Banana Flip, Family Twister, and Speed Racer – so enter the park and pick your kryptonite.

Price: Adults (RM167/pax) | Kids aged 4-12 years old (RM111/pax) | Free entry for senior citizens and children below the ages of 4
Address: 828, Jalan Teluk Bahang, Teluk Bahang, 11050 Tanjung Bungah, Pulau Pinang
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 10am-6pm (Closed on Mondays)
Contact: 017-797 7529 | ESCAPE Theme Park, Penang’s website | Facebook | Instagram

14. Shop from local vendors & enjoy live band performances at Hin Bus Depot

Outdoor Activities Penang - hin
Image credit: @rumahkacha via Instagram

The Sunday market at Hin Bus Depot is always packed. The Hin Market, having been here for years now, is a familiar haunt of many Penangites for a reason – it hosts local craft stalls and food vendors, all worth making a beeline for. A popular hunting ground for art and antiques aficionados to street food hunters, you’ll get to shop for a wide range of items such as dinnerware, books, handmade accessories, pre-loved clothes, and potted plants.

Outdoor Activities Penang - hin market
Image adapted from: @sweetpawshay via Instagram & @simplicitysomething via Instagram

Apart from the bric-a-bracs, Hin Market is also popular for gourmet goodies. There are vendors selling savoury meals and desserts. Opt to dine at picnic tables or on sun chairs available at the compound, or request for the food to be packed. 

For a city that takes its coffee culture seriously, there’s no lack of choices for you to get your coffee fix while you’re there too.

Outdoor Activities Penang - hin food
Image credit: @ong_suki via Instagram

As you shop, your ears will be serenaded by buskers and live acoustic performances, along with the buzz of shoppers in the background. If you’re lucky, you might catch ongoing workshops, yoga sessions, or outdoor movie screenings that are held occasionally as well. 

Address: 31A, Jalan Gurdwara, 10300 George Town, Penang
Opening hours: 10am-10pm, Daily
Contact: 014-909 8523 | 04-898 1606 | Hin Bus Depot’s website | Facebook | Instagram

Read our feature to find out more about Hin Bus Depot here.

15. Have a paintball battle on a WWII fort with War Zone

Outdoor Activities Penang - warzone
Image credit: War Zone via Facebook

The excitement level of paintball often depends on the venue of the game. This is why you won’t want to miss out on a gripping game of paintball on an actual World War II fort in Penang. Hosted by Penang War Museum, War Zone offers players a unique and exhilarating paintball battle experience on a historic site.

The base is set in a large bountiful forest, with tall trees, brick walls, and towers of tyres to provide you with cover and claim victory with an accurate shot. There’s even multiple game scenarios and courses to level up the thrill-factor.

Outdoor Activities Penang - warzone shoot
Image credit: War Zone via Facebook

Players will be provided with full equipment and gears needed to become a warrior on the battlefield. Before the game, the staff will walk you through the directive, so first-time players need not worry about getting confused mid-game.

The packages offered do depend on the amount of people in a company. For groups with less than 10 players, prices start at RM110/pax. Do jio your friends for this activity, as groups with more than 10 players enjoy lower rates – Sergeant package (RM60/pax) or Major package (RM80/pax).

Address: Penang War Museum, No. Lot 1350, Mukim 12, Daerah Barat Daya, 11960, Batu Maung, Penang
Opening hours: 10am-12pm & 2pm-4pm, Daily
Contact: 012-436 0698 | War Zone by Penang War Museum’s Facebook | Instagram

16. Have a go-kart race on a rooftop with a view of mountains at Kart Hauz

Outdoor Activities Penang - kart hauz
Image credit: Kart Hauz via Facebook

If you’re looking for a go-karting experience that’s quite literally on another level, Kart Hauz is the place for you. This spot recently opened its doors in February 2022, is a cut above the usual circuits you might have been to – its track is located on the rooftop of a mall.

On top of a thrilling race, kart-racing enthusiasts can experience a stunning view too.

Outdoor Activities Penang - kart hauz track
Image credit: karthauz

Adrenaline junkies will be in for an intense race. The 350-metre racing track features exhilarating curbs and turns, all on an open-air car parking space of Design Village. But be rewarded with a spectacular view of the sky and mountains, and feel the wind in your hair, as you race it out with your friends.

