On our trip to Malaysia, one of the destinations we were planning to visit was Penang Island and especially the Georgetown area. So when we were planning, we decided to stay for three days (two nights) in Penang as well. If you are planning to visit Malaysia soon remember to save at least a couple of days to explore Penang as well. We had to cover a lot of things during our two-day stay in a rush. So if you are making travel plans add a couple of days to explore Penang in a relaxed mode as well.
Penang is a beautiful island belonging to Malaysia. There are several different ways to arrive in Penang from Kuala Lumpur.
- Plane - 1 hr
- Train - 4 hr
- Bus - 6hr
If you prefer you can take a flight to Penang. Penang has an international airport. If you are in Kuala Lumpur you can of cause take a flight from KLIA to Penang International Airport. As per my understanding, it would take around an hour to travel from KLIA to Penang International Airport. That would be the quickest and easiest option. But the cost is higher compared to the other options. So if you are coming outside of Malaysia you can search for flights to Penang and book them. It might be less costly than you booking an air ticket as a separate journey. There are local airlines operating between KLIA and Penang so check for those as well since the cost will be lesser in those.
Another option would be to take the KTM ETS Express train. This option would be less costly than booking air tickets and of course, it will take more time to travel. When we were checking for these options the ticket price per person was around 85 MYR. The travel time was around 4 hours (this might change where you are starting the journey). Since I was in the KL Sentral area the train station was close by and within walking distance. The train station that you need to take a ticket is to Butterworth train station. So when booking the tickets keep that in mind as well. From Butterworth station, you must take a Taxi, Bus, or ferry to Penang Island.
As per our schedule, we were planning to go to Penang on the second day of our tour (The day after we arrive in Malaysia). So since the dates were confirmed I tried to do the train ticket booking online even before going to Malaysia. But I was so unlucky there. All tickets have been sold and no tickets were available to be purchased. So I thought to check for an alternative option after going to Malaysia and that was a huge mistake that we did.
When we arrived in Malaysia we checked for possible options to go to Penang. We went to the KTM train station as well to see if there is any possibility to get a ticket. But it wasn't successful. So we had to look for other options. Another main option was to go there by bus. There were Luxury buses going from KL to Penang. But for some reason, those buses which were scheduled in the morning had been booked and no seats were available. There was a bus scheduled at around 2.30 PM. Without hesitation, we booked two seats. So get the bus we had to go to Kuala Lumpur, TBS (TerminalBersepaduSelatan). We did the booking via EasyBook Application. It was super easy to make the reservation. The bus ticket cost per person was MYR 55. So after doing the booking we arrived at the Bus Station and waited for the bus. The destination of the bus was Penang, Penang Sentral (Butterworth) bus station. After the bus arrived at the station we got into the bus and the journey started. Most of the time bus travel on highways. After traveling for around 2hrs or 3hrs the bus stopped at a service area where the bus waited for around 10-15 minutes. Sitting inside the bus for 6 continuous hours was the hard part of this journey. Around 9 PM we were able to arrive at Penang Bus station. Then we booked a Grab taxi from there to go to the hotel that we booked.
The hotel we booked was OYO 998 Queen City Hotel. It is located in Georgetown.Booking.com
We did the booking via Booking.com. We selected that because it was quite close to the places that we were planning to visit. After arriving at the hotel we were able to check in successfully and we were shown the room. But it was not what we had in our minds. We didn't expect a luxury hotel room. But this place was not worth the money. The room was not that clean as well as the bathroom was. Since we didn't have any other option we stayed there. We didn't have anything after lunch we had on the way to Penang. So we were really hungry. But we were not sure whether any shops would be open to purchase food since it was past 10 PM. We asked the hotel for any close by location to have some food. They directed us to a nearby street and it seemed like a street with street food. It was a busy place and we bought a Char Keow Teow and Fried Rice to eat. It was the first time we had Char Keow Teow and it was a good experience to try it. After having dinner we directly headed to the hotel since we were so much tired from the day. So we called it a day and headed for a good night's sleep.
The next day was the main part of our journey. We had planned a lot of things to cover during our two-day stay. But due to some traveling issues we had, we had to revisit our plan. So we changed the plan and kept only a few places to visit during our stay in Georgetown. So we got up early and started visiting the places.
