For a small island, I find that there's actually so much to see and do in Penang. If you do decide to visit this quaint state and its eponymous island in Malaysia, I bet you'll want to stay for at least a week, so I decided to do a number of day trip installments. If you're ready, let's get started!
If you’ve followed or come across my posts about my recent travels, you must remember that I visited Penang for the second time earlier this year. I was in the island for only around three days the first time I was there, so I made it a point to stay longer the next time I go back.
After spending roughly a week in Penang, I think I can say that it’s a good minimum length of stay to get to know the island at your own pace (assuming you want a more leisurely pace) and visit some of its major spots. So, assuming you also arrive in the island in the afternoon like I did, I suggest you take the rest of the day easy and just relax, take a rest, grab some coffee or a tasty meal. Your adventure begins the next day!
Start your day with a morning market walk.
This is why I suggested for you to be fully rested: Campbell Street Market, located in the junction of Campbell and Carnavon Streets in George Town, opens at 8 AM, so wake up early, grab a quick breakfast, and take your cameras out for a morning market walk. I find local markets to be a good place to start to get to know a city and its people, not to mention there are so many street and market scenes just waiting for you to capture with your camera!
Gorge on local food in hawker centers, restaurants, and food courts for lunch.
After a tiring morning walk and street/market photography session, you’ll be hungry for something good and satisfying. I always make it a point to eat local food whenever I travel, and with Penang being one of Asia’s best-known food capitals, there are so many delicious dishes you have to treat your taste buds with. For lunch, I always go to a restaurant called Goh Thew Chik in Chulia Street for some tasty Hainan Chicken Rice. There’s also a food court beside it where you can get some delicious tofu and vegetable dishes. I also love Char Koay Teow, so if you find yourself in a hawker center with a noodle stall, look for this dish and I bet you’ll find yourself wanting more of it!
Look for UNESCO Heritage Markers around George Town.
After you’ve had your lunch and recharged your energy, it’s time to slather on some sunscreen and head back to the street. Among the city’s attractions are the witty steel UNESCO heritage markers scattered around George Town. They tell some quirky stories and interesting trivia about the historic streets and districts, so it’s like being shown around by a tour guide. There are more or less 40 of them — I suggest you look for a tourist map showing the location of each marker — so I’m not expecting you’ll find them all in one day, but you can see what you can find in the next three hours or so.
Have some coffee and cakes at Coffee Atelier in Lorong Stewart.
I usually cap my afternoons with a delicious cup of coffee and some pastries on the side, but you can also grab some tea and cold drinks while resting and cooling down in Coffee Atelier/Cafe 55 in 55 Stewart Street (Lorong Stewart). It’s just one of the slew of quaint cafes and boutique coffee shops that have been setting up around George Town, and you’ll eventually find yourself coming across one in nearly every block.