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How to Spend 1 Day in Penang

How to Spend 1 Day in Penang

Home to colonial architecture and some of the best street food in Asia, Penang’s charm is undeniable. The small size of Georgetown—the UNESCO World Heritage Site that serves as the island’s diverse cultural center—makes it easy to explore in just one day. Here’s what you need to know for the ultimate 1-day Penang itinerary.

Morning: Stir Penang’s Cultural Melting Pot

Dedicate the morning to discovering the diversity of Penang’s culture. Wake up early and embark on a morning sightseeing tour of Georgetown—traveling with a guide ensures you don’t get lost among attractions. Wander past the colorful colonial mansions; experience the sights and smells of Little India and Chinatown; and delve into the rich history of landmarks such as Pinang Peranakan Mansion and Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion. Walking tours typically reveal the iconic-yet-elusive street art scattered around Armenian Street and allow you to appreciate the finer details of Georgetown.

Afternoon: Head to the Hills

Devote the afternoon to exploring Penang Hill (Flagstaff Hill), where cooler temperatures provide a refreshing break from the downtown humidity. The 2,411-foot (735-meter) peak provides panoramic views of Georgetown, Penang Bridge, and the Straits of Malacca. You can access the hill via a challenging 2-hour hike—not ideal if you’re time-pressed—or via the funicular train. Waiting times for the funicular can reach two hours, so ensure you purchase a skip-the-line admission ticket in advance or visit as part of a guided tour, most of which stop at the spectacular Kek Lok Si Temple, the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia, and include round-trip transport.

Night: Food, Glorious Food

Now that you’ve worked up an appetite, spend the evening enjoying Penang’s famous food. Guided street food tours provide an easy way to make sense of the hundreds of stalls and dishes on offer and can be individually tailored. Immerse yourself in the bustle of hawker centers to sample local delicacies such as char kway teow (rice noodles with king prawns), hokkien mee (rich fish soup with roasted pork), and chenda l (shaved ice topped with coconut milk and red beans). Complete your day with a cocktail on Love Lane, stopping at one of the quirky yet cozy bars with live music.

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4 Tours and Activities

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Private Half-Day Penang Highlights City Tour

Private Half-Day Penang Highlights City Tour

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2
Penang, culinary wonderland and Malaysian cultural gem, has a wealth of hidden charms. Orient yourself and see the best of the city on a private 3.5-hour sightseeing tour, which covers Penang highlights such as Little India, Penang State Museum, and Kuan Ying Teng temple. Explore the colorful colonial mansions of Georgetown, a UNESCO-listed enclave, purchase street food staples such as ‘chendol’ (iced dessert) and char sui pork, and receive undivided attention from a private guide.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$51.29
Price varies by group size
From
$51.29
Price varies by group size

Half-Day Penang Hill and Kek Lok Si Temple Private Tour

Half-Day Penang Hill and Kek Lok Si Temple Private Tour

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Look down at George Town from a colonial-era hill station then explore fascinating Buddhist temples on a half-day, private tour to Penang Hill and Kek Lok Si Temple. With the personal service of a private guide throughout the tour, you’ll ride a funicular to the scenic hilltop, see a colorful blend of Buddhist architectural styles, and make good-luck wishes at the Fountain of Life. This 3.5-hour private tour includes pickup and drop-off at hotels in the George Town area, with all transport in a climate-controlled vehicle. Both morning and afternoon departures are available.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$69.24
Price varies by group size
From
$69.24
Price varies by group size

Penang Tour: Penang Hill and Kek Lok Si Temple

Penang Tour: Penang Hill and Kek Lok Si Temple

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9
Your private tour of Penang Hill and Kek Lok Si Temple, the Pagoda of Ten Thousand Buddhas, is guaranteed to be a memorable one. Take a trip on the funicular railway up Penang Hill and experience the beauty that surrounds you on this half-day tour. Your local guide will share insight and history about the stunning hill country, the city of Georgetown and distant mainland Malaysia, as well as background on one of Southeast Asia’s most incredible Buddhist temples—known for its seven-tiered pagoda.
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  • 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$67.12
From
$67.12

Georgetown Sightseeing Tour

Georgetown Sightseeing Tour

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5
Explore colonial history and heritage in Penang’s ancient capital city on this private 4-hour sightseeing tour in Georgetown. Take a scenic drive through downtown Georgetown with your private guide and admire the UNESCO–listed colonial architecture you find. Explore Fort Cornwallis’ mighty perimeter and learn of Captain Francis Light’s first landing in the 18th century. Visit Clan Jetty then head into the bustling Chinatown and Little India districts by trishaw, and visit the Chinese clan house of Khoo Kongsi.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$42.44
From
$42.44