The preferred mode of transport to catching a train, the Penang ferry service connects George Town and Butterworth via the Port of Penang. With several cross-channel services, both passengers and vehicles can board the ferry by purchasing a ticket from Butterworth terminal. High speed ferries to resort islands such as Langkawi in Kedah are also available.
With a new experience around every corner, the best way to discover the real Penang is on foot. With roads sometimes congested during the day, start off early in the morning to avoid the two-way traffic rush. Wander the streets and alleyways at your own pace or alternatively hire a bicycle from the hotel stretch of Batu Ferringhi and in the city.
A regular bus service provides transport between the beach resorts at Batu Ferringhi and George Town as an inexpensive way of getting around the island. The Central Area Transit (CAT) bus service allows visitors to get around central Penang for free, travelling to major attractions and shops hassle-free. Find them at regular intervals from 7am to 7pm weekdays and until 2pm Saturdays.
In keeping with the old world charm of Penang, a trishaw ride is a relaxing way to discover the sights. A cycle rickshaw, this is a popular way to travel at a leisurely pace, allowing you to stop to take photographs whenever you feel the need. As there is no standard rate, be sure to agree on a price before you sit down.
Discover the beautiful Malaysian countryside and see a family of orangutans in their natural habitat. Cross the Penang Bridge and board a boat from Eco Park, heading onto the Taiping Lake gardens, one of the oldest parks in the country. Stroll the half-mile boardwalk through the Matang Mangrove Forest for a glimpse at Penang's varied wildlife.
Leave the heat, hustle and bustle of the city behind and enjoy a scenic train ride to Penang Hill. Standing at 2,300 feet (720m) above sea level, marvel at the panoramic views of George Town, Tanjung Bungah and the mainland at the summit. Alternatively, trek to the hilltop if you're feeling energetic for views of the mist covered valley, giant bamboo trees and wildlife.
Take a glimpse into Penang's culture and lifestyle with a tour combining a visit to a Batik factory, a traditional Malay village and the legendary snake temple. Get the whole family involved in Batik painting and enjoy the laid back atmosphere of traditional village life while discovering the tranquil countryside. With prices starting at AUD$18, this is great value for money.
If you're stuck on how to spend an evening, a private tour will give you dinner at George Town's exclusive 32 Mansion restaurant followed by a ferry ride across the Strait of Malacca to the mainland. Discover Malacca and George Town, two historic cities with a unique architectural and cultural background, and finish with a return trip via the eight-mile Penang Bridge.
One of the most sought-after tourist destinations on the island, make a trip to the star-shaped Fort Cornwallis for the open air amphitheatre and history gallery. Explore the old chapel, prison cells and harbour light or visit the Seri Rambai, a famous cannon believed by locals to have a positive effect on women's fertility. With great sea views, take the whole family for a history lesson with a difference.
With Buddhist temples, Christian churches, Hindu temples and mosques, Penang is never short of multicultural history. For the largest complex of Buddhist temples and pagodas, visit Kek Lok Si or Wat Chayamangkalaram for one of the world's largest reclining Buddhas. At 180 feet, the gold plated statue symbolizes peace and detachment from the world and is well worth a visit.
With crystal waters perfect for snorkeling, catch a catamaran from Penang and dive into waters filled with parrotfish, damselfish and spectacular coral. Pulau Payar is the largest uninhabited and preserved marine park extending over a number of islands on Malaysia's west coast. Discover the captivating underwater world or alternatively hire a jet ski or canoe off Penang's beaches from Tanjung Bungah to Teluk Bahang.
In Teluk Bahang, the Tropical Spice Garden is a paradise boasting over 500 varieties of flora and fauna from Malaysia and other regions. In South East Asia's only dedicated spice sanctuary, transport yourself to a tranquil tropical garden laced with the scent of spices as you wander through. For an afternoon activity the whole family will love, visit the Butterfly Farm where children can handle butterflies and caterpillars for a truly hands-on experience.
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