Heading to Penang? Great choice! It’s our favourite part of Malaysia and somewhere we used to call home. It’s home to 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 because of the unique architecture, culture and townscape that came from this heritage.
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. It’s great to have a mixture of culture, history and natural experiences in your itinerary.
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.
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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 centre 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. There is a coupon taxi stand or you can use Grab to get a ride.
Prefer to listen to information? Find our podcast episode to what to do in Penang here.
Today is about seeing as much of Penang as possible – from a great viewpoint on Penang Hill.
You will visit two of the must-visit places in Penang before enjoying some great food and learning a ton about the history and culture of Geogre Town. 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.
You can also spend the whole day doing the following or you can do it in half a day if you arrive in the afternoon. How long you have will determine how long you can spend at Penang Hill.
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 is a food court, temples, a rainforest discovery centre (The Habitat), a museum, nature trails and so much more. It’s also noticeably cooler than down below so this is the perfect place to take it easy for awhile and soak everything in while you acclimatise.
I highly recommend you visit The Habitat while you are up here if you have the time. It offers the best viewing platforms as well as a great chance to get close to Penang’s natual jungle interior with an amazing canopy walk, a 1.6 kilometre nature trail and the tree top walk with 360 degree views of Penang.
Kek Lok Si Temple
After your descent down Penang Hill, head the few kilometres 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
When you start feeling hungry, visit 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 and taste everything you can!
Rainbow Skywalk At The Top Penang
Finish your day with sunset views over George Town and Penang. The Rainbow Skywalk is located in Komtar, Penang’s highest building so just look up to find it!
This Skywalk is located on level 68 of this building and there are open-air views all around the building. The Skywalk itself is a U shaped glass walkway over the street…. There’s only some glass between you and 249 metres of air!
There’s also a restaurant and bar here so you can eat here or have a drink while you are at The Top. The good news is that it’s open to 10pm daily except Tuesdays.
As part of the experience, you’ll also get to visit the Observatory Deck on level 65. All up, it’s a great way to end a great day in George Town.
Today is all about UNESCO-listed George Town. You are going to visit all the Penang must go places here!
I highly recommend you do one of the Simply Enak food tours today to taste some great food and learn so much about George Town and Penang. In this itinerary, I list the morning street food tour, but you can also switch things around and go on the evening Eat Drink George Town tour.
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. However, it can be HOT so take a Grab taxi if you need to between the attractions that are further apart.
Penang Street Food Tour
Start the day exploring George Town on the Simply Enak Penang Street Food tour. Tours start at 9:30am and run until 1pm. Make sure you skip breakfast as you won’t want to miss out on any of the foods on offer!
There is a lot to learn on this tour and you’ll discuss Penang’s secret societies and the role they played in Penang. You’ll visit Penang’s unique and engaging street art and see the Clan Houses that played a role in Chinese immigration to Penang (as well as tasting the dishes these immigrants influenced of course). You’ll also learn how food plays a part in rituals in Indian temples here.
You’ll enjoy Penang’s best street food with some great dishes across Malay, Chinese and Indian cuisines such as roti canai, Penang laksa, nasi lemak and much more. You’ll learn what is unique about the food in Penang and why.
You can also read our in depth walk-through of the George Town evening tour here including a video of what I ate and saw when I did this tour.
If you’d prefer something without food, there are other tour options too.
If your hotel is nearby, take a little nap before continuing on with exploring George Town. This is a big day! If you visit any of the following places on your morning tour, skip to the next one.
Your first stop is at this historic best place to go in Penang. Fort Cornwallis is the largest remaining British fort in Malaysia, and it has many information 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. There are also free tours which walk through daily life as a Muslim. Join one if you can! They are really interesting.
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.
Clan Jetties of Penang
The final Penang best place to visit you will stop at 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.
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. You’ll also pass many on your food tour.
New Lane Hawker Centre
For dinner, it’s back to another hawker centre – if you have any space left in your stomach after the morning’s food tour!
Try out some new foods at the New Lane Hawker Centre.
Today is all about nature with some fun activities in Penang at Penang National Park, Entopia (butterfly garden) 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.
Entopia Penang is one of the biggest butterfly farms in Malaysia. It’s also more than just a butterfly farm with insects, over 200 species of plants, a beautiful garden and two levels of exhibits and indoor activities. Plus, over 15,000 butterflies.
There are two different areas within Entopia. Natureland is the outdoor garden and Cocoon is the “indoor discovery centre”. There’s a one way path that takes you through everything.
Natureland is the butterfly garden itself. It’s home to far more than butterflies though with invertebrates and reptiles having their own natural habitats to live in. It’s a beautiful area with lots to enjoy beyond the butterflies.
Cocoon is the indoor part of Entopia Penang. It has two floors of educational exhibits and indoor activities as well as interactive educational stations and hands-on learning activities.
There are activities during the day like nature talks and the chance to see newly emerged butterflies released and taking their first flights.
It’s located in between Penang National Park and your next attraction, Batu Ferringhi.
After Entopia, you can bus or taxi 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. We ate here most nights when we lived here. Then visit the surrounding night market.
Unfortunately, I don’t recommend swimming here. I have been stung by a jellyfish myself here, and it’s not pleasant!
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.
If you don’t do the Eat Drink George Town food tour, finish up your one day trip in Penang by heading to the Batu Ferringhi Night Market and eat dinner at Long Beach Kafe. Delicious!
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 feel hot and sweaty.
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.
I would also definitely include one of Simply Enak’s food tours. You can read more about them here including finding out our discount code for RM30 off.
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
- The Top Penang (save money on tickets here) – there are more attractions here than just the Rainbow Skywalk mentioned above
- Escape Penang (save money on tickets here or read our full review 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.
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.
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.
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. Taxis are also affordable and easy with the Grab app (like Uber).
However, on the first day, I especially recommend taxis as too much time will be wasted getting multiple buses to get between places and the bus trips can be long. The recommended tours are also a great way to ensure you get around the island smoothly.
Here’s one for George Town (and use code: DIVE30 for RM30 off!)
Getting To Penang
Penang is a major hub and it’s easy to get to Penang from anywhere in Malaysia.
By clicking below, you can read our detailed guide to getting to Penang from:
A very easy way to get to Penang is to take a private taxi from anywhere in peninsular Malaysia. We can book this for you!
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. Three 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!
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You can read our full guide to Penang here, the best Penang tour and packages here or find our guide to where to stay in Penang here. If you’re visiting Penang with kids then I highly recommend you read our things to do in Penang with kids guide here.
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