Popular things to do in Penang
Penang has something for everyone, as it is home to beaches, tropical gardens, shopping malls and historical sites. The high-end Batu Ferringhi area should not be missed, as it is one of Penang Island’s top tourist spots. This Georgetown World Heritage site is a delight to explore, with its colonial architecture. It is a great place to enjoy water sports like windsurfing and parasailing, as well as for sightseeing, as there are a number of attractions in the area. Temples, viewpoints, great dining and unique Chinese heritage add to the mix.
The Kerian River flows through the southern part of Seberang Perai into the Straits of Melaka. The river is surrounded by berembang mangrove trees, which attracts hundreds of fireflies. A sunset riverboat cruise is a magnificent and romantic way to see the fireflies in action, lighting up the sky and creating some spectacular scenery. Riverboats leave from the jetty at the mouth of the river in the Nibong Tebal district, with tours often including a seafood dinner.
Georgetown is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage City, with tours of the cultural sights being extremely rewarding. Wandering around the historical area of the city is one of the most popular things to do on Penang Island, particularly for travellers that are interested not only in the history and culture of the country, but also for lovers of architecture. Armenian Street sits at the heart of the heritage zone, though one of the most impressive sites in the neighbourhood is the traditional Hakka–Teochew Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion that is on Leith Street. Other streets worth walking down include Love Lane, Pitt Street and Beach Road.
Tourists that are interested in some of Penang’s more natural scenery should be sure to go trekking and camping in the Penang National Park. The national park is the world’s smallest, spanning for just over 1,200 hectares. It is home to over 400 plant species and over 140 animal species, including snakes, monkeys, civets, monitor lizards and a plethora of birds. Part of the park is wetlands, which is home to some diverse flora and fauna, including rare pitcher plants, crustaceans and turtles. There also happens to be nine beaches within the park, all of which are undeveloped and quite beautiful. The parks trails leads to all of these beaches, most of which offer camping facilities. There are two main trails in the Penang National Park; one that goes to Teluk Duyung (Muka Head) and one that goes to Pantai Kerachut. The park also features a canopy walk that is suspended 15 metres above the ground over the rainforest. Taking the funicular to the top of Penang Hill affords great views of the island and places you in lush jungle.
Night owls will enjoy Penang’s nightlife, with most of the action taking place around Upper Penang Road. Everything from posh nightclubs to hole-in-the-wall bars can be found throughout Georgetown, some of which have dance music and others that feature live bands. Batu Ferringhi is another great place to enjoy a few drinks, as it boasts a few great beach bars and trendy lounges.
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