Penang holidays take you to the exotic Pearl of the Orient. Famed for its silky smooth sand beaches and for being the delicious food capital of Malaysia, it’s quickly becoming a number one ch0ice for travellers searching for rich history among heavenly landscapes. Stretching along the country’s northwest coast, Penang is a true heritage maze. Discover eclectic art scenes, UNESCO World Heritage sites, and tropical gardens all in one place.
Holidays in Penang usually conjure ideas of bustling vendors selling street food favourites to hungry locals. Foodies will be tantalised by every corner of colonial George Town. Traditional Malay, Chinese and Indian dishes come together to create a delicious fusion of what’s now fondly described as the best street food in all of Asia. From five in the morning until two at night, get lost in the hustle and bustle of vendors dishing up sizzling local favourites at the famous Hawker Fares. Taste age-old family recipes and old-fashioned cooking styles in open-air centres - but be sure to grab a seat first as the street food here attracts crowds of people at all times of the day.
Holidays in Penang: a world of heritage
Visiting Penang offers much more than delicious food and beautiful beaches. A captivating fusion of eastern and western influences have created the well-preserved George Town, where colonial traditions have made their way through time. There are bounds of culture to explore in this UNESCO World Heritage site - around 1,700 buildings with a long and illustrious history behind them. To pack in as much as you can, go on one of the many Heritage Trails through George Town and discover the remnants left behind by the British and other past dwellers.
Southeast Asia is famed for its exotic jungles and old rainforests – and Penang is no exception. Visit The Habitat, a 130 million year old rainforest that has been meticulously preserved and is an entire world in itself. Start on a guided journey along the Nature Trail and discover hundreds of intriguing creatures, including collared owls and the blue Malayan coral snake. At the top of Penang Hill, take in an astonishing 360 degree view from the highest viewing point in Penang.
For a quieter pace of life and a closer look at untouched nature, head to Balik Pulau. Over 17,000 hectares of land and blankets of lusciously green hills lead to charming towns and heritage buildings. Spend your days picking up local goods at the antique shophouses. Pick orchards during high season or ride a pony among pretty white picket fences and colourful trees.
Holidays in Penang are perfect for explorers, families and sol0 travellers alike. Discover this culinary haven set within ancient rainforests for an unforgettable holiday.
Great sample itineraries
Browse our expertly planned itineraries below for inspiration on your next Penang multi-centre holiday.
Malaysia Tour From Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur, Pangkor Laut and Penang Multi Centre
Our favorite hotels
Our experts have carefully curated a list of our top hotels in Penang, from rustic boutiques set in beautiful surroundings to five star resorts. Browse our favourite places to stay.
Shangri-La's Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa
Eastern & Oriental Hotel, Penang
Golden Sands Resort by Shangri-La
George Town after dusk
With its ornate shop houses and buildings on stilts over the water, Penang's capital, George Town, has a distinct Chinese flavour and no visit to Penang is complete without a visit. Named after King George III, George Town is a window to the sights, sounds and scents of this fascinating part of the world; its architecture offers an intriguing fusion of colonial-fronted residential buildings with modern, commercialised high-rises, and the people prove that George Town is a charming heritage jewel.
Batu Ferringhi Night Market
Batu Ferringhi is a famous Pasar Malam night market and is an extremely popular attraction in Penang. At night, Batu Feringghi comes alive with the bustle of the market vendors selling everything from clothing and fake designer handbags, to local crafts, souvenirs and artwork. Throughout the market, there are plenty of hawker stalls selling tasty local delicacies. The night market is within walking distance from most of our hotels in Penang and a great way to spend your evening. Don't be afraid to haggle while you're there and you could grab yourself a bargain
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“Walk through the tree tops at the Langur Way Canopy Walk - it’s the highest public viewing spot at 13 metres and you’ll get incredible 360 degree views of Penang.”
“Penang isn’t known as a gourmet’s paradise for nothing. Go on a food trail and sample different local delicacies as you walk around George Town. It’s a great way to experience the cultural and culinary delights of Penang.”
Events & Festivals
Festivals and events are wonderful to include during your Penang holiday, offering a glimpse into the country’s authentic culture and traditions.
Celebrated every year, usually between mid January to mid February, the Malaysian Hindu community put on a colourful, vibrant and chaotic Thaipusam Festival to honour the deity Lord Murugan. It’s an extraordinary festival in Penang, with coconut-smashing rituals and the decorated statue of Lord Murugan being carried through the streets.
Chinese New Year
Penang is a top place to be during the Chinese New Year and it’s famous for taking celebrations onto the streets. Expect daily parades, dragon dances, loud fireworks and lots of drinking and eating. Don’t miss out on the beautiful annual lantern festival on the last day of Chinese New Year, where families get together and illuminate their handmade lanterns under a full moon.
Eid Al Fitr
Eid Al Fitr is a vibrant Muslim festivity that celebrates the completion of the month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset every day. Enjoy the many street parties and open houses dishing up local favourites - these are open to everyone and it’s a great way to meet locals and take part in the celebrations
Diwali, the colourful Festival of Lights, happens on the darkest night in the kartik month in the Hindu calendar. The Hindu community take to the streets with spectacular light displays and exploding firecrackers.
Get a flavour of the local culture through your palate during your Penang holiday. Here are a few of our favourite experiences.
Penang is known as a gourmet paradise and you’ll soon see why. The local cuisine here fuses fragrant Malaysian and Indian spices with spicy Chinese flavours to create delicious plates that burst with fresh and aromatic ingredients. Local staples include oyster omelettes, curry mee and the unrivalled Penang laksa.
Char koay teow
Try the local favourite char koay teow - a smoky flavoured signature dish of rice noodles, prawns and crunchy bean sprouts that you’ll find a version of on every corner.
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The Hayes & Jarvis Way
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