When tourists, travellers or holidaymakers talk of visiting Penang, they are usually referring to the island, which is where you will find a number of family-friendly tourist attractions and beach-side resort towns as well as the bustling and historic state capital, Georgetown.
Getting to Penang and Transport on the Island
Penang also has its own island airport with direct and frequent links to most neighbouring countries, including Bangkok and Singapore.
On Penang Island itself, there is a good, modern bus service, although buses around Georgetown can be very busy and the roads winding. Bus journeys can be very long. There are plenty of taxis on the island and in Georgetown, do not miss the famous trishaws! You might also consider hiring a car if you really want to explore the island.
Finding Family Rooms and Accommodation in Penang
Travelling with children, we find it is often easier to book hotels in advance rather than travelling on-the-fly. We would certainly recommend booking online for Penang as we did not find it a very easy place to find accommodation on foot.
Top Hotels for Penang Include:
The Eastern and Oriental Hotel, Georgetown | Located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Georgetown, Eastern & Oriental Hotel offer 19th-century heritage accommodations in Penang.
Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa, Batu Ferringhi | A charming tropical retreat where holidays come to life where a beachfront escape means barefoot bliss and lazy sun-drenched days. Whether you are a couple seeking a relaxing sanctuary or families seeking family fun together
Golden Sands Resort by Shangri-La, Batu Ferringhi | Located along Batu Feringgi beach, Golden Sands Resort by Shangri-La is the ultimate family-friendly escape in Penang where magical memories are made for guests of all ages. Experience Golden Sands’ warm service, soothing sea views and sunsets with delightful cuisines. The resort also has a kids club with daily activities.
Holiday Inn Resort Penang, Batu Ferringhi | Holiday Inn Resort Penang in Batu Ferringhi is a gorgeous hotel facing the beach. It boasts a tower with 23 floors and a sky bridge. All rooms are spacious and have classic designs. The floor-to-ceiling windows allow you to enjoy spectacular views.
Cheong Fatt Tze; The Blue Mansion, Georgetown | There are only 18 spacious rooms fringing the tranquil inner courtyards of this restored, 130-year old heritage mansion. Each room is uniquely adorned and intricately furnished to suite its theme, centred around the passions and history of the great Cheong Fatt Tze himself, or the mansion’s current custodians.
Museum Hotel, Georgetown | Set in the historic city of Georgetown, Museum Hotel occupies a former historic building where authentic architectural heritage combines perfectly with modern day amenities. Air-conditioned rooms and suites boast colonial-era furnishings, polished wooden floors and beautiful high ceilings.
Hard Rock Hotel Penang, Batu Ferringhi | A contemporary-style accommodations along Batu Ferringhi Beach. It houses a 26,000 square feet outdoor pool, water slides and luxurious poolside cabanas. Boasting views of surrounding greenery or the ocean, the elegant rooms are decorated with designer furnishings.
Parkroyal Penang Resort, Malaysia, Batu Ferringhi | A five-star beach resort centrally located in the heart of famed Batu Ferringhi beach. Equipped with top-notch facilities from rejuvenating spa treatments, fun children club to two exciting water slides, the resort is a wonderful getaway for families.
Things to do in Penang Malaysia for Families
To see everything Penang has to offer quickly and easily, it’s possible to book a tour. Tours on offer include full days, half days and short tours. You can take a private tour, a food tour or be part of a group. You can check out and book any of the tours available on Penang here.
There is more than enough to keep you and your family busy on Penang for a couple of weeks, alternate historical or cultural sites with fun activities for the kids. Don’t forget to try the amazing food on offer too, from hawker stalls to upmarket restaurants.
3 in 1 PENANG PASS
Highlights for families
Built since the year 1891, Kek Lok Si Temple situated in the island of Penang, Malaysia, is one of the largest and finest temples complexes in Southeast Asia.
With millions of magnificent images of Buddha and hundreds of beautiful meaningful carvings, sculptures and murals in the interior and exterior of the temple halls, pagodas and archways, Kek Lok Si Temple is not just a centre for Chinese culture and Buddha teaching, but also a unique heritage treasures that have Mahayana Buddhism and traditional Chinese rituals blend into a harmonious whole, in temple architecture and daily activities of worshipers.
Penang Botanic Gardens
Penang Botanical Gardens are usually simply called the Botanic Gardens by Penang islanders. Also known as the Waterfalls Gardens, the gardens are located in a valley along Jalan Kebun Bunga. It is a well landscaped place that contains a huge variety of indigenous and exotic plant species.
Set up by the British in 1884 by Charles Curtis of the Gardens & Forests Departments Straits Settlements, it used to be an old quarry site and is divided into 12 sections: the Formal Garden, Lily Pond, Perdana Plant House, Tropical Rainforest Jungle Track, Fern House, Fern Rockery, Aroid Walkaway, Cactus House, Orchidarium, Horticulture Centre, Nursery and Quarry Recreational Park.
