We had heard Penang was an amazing city to visit. We had seen pictures of the famous Penang street art and everyone told us the food there was amazing but we didn’t really know much more about it. It was our goal to find as much as we could to do there. So, what to do in Penang in 3 days with kids?
Our goal with this post is to give you a good amount of places to see in Penang in 3 days. If you are there longer you can space out these places or you can have rest days in between. To save money during our stay in Penang we tried to look for free or cheap Penang activities and we were really surprised at how many were on offer.
There are activities in Penang for the whole family and while we were holidaying in Penang with kids you could do all of these activities with a group of friends without kids. There are upsides to travel with teenagers at times! So here it is, our what to do in Penang in 3 days and you can pick them as you chose but we will give you a rough Penang itinerary at the end that we did. We hope you love it as much as we loved our visit to Penang.
Free Activities in Penang
We tried to balance free activities in Penang and costly ones in our Penang itinerary so our money went further. Finding free Penang destinations was much easier than we thought and here are the ones we visited.
Kek Lok Si Temple
Kek Lok Si Temple is the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia. You can see this gorgeous temple from many vantage points around Penang so we decided to go up there one day to see it. The views from up here are magnificent, especially on a clear day.
How do you get to Kek Lok Si Temple?
You can catch public transport to the Temple but we chose to use GRAB (Asian Uber) to get there from our Georgetown accommodation. We were picked up and dropped off right out the front of the temple. If you can get a clear day this is the best place in Penang for views over the city.
You can get dropped off at all of the market shops at the bottom of the hill and walk up or you can catch a couple of funicular up to the top. You do get charged for every stretch of the route though if you do decide to take them.
What is at Kek Lok Si Temple?
You can find many different areas there. The Pagoda right at the top will give you beautiful views over Penang city. If you like you can climb to the top of the pagoda as well. There is a lovely garden up there to relax in too. There is also a 30.2-metre Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy within the temple compound that you can visit. You definitely won’t miss her!
*At the bottom near the small school is a turtle pond. There are so many in there and it is really one of the most fascinating Penang points of interest especially if you have kids!
Top tips for visiting Kek Lok Si Temple with kids:
- A stroller would be hard to get up all the steps if you have a kid that uses one
- The entrances to the funicular are though some very tiny shops
- Take extra cold water if you can
- You can walk all the way to the top from the markets stalls at the bottom but make sure you leave plenty of time to see the Temple. If you have little ones this is a hard climb
- Take the time to see the turtle garden
- You must have your shoulders and knees covered for both men and women. Marley got away with her leggings (she was 10 at the time)
- Please respect the rules that are set out at the Temple and within the Pagoda.
Penang Street Art
We had heard that the Penang Street art is some of the best in the world and it was the first thing to do in Penang that went on our list. This must be on your Penang itinerary because the pictures you will see just won’t do it justice.
Where is the Penang Street art located?
You will find the Penang street Art around Georgetown (namely Jalan Penang, Muntri Street, Weld Quay, Lebuh Leith, Armenian Street, Ah Quee Street and more)
Top tips for wandering Penang’s famous street art
- It is a little more spread out than people may think
- On a hot day, Penang city can get very hot. Take extra water
- If you are unsure where the Penang Street art is, look down most streets and if you see a large pack of people in a really random spot you have probably found some!
- Walking around Georgetown is very easy as there are no hills but as I said above it can get hot
- Georgetown is still a working part of Penang. The streets can get busy so you need to be aware
Penang City Tour (walking)
A walking tour in any city is a fabulous way to see the sites and it was no different in Penang for us. We found the guide very informative and the local knowledge he had was brilliant. We also got some great tips for places to eat. If you want to see a city from a locals point of view this is one of the best things to do in Penang.
Where can I sign up to go on the walking tour?
You can sign up for the free walking tour at the Tourist Information Office BUT you must be there half an hour early to sign up for it as places are limited. This is a very popular Penang tour and the group fills up fast.
The address you will need is: 10, Ground Floor The Whiteaways Arcade Lebuh Pantai, 10300 Penang
Top tips for the free Penang walking tour:
- There is a hawkers centre right across the road and they have amazing cheap food there.
