48 hours isn’t enough to see Xanadu of the East, but if you absolutely have to catch that next plane, here’s what Penang can serve up on a time budget.
Visit the Butterfly Farm
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Also known as Entopia, this lively vivarium is where your fluttering should begin. Home to over 15,000 winged friends and at least 150 species of flora and fauna, the giant greenhouse shows you what the real Eden must have been like.
Opening hours: Every day 9:00 am – 5:30 pm
Admission fee: RM49 for locals ($12); RM65 for foreigners ($16)
Jalan Teluk Bahang, Teluk Bahang, 11050 Penang, +604-888 8111
Check out the Tropical Fruit Farm
It’d be bad manners to leave Penang without tasting the fruits of its rainforest. Located in the wilds (sort of) of Teluk Bahang, this farm takes you and your taste buds on a tour. Many of the fruits here aren’t even available at the local market (they’re either not popular enough for en masse consumption, or part of plant research).
If you take the tour package, you’re even entitled to a free buffet. Here’s where you go wild on soursops, green figs, durians, passionfruit, and mango-like non-mango (no, seriously).
Opening hours: Every day 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Admission fee: Varies according to tour package, but generally starts from RM40 ($10)
Jalan Teluk Bahang, 11000 Penang, +604-866 5168
Get your Ananda fix
When you’re tired and hungry — and hopefully still undefeated by mosquitos — drop by the lush Ananda Bhawan in Tanjung Bungah for some heavy-duty Malaysian-Indian fare. The chicken Punjab is epic: thick, creamy and bright red. For the weight-watchers, there’s a plethora of vegetable options, too.
Opening hours: Every day 7:00 am – 12:00 am
Food prices: RM4 – 30 ($1 – 7.5)
Stroll along the beach
Here’s a local secret: Right behind the Flamingo Hotel in Tanjung Bungah, there’s a stretch of unlit shore that is good for all sorts of things — midnight picnics with the posse, quiet meditation, even a frolic with your pet. This is where you can watch the east and west of Penang go to sleep, while stars in the night sky light up like sparkle in champagne.
Opening hours: Whenever you’re awake
Admission fee: None, just pick up your litter
Follow the Street Art Trail
The party is going down in Armenian Street. This is where you find the Window Cat, the Boy on a Chair, the Boy on a Bike. The Tourism Board even has a brochure for you to hunt down George Town’s best murals.
Opening hours: Whenever your camera is ready
Admission fee: Your own bus/Uber/taxi fare
Start your trail at Armenian Street, Lebuh Armenian, 10450 George Town, Penang
Get those Tambun biscuits
They may be called “biscuits,” but they’re really more like golden balls of flaky pastry. Drop by Him Heang, Ghee Hiang or Ban Heang for a free taste. The pandan and spicy shrimp fillings are the best, but durian and lotus bean are available, too.
Opening hours: Varies
Admission fee: None
Ban Heang, 200 Macalister Road, 10400 George Town, Penang, +604-229 5018
Check out the Hin Pop-Up Market (if it’s a Sunday)
Every Sunday, something special happens at the old Hin Bus Depot. Crafters, carvers, and calligraphers set up stall, so go along to check out Penang’s local talent. From hand-drawn postcards to engraved name stamps, crocheted puppets to handmade resin jewelry, this is where most visitors realize that Penang is more than just char koay teow and Ernest Zacharevic — it’s a flourishing community of everyday artists.
Take note: securing a parking spot here can be a nightmare, so make sure you either a) come early, before 11:00 am, b) take the bus/Uber/your feet, or c) live nearby.
Opening hours: Sunday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Admission fee: None
Visit the Pinang Peranakan Mansion (if it’s not a Sunday)
Actually, it doesn’t matter if is a Sunday, as long as you can catch it after the Pop-Up Market. This 19th-century home of a rich Chinese businessman is now a well-maintained heritage museum. See what courtyards were like in the 19th century, and find out how the rich used to pee. If your tour guide is in the mood, he or she might even tell you the story of Chung’s many wives.
Opening hours: Every day including public holidays, 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Admission fee: RM20 ($5)
29, Church Street, 10200 Penang, +604-264 2929
Splash out on Nyonya fare
End your trip with some memorable Nyonya cuisine. Assam Prawns, Kapitan Chicken and Otak-Otak (steamed fish mousse) at Perut Rumah (literally, “belly house”) are highly recommended. Be sure to try the red bean soup for dessert. This family-run eatery on Jalan Bawasah will be the reason you return to Penang.
Note: Book in advance for seating. It’s a popular place.
Opening hours: Every day 11:00 am – 3:00 pm; 6:00 – 10:00 pm
Food prices: RM5 – 70 ($1.2 – 18)
Perut Rumah, 17, Jalan Bawasah, 10050 George Town, Penang, +604-227 9917
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