I had great time in Kuala Lumpur and Malacca last summer.
(FYI, i liked Malacca way more than KL)
Intended to go to Penang too but couldnt make it. (i had only one week!)
So im thinking about including Penang on my travel plan to SE ASIA this year.
But conflicting opinions about this island from many are making me hesitate to go.
Now im done with googling... It's giving me headache.
It will be really great to hear your stories and thoughts!
I really liked Penang - defo one of my favourite places in Malaysia (I also enjoyed Malacca, although not as much as Penang; KL I can take or leave - it's just another big city, in my opinion).
Georgetown's central/historic area is a nice place to wander, and the food is fantastic. I found plenty to do on the island: climbing Penang hill, exploring the botanical gardens and the spice gardens, visiting various temples and house museums, etc. There are beaches, although apparently they're not amazing (I say apparently because I didn't actually hit the beaches - I'd just come from Langkawi, so I was beached out at that point).
From what you say above (enjoying Malacca more than KL), I'm guessing you'd enjoy Penang. But I'd also suggest not to worry too much about conflicting opinions, or indeed anyone else's opinion. It's your trip, so your opinion is the only one that matters! Do the descriptions of Penang and the island's attractions sound like the sort of thing you might enjoy? Then go!
Have a wonderful time, whatever you decide.
Really appreciate your reply!
It was more than i expected and helped me a lot!
I almost made my mind up and think i will love staying at Penang.
(Old buildings, nature and foods!!!!!!)
Cant wait to go!
Penang is very nice - great food, gritty SE Asian atmosphere, lovely and varied architecture (mosques, temples, colonial, Chinese houses etc). It is very cheap and the people are friendly.
Be warned though - your diet will consist a lot of hawker food and cheap hole in the wall type restaurants, if this is up your alley then great, if not then it could be a struggle.
Also, to be blunt, the place is filthy - open sewers, giant lizards floating down streams etc. As bad as this may sound, it works for Penang, I had only great food there and did not get sick once in 5 days.
Hotel Mingood was fine for us, cheap, nice breakfasts and good staff.
#4 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 738
I think a lot of the complaints come from people that are looking for good beaches. No chance in my opinion. It's not what you are there for.
Great food (get the tourist food map. Brilliant guide to where you can eat the best food for peanuts!). Wildlife - head to the Botanical Gardens, or Penang Hill and take the vernacular up (17RM one way or 30RM return) and then walk down the back (steep steep hill down about 40 minutes) that brings you to the Botanical Gardens. Dusky-faced Leaf Monkeys and Macaques.
Snake temple. Interesting!
The local town - great to walk around with lots to see and if you are on a budget you can miss the pricey options in the guides and still have a very memorable time.
Buses (all with AC!) are easy to get from the ferry terminal. Or if you know the numbers you can pick them up on the main routes.
Here's a link to a friends blog about the snake temple.
#5 TheLeapingLemur has been a member since 20/11/2012. Posts: 13
Georgetown is great, we spent a week there last summer. Lots of great hawker stalls to eat from and most incredibly cheap and tasty. It's a great place to just wander around and get lost in. Spend sometime chatting with the locals at food stalls and local bars, this will give you a better feel for the place than joining the hoards doing the sites.
Pete and Christine
#6 PeteandChris has been a member since 11/4/2013. Posts: 1
Georgetown is really amazing. Especially if you have the time you walk around for 2 or 3 days to get to know the city. I also staid at Mingood which was comfortable and offered alot for the low price. It is also close to the city center.
I really enjoyed walking through the historic center looking at all the old colonial building, old cemetaries and getting that special touch of town. Talking about food, there is not only hawker food available. Since I am a foodie and sometimes a bit on a budget, I still found alot of reasonable priced very delicious restaurant in the city center of Georgetown. This is the town I have best memories of in Asia. I definetly will go there for a second time when I am back in Malaysia.