Georgetown on the island of Penang is definitely my all-time favorite in Malaysia. Rich in fantastic street art and stunning colonial architecture, it’s a must-see destination if you’re around. Since it’s worth to stop by even just for a two or three days, here’s our guide to Georgetown. How to enjoy 48 hours in Penang? What to do, where to sleep, where to eat? Let’s go!
Choose the right hotel in Georgetown
We should probably start with accommodation in Georgetown, shouldn’t we?
Georgetown is one of the most popular destinations in Malaysia, so there’s plenty of hotels and hostels to choose from in Penang. Over 300 accommodation options – how to choose the right one?
In order to make it easier for you to plan a trip to Penang, here are a few recommendations from us about where to stay in Georgetown, Penang.
Armenian Suite Hotel in Georgetown
Armenian Suite Hotel is where we stayed during our visit to Georgetown. Fantastic staff waited up for us to arrive at a very late hour. Our bus was 3 hours late and every other hotel in the area was already shut.
Based in an old colonial building, Armenian Suite Hotel even despite being a budget to mid-range accommodation option, turned out to be one of the best stays we’ve ever had! We loved our time there and we’d recommend staying there to anyone!
The place has a great vibe, it’s clean and comfortable, and the wifi worked great – and that’s important to every blogger.
We were really happy with the service there! If we visit Georgetown again, we will definitely stay at Armenian Suite Hotel again!
Price: Superior Room $23 USD per night.
Armenian Suite Hotel: Book on Agoda
We have a few more alternative accommodation options in Penang for you below.
Where to sleep in Georgetown
High-end: Eastern and Oriental Hotel, Studio Suite Victory Annexe $131 USD
Facilities: gorgeous luxury rooms, sauna access, outdoor swimming pool, and more.
Eastern and Oriental Hotel: Book on Agoda or Booking.com
More hotels here: Georgetown accommodation online
Things to do in Georgetown
Discover the street art of Georgetown
If there is one thing Georgetown is famous for, it’s the street art. And it’s a well-deserved recognition!
Get a map of the most famous pieces (your hotel will probably have one ready for you) and go exploring the narrow streets of Georgetown trying to catch them all! They’re everywhere, behind every corner, at the back of the most unimpressive buildings, the street art is hiding even where you least expect it.
Take lots of photos and try to find them all, it’s not as easy as it seems! Took us a good couple of hours to catch nearly all of the most popular ones, but we were too tired to continue and gave up.
Our feet were aching for the rest of the evening, but it was worth it. Out of all the things to do in Georgetown, this one’s my favorite. We had lots of fun and the art isn’t only in form of paintings and graffitis.
The creative approach of the artists makes discovering the street art so much more interesting than I initially expected. I was filled with joy finding every single one of the pieces because it felt like playing a game – you just wanted to complete the challenge and ‘catch’ them all.
Explore Georgetown’s UNESCO World Heritage Zone
One of the biggest highlights of Georgetown is also the UNESCO World Heritage Zone. The zone takes about 260 hectares of the city, so there’s plenty to see there! Take some time to stroll down the streets and admire the gorgeous architecture of the souvenir shops, hotels, and restaurants. Most of them are beautifully restored and I remember not being able to stop taking pictures.
If you have time, visit the Mansion or, located just outside George Town, Suffolk House. Also check out other landmarks of Georgetown: Fort Cornwallis, City Hall, or Penang State Museum.
Multiple Chinese shophouses will tempt you with gorgeous souvenirs and sugary treats, but since you’ll be walking all day exploring Georgetown, a pack of Chinese cookies or pastries won’t hurt!
On your way make sure to pop into local Buddhist and Hindu temples, and Indian Muslim Mosques.
Visit & Dine in Little India, Georgetown
When you’re all finished exploring the city and admiring its street art, there’s still more things to do in Georgetown.
Go to Little India and try out their local Indian delicacies. With a couple of really fantastic little shops and restaurants serving Indian meals, there’s plenty to choose from!
However, we would be dishonest if we didn’t recommend you our favorite dining spot in Georgetown.
Kapitan is one of the biggest restaurants in Little India, so if you’re there, you can’t miss it. They serve fantastic Indian dishes at reasonable prices and we loved our every visit there.
The staff is alright, the food is spot on, the portion sizes are… challenging (we always order too much!). It’s just a delightful feast I think you shouldn’t miss.
If you do visit Kapitan, please let us know how you liked it in the comments!
Take a bus to visit Kek Lok Si – The Temple of Supreme Bliss
On the second day in Georgetown, you can take a public bus to go to Kek Lok Si, the Temple of Supreme Bliss. The temple is situated in Air Itam and it’s the most popular temple on the island and the biggest one in Malaysia. A pilgrimage destination for Buddhists, it’s one of the most charming temples we’ve ever seen.
The pagoda is quite big and there’s plenty of things to see around it. Make sure to focus on the details as well – we were simply blown away by it.
Also, alternatively you can…
Hike to the Turtle Sanctuary in Penang National Park
Rent a bike (or take bus 101 from Georgetown Jetty) and travel to Penang National Park where you can trek through a Malaysian rainforest jungle to reach the Pantai Kerachut Beach. At the Penang Turtle Sanctuary, you can take a look or participate in looking after the sea turtles.
Many species of sea turtles come to Pantai Kerachut beach at night at various times of the year and lay their eggs. Penang Turtle Sanctuary looks after the eggs and the young turtles until they’re old enough to be released into the sea.
If witnessing the release of turtles into the sea isn’t the greatest thing ever, then I don’t know what is!
While in Penang National Park, you can also visit the Monkey Beach. The name comes from the Crab-eating Macaques that live in the area, however, the beach itself is one of the prettiest beaches on the island. We’d recommend visiting the Monkey Beach on the weekdays, as the locals like to spend their weekends there.
Stay an extra day and treat yourself to a beach day
When you’re done trekking the rainforest jungle and chasing the art on the streets of Georgetown, maybe it’s time for a treat? If you have an extra day, pack a towel and some snacks and head to enjoy the beaches of Penang. Whether you’re on holiday or you’re a backpacker, everyone needs a day to rest from time to time, right? So use this opportunity and enjoy the sun and the gorgeous location of Penang!
If you’d like a whole-day beach getaway, head to Tanjung Bungah Beach and stay at one of the beach resorts overnight. Check out Hotel Sentral Seaview Penang with its gorgeous outdoor pool overlooking the sea. All you need now is a fantastic dinner, a beautiful sunset, and a relaxing massage. Enjoy!
You just never want to leave Georgetown
That’s the thing about Georgetown. There’s so many things to do there, so many activities and sites to check out, you just never want to leave. We visited Georgetown twice and I wouldn’t mind another visit now!
Georgetown is one of those places you look back on and remember so vividly! It feels as if it were yesterday you were there taking a photo of the kids on the swing.
So if you only have a chance to go there – don’t hesitate! There’s plenty of things to do in Georgetown and you won’t be bored for a second!
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