Georgetown is a world heritage city named by UNESCO. It truly is a beautiful city. It has a lot of things that are inherited from the colonial era. The architecture of the buildings reminds us of the colonial era. Georgetown is just one city in Penang. But due to time constraints, we got time only to visit Georgetown.
Georgetown has some iconic places that tourists visit. So whenever tourists visit Georgetown they have them in their travel plan. So similarly we were also planning to visit the same places. Georgetown has wall paintings spread throughout the city in different places. So what travelers do is find those places on maps and go to them and take pictures with them. So we also did a Google search and found the locations and started walking towards them. These paintings are on different streets so it would be really easy if you use a map to find those.
Another significant place that most tourists visit is the Georgetown Fire Station.
A thing that we noticed was the restaurants and shops in Georgetown were not open til 10 AM or so (at least during the period we stayed there). We couldn't find a place to have breakfast before that time on both days.
Another place that tourists visit is the Chew Jetty.
After visiting the Chew Jetty we had our breakfast in a nearby small restaurant. There also we had the Char Keow Teow for breakfast with some juice.
After having breakfast we continued the street paintings hunt again. By around 12 PM we were so tired. It was a sunny day there and since we walked since morning we felt so tired. So we decided to stop the wall paintings hunt and go to the next destination. That was the Upside Down Museum.Booking.com
Upside Down Museum is located in Georgetown and many tourists and locals go there. That place has really good backgrounds created to take upside-down photos. It's like in that building they have different rooms with different backgrounds. So we have to take photos in one room and move to the other likewise. Each room has supporting personnel and they tell us how to pose. Then they take photos from our cameras or from their ones. They really do their job well. They know where exactly to stay and what exactly to pose. The lighting was also perfect for those photos. We really enjoyed it.
After that, we headed to a nearby restaurant to have lunch. After having lunch we planned to go to a nearby place to have dessert. We were planning to have the famous Cendol. Georgetown is famous for cendol and they have some iconic places for them as well. So we decided to go to the Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul. When we went there the place was so crowded. I had to wait in the queue to buy it. It was super tasty. It had a mix of rice noodles, ice cream, peas, and some coconutty flavor as well. Since we were full after lunch we bought just one Cendol so we could share. But after tasting it we felt like we could have bought two.
After having Cendol we decided to go back to the hotel since we were so tired after walking. So we took a Grab taxi from there to the hotel since we were a bit away from the hotel. After waiting another couple of hours at the hotel and charging our phones and other devices we decided to go back to the streets again. So checked for street foot markets nearby and headed to New Lane Street Food stalls. One thing we noticed and experienced it if you order a soup it comes in really big bowls.
In certain places, we felt like it was too much for two people as well. Then after that, we headed to the Chulia Street Night Hawker Stalls. That was also a street food market. After roaming around the streets we again headed back to the hotel. Again it was a so tiring day for us. So we quickly fell asleep and called it a day.
So the next day was the 3rd day that we were in Penang and we had to leave Penang as well in the evening. At this moment we felt like it would be great if we had another couple of days to stay there because there is a lot to explore in Penang.
Our train was scheduled to start from Butterworth station around noon and we arrived at the station around 11.30 AM. So we had to wait for some time there at the station. The train was a luxury train and it went to KL Sentral from Butterworth at around 4hrs.
The train has around 8-10 compartments in it and it's an electric train. It has a restaurant as well. So the train started the journey at the exact time and it was a really smooth journey. If we had the opportunity to come to Penang by train our journey could have been more successful and would have been really smooth. So around 4.30 PM or so we were able to arrive at KL Sentral and that marked the end of our journey to Penang and Georgetown. The places that we covered up might be fewer but we enjoyed it to the fullest. So it was a really memorable journey for both of us.
So as a summary here are some highlights from our visit.
- You won't be able to cover everything in 2 days.
- The easiest option for going and coming back from Penang would be by using the KTM ETS train. So book them in advance to avoid any travel issues.
- Use google maps or any other map application to find out the places to visit.
- Food is plenty in Georgetown. There are a lot of street food markets available
- Try the famous Cendol
Hope this would be helpful for you if you are planning to visit Georgetown during your next visit to Malaysia. As I have mentioned before the places that we got to visit were very few and Penang has a lot more to offer if you have more time. The area we covered was just one small town in Penang and the island has many more locations to travel including super beaches and forest reserves.
Here are some of the attractions provided through Klook travel passes.
Thanks a lot for reading.