If you haven’t been to Penang, you should.
It’s a fascinating island with a rich mix of culture, food and sightseeing.
Here are our tips for getting the most out of the island.
If you are taking a taxi from the airport to your accommodation, there are taxi counters at both the international and domestic arrivals.
The government recognised being ripped off by taxis was annoying for tourists and bad for island’s image so they established these counters for set price transfers.
One-way taxi fares from the airport are fixed and posted at taxi counters. Purchase a coupon at the taxi counter and proceed to the taxi stand outside the terminal.
Don’t be afraid to haggle for any other taxi trip. We started on $20 fares and had them down to under $10 by the end of our trip.
You can also hire a taxi for day tours, but once again don’t be afraid to negotiate the price.
2. Take tours
The number of attractions in Penang can be overwhelming. There is street art, astonishing architecture, and amazing street food, clan jetties – literally jetties where clans live – to say nothing of the natural environment.
Unless you are supremely confident in your own ability or have travelled there before, take a tour.
Don’t worry, there are oodles to choose from. Your hotel can organise one for you, or a quick online search should point you in the right direction.
3. Get moving
The two main tourist favourites on Penang are Georgetown and Batu Ferringhi.
Georgetown is the capital and the site of some of that fabulous architecture, food and street art. Its unique culture has landed the city a listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Batu Ferringhi is better known for its beach-side resorts, buzzing restaurants and massive night market.
Don’t deprive yourself by only staying in one area, and make sure you visit both during your stay.
4. Natural attractions
Penang National Park in the island’s northwest has a variety of walks from gentle strolls in less than an hour to challenging five-hour treks.
The park has more than 1000 species of plants and you may spot a monkey or two.
If you don’t feel like taking on the park on your own, guides are available.
And if you don’t feel like walking at all, boat ferries are available to take you to a choice of beaches.
If you fancy something a little more structured, Entopia is a massive nature complex that started life as a humble butterfly farm but now houses more than 150 species of fauna and more than 200 species of flora.
And the butterflies are still the stars of the show, with more than 15,000 free flying about the enclosures at any given time.
5. It’s hot
Penang’s average temperatures hover between 24-32°C all year around. That doesn’t sound too bad, but you must also factor in the humidity.
If you are planning a long day trip, always be sure to take some water with you and before you leave pack accordingly, which brings me to …
6. Dress sensibly
As part of Malaysia, Penang has a Muslim majority, so dress with respect.
Bathers and bikinis are acceptable around the pool in your accommodation, but do not wear anything skimpy in public.
Have you been to Penang? What did you enjoy about the island? Why not share your experience in the comments section below?