When it comes to places to visit in Penang, the options are as diverse as the cultural heritage.
From a mansion that has appeared in famous and award-winning films, streets decorated with street arts, serene temples and churches, pristine beaches and magnificent buildings, Penang is full of attractions waiting to be discovered.
Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, a romantic couple, a happy family, or a lone ranger simply seeking Penang’s charm, this is your guide to the top 20 Penang attractions or tourist spots that promise a journey worth exploring.
Table of Contents
Top 20 Penang Attractions: Arranged in Regions
I categorised all the best Penang tourist spots into different regions for your easier read.
1. Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion
2. Pinang Peranakan Mansion
3. Penang Street Arts
4. Penang Hill
5. The Habitat Penang Hill
6. Batu Feringghi Beach
7. Penang Town Hall
8. Penang National Park
9. Penang Botanic Garden
10. The TOP Theme Park
11. Suffolk House
12. Clan Jetties
13. Minor Basilica of St. Anne
14. Robina Beach
15. Tow Boo Kong Temple
16. Cat Beach Sanctuary
17. ESCAPE Penang
18. Entopia Butterfly Farm
19. Penang War Museum
20. Kek Lok Si Temple
1. Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion (The Blue Mansion) | Georgetown
Did you know that this iconic mansion has captured the film industry’s attention?
Because of its timeless appeal, it was a prominent location for an Academy Award-winning film, Indochine, and the picturesque setting for the mahjong scene in a 2018 film, Crazy Rich Asians!
Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, also called The Blue Mansion, is one of the must-visit Penang attractions. This architectural majesty mansion is an 18-room boutique hotel that has been called the “most atmospheric Chinese hotel that isn’t in China”.
Beyond that, this mansion serves as a cultural and educational hub, offering two guided tours daily that delve into the mansion’s history, architecture, and the life of Cheong Fatt Tze himself.
Each tour takes a maximum of 35 people, and I highly recommend you book online to avoid delays or disappointments.
During the tour, only some parts of the mansion are accessible to guard the hotel guests’ privacy. In order to experience the most out of the mansion, you can have a classic cocktail at the bar, enjoy a meal at their restaurant, Indigo, or recharge with refreshments at Cafe Mangga.
You will be filled with amazement! But don’t forget to take some pictures.
|Operating Hours||Monday – Friday (11:00 AM and 2:00 PM)|
2. Pinang Peranakan Mansion | Georgetown
Pinang Peranakan Mansion is a Penang tourist spot replete with vibrant history. This absolutely beautiful house was built in the 1800s for the rich Chinese.
Now, it has turned into a museum.
This historical gem offers a time capsule into the Peranakan community, also known as the Straits Chinese, and a glimpse into the community’s lavish taste.
There are many masterpieces and rare antiques from over 200 years ago in this mansion that showcase the fusion of Chinese, Malay and European influences.
Among them are the dazzling kingfisher blue jewellery and the meticulously crafted pieces of furniture.
If you are a history enthusiast, this is definitely one of the places to visit in Penang.
|Operating Hours||Monday – Sunday (9:30 AM – 5:00 PM)|
Children (6-12 yrs): RM 12.00
Junior Children (below 6): Free
Scheduled tours are available in English and Mandarin.
3. Penang Street Arts | Georgetown
I’m sure that, for the locals, the first thing that comes to mind when discussing places to visit in Penang is the street arts.
Penang Street Arts has not only transformed the city’s walls into canvases but also breathed life into its streets as one of the best Penang attractions.
The highlight of Penang Street Arts is the playful element of a treasure hunt.
The paintings are scattered and hidden in narrow alleys and unexpected corners. This element of surprise adds a fun angle to the exploration as each turn presents the possibility of stumbling upon a hidden masterpiece.
If you are tired of walking, you can rent a trishaw, bicycle or e-scooter. The surrounding streets also offer refreshing juices and ice creams for you to recharge.
|Operating Hours||Monday – Friday (24 hours)|
4. Penang Hill | Georgetown
Penang Hill, or Bukit Bendera, is another Penang tourist spot for a magnificent birds-eye view of Penang.
There are two ways to get to the top.
The most popular and convenient way is by riding the iconic funicular train. The train only takes less than 10 minutes to reach the top.
