Georgetown, Penang: One of Malaysia’s Finest Cities


Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia – Chinese New Year (CNY) is perhaps one of the biggest cultural events in the world and the best way to experience the festivities is to go where the festivities are held. Well, besides going to China (for obvious reasons), here in Malaysia, you have an option to go to Penang, Melaka or Kuala Lumpur‘s China Town as these places have large Chinese residents population. As for us, we chose the colurful city of Georgetown, Penang (also known as Pulau Pinang).

Chinese New Year lanterns at Kek Lok Si Temple
Chinese New Year lanterns at Kek Lok Si Temple

Situated in the Northern West coast of Malaysia, Georgetown, Penang was listed as one of the World Heritage Site by UNESCO in South East Asia. With its well-preserved cultural and historical heritage, this place is worth the visit not only for Chinese New Year, but at anytime of the year.

Campbell Street, Georgetown, Penang
Campbell Street, Georgetown, Penang

How to get there?

By road, travel to Penang from Kuala Lumpur may take 4 – 5 hours via North-South Highway, depending on traffic. From KL Sentral, we took the bus to Sungai Nibong Terminal, Penang. We took the Nice Executive Coach and it was our most comfortable bus ride ever (so far).

Nice Executive Coach service to Penang
Nice Executive Coach service to Penang

Ticket costs 74 RM (~ 22 USD) one way but it was worth the price.  There’s a full on-board services hosted by a stewardess giving you an ‘airline’ feel throughout the journey — minus the presence of an on-board ‘toilet’ (which we’re ok with as there were stop overs on the way). Services includes refreshments, individual LCD screen with digital movies which you can watch using headsets (also provided individually), and pillows/blankets. But, if you’re not in too much comfort, there are also other bus services you can take from KL Sentral or Pudu Sentral. Visit Bus Online Ticket for more info. From Sungai Nibong Terminal we took taxi to our hotel. Taxi fare is 30 RM (~ 9 USD).


For other transportation:

    • By air, the Penang International Airport receives direct flights from major capitals in Malaysia. Airlines such as Malaysia Airlines and Air Asia operates  more than 20 flights a day to and from Penang. From the airport, you can easily take a taxi to Georgetown. Whether you insists the driver to use the taxi meter or negotiate with a fixed price, 40 RM (~12.30 USD) should be a reasonable fare.
    • You can also take the train from KL Sentral Station to Butterworth. From there, you can take the ferry to Georgetown. You can buy tickets from KL Sentral or check Malaysian Railway Official Website for train times and fares to book online. 

Where to stay?

Georgetown has plenty to offer when it comes to good budget hotel. Most of them are within walking distance of the major tourist sights of the city. 

Here are some:

Ryokan Hostel
Location: Muntri Street
Nearby locations: Campbell Street, Camera Museum, Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, St. George’s Church

Red Inn Court
Location: Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling
Nearby locations: Goddess of Mercy Temple, Kapitan Keling Mosque, and Camera Museum

Reggae Hostel
Location: Love Lane Street
Nearby locations: Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, St. George’s Church, Fort Cornwallis

Reggae Hostel,  Love Lane Street
Reggae Hostel, Love Lane Street

Since its a  peak season, most of the hostels were either fully-booked or above our budget. Thus, we ended booking Tune Hotel in Downtown Penang. Location and price were not bad considering  we booked one week prior to our scheduled visit.

What to do?

Georgetown attractions street sign
Georgetown attractions street sign
  • Stroll around Georgetown
  • Street Art Hunt
  • Indulge yourself with the best foods in Malaysia
  • Take a ride in Penang trishaw
  • Enjoy the panoramic view from the top of Penang Hill

If you’re looking for a unique fusion of cultures, art and flavors, this is the place to be! Since it was a long weekend, we stayed there for 3 days and 2 nights which were enough to see most of the must-see places but more reasons to go back and see more.

CF Hawker Centre along Pengkalan Weld
CF Hawker Centre along Pengkalan Weld
Penang Street Art Hunt: The Awaiting Trishaw Paddler
Penang Street Art Hunt: The Awaiting Trishaw Paddler


See our next posts for more of Georgetown, Penang. 🙂



  1. Enjoyed reading your post in Malaysia. Hubby & I will be visiting the 1st week in February, 2017 which is during CNY. Did you encounter heavy traffic & big crowds during your visit? Would it be better to fly instead of taking that comfortable bus you talked about?

    As an aside, if we have to choose between Penang or Melacca which one would you recommend.

    Thanks & happy blogging.


  2. Nabitin ako. Looking forward to your upcoming Penang posts. My husband and I are coming to see the promising land in 2 weeks! Cheers!


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