Heading to Penang? Great choice! It’s our favourite part of Malaysia and somewhere we used to live! It’s the home of a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site in George Town, beautiful beaches, some of the best food in the world and so much more!
If you are wondering what to do in Penang in 3 days, we have you covered with a full Penang 3 days 2 nights itinerary. You can follow it exactly and be sure you are covering off all the best things to see in Penang Malaysia.
If you are looking for a Penang itinerary 1 day instead then I have suggestions below for you as well. Similarly, if you only have 2 days in Penang, I have an itinerary for what to do in Penang in 2 days as well as 4+ days. I want to make sure you enjoy Penang as much as we do!
Penang is a state in Malaysia which includes the famous Penang Island as well as a small section of the Malaysian peninsular. The vast majority of Penang points of interest are on the island so that is what I concentrate on here.
The island of Penang has an interesting and varied history. The capital, George Town, was first settled by the British in the 1700s where it became a melting pot of people and cultures thanks to Penang’s location between two parts of Asia. It’s UNESCO listed thanks to the unique architecture and townscape that came from this history.
Penang is a tropical island, so in addition to the history, you’ll find beaches, jungle and great views! This means some of the interesting places in Penang are actually natural attractions and they are covered in this Penang 3 days 2 nights blog too.
So let’s start! Below is your 3 days in Penang itinerary as well as 1 day in Penang, Penang 2 day itinerary and suggestions for 4+ days.
You will also find a map of all the best places to visit in Penang Island mentioned here, suggestions on the best hotels in Penang depending on your budget and details for how to get around Penang during your trip.
Table of Contents
What To Do In Penang In 3 Days – Our Complete Penang 3 Days 2 Nights Itinerary
The highlights of this Penang itinerary 3 days are:
- Exploring the historic centres of George Town
- Visiting the best temples
- Eating the best food
- Relaxing at the best beaches
- Getting away from it all in nature
This list of what to see in Penang Malaysia assumes that you arrive in the morning of the first day and don’t leave until the evening of the last day. We list all the top things to do in Penang Malaysia in the order that we recommend you visit them.
On arrival at Penang Airport, book a transfer or catch a taxi or bus to your hotel.
Today is about seeing as much of Penang as possible – from a great viewpoint on Penang Hill. You visit two of the must visit places in Penang before enjoying some great food. It’s the easiest going day in this Penang 3 day itinerary in case you have a long journey to get here or don’t arrive first thing.
After dropping off your bags and freshening up, head up Penang Hill. This popular best place to visit in Penang is a great viewing point to see over George Town and Penang.
To get to the top, you take a funicular tram. It’s a fun and steep ride – in fact it passes through the steepest tunnel in the world. Try to sit at the bottom of the tram.
In addition to views, the list of what to do in Penang Hill includes all the things you will find at the top. There are two food courts, some temples, an owl museum and a playground. It’s also noticeably cooler than down below so this is the perfect place to take it easy for awhile and soak everything in.
Kek Lok Si Temple
After your descent, head the few kilometres away to Kek Lok Si Temple.
Kek Lok Si is the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia. It’s in a very picturesque setting and it definitely deserves to be on your must do in Penang Malaysia things to do list.
There is a massive temple as well as a pagoda and a few other temples. There are some great garden areas and a pretty fish pond. It’s very peaceful and easy to enjoy.
You can visit these attractions using taxis or consider doing this tour to make it easy and to learn more. It’s also possible to take buses but it’s going to be very time consuming in comparison.
Gurney Drive Hawker Centre
Finish the day with a visit to Gurney Drive Hawker Centre. This is the top choice of where to go in Penang at night for GREAT food!
Try to taste as many things as you can. The prices are great and, if you are with other people, definitely buy a lot of dishes to share.
Today is all about UNESCO-listed George Town. You are going to visit all the Penang must go places here!
Most of the places here are walking distance from each other and walking can be half the fun as you get to see the streets and look for the famous street art.
Clan Jetties of Penang
The first Penang best place to visit you will stop today are the Clan Jetties. These are traditional Chinese settlements dating back to the late 19th century where Chinese background people still live today.
