Whether you have spent all your money on food (let’s face it, the food Penang is really good) or your simply on a budget, we got you with The Ultimate Guide: Free Things To Do in Penang. Let’s dive in!
The Ultimate Guide: Free Things To Do in Penang
By the way, the name of the places is linked to their Google addresses. To help you to plan your trip, there are multiple locations that you can do the same activities. Happy reading!
1. Free Rides With Rapid Penang’s CAT
If you are looking for a free way to travel around Penang, Rapid Penang’s CAT is your best bet. There are a few routes available around in the island and mainland. The free routes in the island are Air Itam and Balik Pulau whereas the free routes in the mainland are Bukit Mertajam and Nibong Tebal. You can learn more about the routes here.
2. Take A Ferry Ride
If you ever wonder how does Penang look like from far away, you can, for free! It is a fun a way to end your Penang trip (or your Penang vlog!). Okay. Don’t be too excited because it is only free for one way from the island to the mainland. The return journey isn’t that expensive. Per adult is RM 1.20 and for children, it’s only RM 0.60. But if you’re coming to the island via car or motorcycle, it is RM 7.70 and RM 2.00 respectively. Not too bad, right?
3. Visit Markets
Visiting markets are a great way to be a part the of the locals. In the morning, you can head down to a wet market to see the locals bargain and the fresh produce available. Watch as the butchers skillfully cut, or perhaps the hawkers nearby preparing one of the famous local dishes. Some of the wet markets you can visit are Tanjung Bungah Market, Pulau Tikus Market, Air Itam Market and Perak Road Market. Wet markets usually operate from early morning until noon.
If you don’t fancy wet markets, you can visit the infamous Lorong Kulit Flea Market. The flea market is famous for having antiques and peculiar things. It operates from 6:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. daily. At night time, you can visit Batu Feringghi Night Market. The night market stretches from one end to another end of Batu Feringghi and it is known for selling imitation goods. It usually operates from 6:00 p.m. until late daily. Fret not, if that’s not your things, you can always visit other night markets too!
4. Go To Dams
There are two dams in Penang, Teluk Bahang Dam and Air Itam Dam. They are good places to visit if you would like to unwind from the city. Surrounded by trees, hills and of course the blue waters from the dam, it is no wonder Penangites visit these places for a good jog and stroll.
5. Visit Parks
Just like markets, there are many parks around Penang. There is Youth Park, complete with exercise machines, a skating rink, swimming pool, stadium and a field. Next to Youth Park, there’s Botanical Gardens and you can learn more about trees and plants there! It is so beautiful, there are so many couples taking their wedding photographs there. Be careful, do not feed the monkeys, they’re a little feisty.
If you are on the other side of the island, you know, Relau, you can head down to Metropolitan Park instead. It is almost similar to Youth Park. Another great park to visit is Penang National Park. It is a perfect mixture of nature with sea, sun, hills, and trees! Fun fact, there are hiking trails in the parks and if you’re up for the challenge.
6. Go Hiking
Be one with nature! There are so many hiking trails to explore in this tiny island. From Youth Park and Botanical Gardens, you can hike up all the way to Penang Hill! That is if you have the determination and strength to do so. The best and easiest route to go to Penang Hill is via the tar road, located next to Botanical Gardens.
From Penang National Park, there are hiking trails too! Well, it is not as inclined as the ones from Youth Park and Botanical Gardens. There are several options for trails in Penang National Park, such as Monkey Beach, Pantai Kerachut and Muka Head. There are monkeys and water sports in Monkey Beach, a wonderful view in Pantai Kerachut and a lighthouse in Muka Head.
If you are planning to put this in your itinerary, remember to bring along some mosquito repellent!
7. Head To Beaches
Come on, you can’t visit an island without going to beaches. It just doesn’t make any sense! The most famous beach in Penang is Batu Ferringhi beach. Laze around and get your tan on, but if you’re coming kids, it is time to for their imagination go wild and build some sand castles. If Batu Ferringhi is too far for you, there’s always Tanjung Bungah beach, located directly behind Rainbow Paradise Beach Hotel.
On the side of the island, there’s Pantai Pasir Panjang, located in Balik Pulau. In comparison with Batu Ferringhi Beach and Tanjung Bungah Beach, Pantai Pasir Panjang is more peaceful and serene as there are no water sports available.
8. Evening Strolls By The Sea
One of the most perfect places for an evening stroll is Straits Quay. There are many huge yachts parked at the marina mall. Walk, cycle or skate along the coastline and be amazed by the sea view and a partial view of Georgetown. Another place to stroll is Gurney Drive. Unfortunately, it is currently under renovation. Hence, the view might not be as great.
Apart from Gurney Drive, you can head down to Karpal Singh Drive too! Karpal Singh Drive offers a view of the first Penang Bridge. Watch as some people try to catch some fishes! If you are up for something fancy, you can head to Harapan Bridge, a circular bridge for both pedestrians cyclists. The brand new iconic structure offers a view of the mysterious Pantai Jerejak. If you are planning a trip in Georgetown itself, head down to Esplanade for an evening stroll and watch as ships pass by as it is nearly near the dock!