Kart Hauz also opens till 11pm, so you’ll have the chance to enjoy a ride under the night sky with scattering stars. Packages for families and the little ones are provided as well. Depending on the duration of the race, the price for adults range from RM50-RM140/pax, and RM35-RM100/pax for kids.

Address: Level 6, Design Village Penang Mall, 733, Jalan Cassia Barat 2, 14110 Bandar Cassia, Penang
Opening hours: 3pm-11pm, Daily
Contact: 011-2518 3268 | Kart Hauz’s website | Facebook | Instagram

Read our feature to find out more about Kart Hauz here. 

17. Go horse-riding & feed horses at The Countryside Stables

Outdoor Activities Penang - stables
Image credit: Countryside Stables via Facebook

Imagine you’re the main character of Netflix’s Bridgerton, with the clippity-clop of horse hooves and the wind in your hair as you gallop. You can experience a slice of this countryside lifestyle at The Countryside Stables

Home to about 30 horses and ponies of various breeds, this Balik Pulau attraction is where you can ride horses and have a tour of the stables to get to know their names and breeds. For RM6, you’ll be allowed to feed the horses with hays and carrots as well – a wholesome activity for the kids.

An entrance fee of RM12 per adult and RM8 per child (ages 2-12) will be required before visitors can embark on a horse riding adventure.

Outdoor Activities Penang - stables horse
Image credit: Countryside Stables via Facebook

Reminiscent of a charming hilltop village, The Countryside Stables has a beautiful outdoor range and indoor arenas that are suitable for horse riding activities. Roaming around on a lawn on horseback is an unmissable experience while you’re here, so opt for a guided leisurely ride. This costs RM25/pax for adults and RM20/pax for kids

If you would like to dive deeper into the basics of horse riding, go for the 1-hour Basic Riding Lesson (RM150/lesson) to ride horses with an instructor, while surrounded by the gorgeous countryside scenery. Do note that you’ll have to make advanced bookings for a lesson.

Outdoor Activities Penang - horse
Image credit: Countryside Stables via Facebook

Other sections to explore at the stables are mini displays of horse shoes and carriages, and even an open seating area for you to watch magnificent herds of horses gallop around the grounds.  

Address: Lot 10050, Jalan Sungai Burung, Kampung Sungai Burung, 11000 Balik Pulau, Penang
Opening hours: 2pm-7pm, Daily
Contact: 012-408 0678 | Countryside Stables’ Facebook

18. Pick & feast on a variety of durians at Green Acres Orchard & Ecolodge

Outdoor Activities Penang - green
Image credit: Penang Green Acres via Facebook

There may be divided opinions on its taste, but there’s no denying that the King of Fruits has the hearts of many Malaysians. If you want to savour all of the pungent smell and custard-y flesh of durians, a visit to a durian orchard in Penang is a must.

Green Acres Orchard & Ecolodge in Balik Pulau is one of many organic fruit farms tucked deep in the hills. Operating for over 70 years now, the 16-acre wide orchard has always been more than just a durian farm.

The owner of the property channelled their passion for the environment into the careful curation of the property. It’s now a nature retreat with two traditional wooden lodgings where people can experience the farm’s beauty with them. They also offer one-day Durian Tasting Tours throughout the months of June and July.

It covers the whole experience of picking durian in the woods to cracking them open and relishing the creamy sweetness in your mouth.

Outdoor Things To Do Penang - green orchard
Image credit: Penang Green Acres via Facebook

With an immense amount of 500 durian trees in their orchard, this attraction lets guests learn about durians and feast on a variety of them. During the tour, you’ll find that tons of other local fruits are grown in the farm as well, such as jackfruits, cempedak, rambutan, nutmeg, longans, and rare wild herbs. 

Outdoor Things To Do Penang - green durian
Image credit: Penang Green Acres via Facebook

The Durian Tasting and Farm Tours are held from Thursdays to Sundays, when durians are in season. Guided tours are priced RM150/adult and RM80/kid – for groups consisting of more than 3 adults, the rates would be RM125 per person.

