How often do we find a place that has everything, from lip-smacking food, thrilling nightlife to religious havens and glorious landscapes, and an enriching history as well? Rarely, right? What if we told you there does exist a place where you could have not only these but many more activities that could help you tick most items off your bucket list? Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you the marvellous island of Penang, which also makes for a perfect destination for your New Year 2020 celebrations.
Located in the northwestern coast of Malaysia, Penang might be the smallest Malaysian state, but is home to the most beautiful destinations in Malaysia, and unsurprisingly receives the maximum number of tourists in the entire Malaysian coast.
With an enriching history spanning decades, Penang has seen a diverse influx of settlers from around the globe, which has attributed to its present cultural heterogeneity.
Places To Visit in Penang in New Year 2020
Although the island state sees an influx of tourists from November-January, December is when all the action happens at Penang.
Below is a list of top places to visit in Penang. These beautiful spots will make your trip fulfilling. We have included all the essential information bits with each of the location.
1. Kek Lok Si Temple, Penang Hill
Amongst the magnificent and well-known structures of Malaysia is Kek Lok Si Temple, which is the most revered Buddhist temple in the world. While its name translates to ‘Temple of Pure Bliss’, the entire architecture of the temple is a sight to behold.
Must Check Out: Amalgamating three architectural styles Thai, Burmese, and Chinese in one structure is the pagoda of Rama, also known as the Pagoda of Ten Thousand Buddhas. It houses 10,000 splendid statues of Buddha in different poses. Moreover, paying an additional 3 RM would take you on an inclined lift to witness the Guan Yin (God of Mercy) statue. Be ready to crane your neck because the statue is enormous at the height of 98 feet.
If one wishes to watch the Temple in its full glory, the best time to visit Kek Lok Si Temple would be during the Chinese New Year, which generally falls between January 20 and February 21. The 30-day celebration is held at the Temple, and it is decorated with lights and lamps through the night, making it look nothing less than what its name suggests: Temple of Paradise. It makes for one of the most recommended places to visit in Penang.
Location: 1000-L, Tingkat Lembah Ria 1, 11500 Air Itam
Opening Hours: Daily: 0700 hours- 1730 hours. Spending 2 hours of your time here will be worthwhile.
How To Reach: Catch a bus or train from Georgetown to Penang Hill station.
Cost: 2 Malaysian Ringgit (1 RM= 17.24 INR approx.) to enter the Pagoda.
Tip: There is quite some walking involved in exploring the temple; hence, sturdy shoes could be your best bet.
2. Khoo Kongsi, Georgetown
Since a sizeable Chinese population habituates Penang, one can expect to find some of the most culturally significant structures adorning the streets of Penang. One such unique place of Penang is the Khoo Kongsi, which belongs to the Chinese clan ‘Khoo,’ an early immigrant clan from Southern China who came and settled in Penang in the late 1800s. An architectural marvel, Khoo Kongsi was once a glorious complex where functions and activities akin to the Khoo clan would be held but is now reduced to a historical tourist attraction.
Location: 18, Cannon Square, 10450 George Town.
Must Check Out: The complex’s main hall is home to some elaborate carvings depicting Chinese artistry along with the clan temple, which houses primary clan deities. ‘Evening of Lights,’ a cultural event held at Khoo Kongsi, is an unforgettable experience. One day of every month (usually the last Saturday) the clan house is brightly lit-up in the evening from 6.00 PM onwards. Chinese cultural events, including Chinese classical music, traditional handicraft shops, and the best street foods of Penang, are arranged for the people to enjoy, with the beautifully lit temple as the backdrop, with no additional charges. When you think of places to visit in Penang, keep this one in the top slots.
Opening Hours: Temple is open from 0900 hours to 1700 hours. Spend 1.5-2 hours exploring and admiring the intricacy of the temple and surrounding structures.
How to Reach: Walking through Cannon Street is the most suitable means to reach Khoo Kongsi.
Cost: RM 10 to enter
Tip: Carry your camera! The temple, clan house, and interiors are wonders in themselves, and you would not like to miss out on capturing any of them.
3. Tropical Spice Garden, Teluk Bahang
Being the only spice garden in South East Asia, the Tropical Spice Garden is an impressive collection of over 500 species of flora and fauna found across the length and breadth of Malaysia. Beautiful walking-trails welcome guests to spend a lovely evening away from the clutter of tourists at other spots.
Location: Lot 595 Mukim 2 Jalan Teluk Bahang, Penang Island.