9. Visiting Places Of Worships
Penang is a multiracial and multicultural city. With that said, there are many beautiful places of worships to visit and of course, it is all for free. For a quick trip, head down to Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling to visit Goddess of Mercy Temple, Sri Mahamariamman Temple, and Masjid Kapitan Keling. Within a short distance, you are able to see three different places of worship. How’s that for a deal?
Apart from that, you can head down to Pulau Tikus where there are various big and colourful temples to visit. Visit Dhammikarama Burmese Temple, the oldest Buddhist and the only Burmese temple in the entire Penang. Or Wat Chayamangkalaram, very well known for a huge statue of reclining Buddha. The last stop in Pulau Tikus will be Wat Buppharam Buddhist Temple, which is a mixture of Taoism, Buddhism, and Taoism.
If you are willing to go out of the way, there’s always the beautiful Kek Lok Si Temple, and it quite worth visiting. Tucked on a hill, Kek Lok Si Temple is one of the wonderful places that you can get happily lost in. There’s a Tanjung Bungah Floating Mosque, a mosque on the sea. Lastly, there’s St. Anne’s Church, the beautiful church is located in the mainland of Penang.
These places of worships have different opening times for the public. Be sure to check and to dress modestly!
10. Penang Street Art Trail
Apart from food, Penang is famous for its street art ever since Ernest Zacharevic bestowed Penangites with his presence. You’ll probably notice “Little Children on a Bicycle” mural printed on many of Penang’s souvenirs. There are a total of nine murals by Ernest Zacharevic and they are all located in Georgetown itself.
Here’s a quick link on all the murals by Ernest Zacharevic: The Awaiting Trishaw Paddler, The Little Girl in Blue, Broken Heart, Reaching Up, This Old Man, Little Boy with Pet Dinosaur, Boy on a Bike, Little Children on a Bicycle, and Children on a Boat.
Whilst you are on this trail, make sure to look around for other street art as Georgetown is decorated with them. Some of them are huge, and some of them are really tiny, make sure to keep an eye out! By the way, there’s a Butterworth Art Walk located on the mainland too! You’ll find the quirkiest and interactive murals!
11. Penang Heritage Trail
UNESCO’S World Heritage Cities, that’s what Penang is. Just like the beaches, you can’t come to Penang without seeing a little bit of heritage. What’s the best way to see Penang? By doing it yourself. You can head down to Penang’s Tourism Center to grab some brochures to see which routes fits you best. Without a doubt, there are several must-sees when you come to the island including Jubilee Clock Tower, Penang High Court, and Penang’s City Hall.
One of the best parts for Penang Heritage Trail is the Clan Jetties! How can we forget? Head down to Clan Jetties to see houses on stilts! Fun fact! People who are currently living in the jetties are not paying taxes because they’re not living on land! Walk the longest walkway in Chew Jetty and go to Yeoh Jetty to see a floating temple!
12. Explore Georgetown
If you love roaming freely instead of opting for Penang’s Heritage Trail, then perhaps this fits you. There are so many things to see in Georgetown. Each street is so different from one to another. Go to Campbell Street to see an iconic arch, Armenian Street to see murals, arts and heritage houses, Little India for a colourful surrounding, Chulia Street for its lively nightlife, Beach Street for its enormous heritage buildings, and roam the streets of Penang Road before stopping by Komtar, the highest building in Penang.
13. Go Window Shopping
If you don’t have plans to buy anything, then it is free! Penang shopping malls offer both local and international brands. Gurney Plaza and Gurney Paragon Mall are very close to each other. A strange suggestion but you can head to Gurney Plaza’s car park for a sea view! Gurney Paragon Mall is a must see as it is built surrounding St. Jo’s Novitiate, a bright yellow heritage building. The shopping mall also has an amazing view of Gurney Drive (without going to the car park).
In Georgetown, 1st Avenue and Prangin Mall are also walking distance from each other. In fact, there is a bridge that connects these two buildings together. 1st Avenue houses international brands such as Cotton On and H&M whereas Prangin Mall has a Thailand vibe with affordable clothing, bags, and knick-knacks! Head to the highest floor in 1st Avenue and you’ll have a good sight of Georgetown. Next to these two shopping malls is high and mighty Komtar.
The biggest shopping mall in Penang is Queensbay Mall. It is so huge it has two Starbucks! One on each end! It has a mixture of everything that the other four shopping malls have, except for the heritage building, of course.
14. Places to Work
Libraries are great if you are looking for some peace and quiet to get some work done. There are several libraries available in Penang including Georgetown Library, and Penang Digital Library. Well, WiFi connection is not guaranteed so you still might have to bring your own data for work! By the way, Settlements offer free co-working day every first Thursday of the month.
15. Free Events!
Did you know that we cover monthly events too?! Check out our Events tab to see if there are any free upcoming events within the month!
As Penang continuously grows, this list will grow too! We will be adding more free things if there is any. Remember to come back for more!
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