Penang is, in itself, one of Malaysia’s hidden gems. It’s known for its stunning coastlines and as being the food capital of Malaysia, and there are plenty of pristinely preserved heritage buildings for you to discover.
If you want a taste of the real Penang, it’s time to look beyond the obvious tourist activities and head deeper into Malaysian metropolis for an experience you’ll remember forever. Here are our picks of the best hidden gems to be found.
1. Sam Poh Footprint Temple
Head to the small fishing village of Batu Maung to find the small Sam Poh Footprint temple, soaring up and out over the water’s edge. Here you’ll find one of the most significant rocks in all of Malaysia, which showcases the footprint of a Muslim Eunuch who travelled to Patong in the 15th century. The footprint is large, spanning 85 centimetres, and bears the history of the explorer who is believed to have conquered pirates and waged wars during his travels. Discover more about the legend on Sam Po when you visit this sacred site.
2. Sulaiman Chapati and Roti Jala
You can’t leave the food capital of Malaysia without gorging yourself silly on the region’s tastiest morsels. Food in Penang is a well known winner for anyone travelling Malaysia. Don’t miss the Sulaiman Chapati and Roti Jala stall, located in front of the Gelugor Community Hall and Market. It’s a secret among locals that the food here is some of the best anywhere in Penang, and the curries are well and truly exquisite. Scented by pandan leaves and mint, the chicken, minced beef, sardine and vegetable curries are fragrant and delectable, and are best enjoyed with a fluffy chapati on the side.
3. Pantai Kerachut
Take some time out at Pantai Kerachut beach, which is arguably one of the best in Penang. It’s located in Penang National Park and is beloved by locals but less frequently visited by tourists. You’ll need to spend an hour or two walking through lush forest to get here, or else you could take a more leisurely boat cruise to avoid exerting yourself.
Once there, stroll along the pier and find a shady spot to spend the day. The sandy white beach invites you to lie down with a book and watch the world pass you by, with stunning water perfect for swimming. Just watch out for jellyfish!