Top 20 of things to do on your first trip in Penang (part 2)
If I had to choose a city in Malaysia, I would choose Penang, always. The reason? Because it is varied. Penang is a cocktail of Asian cultures where Chinese, Indians and Malays live happily on an extraordinary island. There is a lot to do, as well as museums, temples and delicious food. This melting pot of cultures incorporates a unified blend of Chinese, Indian and Malay culture. The influence of these three ethnic groups is seen in food, along the streets and in art forms that represent community harmony. If you are looking to relax on the beach, take a green tour or say hello to the ghosts, Penang is the right place. For your knowledge I have compiled a list of things to do in Penang. The total listing has 20 things to do and that’s why I made two Top 10, the first one I published a couple of days ago and this is my second top 10 of things not to be missed in Penang.
11. Catch the Ghosts
Yes, you read correctly. A museum on ghosts. Of course you might be scared, but do not worry, not all sections of the Penang Ghost Museum make nightmares come. That said, it’s really a unique attraction. Visitors can take pictures with “exposures” that also include detailed explanations of the various ghosts and legends associated with them. The exhibited works cover a wide range of ghosts and creatures of various cultural and religious folklore and is a truly memorable experience. Even if the installations are made of wax or synthetic cotton, I would advise against touching them… you never know.
12. The Interactive Museum
From scary to amusing, the step is short if you head to the Penang Interactive Museum! Although 3D museums are the norm in many places, what makes this museum special is the deep atmosphere of Penangite of the “exhibits”. The motto of the museum is to “rediscover Penang”, so many of the exhibited objects convey just that. Want to be fed a giant prawn from a giant bowl of smoked salmon? Or maybe you’d like to try Teh Tarik? Maybe you could even dream of a cup of coffee with the head of the Minister of Penang? Regardless of what you like, the Penang Interactive Museum is definitely a fun place for family and friends and, no doubt, when you leave you will be satisfied with the experience.
13. Pinang Peranakan Museum
The Pinang Peranakan Museum is housed in a renovated Peranakan palace from the 1900s. The museum houses exhibitions of many instruments and lifestyles of Baba and Nyonya, important communities in Penang, Malacca and Singapore, in their past. It’s a truly magical experience and many visitors say they feel like they’re back in time when they cross the threshold of the villa. The museum is also the location of the 2008 Singapore drama, The Little Nyonya.
14. The Gravityz
The new attraction of Penang is called The Gravityz and is actually a rope course challenge. What makes it different from other similar challenges is that it is 239 meters high, which makes it the highest challenge in the world. The Gravityz is located on the 65th floor of The Top, Menara Komtar in Georgetown and in total offers six obstacles that surely give an adrenaline rush and push to exceed your limits. This platform for extreme sports at high altitude is designed to encourage you to jump out of your comfort zone to experience one of the most fantastic thrills you’ll ever experience in your life. You will enjoy a bird’s eye view as you try to overcome all six obstacles that are divided on the sides of the building: Safety path; High bench; A large bridge; X-Point; Z-wire and G-Rocky. In short, you need to cross bridges high up in the open air, strap yourself to a flying fox, balance on the side of the building while leaning sideways and much more. Scary but extremely exciting!
15. Penang Botanical Gardens
The Botanical Garden of Penang may not be what it was a couple of decades ago, but it is still a beautiful public park, ideal for a nice walk on a breezy afternoon. The gardens were originally created in 1880 by an old quarry site. It contains lush green tropical forests and is generally a place of tranquility and peace. The Department of Botanical Gardens in Penang regularly launches programs to educate visitors about the park’s cultural history and the rich diversity of the flora and fauna collection. The garden fauna include long-tailed macaques, dusky leaf monkeys, black giant squirrels as well as many insects and butterflies. And if that was not enough, there is a waterfall in the park that you can visit by making arrangements with the Penang authorities, because the park is public but the waterfall is a private property.
16. ENTOPIA Butterfly Farm
Entopia is much more than a park with tropical butterflies although there are about 13.000 of these fluttering beauties that are part of about 120 species that move freely around the outdoor gardens, designed specifically for this. Ideal for a family visit, you will also be able to see and learn all kinds of insects and invertebrates as you simply turn this big green maze.