- You must be there 30 minutes beforehand to register for the Penang tour booking
- You can’t just join the group once it is ready to leave on the Penang city tour
- It is a flat city but it can get hot so bring water
Free Penang Sightseeing Bus (CAT Bus)
A great way to get a quick ‘what to see in Penang’ is to jump on the Central Area Transit Bus or the CAT Bus as it is fondly known as. This will give you a good overview of the main attractions in Penang in air-conditioned comfort. It is great for kids as well as it saves those little legs.
Top tips for the free CAT Bus:
- The route starts at Weld Quay Bus Terminal
- There are designated signs where the bus will stop so grab a map when you board.
- We found it very good but hard to tell when the bus would be at the stop again as times varied due to traffic
- It is popular so you will not always be guaranteed a seat.
Budget-Friendly Penang Activities
Eat like a local
You will find a Hawker market in most areas of Penang or a street that has plenty of options for you. We found it very easy to find an English menu or someone who would help us find something delicious to eat. The hawker markets are some of the most interesting places in Penang with so many cultures mixing to make amazing food.
You can find cheap meals in most of them and you must try the Roti Chenang and if you love coffee a Nescafe. I was a sceptic at first but after the first one I had, I was hooked.
Great places to visit in Penang for food are Little India and China Town as well. You will find these in many peoples must see Penang attractions because there are so many options for food and so many different dining options too. From full sit in restaurants to little stools on the street, you will find something for everyone.
The Top Penang
The Top Penang was a heaven for us in the heat and it was great on the budget too. It is a theme park inside a building. There are different types of activities on different levels for everyone to enjoy.
How do you get to The Top Penang?
The address you will need is: No 1, Jalan Penang, George Town,
10300 George Town, Malaysia.
There is a bus stop right out the front or you can walk from Georgetown centre to get there which will take around 10-15 minutes.
What attractions are at The Top Penang?
You will find so many different attractions at the Top Penang like:
- Rainbow Sky Walk: The Rainbow Skywalk is a clear walkway jutting out over the side of the building and it offers stunning of George Town and on a clear day well beyond. It is located at George Town’s highest point which is on the rooftop of Komtar tower on level 68. There is also an observation deck on level 65 if you would prefer to stay indoors.
- Jurassic Research Center: Here you can travel back in time to when the dinosaurs roamed the earth. With an interactive activity centre, you can feel like you are a scientist bringing them back to life. This is a must for any dino lover.
- Ocean Explorer: This is a virtual reality ride where you sit in a ‘submarine’ and venture out into the underwater world.
- Penang Boutique Aquarium: A great place to see all that the ocean has to offer. Plenty of fish, shellfish and learning opportunities here for any lover of the sea.
- Dino Gym: Let your little ones have a safe run around indoors in the Dino Gym. You do have to purchase some safe socks but tother than that you are good to go.
- Zombie Outbreak: Enter into a world where a virus has taken over and you have to stay alive. Outrun the zombies!
*many of these attractions are located on different floors but they are easy to get to with a lift. There is a section in the Jurassic Research Center that is outside for a small amount of time.
A little bit out there Penang
Ghost Museum Penang
Our eldest daughter is right into ghosts, myths and legends so we decided to take her to the Ghost Museum Penang. It is a bit of a quirky Penang attraction but it is not suitable for young kids but is great for travelling teens.
It was a small house with a few rooms in it with different ghost stories and the like in it. It didn’t really worry me too much but she really enjoyed it and we learnt about how a few urban legends came about.
The address you will need is: 57, Lebuh Melayu, Georgetown
10100 George Town, Malaysia
Too hot in Penang?
The weather in Penang can get quite warm so if you are looking to cool down or spend a kids day out then here are some ideas for you.
Escape water park
A fantastic place to spend a day, especially if you are visiting Penang with kids. There is a wave pool, lazy river, little kids splash zone and plenty of water slides.
How do you get to Escape Water Park?
We took a GRAB out to Escape Water Park and found this the easiest way to get out there and back. There are public buses out there but we found there were a few connections and it would end up costing almost the same for a GRAB.