The settlements consist of wooden stilt houses built on the water with great views. Because they are built on water and not land, the owners don’t have to pay any tax.
As you walk around one of the six clan jetties you can visit, it feels like you have stepped back in time and you get to see up close the daily rituals of people living here.
A 20-minute walk away is your next stop at this historic best place to go in Penang. Fort Cornwallis is the largest remaining British fort in Malaysia, and it has many informational boards and a museum section.
It covers a reasonable size area and doubles as a nice, peaceful park.
The Peranakans are a Chinese community whose cultural heritage merged with the local Malay culture creating a unique community.
The Peranakan Mansion is a nice place to visit in Penang to learn about this culture and history. It is a museum that is home to many Peranakan artefacts..
Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion
The Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion is also known as the Blue Mansion (thanks to its colour). It is one of the Penang places to go to learn about the Chinese history in the area.
It’s the former Chinese merchant house of Cheong Fatt Tze who was a business man and politician. It is one of the best looking buildings in George Town thanks to its blue colour and traditional Hakka-Teochew style façade.
Tours depart a few times a day so try to time your visit for one (click here for more info).
It’s also possible to stay here. Click here for the details.
It’s now time to head back to the centre of George Town and all the places to see in Penang. I recommend you walk back via Love Lane.
Love Lane is a pretty stretch of colonial shop houses. It’s also a backpacker area with some nice cafes, so if you are ready to sit back for a bit, stop here and have one of Malaysia’s famous white coffees.
Kapitan Keling Mosque
Next on the Penang to do list is a visit to the main mosque in this area, Kapitan Keeling Mosque. It was built in 1801 by Indian Muslims and has a striking Indo-Moorish style.
This interesting and beautiful mosque is one of the must see places in Penang.
You need to dress modestly to enter, but there are gowns on site you can borrow.
Armenian Street is not just a Penang famous place to visit because of its street art (more about this in a minute) but because it is a beautiful part of George Town.
Once the home of Chinese clan-houses and secret societies, today it has been gentrified and is home to many shops and cafes as well as Buddhist temples and food stalls. This is also where you will find the famous “kids on a bicycle” mural.
It’s a charming spot to wander.
While you are doing everything in today’s Penang one day trip blog, make sure you keep a look out for street art!
In recent years, Penang has become famous for it. It can feel like you are on a treasure hunt as you try to spot it. The pictures depict Penang daily life and images from its past.
Some top areas for seeing street art are Armenian Street, Chulia Street and Muntri Street. You can find a map of exactly where to find these beautiful places in Penang here.
New Lane Hawker Centre
For dinner, it’s back to another hawker centre. Try out some new foods at the New Lane Hawker Centre.
Want To See And Learn More? Hot Tip!
You could also do a tour instead today that will make it much easier to see many of the Penang Malaysia tourist spots listed here as well as giving you the opportunity to learn more about George Town.
Today is all about nature with some fun activities in Penang at Penang National Park and the main beach area at Batu Ferringhi. If you need to leave in the afternoon today, I recommend picking just one of the following places in Penang to hang out and visiting Batu Ferringhi’s night market on night 2.
Penang National Park
Start the day with this best attraction in Penang. You can catch the bus to the entry of the National Park and then you have a choice of things to do.
Penang National Park is Malaysia’s smallest but it is a great choice of day trips from Penang to see more of the natural part of this island.
The main places to visit are Monkey Beach and the Turtle Sanctuary. There is also a forest canopy walk about 20 minutes walk from the entry.
To get to Monkey Beach (Teluk Duyung) or the Turtle Sanctuary (on Kerachut Beach), you either need to take a hike through dense jungle (but on a clearly marked trail) or do the more popular option and take a boat.
Monkey Beach is the easier walk but more popular beach. The hikes take about 1.5 hours to each area and you won’t have time to do both. So pick one or consider boating or combining a hike with some boat rides to get to both.
After Penang National Park, you can bus or taxi back to Batu Ferringhi, a great place to chill in Penang.
