Photo: Long enough to eat loads.

How long should you spend on Penang?

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As one of the major settlements in peninsular Malaysia, there is more to do on Penang than your average small island.

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Georgetown’s fascinating fusion culture and architecture draw hundreds of thousands of tourists a year, while many make the pilgrimage to the country’s “food capital” simply in order to stuff themselves with the huge variety of celebrated local dishes. The question remains, however: how long can one reasonably spend on Penang?

Get on your bike. Photo taken in or around How long should you spend on Penang?, Penang, Malaysia by Sally Arnold.

Get on your bike. Photo: Sally Arnold

The most important thing to understand about Penang is that although it is a tropical island, it is not an archetypal deserted paradise. Some areas, particularly the east and north coasts, are heavily developed and urbanised, and the pollution and swarms of jellyfish in the surrounding seas make swimming and snorkelling a less-than-appealing option. Although there are a few nice beaches to be found, the main resort of Batu Ferringhi is neither particularly beautiful nor lively, and could never rival the Thai islands a bit further north, so this is probably not the place to come for a party-packed week-long beach holiday.

That said, there is plenty to recommend Penang, and depending on what you want to get out of your visit, you might well find yourself adding extra days to your itinerary. Here are some suggestions for how to prioritise your sightseeing for the time you have ... Travelfish members only (Around 900 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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Popular attractions in Penang

A selection of some of our favourite sights and activities around Penang.

Best places to stay in Penang

A selection of some of our favourite places to stay in Penang.

What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Penang.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Penang.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Penang.
 Read up on how to get to Penang.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Penang? Please read this.
 Browse the web securely while travelling with TunnelBear. Try with a 7–day free trial.

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See below for more sights and activities in Penang that are listed on

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Penang? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Malaysia.

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