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Penang Itinerary for 3 days: Best things to do in Penang

by Steph
Kek Lok Si Temple Penang Malaysia

If you’re looking to extend your Malaysia trip outside of Kuala Lumpur, why not head out to Georgetown, Penang? Despite being a small island, there are so many things to do in Penang, from fascinating UNESCO Heritage buildings to world-famous street art and food! If you’re looking for what to do in Georgetown, this Penang itinerary for 3 days will convince you to plan your next trip to the food capital of Malaysia!

PENANG ITINERARY FOR 3 DAYS – DAY 1

SCOUT OUT THE FAMOUS PENANG STREET ART

One of the best things do to in Penang is hunting for street art. Various artists including Ernest Zacharevic have painted the streets of Penang with their colorful and interactive murals. 

To mark Georgetown’s UNESCO World Heritage title, the Government commissioned a local artist to create metal sculptures all over the streets to illustrate the cultural diversity and history of Penang.   

Boy with a pet dragon street art Penang itinerary for 3 days
Boy with a pet dragon – street art Penang

The street arts are found mostly in Lebuh Armenia, Lebuh Ah Quee, and Lebuh Canon. Some less famous street arts can also be found further away at Hin Bus Depot. The good news is that their exact locations can be found on Google maps! You just have to pin and DIY your own street art itinerary.

The best time to explore is early in the morning at around 8 am when the town is just starting to wake up. During peak season, the streets will be mostly packed with lines of tourists taking turns in front of the murals as from 9 or 10 am. 

Metal sculptures in Georgetown Penang itinerary for 3 days
Metal sculptures in Georgetown Penang

CHEONG FATT TZE MANSION (BLUE MANSION)

With its striking blue color, it’s hard not to miss the historical landmark of Georgetown which was constructed by the Chinese businessman, Cheong Fatt Tze for one of his many wives. The Blue Mansion subsequently turned into a refuge for the homeless. It later fell into disrepair until it was restored to its former glory and converted into a boutique hotel.  

Guided tours are conducted during the week at 11 am, 2 pm and 3.30 pm and during the weekend at 11 am and 2 pm. The tour lasts for 45 minutes and costs RM 16 (US$ 3.80). It’s not necessary to book in advance; you only need to show up at least 15 minutes before the tour starts. 

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion (Blue Mansion) Penang itinerary for 3 days
Blue Mansion Penang Malaysia

PINANG PERANAKAN MANSION

Built by the end of the 19th century, the Pinang Peranakan Mansion contains thousands of artifacts showcasing the lifestyle of wealthy Chinese families. Just like in the Blue Mansion, the inside features an indoor courtyard, built with the principles of Feng Shui, typical of traditional Chinese homes.  

You can visit every day from 9.30 am to 5 pm for RM 20 (US$ 4.80).   

CHECK OUT THE ESPLANADE (PADANG KOTA LAMA)

Located in the civic district of Penang, the large green space features colonial buildings such as the Town Hall and City Hall overlooking the waterfront. You can either stroll around the esplanade or sample local dishes at the food court.  

Make sure you don’t miss the Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower found by the Ferry terminal.

City hall Penang itinerary for 3 days
Georgetown Penang City Hall

PENANG ITINERARY FOR 3 DAYS -DAY 2

MARVEL AT KEK LOK SI TEMPLE

Located among the hilly parts of Penang, Kek Lok Si Temple is one of the largest Buddhist temples in Southeast Asia. The architectural masterpiece not only features thousands of Buddha statues and colorful carvings but also boasts incredible views over Penang.   

The inclined lift leading to the Goddess of Mercy statue will set you back RM 3 (US$ 0.70) each way. You could also walk alongside the road, but it isn’t really recommended since there are many cars passing by.   

Pagoda at Kek Lok Si Temple Penang itinerary for 3 days
Pagoda at Kek Lok Si Temple Penang

To access the Pagoda, you’ll have to pay a small entrance fee of RM 2 (US$ 0.50). The top of the Pagoda offers a perfect vantage point over the flower garden and the whole complex.  

Kek Lok Si is open every day from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm and during the Chinese New Year festivities, the temple is illuminated by thousands of lanterns until late at night.

bhuddha statues at kek lok si temple penang malaysia
So many Buddha statues!

PENANG HILL

Also known as Bukit Bendera, Penang Hill offers scenic views of the whole island at a height of 833 meters above sea level. You can either take the funicular railway or hike up the hill.  

The funicular railway operates from 6.30 am to 11 pm. Standard tickets for adults cost RM 30 (US$ 7.20) and RM 15 (US$ 3.60) for children. I went there in the afternoon and there was a 2-hour wait to buy tickets, so I highly recommend that you book online.  

To get there, take the Rapid Penang bus route 203 or 204 from Georgetown. The trip takes about one hour and costs only RM 2 (US$ 0.50).   

PENANG ITINERARY FOR 3 DAYS – DAY 3

ADMIRE THE ARCHITECTURE

Walking along the streets of Penang feels like stepping back in time. From colonial buildings to traditional shophouses, Georgetown looks like an open-air museum buzzing with culture and history. 