Pay: RM 45 for live-guided tours (adults), RM 29 for audio guided tours (adults).
Opening hours: Since it is a horticultural garden, every season has the best to offer the place and visitors are welcome to it anytime. The Garden stays open every day, from 0900 hours to 1800 hours, and requires 1.5 hours to explore it.
How to Reach: Take bus 101 or bus 102 if you want to use public transport. If you’re going to explore the roads, you can rent a car to drive to the location.
Must Check Out: The garden is a warehouse of the rarest and most valuable spices of Malaysia and hence offers the best herbal tea one could ever taste. There is a variety of spices’ combinations to choose from. You can spend some time basking in the sun amid all that greenery while you sip your cup of freshly-brewed tea. There is a Gift Shop on the way out of the Garden that has all the spices of the garden up for sale. Additionally, the Tree Monkey Restaurant in the area is famous for its delicious Thai preparations. A soothing experience offered by this place makes it appear on the list of places to visit in Penang.
Take a guided tour followed by a one-of-its-kind cooking class at the Tropical Spice Garden. Tour starts at 0900 hours, followed at two more, at 1100 hours and 1330 hours, respectively.
Tip: Carry some mosquito repellent, a water bottle, and wear comfortable shoes.
4. Penang Floating Mosque, Tanjung Bungah, Georgetown
Located on the bay of the Malacca Strait, the Tanjung Bungah Floating Mosque is a unique structure and is Malaysia’s first mosque to be built on the sea. Malaysia, being a predominantly Islamic country, regards the Penang Floating Mosque to be an essential monument, both religiously as well as economically, owing to the wide influx of tourists it witnesses every year.
Location: Tanjung Bungah Road, Pulau Pinang, 11200, Penang
Must Check Out: The elaborate architecture of the mosque’s seven-storeyed minaret, which encompasses both modern and traditional Malaysian-Chinese style, to bring out a floating marvel.
Opening Hours: Anytime other than Friday, when prayers are held, and entry is barred at the mosque.
How To Reach: Take a trishaw or catch bus 101 or 103 from your nearby station in Georgetown.
Tip: Since it is a religious place, be wary of your clothing. Wearing revealing and tight clothes are not advisable. Also, you will need to open your shoes to enter the mosque, so wear something that can be quickly taken off or put back on. Photography in the interior of the mosque is not allowed.
5. Penang Toy Museum, Teluk Bahang, Georgetown
Not far from the Floating Museum lies the Penang Toy Museum. The Museum boasts of being the largest toy museum in the world! With over 110,000 dolls, toy cars, and figurines from all over the world, the Toy Museum is inspired by the London Toy Museum. It has chambers and corners depicting toys from different eras, it is an enthralling visit for both adults and kids. If you are travelling with family, keep this one in the places to visit list.
Must Check Out: If you’re a horror movie buff, the Chamber of Horrors, which is specially made to suit the taste of adults, is sure to send a shiver down your spine.
Opening hours: The Museum is open to the public every day, from 0900 hours to 1800 hours. 30 mins-1 hour should be enough for you to spend on the place.
How to Reach: Visit it on your way back from the Penang Floating Mosque.
Pay: RM 39 for adults, RM 29 for children.
6. Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, Georgetown
Another magnificent example of Chinese craftsmanship, the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion is an elegant piece of architectural art. The blue exterior walls in the backdrop of the lush greenery outside the mansion offer a soothing effect to the eyes. Built by the industrialist Cheong Fatt Tze, over the years, the mansion has earned the name of ‘The Blue Mansion.’ It has a distinctive number of rooms and structures- 38 rooms, seven staircases, five courtyards, and a whopping 220 windows!
Location: Ground Floor, 14, Leith Street, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang.
Must Check Out: Since 1989, one part of the mansion has been opened to the public and has been turned into a hotel and a well-preserved museum, holding traditional Chinese artifacts from the 18th and 19th Centuries. Extend your time in the mansion by staying here! The ‘Indigo Restaurant’ within the boundaries of the mansion offers an exceptional dining experience with beautiful ambiance and scrumptious multi-cuisine food. A luxurious stay, along with some privy information and interiors is what you get.
Best Time To Visit: Guided tours take place every day at 1100, 1400, and 1530 hours, which lasts for 45 minutes. Additionally, just an extra 30 minutes could be spent to explore Cheo Fatt Tze’s mansion.
Pay: RM 16 (adults), RM 8 for children below 12 years of age.