17. ESCAPE Theme Park
Probably one of the newest outdoor tourist attractions in Penang, the ESCAPE theme park opened its doors in 2012 and is still a relatively disguised gem, even among locals. The theme park is located near Entopia Penang Butterfly Farm and is surrounded by lush vegetation. This family-friendly outdoor adventure park offers many exciting activities including tower climbing, freefall, balance beam walk and much more. A new exciting attraction is waiting for you at Penang’s ESCAPE theme park and it is the world’s longest water slide. It is 1 kilometre long and it is the new Guinness World Record because the old holder of this record is located in Vernon, New Jersey at 0.6 km long. Thrill-seekers will be chairlifted to a height of 420m to the top of the hill to get to the starting point of the slide. Lots of fun for everybody!
18. Penang National Park
The Penang National Park is instead the smallest national park in the world. That said, its area of 2.5 hectares contains a rich diversity of habitats. Here you can enjoy lovely lakes, wetlands, mangrove plantations, coral reefs and even turtle nesting beaches. And if you’re up to the challenge, there are several challenging trekking routes around the park that will test your courage. Survive and you will be rewarded with stunning views. You can also access some pristine beaches by boat!
19. Hiking Penang Hill
Also known as Bukit Bendera in Malay, Penang Hill is one of Penang’s best attractions and one of the nicest (the temperature is literally cooler at the top of the hill). One of Bukit Bendera’s main attractions is the funicular to the top of the hill. It takes only 5 minutes, but if you are one who loves the embrace of nature, you can also choose to climb on foot. In any case, you will be surrounded by lush vegetation and fresh air rich in mint flavor. The top of the hill has some restaurants, a souvenir shop, a temple, a bird sanctuary and a mosque. Personally, I recommend waiving the restaurants there. It’s not that they’re not good enough, it’s just that the top of Penang Hill has many great picnic spots, so if you have the time, definitely opt for that.
20. Unbelievable Sunset
It would be a shame not to mention even one of the many beaches on the island. But even if I struggle to choose one, I can only talk about Batu Ferringhi. Its pristine sandy beaches and the variety of water activities mean that visitors always choose this beach. And if you’re the one who does not like being in the sun, you’ll still appreciate the idea of lounging on a beach with a frozen cocktail in hand. Believe me when I say that watching the sunset on the beach of Batu Ferringhi is just one of those things that moves you inside. And then it will be a memory that will never leave you.
Where to stay
G Hotel Kelawai is the sister hotel of the G Hotel Gurney and is just within 5 minutes walking distance away from each other, both located at Gurney Drive area. A brilliant feature of G Hotels is that you can access all the services and privileges of both hotels. The 208-room G-Hotel Kelawai is the place where the iconic design and the avant-garde lifestyle create the conditions for an exclusive and extraordinary stay. The appeal of the hotel is more based on privacy and exclusivity than the G Hotel Gurney.
Guests can enjoy the most precious modern luxury, more precisely peace and quiet, even if you are in the lively city of Penang. This is a charming hotel with a modernity suffused in terms of bold and innovative approach and design. Visitors will find designer furniture everywhere, from the lobby to the functional and hotel rooms. G Hotel Kelawai offers 3 on-site dining options, each with a different atmosphere. There’s the Spoon Café, a great all-day dining option that serves a variety of fresh food from all over the world. The 2PM Lounge has an option for outdoor dining, perfect for afternoon tea.
At the hotel’s pool bar, you can stop for a nice drink as well as at the Gravity, rooftop bar that spectacular views aside, the real deal here is the myriad of mouthwatering shots prepared by well-trained mixologists. Just enjoy the outdoor pool, 24-hour fitness center, steam bath and pool loungers to complete a great stay in Georgetown. Located on the 24th floor, G Hotel Kelawai Executive Lounge offers incredible views of Georgetown. The space is perfect for business meetings or simply for relaxing with a glass of wine.