If you are into water sports, this is a great place to go parasailing or ride a banana boat. If you are more into taking it easy, you can relax with a drink on the beach at the Bora Bora by Sunset bar.
For dinner, eat at Long Beach Kafe. This hawker centre is fantastic with many food choices. Then visit the surrounding night market.
Penang 1 Day Trip Itinerary
If you are looking for a Penang 1 day trip itinerary then I recommend combining parts of each day. Catch taxis around so you don’t waste any time.
For your one day in Penang, visit Penang Hill and Kek Lok Si Temple in the morning.
Head to George Town attractions and pick your favourites out of what is described for day 2 above.
To finish up your one day trip in Penang, head to the Batu Ferringhi Night Market and eat dinner at Long Beach Kafe.
Penang itinerary 2 days
If you are looking for a Penang 2 days 1 night itinerary, I recommend you follow the first two days above but finish the second day at the Batu Ferringhi Night Market and eat dinner at Long Beach Kafe. This will take you through the highlights of Penang in 2 days.
Penang itinerary 4 days+
If you have 4 days in Penang, I would do everything above without adding any extra Penang things to see and instead stretch it out a little so you can relax more in the afternoons when it can be hot.
So my Penang 4 days 3 nights itinerary would involve moving half of the day two activities to another day and returning in the evening to whichever area you have enjoyed most.
With 5 days in Penang or more, I would follow my suggestion for a Penang 4 days itinerary and then add one or more of the following interesting places to visit in Penang:
- Penang Botanical Gardens
- Escape Penang (save money on tickets here)
- Youth Park
- Penang Interactive Museum
- Tropical Spice Garden
- Tropical Fruit Farm
- Take a day trip to Orangutan Island
Map Of 3 Days In Penang Attractions
Best Hotels In Penang
Below are our three top choices of the best hotels in Penang which you can pick from based on your budget. All are well located to complete this Penang 3 days 2 nights schedule. There is a full range of the best places to stay in Penang here.
Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort And Spa – LUXURY
This 5-star resort is in a beautiful location by the beach in Batu Ferringhi. It’s just a short walk from the centre of Batu Ferringhi while feeling a world away in its spacious gardens. There are multiple pools, restaurants, a gym, kids club, golf course and more.
There are a range of room types from doubles to options for families. For a treat, consider a room in the Rasa Wing which includes breakfast, afternoon tea, cocktails and pre-dinner canapes and coffee, tea and soft drinks throughout the day.
Bayview Hotel George Town – MID RANGE
This business style hotel is in a convenient location in George Town and offers a pool, gym and a 360 degree revolving restaurant!
There are a range of room types including family rooms and suites for extra space.
This is all at an excellent price given the location.
Chulia Heritage Hotel – BUDGET
Located in a central part of George Town, the Chulia Heritage Hotel is great for bargain seekers looking for a great location. This is a simple hotel without extra facilities and services, although there are bicycles available.
All rooms are a good standard with air conditioning, tea and coffee making facilities and flat screen TVs. You can choose whether to have a private or shared bathroom depending on your budget. There are family rooms as well as twins, doubles and triples.
Getting Around In Penang
There is a good public bus system in Penang to get between the main spots especially between George Town and Batu Ferringhi in this itinerary.
However, on the first day, I recommend taxis as too much time will be wasted getting multiple buses to get between places and the bus trips can be long. The Grab app is a great way to get taxis or otherwise do the recommended tours.
Penang is a great destination for your next trip and I hope I have made planning your 3 day Penang itinerary easier with this list of where to visit in Penang.
This itinerary covers a wide range of activities to do in Penang as well as the top tourist attractions in Penang Malaysia and I hope you enjoy visiting everything as much as I have. 3 days is a great amount of time to soak up these top places to visit in Penang and I recommend you follow this itinerary exactly as is.
From the beaches in Batu Ferringhi to the historical attractions in George Town, I hope you have the best trip ever!
Ask any questions about this things to do in Penang blog below.
Joshua is an Australian who has fallen in love with Malaysia! He explores Malaysia at least a few times a year and has previously lived in Penang.