To add to its uniqueness, the funicular tunnel’s track is the steepest in the world and the longest in Asia.
The lines can get pretty hectic during the weekend and peak travel seasons. I recommend purchasing the Fast Lane tickets for an extra RM10 to skip the queue.
If you fancy the old-fashioned way of climbing hills, you can also embark on a one-hour hike. If you get tired midway, you can stop at the middle station to catch the train.
Besides enjoying Penang’s stunning panoramic views, you can also fasten your love lock on the fence with your loved ones. You can purchase a love lock on-site or bring your own.
After exploring, rest your legs at Kopi Hutan, the highest cafe in Penang. This is where you can enjoy a good cup of coffee and delicious cakes surrounded by trees and fresh air.
While the cafe serves a fairly small menu, it’s still worth a visit for its peaceful vibe. For animal lovers, watch for rare animals such as cheeky, dusky leaf monkeys, giant black squirrels and flying lemurs.
For the best experience, please come as early as possible. The earlier you come, the better, as there will be fewer lines, fewer people and less heat.
The prices for the train are as below.
|Operating Hours||Monday – Friday (6:30 AM and 11:00 PM)|
Children (4 – 12): RM6
Senior Citizens (60+): RM6
5. The Habitat Penang Hill | Georgetown
The Habitat Penang Hill is located inside the Penang Hill.
If you’re having some intense weeks, come by this tranquil rainforest and have a nature walk in this famous Penang tourist spot within a Penang attraction.
A symphony of nature’s beauty will surround you. The sound, colours and smells are a refreshing retreat from the stressful city life.
This is a wondrous and special place on Earth as you may spot rare wildlife along the trails, such as giant flying red squirrels, langur monkeys, the Penang gecko and various butterflies.
|Operating Hours||Monday – Friday (9:0 AM and 7:00 PM)|
6. Batu Feringghi Beach | Georgetown
Batu Feringghi Beach is one of the places to visit in Penang with family. You will enjoy a stunning view of the sunset, and the beach is one of the most pristine you will see.
This beach is a playground for tourists and locals to have fun and food by the calm waters. There are water sports and many beachside restaurants and cafes too.
Moreover, there is no loud music or crazy bar scene, making it an ideal place to hang out or date while admiring the beautiful skies.
|Operating Hours||Monday – Friday (24 hours)|
7. Penang Town Hall | Georgetown
Penang Town Hall is not just a visual delight for tourists and locals alike but also a great reflection of Penang’s heritage and history, making it one of the must-visit Penang attractions.
Scenic landscapes surround this majestic old colonial building, ideal for an evening stroll. It has a park in front, the sea, a small park with seating on one side, and a fountain on the other.
Penang Town Hall has never failed to provide a great background for some snapshots. That’s why it has been featured in many local and foreign movies.
|Operating Hours||Monday – Sunday (8:00 AM – 8:00 PM)
Saturday (11:00 AM – 8:00 PM)
8. Penang National Park | Georgetown
Penang National Park is one of the highly recommended Penang attractions you should visit if you seek outdoor adventure. It is also an ideal place to explore nature and be away from crowded cities and people for a while.
The most popular trail is the trek to Monkey Beach, a favourite spot for picnics among the mesmerising blend of sandy shores and lush greenery. You can go there by hiking or riding a boat.
If you hike, you’ll experience a serene walk accompanied by many natural sounds and sights, such as the sound of cicadas and streams of flowing rivers.
For me, at least, it’s perfect to clear your mind.
|Operating Hours||Monday – Sunday (8:0 AM – 5:00 PM)|
Children (Age 3-12) = RM5
Children (Age less than 3) = Free
Senior Citizen: Free
9. Penang Botanic Gardens | Georgetown
Another Penang tourist spot you should visit is Penang Botanic Garden. It is another green lung in Penang, great for a morning stroll or evening walk.
The gardens are spacious, with a lot of greenery and heritage trees from all over the world. The flowers are also a sight to behold, as well as the lotus ponds.
For the curious folks, most trees and plants are labelled well with their scientific names. There are also many smaller parks inside the main garden, such as a fern house and bamboo park.
