Penang is also known as Malaysia’s ‘Pearl of the Orient’ and it manifests the vibrant legacy of its diverse races. Its exotic beauty and cultural splendour keep tourists visiting year after year. Penang is known for its most flavourful food, colourful art scene and historical architecture. To take all this in, one can select from a range of accommodations that are far from the ordinary, from luxury hotels to refurbished budget guesthouses.
So the big question is “Where to stay in Penang?”
Your choice will depend on the purpose of your travel and of course, on your budget.
Regardless of where you stay, a large portion of Penang’s attractions are close at hand due to the small footprint of Penang. It takes only minutes to drive from the city to the serenity of the beaches.
Accomodations in Penang can be grouped into 4 major tourist locations:
• Georgetown – UNESCO heritage sites
• Batu Ferringghi – sandy beaches, luxury hotels and resorts
• Tanjung Bungah – water sports, more tranquil atmosphere
• Bayan Lepas – industrial zone, nature trips
Georgetown is the capital city of Penang and has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status. It is a favourite spot for visitors who want to see Penang’s historical sites like 19th century churches, temples, colonial buildings and pre-second world war houses. Most of these attractions are in close proximity to each other and can be visited by foot.
Georgetown is also a good place for shopping, from antiques, souvenirs to electronics and other commodities. Some of the biggest malls located here are the Gurney Paragon and Gurney Plaza.
Most of the hotels in Georgetown have their own history, many were founded pre World War !! and have colonial architecture. Most have their own unique story to tell. Some are new while some are refurbished, but all are keeping the heritage alive.
You can choose to stay either in luxurious heritage hotels, like the East and Oriental Hotel and G Hotel Kelawai, or in boutique houses like the Seven Terraces, Paragon Hotel and Macalister Mansion.
Batu Ferringhi is the most touristic spot in Penang. There is a long stretch of international chain hotels and resorts along the shores of Batu Feringhi and the affordable, no-frills budget accommodation and home-stays are situated on the landward side of the beach.
This is the best place for beach-life and night-life in Penang. You can enjoy the amenities in the resorts hotels, try different water activities like parasailing, windsurfing, or dine in the many fancy restaurants. At night, you can explore the street-side night marketplace for souvenirs and gift items.
Some of the popular hotels and resorts here are Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang, Lone Pine Hotel, Shangri-La’s Golden Sands, Hard Rock Hotel and Bayview Beach Resort.
Tanjung Bungah is a seaside suburb situated between Georgetown and Batu Ferringhi. It used to be a fishing village but now has become a popular tourist destination. With the Penang Water Sports Centre based here, you can enjoy a variety of water sports like Dragon Boating, kayaking, and also conduct team building activities.
Tanjung Bungah has a spectacular natural landscape and is less crowded than Batu Ferringhi. It also has a good number of world-class hotels and resorts at more budget friendly prices making it a favourite among travellers who want to stretch their dollars.
Some of the more popular hotels in Tanjung Bungah are Four Points by Sheraton Penang, Rainbow Paradise Beach Resort, Flamingo by the Beach and Copthorne Orchid Hotel Penang.
Bayan Lepas is the main industrial hub of Penang. Although the place has more factories than hotels, Bayan Lepas has its own unique attractions such as the Penang Aquarium, Snake Temple, and the Queensbay Mall for shopping.
Bayan Lepas is Georgetown’s satellite town. There are various mid-range hotels that are located near the Penang International Airport. It is best for travellers who prefer a quieter ambience off the hustle and bustle of Georgetown or business travelers having meetings with the companies located in Bayan Lepas. Bayan Lepas is also near the Penang Bridge making it convenient to travel between the island and the mainland.
The more popular hotels within Bayan Lepas are: Vistana Hotel, Eastin Hotel Penang, and Equatorial Hotel.
Penang is a small island and the tourist locations are close to each other. Where-ever you are in Penang, you are likely no more than an hour’s drive to your next destination! Enjoy your stay in beautiful Penang.