George Town, named by the British after King George III, is Penang’s capital city. The government centre and its financial heart, George Town is an interesting and bustling city with modern high rise buildings, cathedrals, mosques, government offices, temples, bazaars, shops and cafes. A myriad of delights, George Town is very compact – the older part of the city is a labyrinth of narrow lanes and alleyways, which makes it a pleasure to walk and sight-see.
Indeed, walking is highly recommended – a leisurely stroll will enable one to slowly drink in the many details that would otherwise be lost in a hurried tour. If walking is considered tiring, try a ride on the old but exciting trishaw.
Beaches and fishing villages
Most activities are centered around Batu Ferringhi, where most of the popular beach resorts are located. Their facilities include waterskiing, sailing, windsurfing, water scooters, and waterskiing. This prime stretch of beach is always a hive of activity with elite nightspots and restaurants which come to life in the evening.
Further down is the equally lovely Teluk Bahang Beach, which is home to kampungs and a fishing village. If privacy is preferred, head for the secluded beaches of Teluk Duyung, Monkey Beach, Pantai Kerachut and Pantai Mas which are accessible via the trails in the Pantai Acheh Forest Reserve from Teluk Bahang.
Penang National Park
The Penang National Park along Pantai Acheh may be the country’s smallest National Park but it is Malaysia’s precious little emerald.
With plenty of well-marked jungle trials (for the super fit and fit-at-heart), a pristine beach (Pantai Kerachut) and magical Meromictic Lake (a body of sea water and fresh water that does NOT mix!), it is an eco-paradise second to none.
Remember to plan for nice long walk to Muka Head and make sure you stop by the old lighthouse. Built in 1883 (yes, it’s still operational), the lighthouse is open to visitors. If the walk back later seems too much, just hail a fishing boat – most local boat owners double up as water cabbies here!
Tropical Spice Garden, Jalan Teluk Bahang
Tropical Spice Garden provides an enchanting escape for tired souls' it is a garden of discovery for those who miss out on simple pleasures like walking barefoot on dewy grass or stopping to smell the flowers. If you are in need of stress therapy to invigorate your body and mind, this microcosm of diverse ecosystems is the perfect respite!
Address: Lot 595 Mukim 2, Jalan Teluk Bahang, 11100 Penang
Opens: Daily from 9.00am to 6.00pm.
Last admission at 5.30 pm.
Admission fees to the Spice Gardens:
Family (2 adults and up to 3 children): RM28 (self-guided) or RM45 (tour guided) Adult RM13 (self guided) or RM20 (tour guided) Child (aged 4-12): RM5 (self or tour guided); Free for children under 4 years of age
Admission fee to the Visitor Centre: RM1 (Free for children accompanied by parents)
Includes admission to the Spice Museum, Garden Shop, Gift Shop and Spice Café.