What are the top Penang Attractions? If you are proposing to visit Penang Island you will find that there is so much to see and things to do that you will probably not have sufficient time to do everything.
Some planning of what to see is required if you want to cover most of the main Penang tourist attractions without feeling rushed.
To help you, here is my suggested list of Top Ten Penang attractions.
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As a UNESCO World Heritage city, Penang's capital George Town is like a living museum, crammed full of historic buildings and colourful streets. The best way to tour it is on foot. Take my Penang Heritage Trail which will cover the main sights.
Located in Lorong Burma in George Town, this Buddhist temple was founded in 1803 and features a serene Buddha statue with white marble face and hands, a wishing pond and some Burmese-style temple buildings including the newly completed Golden Pagoda Bell Tower which opened in May 2011
Across the street from the Burmese Temple is this Thai Buddhist Temple. Very different in style, it includes a 33 metre long gold-plated reclining Buddha statue, one of the world's largest. The walls of the temple housing the reclining Buddha are lined with thousands of small Buddha statues sponsored by devotees.
Next to the Copthorne Orchid Hotel, the Toy Museum houses a massive collection of action figures and collectables relating to movies, comic book superheroes and TV programmes ranging from Harry Potter to Star Wars. Fun for kids of all ages!
5. Batu Feringgi
This is Penang's most popular beach area where many resort hotels are located. Besides the normal beach pursuits, there is a wide range of dining and entertainment outlets together with a night bazaar to bargain for those clothing, accessory, gift and souvenir items.
6. Penang National Park
Here you can take rainforest trails to secluded beaches and coves such as Monkey Beach and Pantai Kerachut. Turtle nesting sites are found here as well as possibly Asia's only meromictic lake (a lake with layers of water which do not mix). You can also visit Teluk Bahang fishing village near the park entrance.
Kek Lok Si is a temple complex at Air Itam which includes the seven storey Pagoda of Ten Thousand Buddhas, said to be one of South East Asia's most beautiful. A huge bronze statue of Kuan Yin adds to the attractions here.
8. Gurney Drive
Back in George Town, Gurney Drive is a seafront promenade with numerous restaurants, a famous outdoor hawker food court and Gurney Plaza, one of Penang's top shopping malls.
Located at Bayan Lepas not far from Penang airport, the Snake Temple is a place where tourist guides love to bring visitors to see live pit vipers draped around the temple's altar. Very touristy but it has to be done!
10. Penang Hill Zoom up Penang Hill on the newly upgraded funicular train for spectacular views of the city. Or, if you are feeling energetic you can hike to the top. Definitely one of the top Penang attractions.
This completes my list. By the way, one place which often appears in lists of top Penang Attractions is KOMTAR, a 65 storey tower block built in 1978. Personally I would not bother going there. The shopping mall at its base is looking very tired and dated but there is a newer section between it and Traders hotel which sells a lot of computer equipment and may be of interest to some.
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