Penang: Holidays

Pearl of the Orient

Backpacking

Backpacking in Penang

A backpacking holiday in Penang is a great adventure and an inexpensive way of exploring the island’s heritage. There are a range of hostels in the capital, George Town, and numerous low cost guest houses and hotels that are in the price range for backpackers. Love Lane and Lebuh Chulia make up the heart of Penang’s backpacker district, teeming with cheap hotels and hostels. It’s worth noting that the quality can vary hugely, so think about checking out a few options before settling on somewhere to stay when you’re backpacking in Penang. If you’re prepared to sleep in a shared dormitory, prices start from as little as 2.5 Euros per night. If you’re prudent with your spending, you can spend less than 15 Euros per day in Penang, including your accommodation. Delicious dishes cost as little as 1 Euro, so eating out won’t be a problem. It’s worth noting that prices rise steeply in the winter holiday season, from December to January, which is regarded as the driest time and therefore the best time to visit Penang. Bus travel costs as little as 0.3 Euros, and there’s even a free heritage bus that covers all the main sites in Penang’s historic capital, George Town.

Beach

Beach in Penang

Not surprisingly, Penang’s beaches and warm weather are a major attraction for visitors. The most beautiful beaches in Penang are located in the north of the island. Most activities are centered on the popular coastal resort of Batu Ferringhi, where many of the popular beach resorts are located. Activities on offer include waterskiing, sailing, windsurfing and even water scooters. This popular stretch of beach is always a hive of activity with nightspots and restaurants which come to life in the evening. Further down the coast lies the picturesque Teluk Bahang Beach, home to a fishing village and kampungs. If you’re after more privacy, then head for the secluded beaches of Teluk Duyung, Monkey Beach, Pantai Kerachut and Pantai Mas. These peaceful havens are accessible via the trails in the Pantai Acheh Forest Reserve from Teluk Bahang and offer the ultimate Penang beach hideaway. If it’s swimming you’re after rather than sunbathing, please note that the sea in Penang is not always safe for swimming so check before booking.

Culture and Arts

Culture and Arts in Penang

Penang has embraced all things modern but has still managed to hang on to its traditions. Penang’s historic capital, George Town, was listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 2008. It is officially recognised as having a unique architectural and cultural townscape beyond compare in East and Southeast Asia. Penang Museum, the Kek Lok Temple (one of the largest temple complexes in Southeast Asia) and the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion are just some of Penang’s cultural delights on offer. Penang is home to several theatres and many are influenced by the Chinese. These include the North Theatre, Young Theatre, Zao Xin Chang and Dramatic Boundary. The multi-ethnic population means that there’s a vast array of cultural delights on offer in Penang.

Honeymoon

Honeymoon in Penang

Penang is a wonderful place for a honeymoon, with its amazing cuisine, range of luxury hotels, breathtaking beaches and cultural delights to explore. A honeymoon in Penang is ideal for those couples who want to try it all – sunbathing, water sports, sight seeing, culture, fine dining and street markets. However, if you’re planning a traditional summer wedding, it’s worth bearing in mind that rainfall is significantly higher from April to November, and that the ideal time to visit Penang is considered to be December to February – perfect for a winter wedding! Don’t forget that it’s not the simplest of journeys, either. It’s a long haul flight of twelve or more hours to get to Kuala Lumpur, before factoring in the transfer times.

Couples Holiday

Couples Holiday in Penang

A couples holiday in Penang is perfect for those who have a whole range of interests, of who want to try lots of different things. For a small island, there’s an impressive array of activities on offer. Water sports, golf, hiking, walking, trekking, scuba diving are just some of the leisure activities on offer. For those more culturally inclined, there is a wealth of architecture, temples and heritage sights to enjoy. Food options are equally diverse. You can taste some local fare at hawker stalls, or opt for haute cuisine – the choice is yours. Again, accommodation offers something for every couple, whether it be budget hostels, boutique hotels, traditional guest houses or luxury hotel resorts.

Family Holiday

Family Holiday in Penang

Many of the larger coastal hotel resorts are ideal for a family holiday in Penang. Some offer 'kids clubs' to keep their younger guests entertained. Penang Island offers a multitude of activities to keep the whole family entertained, from a wide range of water sports, to shopping, markets, zoos, botanic gardens, the butterfly farm and a even a toy museum. The major  downside to a family holiday in Penang is that it's a long flight for younger children. It's worth bearing in mind that April to November has the highest rainfall, so it might not be the best choice for an Easter or summer holiday, but perfect for a Christmas holiday (although prices rice steeply around this time).

Sailing Activity Holiday

Sailing Activity Holiday in Penang

There are lots of options for a sailing holiday in Penang. As well as the prestigious Penang Yacht Club in Batu Ferringhi, a marina, named Tanjung City Marina which can accommodate up to 140 yachts and boats of various sizes has been built in Weld Quay to attract seafarers from around the world. Furthermore, water sports activities on offer around the popular Batu Ferringhi coastal resort area include waterskiing, sailing, windsurfing, scuba diving, fishing and even water scooters. However you want to enjoy the water, Penang’s got something to offer you.