Water Park and Pools at the Hard Rock Hotel
Batu Ferringhi’s own mini water park makes a great place for the kids to swim and play, non-residents can enter at a small fee. Renowned as the largest free-form pool in Northern Malaysia, the pool spreads across a spectacular 26,000 square feet area with 3 different pools to swim in.
The Snake Temple
The Penang Snake Temple is about three km from the airport in Sungai Kluang, Bayan Lepas. Built in honour of Chor Soo Kong, a Buddhist priest and healer, legend has it that the monk gave shelter to the snakes and when the temple was completed after his death, they moved in on their own.
After that, the snakes were believed to the disciples of the priest, so it became the home to several resident venomous Wagler’s pit vipers and green tree snakes. The temple is also known as the Temple of the Azure Cloud or Pure Cloud Temple and was constructed in 1850 as a result of a generous donation from a Scotsman, David Brown, whom Chor Soo Kong is said to have healed of an incurable disease using local medicine.
Pinang Peranakan Mansion
At the Pinang Peranakan Mansion, the typical home of a rich Baba of a century ago is recreated to offer a glimpse of their opulent lifestyle and of their many customs and traditions. With over 1,000 pieces of antiques and collectibles of the era on display, this Baba-Nyonya museum is also housed in one of Penang’s heritage mansion of eclectic design and architecture.
Built at the end of the 19th century by one of local history’s famous personalities, the ‘Hai Kee Chan’ or Sea Remembrance Store had once served as the residence and office of Kapitan Cina Chung Keng Kwee. Though not a Baba himself, his Chinese courtyard house was much like a typical large Baba home of eclectic style, incorporating Chinese carved-wood panels and English floor tiles and Scottish ironworks. Having survived the many decades of neglect and decay, the mansion has now been restored to its former glory of a stately home.
Georgetown Street Art
Penang Street Art, and in particular George Town Street Art, has in the past few years enhanced its position as the street art capital of the country. Since the inscription of the inner city of George Town has a World Heritage Site, the street art scene has developed with increasing vigor. This began with Marking George Town in 2009, which brought the telling of street and social history through the use of caricatures. The project, which showcases the works of cartoonists such as Tang Mun Kian and Baba Chuah, has helped generate awareness of the rich history of the streets.Beautiful images of children, often incorporating “real” objects, can be found throughout Penang.
The Escape Adventure Theme Park Penang provides a creative and fun way for families to foster a love for the outdoors. Established in 2012, this park started out with standout attractions such as a free fall from a 20 metres-high jump platform, an inner tube slide and tree rope swing. The Escape Adventure Theme Park is a dream location and an exciting theme park destination for many outdoor enthusiasts. Its one-day admission ticket grants you access to over 38 epic outdoor activities.
The best part? It’s suitable for both kids and adults! Whether the choice is to go on ropes, try out amusement park rides or brave through obstacles, this Penang theme park is a haven where you can break your limits and discover what you’re made of. This place is nothing short of a love affair for thrills and spills!
Imagine nature’s largest classroom and discovery hub, where butterflies and insects are free to come out and play, and within Entopia lies two worlds; The Natureland living outdoor gardens and The Cocoon indoor discovery centre. A Nature Learning Experience Discover magical moments at Entopia and be inspired to reconnect with nature.
Fort Cornwallis, first built in timber on this site by Captain Francis Light in 1786, is one of the most important structures in the region. The building seen today was commenced by Light in 1793 and upgraded in 1804, though with a surrounding moat. The fort represented British protection and stability in a region of uncertainty, enabling the growth of Penang’s uniquely rich and diverse population. Its military status was downgraded in 1897 and it became a base for police and volunteer forces. Japanese troops occupied Fort Cornwallis in WWII, utilizing it and the Esplanade for warehouses.
Gurney Paragon Mall and Gurney Plaza
Large shopping malls, maybe not as glitzy as Kuala Lumpur, but still fun to visit, with cool places to eat. Try the shaved ice desserts.
Penang 3D Trick Art Museum is an interactive museum that has about 40 pieces of artworks including optical illusion paintings and sculptures that are produced locally. It uses both perspective murals as well as life-size figures that protrude from the walls.
The artworks will stimulate your creativity and imagination by portraying the daily life of Penangites and other fantastic themes such as Aerial Skydiving, Panda Village, The Clan Jetty, Laocon’s Teh Tarik, Your Magic Show and many more.
Adventure Zone is a family entertainment venue specially designed for children. This comprehensive indoor facility is built in 10,300sq.ft of area consisting of lots of activities. Adults can join in the fun for some activities too. The full facility is air-conditioned and includes exciting drop slides, game zones, birthday party rooms and modular play equipments. You and your family are guaranteed to have a great time together once you are into the adventure zone.
Upside Down Museum
It offers a unique experience where only humans are right side up! Walking through the museum is like going around an upside-down house. Visitors can go from room to room, seeing the upside-down living room, bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, and there is even cafes and shops that are upside down.
Don’t forget to book your hassle-free Penang tickets only at PENANG!