Address: Batu Itam, Balik Pulau, Penang
Opening hours: Thu-Sun 4pm-6pm (Closed from Mondays to Wednesdays)
Contact: 012-428 6368 | Green Acres’ website | Facebook

– Photogenic Spots –

19. Hike up Frog Hill for a stunning view of a blue quarry

Outdoor Activities Penang - frog hill
Image credit: @kowyujian via Instagram

When brainstorming for outdoor activities in Penang, there is no way hiking would not be included on the list. Among the popular Penang Hill hiking trails is the popular and scenic trail, Frog Hill. Previously a tin mining site, Frog Hill is now an abandoned quarry with a landscape so gorgeous that makes the steep hike for the view well-worth it.

Outdoor Activities Penang - frog hill quarry
Image credit: @tamilchellvan via Instagram

Though the journey is a fairly short one, the presence of jagged rocks and steep slopes make the hike rather challenging. But push on for about 20 minutes, and you’ll find yourself standing at a viewpoint where the panorama of the quarry below is otherworldly.

Things to do in Penang - Frog Hill
Image credit: @nigel_photoz via Instagram

A terrain of rocky lands covered in patches of dark vegetation, hugging pearly blue moats – the view is so beautiful it will take your breath away.

Address: 14400 Tasek Gelugor, Penang
Opening hours: 24 Hours, Daily

Read our feature to find out more about Frog Hill here.

20. Cycle around the crooks & nooks of George Town to snap pics with the street art

Things to do in penang - street art
Image credit:
@the_random_muse via Instagram

Whether you think Penang Street Art is an overrated tourist trap or not, darting about George Town to pose with the collection of beautiful mural art is a great way to expose yourself to the charms and history of this heritage city.

Things to do in penang - street art wall
Image credit:
@luciegantier via Instagram & @luciegantier via Instagram

Gear up with a map, camera, pair of comfy sneakers and lots of sunscreen, and roam the labyrinths of George Town streets to discover vivid artworks of common local scenes on time-worn walls of shophouses.

These artworks fill the streets and alleyways of George Town like a quirky surprise in nearly every corner, but you could start your mural-hunt at Chew Jetty, and head on to Armenian Street, Beach Street, or Cannon Street.

If you’re not a fan of walking in the blazing heat, rent a bicycle or hop on a trishaw to explore the larger-than-life street art, while admiring the architecture of the heritage buildings as well.

21. Stroll along the Clan Jetties & marvel at floating houses on stilts

Things to do in penang - chew jetty
Image credit:
@ooowenong via Instagram

Frolicking about George Town without visiting the famous clan jetties of Penang is simply preposterous.

Originally built by Chinese Hokkien immigrants from the Fujian province of China back in the 19th century, the clan jetties – or kongsi – are essentially villages of houses on stilts above the sea water. Each cluster of jetties belong to a specific family clan, with dozens of traditional wooden houses on stilts to be found within the villages.

Things to do in penang - chew jetty night
Image credit:
@hh_shutters via Instagram

Though there used to be ten of these settlements, now only six remain. Each settlement is named after the surname of the different families, and each still home to their descendants till this day.

Things to do in penang - jetty lifestyle
Image adapted from:
@almagitana__ via Instagram & @2046cchang via Instagram

The oldest, largest and the most popular of the Clan Jetties is Chew Jetty, which welcomes visitors to stroll along its wooden piers and witness the authentic way of life of the residents. Explore the nooks of the village, with the families going about their daily routines and morning prayers, and drop by the handful of shops situated on the wooden piers that sell souvenirs and trinkets.

Things to do in penang - jetty sunset
Image credit:
@kangcolourz.jpeg via Instagram

Perched amidst the blue sea on stilts, these jetties provide a gorgeous backdrop for Instagrammable shots as well.

Address: Pengkalan Weld, George Town, 10300 George Town, Penang
Opening hours: 9am-9pm, Daily
Contact: 019-593 5333

– Cafes, Restaurants, Bakeries, Bars & Hawker Stalls – 

22. Start your morning with local food at Pulau Tikus Market Hawker Centre

Things to do in penang - pulau tikus
Image credit:
@isaacooi via Instagram

There’s no better place to immerse yourself in the daily life and culture of Penangites other than at the Pulau Tikus Morning Market, where you’ll find a vast number of stalls selling fresh produce, food, and knick knacks of all sorts.

Always buzzing with action and ringing with the voices of stall owners and haggling customers, the market festivities start indoors where the wet section is, and spill to the surrounding vicinity and road outside. Street vendors line the roads, hawking all kinds of wares, including a good array of snacks, confections, breakfast foods and local eats.

