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Updated by Joanna James on Sep 24, 2020
Headline for Best Things to Do in the Island of Penang – A Colonial Tour
Joanna James Joanna James
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Best Things to Do in the Island of Penang – A Colonial Tour

One of the most famous tourist sites in Malaysia, Penang gives you that old-school colonial charm from the moment you enter the little port town. It is located on an island and is known for its food, beaches and gorgeous seas. Here's what you can do when you are visiting.


Tour the Tropical Spice Garden

One of the coolest places in Penang is the Tropical Spice Garden on Jalan Teluk Bahang which is quite closely situated to PARKROYAL Penang Resort. It was once a rubber plantation but today is home to many different spices and herbs that are indigenous to Malaysia and the region. It is a great place to visit especially if you have an interest in local flora as you can attend guided tours. And you can also participate in a cooking class to learn how to incorporate Malay spices into your dishes.


Learn Some History at Fort Cornwallis

One of historical repute dating back to the 18th century, Fort Cornwallis was constructed by the British East India Company by the founder of Penang, Sir Francis Light. The fort remains in a very good state even today and you can visit it to gain some understanding into the history of colonial influence on Malaysia and see the original cannons which were installed to protect the port town from invasions that may come from the sea.


Visit Kek Lok Si Temple

Famed as one of the largest Southeast Asian Buddhist temples, Kek Lok Si temple is an important site of pilgrimage to Buddhist believers all over the world. There is a massive statue of Guanyin; the Goddess of Mercy installed at the complex which is a towering 36.5 meters high and the temple itself is influenced by many kinds of architecture including Thai-styled, Chinese-styled and Burmese-styled. Each section is divided according to these architectural styles. It is a colourful and fascinating temple to visit.


Sunbathe on Batu Ferringhi Beach

If you are planning to stay at a Penang hotel, take a trip to Batu Ferringhi beach for the day to relax on the surf and enjoy some sunbathing or swimming while you are there. The beach is safe for children too so you can bring them along with you. The sunsets are equally spectacular so make sure you get some photographs before you go.


Have Afternoon Tea at Suffolk House

A traditional British building that was the country mansion of the formerly mentioned Sir Francis Light, Suffolk House has a great restaurant which serves a delicious traditional British afternoon tea. You can enjoy some delightful sandwiches and pastries here after exploring the house which was restored in 2007 and offers guided tours where you can learn more about the colonial past of this picturesque building. It was closed to the public following Sir Francis' death and had fallen into a state of disrepair, but the recent renovations did a great job in making it look as original as possible. It's a great place to slip back in time.