The address you will need is: 828 Jalan Teluk Bahang 11050 Penang, Malaysia
Opening hours are: Tuesday – Sunday 10 am – 6 pm (Escape Water Park closes on Mondays for maintenance)
Remember if you cant afford to buy travel Insurance you cant afford to travel
Top tips for Escape Water Park Penang:
- You can hire towels when you are there so you don’t have to worry. They cost 5rmb each to hire and you must leave some sort of ID (we used a credit card) which you get back when you return them
- There are lockers for you to hire to put your valuables in
- To pay for items you pay with an Escape card that you pre-load with money
- Any money not used you are reimbursed when you are ready to leave
- There is a strict dress code at Escape Water Park and it must be obeyed. You can click here to see if you have the correct attire before you visit.
- There are lifeguards on patrol but make sure you have talked with your children about water safety during your visit.
Our 3 days in Penang Itinerary
As I said above we have done all of these activities in Penang and loved them all. This is a rough guide as to what to do in Penang in 3 days with kids or without.
Day 1 of your Penang trip
- Up early and booked into the walking tour (you need to be there before 10 am to register)
- Have a coffee and something to eat at the Hawkers centre across the road while you wait. You can also get some lunch in that area after you have returned from the walking Penang city tour.
- Walk back to see the famous Penang Street art.
- Take the CAT Bus around for a free Penang city tour of the parts you missed on the walking tour or if you want to go back to visit those places.
- Find a place for dinner and watch the world go by. The food is one of the best Penang attractions and it is a must to try as much as you can while you are there.
*If the Ghost Museum is for you then you can visit it while you are searching for Penang street art. It only takes around 30-45 minutes to visit but it is a quirky Penang tourist attraction.
And day one in Penang is done! Get a good nights sleep and be ready for day 2 in Penang!
Day 2 of your Penang Sightseeing trip
- Up early again and catch a GRAB out to Kek Lok Si Temple. Get the GRAB up to the funicular to save time.
- From the top make your way back down to the bottom for lunch at the hawker market there and some shopping.
- Catch a GRAB back into town and head to The Top Penang for an afternoon of fun!
- Walk to Little India or China Town and have another amazing meal.
- It’s bedtime!
Can you believe you have already spent 2 days in Penang? And even though it is only two days I bet you have eaten a months worth of amazing Penang food.
Day 3 Penang Itinerary
- Another early morning and catch a GRAB out to the Escape water park
- If you have had enough there is also an adventure theme park next door but you will need suitable attire and sturdy shoes for some of the activities.
*If a water park is not hour thing then you can head to a beach for the day especially if you are staying ay a place like the Mercure Penang Beach. They have a private beach with chairs and recliners. You do need to check to see if the beach has any jellyfish.
And that is what to do in Penang in 3 days! If you have 2 days in Penang or even longer you can add cooking classes, day trips and relaxation days as you see fit and to your budget. Malaysia is a great place to stay, family-friendly and very cheap. If you need some of these added please don’t hesitate to ask us about other Penang suggested itineraries that we can help you with.
Money in Penang Malaysia
Malaysia uses the Ringgit. You will find it in 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5 Ringgit notes. Most ATM’s are easy to find and have a common withdrawal limit of 1500-2000 Ringgit at a time.
At the time of our visit, $1 Australian dollar was worth 2.87 Malaysian Ringgit. $1USD was worth 4.11MYR, 1GBP was worth 5.13MYR and 1 euro was worth 4.58 MYR
We had a budget of $100AUD per day and we easily had money leftover most days. Food and beverages were very cheap especially if you eat at a Hawker’s market.
Where to stay in Penang on a budget
We stayed for 5 nights at the Wassup Youth hostel. While the ladies at the counter were not the most pleasant (just not interested not rude) we liked our stay there. It was close to places to eat and was good on our budget. If you are worried about hostels you can read our story about our stay here.
Where to stay at Penang Beach
We spent 2 extra nights just out of Penang at Mercure Penang Beach. It was an excellent spot for us to end our time in Malaysia. It was a little further out than we had been but we used GRAB to get to all the places we needed to go and for dinner as well.
Penang is full of accommodation options for everyone on every budget. There is no shortage of hostels, hotels, apartments and homestays. Find your place below on the map
We loved our time in Penang and we can’t wait to go back. If you visit Penang Malaysia we are sure this post will help you get the best out of your time there. Have a great trip.
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More about the Author
Bec Wyld is a mother, wife and once reluctant traveller. Bec has been to over 30 countries across the globe. I have planned and stressed in all of these places. Becs writing can be found on Wyld Family Travel and as a guest poster and contributor on many other travel websites including Lonely Planet Kids