Things to do in penang - pulau tikus market
Image credit:
@wahwaheats via Instagram

With the plethora of food options available at the market, there’s no way you’ll be skipping breakfast.

Things to do in penang - pulau tikus hawker
Image adapted from:
@foodie.lle via Instagram & @thestraitsdapur via Instagram

After shopping and bargaining your way through the market, grab a seat and get ready to feast on some local goodness. Popular hawker dishes here are wantan mee (RM6-7), kuey teow th’ng (RM6-7), fried oyster (RM10-15), and curry mee (RM7-8). Make sure to drop by the Nyonya kuih stalls for some post-meal snacks, and get yourself a bag of warm, fluffy putu mayam (RM2 for 7 pieces).

Address: 3, Jalan Pasar, Pulau Tikus, 10350 George Town, Penang
Opening hours: 6am-2.30pm, Daily

23. Cafe-hop to discover the the best coffee brews in Penang

Things to do in penang - cafe
Image credit:
@psylancer via Instagram

For an island that’s bursting with charms and pleasant delights at every nook and alley of George Town, it’s no surprise that there is also an abundance of cafes on the island, besides just the amazing hawker haunts.

In fact, a good cup of joe has become an essential part of Penang’s food and cafe culture, it isn’t hard to find a decent cup of coffee in any cafe here. From sleek modern coffee houses to cosy verdant cafes, you can bet you’ll be spoiled with choices that make for the perfect place to linger over a cup of coffee.

Constant Gardener Coffee

Things to do in penang - constant gardener
Image credit:
@brewdepartment via Instagram

Constant Gardener Coffee is a long-established coffee haven that’s Housed in the Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce Building. This cafe doesn’t just charm with its zen ambience, they impress with their range of quality drinks and stellar brews as well.

Things to do in penang - constant gardener coffee
Image credit:
@cariesty_lim_ via Instagram

Customers rave about their rich Lattes (RM13), perfectly-pulled shots of Espresso (RM8), as well as their luscious hot chocolate drinks – Dark Hot Rich Chocolate (RM14) or Gardener’s Dark Magic (RM15).

Address: Ground Floor, Penang Chinese Chamber Of Commerce Building, 9, Lebuh Light, 10200 George Town, Penang
Opening hours: 9am-8pm, Daily
Contact: 011-6078 7883 | Constant Gardener Coffee’s website | Facebook | Instagram

Ome by Spacebar Coffee

Things to do in penang - ome
Image credit:
@d_chum via Instagram

Nestled within a labyrinth of heritage houses in George Town, Ome by Spacebar Coffee is a quaint cafe with a gorgeous verdant entrance that’s hard to miss. Speciality coffees are Ome’s forte and their coffees are simple, but well-executed and brewed with great precision.

Order a cup of White Coffee (RM10) or Hand Brew Drip Coffee (RM18), and pair them with some sweets displayed on their counter including Olive Oil & Zucchini Bread (RM13) or Dark Chocolate Pistachio Cake (RM15).

Things to do in penang - ome coffee
Image credit:
@iris.nihao via Instagram

Address: 1, Lorong Toh Aka, George Town, 10100 George Town, Penang
Opening hours: Sat – Wed 7.30am-4pm (Closed on Thursdays and Fridays)
Contact: 019-690 8259 | Ome by Spacebar Coffee’s Facebook | Instagram

The Alley

Things to do in penang - the alley
Image credit:
@psylancer via Instagram

An old-school shoplot with a sign that reads Kedai Gaharu Keat Seang is actually home to an OG Penang cafe, The Alley.

With a team of professional baristas – who snagged second place in the Malaysia Brewers Cup 2022 – their brews and pulls will not disappoint coffee connoisseurs. Sample their best with Pour-overs (RM16) or Cold Brew (RM13) or try their house blends such as a Piccolo (RM10) or Cold Brew White (RM15).

Things to do in penang - alley coffee
Image adapted from:
@thealleypenang via Instagram & @jhphotography_95 via Instagram

This homely cafe isn’t just known for their coffee. They also whip up the crowd-favourite Churros (RM12), which are glorious sticks of fried fritters, dusted in sugar and Oreo crumbs and served with a dip of your choice. 

