What to Do & Where to Eat in Georgetown Penang

Georgetown Penang is one of the most creative and artistic places in the world. The whole area has been transformed into an open art gallery. Georgetown is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to “unique architectural and cultural townscape without parallel anywhere in East and Southeast Asia”. As you wander the streets, you’ll find murals and wired sculptures all over. You’ll also find colorful, fun streets full of umbrellas or other unique installments.

Now that I’ve started to convince you of how unique Georgetown is. Let’s get into what to do & where to eat in Georgetown, Penang. Read on, this full guide is just what you need.

How long to spend in Georgetown, Penang?

To really get a glimpse of Georgetown Penang, I’d recommend staying between 2-3 days. And longer if you want to explore the surrounding area. This will give you time to really see all that Georgetown has to offer as well as admire all the beautiful and ample artwork.

How to get to Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia

The easiest way is by hiring a taxi via Grab (the Malaysian version of Uber). Otherwise, you can rent a car. I use Discover Cars to find the best price (link to hire a car). All the great things to do in Georgetown, Penang are pretty accessible so you can really just walk around easily from spot to spot once you’ve made it to the Georgetown area.

💡Pro-Tip: When visiting Penang, be sure to get an e-sim card. It’s my best travel hack ever. No need for the hassle of buying a physical e-sim anymore! I use Airalo (click here to purchase online and install right away!).
🎨 If you don’t want the stress of exploring the area yourself then you can do a tour where you’ll learn about the history and be taken to some of the best spots! (Click here to book the tour)

Where to Stay in Georgetown, Penang

There are many great options near Georgetown and most are pretty affordable too!

Affordable Hotels in Georgetown

Luxury Hotels in Georgetown

Best Things to Do in Penang, Malaysia

1. Hunt for Street Art

Most people come to Georgetown just to see the amazing street art. You won’t be able to avoid it really and you won’t want to! I absolutely adored walking around and finding a new unique mural or sculpture to look at. In fact, I’ve published a separate blog post that lists my favorite street art to see! You can read about the best street art in Penang here.

2. Go to the Penang Georgetown Umbrella Street

This was definitely my favorite street to explore. I truly love umbrella streets and actually hunt for the best umbrella streets around the world constantly. The Penang umbrella street can be found on Armenian Street. You will also find a lot of the popular street art in Georgetown around here too!  

4. Visit the Central Fire Station

The Central Fire Station is the oldest fire station in Penang, Malaysia. It is 111 years old and got a makeover to attract tourists to wander by. The design is really stunning and along the side, you’ll find a lot of nice street art dedicated to the firefighters of Malaysia.

5. Eat amazing street food at the Hawker Stalls

Georgetown, Penang is a foodie destination so be sure to go to the many hawker markets around town. Hawker markets are basically food centers or open-air food courts. These markets are popular in Southeast Asia, including places like Penang, Singapore, and Malaysia. They offer more affordable food. I was able to dine for about $2 a meal and have a great portion-sized meal for cheap! Some of the must-visit hawker markets include Gurney Drive Hawker Centre, New Lane Hawker Centre, or Kimberley Street Night Market, Be sure to try local favorites like char kway teow and laksa, Hokkien Mee, and Cendo.

6. Stroll along Chew Jetty

Chew Jetty is the largest of the clan jetties, which are wooden waterfront settlements built on stilts along the coast. You can stroll along and see how the wooden homes were built. There are some great views all around and souvenir shops to visit too.

7. Explore Little India

Little India in Penang is a bustling neighborhood in George Town where you can find a glimpse of the Indian community. The streets are colorful, adorned with Indian architecture and street art. You can shop here for traditional clothing, spices, and handicrafts, as well as explore Hindu temples. Little India is also a food lover’s paradise, offering a wide range of Indian delicacies like banana leaf rice, roti canai, tandoori chicken, and masala dosa. Don’t miss the samosas at the food stall “Penang Famous Samosas.” They were delicious!

8. Admire the Pinang Peranakan Mansion

The Pinang Peranakan Mansion is a historical museum that showcases the heritage of the Peranakan Chinese community in the region. Also known as the “Baba-Nyonya,” the Peranakan Chinese are descendants of Chinese immigrants who married local Malays in the Straits Settlements of Southeast Asia, including Penang.

The mansion itself is an architectural gem and reflects the lifestyle of the Peranakan Chinese during the 19th century. It was originally the residence of Kapitan Cina Chung Keng Kwee, a wealthy Chinese merchant and community leader. The mansion was restored and opened to the public as a museum in 2004.

The mansion’s interior is filled with intricate woodwork, carved panels, and elaborate decorations, all of which exemplify the Peranakan aesthetic. The museum houses an extensive collection of artifacts, antiques, and heirlooms.

9. Check out the Quirky Museums

There are many quirky museums in Georgetown to explore.

1. The Upside Down Museum

As the name suggests, the Upside Down Museum features a collection of uniquely designed rooms where you can take upside-down photos. You will find a living room, kitchen, and even a bedroom, all cleverly furnished to create an illusion of being suspended from the ceiling.

2. Wonder Food Museum

Food lovers will delight in the Wonderfood Museum, which showcases larger-than-life exhibits of Penang’s most famous dishes. You can explore giant replicas of local delicacies such as char kuey teow, nasi lemak, and cendol. It’s an interactive museum where you can take fun photos and learn about the cuisine of Penang.

3. Dark Mansion

The Dark Mansion in Georgetown, Penang, is a one-of-a-kind museum that combines 3D glow-in-the-dark artwork, trick art, and UV lighting to create a mysterious and immersive experience. Visitors can interact with the exhibits, take unique photos, and explore different themed rooms filled with glow-in-the-dark effects.

4. Camera Museum

Photography enthusiasts will appreciate the Camera Museum, which showcases a collection of vintage cameras and photographic equipment. You can explore the evolution of cameras and learn about their history through informative displays. The museum also offers a unique opportunity to take photos with antique cameras.

10. Step into the Many Temples

There are many stunning temples you can visit in Georgetown like Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Wat Chaiyamangkalaram, and Khoo Kongsi. Sri Mahamariamman Temple is the oldest and most prominent Hindu temple in Penang. These temples offer a glimpse into the diverse religious practices of the Malaysian people.

Best Places to Eat in Penang, Georgetown

I am a huge foodie and Georgetown definitely hits the point when it comes to good food!

Here are my top choices when it comes to dining out in Penang.

Hawker Street Market Food:

Chulia Street Mother and Son Wonton Mee Stall: This is the wonton soup you see in the picture on the right above. It is a hugely popular place for a good reason!
Kimberly Street Duck Kway Chap
Al Nasi Lemak Daun Pisang

Restaurants

Teksen Restaurant
Foon Wei Heong
Nasi Kandar Merlin
Restaurant Karaikudi (Little India)

Cafes/Breakfast Spots:

Utoo Boho Cafe
JoJa Bagels
PACE Coffee

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