Things to do in Penang: Infographic 12

One of my favourite destinations for a family holiday is Penang.  We have enjoyed it so much we have been there twice – once in 2011 and then again in 2014.

Penang has great beaches, fantastic food and a rich diverse cultural background that offers so many things to do in Penang on a family holiday with kids.

The island of Penang is located 13.5 km off the mainland of Malaysia.  It is so close you can actually drive across on the Penang Bridge and up into the islands capital of Georgetown.

Penang is a thriving metropolis and unlike many other popular South East Asian holiday island destinations its main source of income is not from tourism but from manufacturing.  Because of this (I think) Penang offers so much more to see and do than the average holiday island destination.

So what types of things to do in Penang on a family holiday with kids can you experience?

things to do in Penang

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Penang offers a rich history.  It was a port along the spice trade route, it has been colonised by Sumatra, then the British East India Company, before it became a major player in the Chinese opium trade, in WWII it was attacked by Japan, and finally in 1948 became a state of Malaysia.  In 1696 Penang lost its tax-free threshold and struggled financially for the next 20 years until it established itself in electronics manufacturing.  As a result of this diverse history there is plenty to discover and much of it is within the UNUSCO World heritage buffer zone.


If you want a quick look around the temples start at Penangs Chinatown.  Then you could travel up Penang Hill where there are also many temples, plus there are more dotted about the island.

  • Wat Chayamangkalaram
    • Where inside you will find the Reclining Buddha
  • Dharmikarama Burmese Temple
  • Hainan Temple
  • Kek Lok Si
  • Kuan Yin Teng
  • Loo Pun Hong


Just as Penang offers a rich history and diverse culture so too does it offer variety in its shopping.  From up market exclusive shopping malls, to bargain basements, and touristy flea markets.


In Lonely Planet’s Kuala Lumpur, Malaka & Penang book it states:

People come to Penang to eat. Even if you thought you came to Penang for another reason…days revolve around where and what to eat.

  • Food Courts
    • To me the places to eat are the food courts.  The food is delicious and cheap.
  • Restaurants
    • Generally all the restaurants we ate at were lovely whether they were within a shopping mall or along the tourist strip.  My advise the more authentic and family run the restaurant looks, the better the food.
  • Tourist Attractions


As with many tropical islands the natural landscape, flora and fauna is stunning.  Don’t miss these key places to visit on your family holiday to Penang with kids.

There are a couple of places we have yet to explore during a family holiday to Penang.  Which is one of the many reason why I wish to return to Penang with kids.

Which of these things to do in Penang appeals to you and your family?

Please tell me about it in the comments.

Things to do in Penang

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About Sally-Ann Brown

I am Sally-Ann the author of Toddlers on Tour. I am a wife and mother who has always had a passion for travel. I love sharing my experiences and lessons learned to help you have a better family holiday or day trip. Read "All About Me" under the "Home" tab to discover my story and what lead me to here.

12 thoughts on “Things to do in Penang: Infographic

  • Lyndall @ SeizeTheDayProject

    Hey Sally :), What a fabulous list of things to do with kids in Penang. I love how you’ve divided it into areas of interest. A holiday isn’t enjoyable unless everyone is happy and I’m sure there’s something for everyone on your list.

    • Sally-Ann Brown Post author

      Thank you for the positive feedback Lyndall. One of the things I liked about Penang is that there are things to do for everyone – it is not just kid focused but all memebers of the family (young and old) can enjoy their time experiencing Penang.

  • Michelle | michwanderlust

    Penang is well-known among us Singaporeans for its food, but it’s great to know there are so many other things to do there besides eating! I haven’t been there in over 20 years, but I remember when I visited that there was some kind of turtle farm (or some other marine creature). I guess it’s gone now 🙁

  • Rachel G

    Great write up! I’ve lived in Penang for a number of years–and yes, food is one of the best parts, although there’s plenty to see and do! Penang Butterfly Farm now goes by the name “Entopia” since it has reopened–it’s nearly unrecognizeable as its former self, but an incredible place to visit, nonetheless!

    • Sally-Ann Brown Post author

      When I was researching the post Rachel I noticed that the website had changed names – at first I wasn’t sure if it was the same place as there appeared to be quite a bit more to see and do. Another reason to revisit Penang.

  • Anda

    Visiting the temples in Penang is definitely something I’d love to do. I’m sure this was a great family trip. I still didn’t make it to this part of the world. Hopefully next year.

  • Packing my Suitcase

    So many things to do there! You guys are lucky to live not far from Malaysia, I always wanted to visit the country.
    Great post with things to do 😀

    Happy to have you on #MondayEscapes Sally 🙂

  • Michele {Malaysian Meanders}

    Penang is indeed such a family friendly place. Have you tried the School of Hard Knocks at Royal Selangor in Straits Quay? Participants get to hammer out an ice cream bowl from a flat circle of tin then personalize it. It’s one of our favorite souvenirs. (Bring earplugs.) You can also arrange batik painting at the Batik Factory up in Teluk Bahang (near ESCAPE). A cooking class with Pearly Kee is also quite fun as she’s such an interesting and knowledgable lady.

    • Sally-Ann Brown Post author

      Oh wow that sounds fantastic Michele, I really would love to go back to Penang so will add it to my growing lists of things to do and see that we have not ticked off yet.

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