Address: 5, Stewart Lane, 10200 George Town, Penang
Opening hours: Thu-Mon 11am-6pm (Closed on Tuesdays & Wednesdays)
Contact: 017-373 4829 | The Alley Penang’s Facebook | Instagram

24. Get a taste of traditional tau sar pneah at Him Heang

Things to do in penang - him heang
Image credit:
@sockpeng via Instagram

It is an unspoken rule that you haven’t really been to Penang at all if you have yet to set foot in Him Heang to treat yourself to some of their aromatic tau sar pneah.

Undeniably the most popular Chinese bakery in town, Him Heang has a long-standing reputation as the best place to get a fresh variety of handmade Chinese pastries. At present, the family-owned business is helmed by the third generation, and occupies a grand 3-storey building on Burmah Road.

Things to do in penang - him heang entrance
Image credit:
@yqprawiro via Instagram

You’ll want to devote a morning to head to the bakery and snag some baked goodness, as there’s always a queue even before the store opens its doors for the day.

A must-buy item is their tau sar pneah, or tambun biscuits. These bite-sized balls with golden-hued pastry skin encasing a sweet-salty mung bean filling are sold in a box or a roll, and priced between RM4.30-RM16.40

Things to do in penang - him heang biscuits
Image adapted from:
@sophial208 via Instagram

After having spent all that time queuing, make sure you get other treats as well, such as Xiang Bing (RM9.50), which is similar to tau sar pneah but with brown sugar filling, and huge flaky pastries including Beh Teh Saw (RM9.90) and Qing Tang Ping (RM8.80).

If you’re on a bakery hunt on the island, drop by the other traditional bakeries that Penang has to offer, and feel like a kid again while picking out nostalgic bakes such as buttercream cakes and benggali bread.

Address: 162A, Jalan Burma, 10050 George Town, Penang
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 10.30am-2pm (Closed on Sundays)
Contact: 04-228 6129 | 04-228 6130 | 016-425 1168 | Him Heang’s website | Facebook

25. Feast on highly-raved hawker food at Chulia Street Night Hawker

Things to do in penang - chulia stall

If you tell locals you have Chulia Street Night Hawker on your itinerary, they’ll nod approvingly. A famous hawker spot that’s frequented by locals and tourists alike, this food haunt is where you’ll find some of the tastiest hawker dishes – including iconic ones such as wantan mee and curry mee. 

Things to do in penang - wantan mee

Having been around for decades and manned by generations of family, vendors at this night hawker are masters at their craft, serving the same iconic dishes for years that have withstood the test of time.

Our recommendations include the crowd-favourite Mother & Son Wantan Mee (RM6-7), and a divine bowl of Chulia Street Curry Mee (RM5-6).

Things to do in penang - chulia hawker

Make space for some delightful local snacks as well, including the famous Penang Ham Chee Peng on Cintra Street that’s a stone’s throw from Chulia Street Hawker, and fragrant mini apoms deftly whipped up by a petite auntie at her stall.

Address: Chulia St, 10450 George Town, Penang
Opening hours: Tue–Sun 6pm-12am (Closed on Mondays)

Read more about Chulia Street Night Hawker here.

26. Indulge in a variety of cakes at ChinaHouse

ChinaHouse Penang - bar

Sure, Penang is brimming with heavenly hawker food and local eats at every corner of the city. But one simply cannot say no to a good serving of sweet cakes.

ChinaHouse is Penang’s longest cafe, set within three combined heritage shophouses that span between two main roads. At the centre of it is an enchanting open-air courtyard with a pond. Hip yet timeless, the cafe is essentially a restaurant that offers multifaceted experiences by housing bars, tiny shops, an art gallery, performance art spaces, and even a mini library.

ChinaHouse Penang - shop

What ChinaHouse is most known for are their enticing array of cakes and pastries displayed in a glass box, coaxing everyone who steps foot into the cafe. The cafe is full of spirit – at night especially – and it makes for a great supper spot if you’re looking for some drinks and dessert in a lively ambience.

ChinaHouse Penang - dessert

Order a nightcap from the bar and their famous Tiramisu (RM23) and Salted Caramel Cheesecake (RM20) to share, as you jam along with the live performances held on occasional nights.