Georgetown Penang old buildings
Old buildings in Georgetown Penang

GET A GLIMPSE OF PENANG’S CULTURAL DIVERSITY

If you want to experience the cultural diversity of Penang, head out to Kapitan Keling Mosque, one of the largest mosques in Georgetown, Penang. The Mosque is open every day from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm and they even offer free guided tours.   

A few meters away, you’ll find the Goddess of Mercy Temple and Lebuh Aceh Mosque, which is another prominent Mosque on Lebuh Cannon.   

Lebuh Aceh Mosque penang
Lebuh Aceh Mosque

WATCH THE SUNSET AT CHEW JETTY

The Chew Jetty is a floating village occupied by Chinese immigrants who built their homes on wooden stilts over the water. It has now turned into a major tourist attraction with shops selling everything from food, clothes to souvenirs.   

The Chew Jetty is a great sunset spot in Penang, but keep in mind that it’s usually very crowded during that time.

chew jetty penang
Art painted on houses at Chew Jetty

EAT ALL YOU CAN AT CHULIA STREET NIGHT MARKET!

Every night along Chulia Street, hawkers set up their stalls as from 6 pm to serve the best street food in Penang. Wan Tan Mee, Satay, Nasi Kandar, Char Koay Teow, Lok Lok and Apong (Apom) are among the best food to try!   

HAVE A DRINK ON LOVE LANE

Just around the corner of Chulia Street, you’ll come across Love Lane that seems to attract mostly backpackers. The area has lots of hipster cafés and bars and comes alive every night. There are a few street arts scattered around if you want to check those out. 

Love lane penang
So many hipster bars and cafés on Love Lane Penang

MORE TIME IN PENANG?

If you have a few more days in Penang you can explore these attractions found outside of Georgetown: 

  • Batu Ferringhi Beach 
  • Avatar Secret Garden 
  • Tropical Spice Garden 
  • Botanical Garden
  • Penang National Park
  • Monkey Beach
Kek Lok Si Temple garden Penang itinerary for 3 days

BEST PLACE TO STAY IN PENANG

Hotel Chennai by Wink

I stayed at Hotel Chennai by Wink which is located on Penang Street, right in the center of Georgetown and most of the attractions were within walking distance. What I loved the most about this hotel is that I could watch both the sunrise and sunset from the rooftop area, which even has a jacuzzi! You can also refill your water bottle for free, thus reducing your plastic consumption. Prices start from US$ 15 for a single room with a private bathroom. Check out prices and availability for Hotel Chennai here.

The 80’s Guesthouse

The 80’s Guesthouse is located on Love Lane and is perfect if you’re a backpacker and want to meet up with other travelers. Prices start from US$ 9 for a bed in a dorm room, including breakfast. Check out prices and availability for The 80’s Guesthouse here.

Blue Mansion (Cheong Fatt Tze)

The Blue Mansion is one of the most famous hotels in Georgetown, Penang! The hotel is a bit on the pricier side but you will definitely be blown away by the architecture and decorations. Fun fact: the Crazy Rich Asians movie was even shot here! Prices start from US$ 117, including breakfast. Check out prices and availability for the Blue Mansion here.

Check out more hotel prices on booking.com and you can even use my referral link for a 10% cash back after your stay!

Booking.com

HOW TO GET TO PENANG?

By Bus  

You can book bus tickets from either Kuala Lumpur or other parts of Malaysia such as Ipoh and Cameron Highlands on easybook.com or busonlineticket.com. The bus will drop you off at Sungai Nibong Express Bus Terminal which is located 20 minutes from the center. From there, you can take a Grab for about RM 17 (US$ 4.10).  

Travel Tip:

Discount codes can be obtained by just typing “easybook discount code” on Google. I found that the price is slightly cheaper on easybook combined with the discount code, so it’s my go-to when traveling around Malaysia.  

By Sea 

The high-speed Ferry operates twice daily at 10.30 am and 2 pm from Langkawi to Penang and will set you back only RM 70 (US$ 17) per way. The journey takes approximately 3 hours. 

You can either book online or in person, at least 2 days before departure. 

By Air   

Air Asia has flights from Kuala Lumpur to Penang for about US$ 14, one way without checked luggage. Tickets for Malaysia Airlines and Malindo Air cost around US$ 17 and US$ 22 respectively.  

Susu Soya Asli & Segar mural penang
“Susu Soya Asli & Segar” mural in Penang

HOW TO GET AROUND PENANG?

Since most of the attractions are concentrated in Georgetown, it’s fairly easy to walk around or you can hire a motorbike for about RM 50 (US$ 12). 

Alternatively, there is the free Penang CAT shuttle bus that takes you to the main attractions around town. If you want to wander outside of Georgetown, you can either take the Rapid Penang bus for about RM 2 (US$ 0.50) or a Grab for less than RM 17 (US$ 4.10) for a 30 minutes ride. 

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