Penang Things to Do Tips by Dxenion
Penang Things to Do: 893 reviews and 1,732 photos
Ignore the sign and you could lose your icecream
Pick a nice clear day around late afternoon.
Ensure your camera (video or still) is loaded and ready to go.
Grab a comfy spot near the entrance - just inside near the shop is best, warm up the camera and wait for the action to start.
Around dusk, monkeys (monyet) in huge family packs arrive from the tree tops in and around the park to participate in their favourite game of 'scare the tourist'. They're quite good at it too if you don't know what to expect or are easily intimidated by 2 foot tall animals with attitude!
Despite the signs plastered everyone, there's the occasional tourist who think's it's cute to feed a wild monkey and that's when the real fun starts - well for the photographer anyway.
The monkeys descend on the tourist mock charging them until they drop whatever it is they have (bottle of coke, icecream, chips) and the tourist runs off screaming. The monkeys then take off to the nearest post, fence or tree to enjoy their treat.
Quite often the adolescent males will try their luck on anyone unfortunate enough to have food in their hand but are easily put off if you stand your ground.
Oh and the gardens are nice for a picnic too. All the exotic plants are in cages which are only open for very limited hours during the day and are locked at ather times to keep the monkeys out.
Address: Botanical Gardens
Directions: Either hire a taxi (approx $15RM) or catch the No 7 bus from Komtar to the Botanical Gardens.
Double vision - free range parrots by the door
Orang Utan Island
Home to free range Orang Utans and for a change, it's the humans that are in a reinforced cage. Take a boat ride from the main resort area out to the island and wander through the caged walkway where a keeper will tell you about the apes and throw them some food.
Ridiculously cheap entrance price!
Either take the boat, ride the chairlift or walk to the park from the main resort area.
When you walk in, you're immediately face to face with free range and very friendly parrots and birds of all kinds. Many are tame enough to hand feed and they're completely free to move about as they wish in a HUGE enclosure.
There are so many things to see and do here and different paths to take.
Go into the monkey section and you will be assaulted by heaps of gorgeous spider monkeys who will clamber all over you to get the peanuts you can buy when you enter the park.
Tip: Buy lots of peanuts as these charming creatures will all but climb into your pockets to get to the nuts!
There are other monkeys in here but the spider monkeys steal the show.
You can also see an Animal Show featuring South American parrots, otter and bob tail macquet. I even had an unexpected companion as a silver and black monkey (don't know the species) came and sat next to me to watch the show!
There's also a room full of snakes and the attendant will (at no charge) let you handle a huge python by wearing it around your neck. The python isn't adverse to the occasional kiss either as proven when I gave it a peck on the mouth for a dare!
The resort has many other non-animal attractions as well but for me, the Eco Park was the highlight of my 3 month visit to Malaysia. I would go back just to revisit this place.
Address: Laketown Resort - Bukit Merah
Directions: See details on the website.
The base of Penang Hill train
Head to the base of Penang Hill (every taxi knows where it is) round late afternoon.
Jump on a train which I'm sure is the only one built on a 45 degree angle and enjoy the slow but very scenic ride up to the top.
The train stops halfway up and you can get off here and walk the rest of the way or follow everyone else to the train on the adjacent track which will take you up.
Once at the top, you can grab a meal at any of a number of stalls or go to the resturaunt right at the top. Great views from the open garden out the back. You can get souviners here but they are cheaper in Georgetown.
You can also visit a bird enclosure which, apart from it's size, will put the Penang Bird Park to shame with the variety and number of birds in here.
Photographers note: The wire on the cages has a big enough gap to satisfy most photographers who don't want the 'jailhouse' look in their nature photos.
Watch the spectacular sunset and then get the next train down. A window seat is good for viewing the antics of the wild monkeys as they wait by the track.
Don't worry if you've missed the last bus back to the city as there will be a number of taxis who will take you. DONT pay more than 10RM as this is the normal local price.
The top of the temple
If the name intrigues you, read on.
Apparently it's earnt the 1000 Thieves name through repuatation handed down from one generation of tourists to the next. I had to check this one out for myself.
It's a little difficult to find using the local buses as you wont be dropped at the base of the steps, but will have to find the right side street to get to the start of them. I'm sure at one point I was wandering through someone's back yard looking for the 'steps'. Most bus drivers were quite vague with their directions. You may find a taxi quicker and less confusing.
Once on the steps to the temple, you'll realise where the 'Thieves' name came from. All along the way, you'll find yourself dancing around the experienced salespeople attending the stalls jammed together under the tarpaulin roof trying to sell you anything and everything. They all swear you wont get a better deal but you can and will back in Georgetown.
The narrow steps wind their way up to the temple where you'll be thankful to be free from the humid climb and all the yelling and plea bargaining - and no, I didn't count how many steps there actually are. All I know is it felt like 1000 of them!
The temple is attended by male and female monks at their prayer ritual and photography of them is not allowed. The walls are lined floor to ceiling with golden buddas. You can wander around the grounds checking out the specacular views of Georgetown and the surrounding area.
Oh and one last thing - once you get to the top, it's a bit of a shock to find out you can drive up here!
Address: Ayer Itam
Directions: near Ayer Itam, close to funicular
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