Address: 153, Beach St, 10300 George Town, Penang
Opening hours: 9.30pm-1am, Daily
Contact: 04-263 7299 | China House’s website | Facebook | Instagram

27. Have a nightcap at hidden bars in Penang

Things to do in penang - bar
Beso Rosado in Penang.
Image credit:
@klfooduo via Instagram

The nightlife in Penang doesn’t only involve hawkers and mamaks. In recent years, the island has become a hub of trendy cocktail bars and swanky wine bars. 

From snazzy hole-in-the-walls and alluring, well-hidden gems, to flamboyant and quirky watering holes, Penang has a comprehensive list of bars you can opt from to have a fun night out with your pals.

If you’re in the mood for a more sophisticated affair, take your pick from this list of wine bars in Penang – be it sensual bars, snug casual ones and under-the-radar gems, rest assured that the quality is always top-notch.

Backdoor Bodega

Things to do in penang - backdoor bodega
Image credit:
@champions1984 via Instagram

In true speakeasy style, Backdoor Bodega is a bar hidden right at the back of a clothing store called The Swagger Salon. The stylish bar earned a spot on the 2022 Asia’s 100 best bars list with their exquisite cocktails and signature creations that infuse local flavours.

Things to do in penang - bodega drinks
Image adapted from:
@eelynyyl via Instagram & @eelynyyl via Instagram

You’ll find intriguing creations such as the signature Kelapa Hotak (RM38) which is a rum-based cocktail infused with the flavours of Penang like coconut, pandan or nutmeg. There’s also the Ulam Mojito (RM38) – an eclectic rum-based drink infused with local herbs such as ulam, daun kesum and kaffir leaf.

Address: Jalan Gurdwara, 10300 George Town, Penang
Opening hours: Thu-Mon 8pm-12am (Closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays)
Contact: Backdoor Bodega’s website | Facebook | Instagram

Read our feature to find out more about Backdoor Bodega here.

Over & Above

Things to do in penang - overabove
Image credit:
@aintnxheart via Instagram

Over & Above is a contemporary Japanese cafe during the day that transforms into a trendy watering hole when dusk falls. Bright and spacious, the bar is minimalist-themed with a stunning view that overlooks the stunning view of jetties and seas of the island.

Things to do in penang - overabove drinks
Image credit:
@overandabovemy via Instagram 

On their booze menu, you’ll find original and classic alcoholic beverages as well as speciality cocktails that serve 2-3 pax. Gather your friends for some drinks here – there’s Kyoto Tripper (RM98) served in a gorgeous dainty Japanese tea set, Pearl of The Orient (RM98) and Sugar Daddy (RM98).

Address: 3, Pengkalan Weld, 10300 George Town, Penang
Opening hours: Wed-Mon 11am-2am (Closed on Tuesdays)
Contact: 017-429 1964 | Over & Above’s Instagram

Good Friends Club

Things to do in penang - goodfriends
Image credit:
@goodfriendsclubpg via Instagram 

Nothing is more apt than having a hidden bar disguised as a Chinese kopitiam in the hawker haven itself. To spot the Good Friends Club, simply look out for a neon signage that spells “Good Friends Never Bojio”, which means a close pal would never not invite the uninitiated.

Things to do in penang - goodfriends drinks
Image credit:
@kitoki via Instagram 

In true kopitiam fashion, find drinks such as Kopi C-Peng (RM30), Milo Peng O Kao (RM35) and Lao Hao Peng Kao (RM35) on their menu, which are actually concoctions of local drinks infused with alcohol that are served in traditional ceramic cups. Other quirky innovations include Penang-Cillin (RM35) and Leng Chai (RM40).

Address: 39, Jalan Gurdwara, 10300 George Town, Penang
Opening hours: 8pm-2am, Daily
Contact: 010-550 1204 | Good Friends Club’s Facebook | Instagram

Exciting and fun things to do in Penang in 2023

From devouring hawker food to participating in adrenaline-fueled activities, Penang offers an excitable array of things to do – you’ll never feel bored on this island. With food as feisty as the people, this island will have you coming back for more, time and time again.

More ultimate guides here:

Cover image adapted from: The Top via Google Photos, @cheongfatttzemansion via Instagram , @klfooduo via Instagram , @nigel_photoz via Instagram , TheSmartLocal, Penang ATV Eco Tour – Balik Pulau via Facebook, TheSmartLocal Malaysia

This article was originally published on 25th October 2022, and updated on 29th March 2023.

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