24 hours in Penang Georgetown, Malaysia

by Kelly

Georgetown, Penang was the perfect 24 hour stop over and did we ever try to pack in as much as possible! I was super keen to see the Georgetown street art, experience the much drooled over Penang food and just walk the city as much as we could.

How to get to Georgetown, Penang:

Flying into Penang, Malaysia is simple we went with Air Asia and they have tons of flights at different times of the day. The airport is a little older but it is undergoing a renovation so I’m looking forward to going back and seeing the updates.

Once you land you can book a grab to pick you up from the front doors, we crossed the first drive through pick up to the middle island and waited there, the Grab app is super quick and easy to use…and cheap! The best tip for getting around in Malaysia!

Driving from the airport to Georgetown:

The drive to Georgetown was about 30-40 minutes depending on the time of day and traffic, its really nice sitting back and seeing some of the city as you go, I really find that these drives are useful to get your bearings and to look out for landmarks that you can use when walking around later on. We also like to see if the driver can speak English and see if we can ask about a good restaurant or somewhere we should check out that isn’t mentioned in every guidebook or on Instagram. Sometimes it’s just nice to have a chat and find out what life is like for a local in the place you are visiting.

Georgetown Penang Malaysia

Penang Georgetown Hotel:

We decided to stay at Kim Haus Loft, it was really centrally located to the street art of Georgetown Penang and I loved the history of the building, which used to be an old goldsmith and has been converted in to a hotel. It has artifacts from the bygone era through out the building and multiple little common areas that have an industrial art style. All in all it is a super funky and affordable accommodation in Georgetown and I really recommend it.

We booked a basic private loft room. You could easily take a private room with shared bathroom if you want a little cheaper as I checked them out and they looked clean and maintained. The room was small but comfortable and honestly I was so happy with the that the size was not an issue. There is laundry facilities, washing machine and dryers located on the 4th and 5th floor which are free to use which is an added bonus.

You can also select to add breakfast to your stay, it was an extra AUD $1 each and was a selection of a half loaf of bread, eggs and toast or a croissant. We decided to add it as we had such little time that we wanted to make sure it was a quick morning and out the door to explore! The breakfast also came with serve yourself tea and coffee which was great, overall we are glad we added it on.

Penang Food:

Penang is well known for its food. It was the number one thing we had heard about before coming here. Even in the cab ride we were told how much we would love it and it definitely did not disappoint. When we eat out in a new place we always try to find where locals are eating, what looks really busy. We figure if the locals eat there it must be cheap and tasty! While walking around a shopping centre, we had to buy some hiking boots but more on that in another post! We stumbled on a crazily busy cafe jam packed with locals who were working nearby. There were stalls everywhere and the food was ridiculously cheap. We had chicken and rice and duck and rice and both were delicious. Check out this private half day Penang tasty local street food tour to find all the best spots!

At night we wandered Love Lane and Chulia Street which is full of restaurants and street vendors. We snacked from the vendors on the street and finding a little bar to sit and have a drink in while watching the action on the street. It was a really easy way to while away an evening!

What to do on Penang Island:

Penang Island has an array of activities for any type of traveller. Number one on the list of things has to be to experience Georgetown and if possible to stay there. There is so much on offer, Chulia Street and the incredible foods to try, the street art and the jetties. Check out this awesome Private Half-Day Historical City Tour shows you what you must see!

Georgetown Penang Street Art:

This is one of my favourite activities and probably where we spent most of our time. There is incredible street art on almost every corner of Georgetown. It is easy to walk across the area, just follow this map published by Penang Tourism. It has locations and some background history on each piece – Street Art Brochure

Here are some of our favourite pieces:

While walking around we found so many more pieces of art. It became quite busy and we found that waiting in line to take a photo was pretty time consuming. You can always double back or try going early morning or in the late afternoon to avoid the crowds.

There are great tours that show the history of Georgetown, our favourite is from Get Your Guide.

We also came upon some 3D art in the shopping centre we visited. of course Mike had to get involved. There is a trick museum in Penang if you would like to see a heap more of this interactive style art. You can find the info here: Penang Trick Art otherwise we found this display upstairs at the Komtar Shopping Centre.

The Clan Jetties:

The clan jetties in Georgetown are another attraction that are an interesting place to visit. We only had time to wander the Chew Jetty. It was pretty commercialised with lots of tourists and little shops selling bits and pieces. Definitely interesting to visit, next time I want to check out the other jetties. I think they may be a little more quiet. We arrived later in the afternoon and there less people than earlier in the day from what I understood. They offer some nice views out to the port and there is some street art to check out.

Penang Hill:

Penang Hill has to be one of the most beautiful places to visit in Georgetown. It is about a half hour drive so a Grab is going to be the best bet here. The top of the hill is accessed by the Penang Hill Railway. It leaves from its base station at Jalan Bukit Bendera, Air Itam.

The views over Penang are gorgeous. There are always activities happening there as well as hiking trails, nature walks, cultural and heritage buildings. Food and drinks are available at cafes and a really lovely restaurant at Strawberry Hill. The accommodation on Penang Hill is the Bellevue Hotel. A very small bungalow style hotel and looks really lovely. I am hoping to stay there for at least one night on our next visit (hint hint Mike!).

Seriously Penang Hill has so much on offer and really is a must visit in Penang. If you would like more info on what is happening there, A map of the area or just more details on what you can expect head to this website: Penang Hill

Top tips for visiting Penang Island:

I loved this city, Georgetown had so much to offer and I definitely have to come back. I became a little obsessed with the old buildings and the gorgeous colours that were everywhere. My tips are don’t miss Penang Hill, eat the local foods and walk around this city and absorb the culture.

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