Wildlife like monkeys, birds, and monitor lizards can also be spotted beside trees and plants. Benches and gazebos are also present for you to catch your breath and rest your legs.
|Operating Hours||Monday – Sunday (6:30 AM – 7:00 PM)|
10. The TOP Theme Park | Georgetown
The TOP Theme Park is one of the best places to visit in Penang for families looking for a fun outing. There are tons of things to do.
You can visit the Top View for a magnificent birds-eye view of Penang, especially at night. You can also bring your kids to step into different worlds.
The Jurassic Park, the Boutique Aquarium and the indoor playground are great places to encourage creativity and learning with playing. This theme park promises a wealth of amazement and knowledge for all ages.
|Operating Hours||Monday – Sunday (10:00 AM – 10:00 PM)
Tuesday (10:00 AM – 7:00 PM)
Child (90cm – Age 12), Senior Citizen (60 years old & above) & OKU: RM55
11. Suffolk House | Georgetown
Suffolk House is another one of the famous Penang attractions for delightful culinary. Built in 1805, the mansion was the residence of Francis Light, the founder of Penang, and was later restored into a restaurant and event venue in 2007.
When stepping into Suffolk House, you will be greeted with an elegant ambience and nice music that transports you into the old colonial times. It is suitable for a romantic, quiet and cosy tea time.
|Operating Hours||Monday – Sunday (11:00 AM – 11:00 PM)|
|Prices||On the menu|
12. Clan Jetties | Georgetown
If you want to feel the village vibe like the old days, Clan Jetties is one of the places to visit in Penang that cannot be skipped.
It is an amazing experience for you to observe a unique way of life in such a beautiful environment. The unique housing also adds to the scenery.
It can be really hot some days, but don’t worry, there are refreshers sold there.
|Operating Hours||Monday – Friday (9:00 AM and 9:00 PM)|
13. Minor Basilica of St. Anne (St. Anne Church) | Bukit Mertajam
This architecturally unique Roman Catholic church in Penang is another Penang tourist spot you should visit. It was originally a chapel on top of a hill.
New buildings have been added and are now a large complex consisting of a new church, a square, a visitor’s centre, a community centre, walking paths and statues scattered across.
The facility is huge and is simply beautiful. It has a very special vibe and appeal you must feel for yourself.
During the night, St. Anne’s church stood elegantly and majestically for how well-lighted it is.
St. Anne is also Malaysia’s only Minor Basilica church. Minor Basilicas are churches to which the Holy Father, Pope Francis, has given a special designation!
Reasons for bestowing this designation may be given for architectural beauty, historical significance, liturgical renown, or any combination of these qualities. For this church, it is about the harmony that exudes from this place.
Among all the Penang attractions, St. Anne’s architectural majesty will most likely inspire awe in you.
|Operating Hours||Monday – Friday (6:00 AM – 9:00 PM)|
14. Robina Beach | Butterworth
Hidden away from the bustling city, this gem is one of the best places to visit in Penang for a relaxing and chill getaway.
You can admire the beautiful sunset while listening to the waves slowly crashing to the shore and the sea breeze blowing gently to your face. It is the perfect Penang tourist spot to soothe your mind and soul.
|Operating Hours||Monday – Friday (24 hours)|
15. Tow Boo Kong Temple | Butterworth
Tow Boo Kong Temple is also known as the Nine Emperor Gods Temple. It is considered one of the best places to visit in Penang for its beauty and extensively decorated temple with detailed carvings.
Coming in the evening when the lanterns are lit up is highly recommended for a more unforgettable experience.
|Operating Hours||Monday – Sunday (6:00 AM – 11:00 PM)
Friday (6:00 AM – 11:30 PM)
16. Cat Beach Sanctuary | Tanjung Bungah
This is not the typical Penang tourist spot, but if you want to enjoy a spectacular sunset with lovely furballs by your side, head on to the Cat Beach Sanctuary.
Be prepared for your heart to be melted away by the many free-roaming rescued kittens and cats found here.
The cats are generally friendly and welcoming. Some even self-invited themselves to be showered with your love.
And sometimes, all you need for a travel companion is adorable kittens.
Don’t be surprised to see some cats in cages because they are only caged to recover from sickness and injury or are traumatised by their previous experiences on the street.
