Georgetown, Penang has flourished since it’s recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008, with growth of boutique shops and fine dining outlets. Still, there are places in the city where even today one can enjoy a cheap drink, have a cheap meal or do things which are wallet-friendly if not totally free. We bring you some of the most authentic activities in Penang, which will not burden the pocket.
Go jogging at the Botanical Gardens
Add some exercise to your vacation by opting for a jog on the lush lawns of the Botanical Gardens, located at Jalan Kebun Bunga. The well kept lawns in the 70+ acre complex, provide a respite from the chaos of the city centre.
Pay obeisance at Kek Lok Si Temple
This wonder of the nineteenth century is located at Tingkat Lembah Ria 1, a bit away from Georgetown. Great place to see the locals pray at the statue of the Goddess of Mercy. Once the rituals are over, enjoy the view of the city from Air Itam.
Seek bargains at the weekend market.
The weekend market takes place on the upper floor of the centre court at Straits Quay Marina Mall every Friday to Sunday from 10am to 10pm. Here one can buy anything from handicrafts, jewellery to homemade delicacies.
Admire the elaborate Mahamariamman Temple.
Located on Lebuh Queen, this exquisitely designed Hindu temple in praise of Goddess Mahamariamman is a treat to watch and visit. The place comes alive every year during the Chitraparuyam Festival. Idols of important Hindu deities are displayed in the small gopuram of this temple.
Enjoy the sunset from Batu Ferringhi.
The soft and pristine sands of the Batu Ferringhi beach are an ideal place to spend the evening hours. The setting sun provides awe inspiring views as it says goodbye for the night over the vast expanse of this beach. Then there is always the night market to browse through after the sun has set.
Watch the last of the ‘heritage traders’ at work.
These local men and women showcase their expertise at manufacturing traditional crafts, an art which is fast nearing extinction. To revive the trade, the Georgetown World Heritage has taken the initiative to select 23 heritage trades and open them up for visitors. Here one can find a signboard carver, a paper craftsmen and even the last songkok hat maker of Penang. Location 157, Lebuh King.
Hike up to Penang Hill
Start your hike from the botanical gardens and attempt the climb up to Penang Hill. This five kilometre walk may exhaust you, but there are plenty of resting points along the way. Once you have sweated to reach the summit, you will be rewarded with spectacular views of the city and the mainland.
Watch a performance at Penang PAC
The Performing Arts Center of Penang or PAC, holds regular shows ranging from comedies to plays and dances for a moderate charge of roughly 10 USD. Located at Pulau Pinang, the PAC is the heart of the city’s performing arts scene and is an extremely popular attraction.
Take the Ferry ride
It may be free one way, but this trip from the island to the mainland is a whole lot of fun. Great way to view Penang from a distance. The return ride is chargeable but is just RM 1.20 for adults and half the cost for children.
You can also opt for affordable flights to Penang. There are daily departuresfrom Kuala lumpur and other major airports. Often there are special deals and cheap jetstar flight tickets are readily available.
Getting a good look at Penang on the cheap is very simple because most of the temptations of the city can be freely accessed. In spite of the distinctive recognition, Penang remains accessible and affordable to all.