Updated: Dec2012

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Penang really is a gem for some and a duff for others. Georgetown, to the north-east is the main town to head to and it is a real mixture ofcultures and subsequently food. A must, is to visit the tourist agency and get hold of their street food guide and then let your taste buds drag you around the city. With so much to see it really is worth the visit. And when you've walked around George Town, considering exploiting the excellent bus service to visit the Snake Temple, Kek Lok Si Temple, the Botanical Gardens to see if you can spot the Dusky-faced Leaf monkey, beaches and so much more.


There are a lot of budget options in Penang though it's well worth checking them out before you check-in. Some of the more traditional backpacker places have upgraded to "flashpacker" status and their prices have increased as well.

 Featured Accommodation

Old Penang Guest House

Address: 53 Love Lane

Tel: +604 263 8805


Old Penang Guesthouse is a heritage guesthouse that combines the charm of Penang's yesteryears with modern amenities. Conveniently located in the heart of Georgetown... [more]

75 Travellers Lodge
Address: 75 Jalan Muntri
Prices from: Dorm RM12, Single RM22, Double/ Twin RM32-45
Includes: Shared bathroom, fan, Wi-Fi
Tel: 04 262 3378 Email: Web: 
Good common area for socialising. Upper price on the double will get you en-suite.

Love Lane Inn
Address: 54 Lorong Cinta
Prices from: Dorm RM13, Single RM18, Double/ Twin RM25-45
Includes: Shared bathroom, fan, Wi-Fi, free tea/ coffee
Tel: +60 16-419 8409 Email: Web: 
It looks nicer from the outside, than the inside. If you trawl all of the different reviews on-line, then you'll be just as confused as when you started. For this guest house, you really do get what you pay for. Upgrade on a double gets you AC but no bathroom.

Address: 36 Lorong Pasar
Prices from: Double/ Twin RM28
Includes: Shower, fan, shared toilets
Tel: 04 261 2372 Email: Web: 
On one of the quieter streets in Georgetown, Noble is a good option for a double/ twin room. Large and clean but basic. If you want to use the power-socket in your room +RM2 and if you want internet also +RM2. But then you really do get what you pay for?

Oriental Guest House
Address: 81 Lebuh Muntri
Prices from: Double/ Twin RM35
Includes: Fan, shared bathroom, Wi-Fi
Tel: 04 261 3378 Email: Web: 
A solid backpacker option with basic but quite spacious and clean rooms and acceptable shared bathrooms.

Red Inn
Address: 55 Love Lane
Prices from: Dorm RM28, Double/ Twin RM90
Includes: En-suite, AC, Wi-Fi, breakfast
Tel: 04 261 3931 Email: Web: 
Pretty building but cramped and noisy. Not top of the list, and there are definitely better budget options out there if you want to opt for a room rather than a shared dorm.

Red Inn Heritage
Address: 15 Love Lane
Prices from: Dorm RM25, Double/ Twin RM90
Includes: Bathroom, AC, Wi-Fi, breakfast, common room area
Tel: 04 262 0991 Email: Web: 
Set on the northern stretch of Love Lane, past the intersection with Lebuh Muntri, Red Inn Heritage is one of a number of properties under the Red Inn label in Georgetown. It's a big property and aimed at flashpackers more than backpackers!

RoomMates    NEW
Address: 17 Lorong Chulia
Prices from: Dorm RM25+
Includes: Bathroom, AC, Wi-Fi, breakfast, common room area
Tel: 04 2611 567 Email:
New, funky, fresh, clean and for the single traveller somewhere like one of the old backpacker places that gives good value single beds. Beds all have curtains for personal privacy and you can choose between fan or AC for just a little more. Useful and informative website as well.

Stardust Guest House
Address: 370-D Lebuh Chulia
Prices from: Single RM25, Double/ Twin RM30-40
Includes: Shared bathroom, fan, Wi-Fi
Tel: 04 263 5723 Email: Web: 
Popular backpacker digs but basic, Stardust Guesthouse has its own cafe downstairs where you can watch the Penang speed by on Chulia Street. Upstairs, you'll find average rooms, but that is the case with most of the budget digs that face right onto Chulia Street, and noise is an issue. That aside, the facilities, including the bathrooms, are clean and well looked after. Compared with the fancier hostels on Love Lane, this is competitively priced, but it is very no frills. Upgrade on a double gets you AC but still no bathroom.


Eating & Drinking

Where to start??? For sure, you must got to the Tourist Information centre and pick-up the "Penang Asia's Food Paradise" guide. This glossy leaflet lists and describes all of the local delights as well as showing you where you can buy them. And don't be put off by the professional level of presentation - they really are guiding you to local eateries rather than 4 star restaurants!
There's so many to choose from, so we've listed just a few from different parts of the area.