This sanctuary’s operations are dependent on donations. So it will be good for you to buy something there to support and help their cause.
|Operating Hours||Monday – Sunday (8:00 AM – 8:00 PM)
Saturday (11:00 AM – 8:00 PM)
17. ESCAPE Penang | Tanjung Bungah
ESCAPE Penang is another one of the best places to visit in Penang. It’s an exciting place to bond with your families and friends over shared adventures.
It is the number 1 theme park in Malaysia.
Not surprised, as they have the Guinness World Record for the longest tube water slide of 1.1 meters!
ESCAPE Penang also offers more than 30 wet and dry activities catering to various abilities. These include a high ropes course, zip lines, water slides, climbing towers, ski slopes and kid-friendly attractions.
Your day will be full of thrilling adventures, so rest well the night before.
|Operating Hours||Monday (Closed)
Tuesday – Sunday (10:00 AM – 6:00 PM)
|Prices||Future Kid (0 – 3): FREE
Junior Kid (4 – 12): RM103.23*
Big Kid (13 – 60): RM155.31*
Super Kid (61 – 100+): FREE
18. Entopia Butterfly Farm | Tanjung Bungah
Entopia is a unique sanctuary to immerse yourself in the mesmerising and colourful world of butterflies, making it one of the famous Penang attractions.
It is one of the largest butterfly gardens in Malaysia!
Approximately, there are 15,000 free-flying butterflies at one time, consisting of up to 60 species. In addition to the butterflies, you will encounter a wide variety of insects and reptilians, including snakes, lizards and beetles.
The garden also showcases more than 200 species of plants alongside waterfalls, ponds, caves and other artistic garden features.
Other than just exploring, they also have a lot of activities like butterfly release sessions and “touch a bug” experience.
|Operating Hours||Monday – Sunday (9:00 AM – 5:00 PM)
19. Penang War Museum | Batu Maung
Penang War Museum is not a typical museum. This is a fortress-turned-historical site, not a newly built building with air conditioners and antiques encased in glass like other museums.
The British built it in the 1930s as their military fort and prison. In this famous Penang tourist spot, you can learn a lot about the war’s history and the prisoners’ experiences in a well-presented and engaging manner.
You can also experience the thrill of climbing tall ladders through dark tunnels.
Besides, you will have the chance to see walls with bullet holes, a picture of a bayonet victim, bunkers, lock-ups, office spaces, gallows, escape routes, artillery emplacements, and many more.
For history junkies and curious folks, this museum is one of the best Penang attractions. There will also be night tours if you would like some eerie goosebumps.
Personal advice: Don’t forget to apply mosquito repellent!
|Operating Hours||Monday – Sunday (9:00 AM – 6:00 PM)|
|Prices||Malaysian adult & foreigner with PR or work permit: RM15
Malaysian child & foreigner with PR: RM7.50
Adult foreigner without PR or work permit: RM30
A child is defined as 5 – 12 years old.
20. Kek Lok Si Temple | Air Itam
Kek Lok Si Temple is a famous Penang tourist spot. “Kek Lok” means “Supreme Bliss” in Hokkien, and “Si” translates to “temple” in Mandarin.
This name reflects the temple’s primary purpose: to provide a place of spiritual solace and enlightenment. Therefore, this sprawling Buddhist temple complex is also known as ”The Temple of Supreme Bliss.”
Although this temple is a spiritual sanctuary, it is also an architectural marvel that attracts visitors from around the globe. You will be impressed by how grand and huge this temple is.
It is a maze of highly decorated halls, soaring tall pagoda towers and serene gardens.
There are also many breathtaking golden Buddha statues, millions of magnificent images of Buddha, and hundreds of beautiful detailed carvings, sculptures and murals in the interior and exterior of the temple halls, pagodas and archways.
There is also a pond full of cute turtles.
Since the temple is located on a hill overlooking Air Itam, your journey will be completed with spectacular views.
|Operating Hours||Monday – Sunday (8:30 AM – 5:30 PM)|
To sum it up, Penang is a treasure trove of experiences, offering attractions that span history, natural wonders and romantic locations. I hope this guide is valuable and will light your way to your perfect adventure.