Disabled Needs

Disabled Needs in Penang

Penang is a challenge for anyone whose mobility is impaired. In most of the villages, towns and cities there are often no pavements, the kerbs are very high, there are very few road crossings, and lots of building sites. Combine this with a long haul flight and transfer issues, and it might be one destination to avoid.

Scuba Diving Activity Holiday

Scuba Diving Activity Holiday in Penang

If you’re thinking about taking a scuba diving holiday in Penang, you could do a lot worse than to explore the deserted islands of Pulau Bidan, Pulau Telur and Pulau Song Song off the coast of Batu Ferringhi, which are ideal places for snorkelling, fishing and scuba diving in Penang. Beach hotels, particularly in the popular coastal resort of Batu Ferringhi offer a wide range of scuba diving trips and equipment.

Hen Destination

Hen Destination in Penang

Whilst there is undeniably lots of cheap accommodation and food and ample nightlife, a hen party in Penang is probably too far away to consider for most people, and the flights will probably be too expensive. But if you're feeling flush and want to have a prolonged celebration, the range of activities, great weather and fantastic beaches won't leave you disappointed. Just remember it's at least 12 hours on a plane each way, and that the driest season is November to February, so it might not fit in with any traditional summer wedding plans.

Stag Destination

Stag Destination in Penang

Whilst there are undeniably lots of cheap accommodation and sufficient nightlife, a stag party in Penang is probably too far away to consider for most people, and the flights will probably be too expensive. But if you’re feeling flush and want to have a longer celebration, the range of activities, great weather and fantastic beaches won’t leave you disappointed. Just remember it’s at least 12 hours on a plane each way, and that the driest season is November to February, so it might not fit in with any traditional summer wedding plans.

Golf Activity Holiday

Golf Activity Holiday in Penang

Penang is an ideal place for a golfing holiday, with its four world-class golf courses. Bukit Jambul Country Club is located on Penang Island, whilst the Bukit Jawi Golf Resort, Kristal Golf Resort and Penang Golf Resorts are situated on the mainland. All four courses have been created with different designs and plays in mind, and they all also offer club houses with rest and recreational facilities complete with a wide variety of food and other five-star services. Bukit Jambul Country Club boasts an 18-hole, 5763m, par 72 golf course and is regarded as one of the most challenging courses in Asia. On the mainland, Bukit Jawi Golf Resort is a 316-acre former oil palm plantation with a 36-hole course which is divided into two separate eighteens, the Hills Course and the Lake Course. The layout of the Hills Course is on very hilly terrain while the Lake Course encompasses seven large clear lakes. The Kristal Golf Resort is located up in the mountains. The7028-yard layout has a par of 72. Finally, for the more experienced golfer, the Penang Golf Resort is a must. It has two championship golf the East Course and the West Course are each divided into four separate landscaping themes - Flowing Focus (1st to 9th hole, East Course), Garden Focus (10th to 18th hole, East Course), Pine Focus (1st to 9th hole, West Course) and Palm Focus (10th to 18th hole, West Course).

Hiking Activity Holiday

Hiking Activity Holiday in Penang

The mountainous interior of the island offers good opportunities for jungle trekking in Penang. Forested mountainsides, rice fields, fishing villages and uninhabited beaches and historic sights can be accessed by trekking throughout the island. There is a forest reserve and a new National Park in Teluk Bahang that is popular for trekking, and shorter trails for hiking in Penang can be found on the sides of Penang Hill and Tiger Hill, as well as along the beaches in Teluk Bahang area.

Well-being and Spa

Well-being and Spa in Penang

An increasing number of Well Being and Spa holidays are on offer in Penang. Most of the spas can be found within hotels and offer luxurious accommodation with quality food and efficient service. A Spa holiday or Well Being holiday in Penang will include relaxing spa treatments such as massage, facial, hot tubs and saunas, with the inclusion of food and accommodation. To maximise your relaxation, you can enjoy the sunshine, mouth-watering food, beautiful beaches and soul-enriching culture and heritage on offer.

Touring - Driving holiday

Touring - Driving holiday in Penang

It’s not hard to find your way around Penang. That, coupled with very reasonable car hire prices, makes it a great destination for a driving holiday. You can hire a car from 21 Euros a day. A touring holiday is ideal if you want to sample some beach resorts such as Batu Ferringhi as well as enjoying the delights of George Town. Many travellers say that having a car is essential in Penang. Bear in mind that the many one-way streets can be confusing, so a good map is essential. Penang is a great place for driving around, punctuated by sumptuous food breaks, and trips to the beach, of course!

Winter Sun

Winter Sun in Penang

With January average daily highs of 32C, Penang, the spice isle off the west coast of peninsular Malaysia is ideal for a winter holiday. It’s the perfect island to escape to in the cold winter months. With an abundance of beautiful beaches, scenery, beguiling colonial and oriental architecture and glorious weather, a winter sun holiday in Penang ticks every box. Rainfall in Penang is at its lowest levels from December to February and therefore this is regarded as the best time to visit the island by many. Accordingly, prices can rise steeply during this period.

Camping

Camping in Penang

Camping in Penang is limited to the official camping ground in the National Park. Contact the Penang Tourism office for more information.