Jaya, Jalan Penang
A succesful chain and there's good reason. Always full of locals and tourists, Jaya offers great ready prepared options as well as a la carte. The beauty of this style of dining is that you can see what goes on your plate and how much! The food is pretty amazing and a fave for me was the curried Quail eggs!

Joo Hooi, Lebuh Penang
Listed in the "Penang Asian Food Paradise" guide this is a definite "must see, must eat, must sit down and watch the locals" sort of place! Assam Laksa for RM3.50 which you'll struggle to beat anywhere in the country. This refreshing noodle dish really picks you back up after a long walk around town.

Mona Lisa, Lebuh Chulia
Sit back and enjoy a cold beer watching the world go by. Food is on offer, though it is more European snacks than main meals. A large bottle beer will cost around RM12.

Munchen Beirhaus, Upper Jalan Penang
There are quite a few top-end bars along this stretch, but don't let that out you off. There is so much competition that the happy-hour prices make it all worth while! Good quality food and 2 large draught beers for RM21 during happy hour.

Red Garden Food Paradise
Eat, drink and be merry! If you're in a group and struggling/ arguing about what or where to eat, then head here. It's really a large food-court that has so many options it'd take an age to list them. The live music to accompany your dining experience is also part of the buzz making this a really great place to see. Beer service available, that some would describe as "pushy"... others describe as "attentive service". You decide.


If you're travelling over land and your final destination is Georgetown, then head to Butterworth on the mainland and use the local ferry. It only costs Rm1.20 and runs about every 20 minutes. This means that you get straight into Georgetown, rather than having to head south, use the bridge and then head north. It is much faster.

Butterworth ferry is just a few minutes walk from the train station and the bus station. 

From Butterworth bus station you can get to virtually everywhere in Malaysia as well as choice destinations in Thailand.

International trains arrive from Bangkok into (and terminate) in Butterworth. Onward trains to the rest of Malaysia are available, but the standard of buses and the service you receive make the bus the better option for travel.

Local Sites

Georgetown has a lot to offer and with free tourist maps available, it's easy to get around. Here are a few of the key sites that are listed - ones we've enjoyed and one's we've endured!

Fort Cornwallis (RM2)
A lot of historic information about the area and the fort, though the fort itself isn't really that interesting. Live events are held here - check at the tourist information centre.

Hainan Temple (Free)
The interior itself isn't that much, but if you're new to Chinese Temples then the outside has some amazing "carvings".

Masjid Kapitan Kling (Free)
The bright yellow mosque really stands out. The structure itself is interesting but do take the time to go inside. The guides are very informative and interested in comparing religions and explaining the roots of each of them. This is not a "hard sell" on religion, more informative and educative.

Penang Art Gallery (Free)
A few friends described this as a place to visit if you like art. It was also described as a great place to get some free AC. Hmm. We'll let you decide.

Penang Museum (1RM)
Worth the money - 1RM that is! Actually, it is worth popping in if you haven't visited any of the more impressive historical museums in Melaka or KL. And really for 1RM you can't go wrong.

Persatuan Tochew Temple (Free)
Beautifully restored and well maintained, this is one not to miss out on.

Sites around Penang

There really are several sites outside of Georgetown that are Must See!

Botanical Gardens (Free entry - #10 bus (2RM))
Well established gardens, though the bus journey can take an hour if you go at the wrong time of the day. If you like photographing wildlife then they have the Long-tailed Macaques here as well as the Dusky-faced Leaf Monkey. The locals tend to feed the Macaques so be wary of them trying to steal your bag. The Dusky-faced Leaf monkeys are a little shyer but keep a keen eye on the fresh bamboo and you may see a mother and baby!

Kek Lok Si Temple (Free - #201/2 bus (2RM))
When you see this on the horizon, it really is like something out of Kung Foo Panda! The temple is huge and has some amazing statues. There's no charge for the temple itself but there is a 2RM for the vernacular car that takes you to the top (or walk the road for free!) and 2RM to get into the Million Buddha's Precious Pagoda. 

Snake Temple (Free - #401 bus (3RM))
The bus drops you on the main highway, but you should see the signs for the temple. Ensure you tell the driver where you are going and they'll drop you close enough. The temple houses temple vipers and others for you to see. There's plenty of pictures and history online or read our blog [more].

Local Information

Getting around Penang is very easy indeed. If you know where you want to go and the bus number already, then look out for them on the main street. You'll soon spot the loop that they take. If not, head back down to the Jetty and the main bus station where you'll get all of the information that you'd need.

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  • Malaysia, simply Asia.

    Kuala Lumpur on the cheap

    "Is possible?"

    Wendy Merrett is back again to tell us how one can spend a few days in KL without blowing their budget of $50 a day for 2 people. 


    Snake Temple, Penang

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    Scared of snakes? I mean, really scared of snakes? Can't even watch the Jungle Book because of the snake? Then a visit to the Snake Temple in Penang... well Wendy Merrett does! 


    Must see! Malaysia

    “A picture says a thousand words?”

    Select either of the links below to see some of our fellow travellers’ pictures.



    Posted 28 Jun 2013, 00:13 by Elli Murr
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  • Kuala Lumpur Charities: The Leaping Lemur Group
    The following are all Kuala Lumpur based Charities. If you’re looking for something fun and rewarding to do then get involved in volunteering at one of many charities who need your help! Whether you have a lot of spare time on your hands or just a little, there is something to suit. There are plenty of opportunities to use existing skills such as playing with children, teaching, nursing, marketing, accounting or learn some new skills. You really can make a difference and get to know a lot more about the community, culture and environment you are living in.

    Elli xx

    Home of Peace
    Home of Peace is a safe haven for young girls which places special emphasis on education and the girls realizing their full potential.  They are always looking for volunteers to help with homework and tutoring.  Volunteers can work with older girls (ages 12-16) any day of the week in the afternoons from 4:30-6:00pm and with younger girls (7-9 years old) in home school from 10:00-1:00pm.  The girls would also love to do craft activities and receive piano or music lessons, so if you can help out, please let them know.  They are also in need of administrative support.
    Contact Justine Morais

    Riding for the disabled
    Help disabled and handicapped children use horse riding as a part of their therapy to change disability to ability. Equine assisted therapy is used to achieve learning and stimulates physical, mental, social and educational progress.  Volunteers are needed to help children prepare for the ride, prepare the horses for the ride, lead horses and provide emotional support to the children. Volunteers are also needed to help with administrative duties in the main office. Sessions are held in the morning at three locations; 

    Bukit Kiara Club, Damansara
    Tues & Thurs, 9.30 – 11.30am
    Call: Ms Zuraidah Omar tel: 019-2108127 

    Selangor Polo Club, 
    Tues, Wed & Thursday 10am – 12noon
    Contact: Karyn Stewart tel: 016-6162945 

    Royal Selangor Turf Club, nr Mines Resort City
    Tues, Wed & Thurs, 10am – 12noon
    Contact: Cheryl Victor  
    Tel + 6 03-90502346

    Stepping Stones
    Stepping Stones is a children’s home in Taman Seputeh (near Mid-Valley).  ABWM members tutor a small group of boys on a Tuesday 09.30 - 11.30.  Some of them do not currently have access to regular schooling and volunteers are needed to help with basic Maths, Science and English. Lessons do not need to be prepared in advance; just show up and help with homework. During holidays more recreational activities are organized. Call Monica Maclean: 017 609 6087

    United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)
    UNHCR helps to run various community and education programmes to assist the needs of refugees and asylum seekers.   Help is needed to teach English and skills such as computer, crafts and music. There are opportunities to work at an adult centre in Cheras and the youth in various centres in Cheras and Pudu, and to provide support to asylum seekers at a detention centre.
    Tel: 603 2141 1322 Fax: 603 2141 1780 Email:

    Malaysia Association of the Blind (MAB)
    Located in Brickfields, MAB needs volunteers to help in the reading and Braille production service.  One opportunity is to type books onto disc which can be converted into Braille and another is to help develop a talking book library for the blind.  Readers who speak English, Malay or Mandarin are needed to help produce more talking books. Volunteers may come anytime during the week between 9am-5pm.  Alternatively, volunteers may record the tapes at home and send back the finished product.  Volunteers are also needed to assist in a playgroup for blind and low-vision pre-school children or with general administrative work. 
    Contact: Ramdas Nayar, MAB at 03-2272-2677

    Beautiful Gate
    Beautiful Gate is charity which helps young disabled adults to acquire vocational skills. Volunteers are needed to teach English as a second language in a relaxed and informal setting. They also organise art and games activities and various outings.  Contact Pastor Sia Siew Chin, 03 7873 6579 or 019-219-8440

    SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)
    The SPCA runs a shelter for dogs and cats and needs volunteers to help with feeding, cleaning, taking dogs out for a walk and other general animal care.  Volunteers are welcome 7 days a week anytime between 9:00 and 4:00, although mornings are generally the busiest time. 
    Call 03-4256-5312   Website:

    Posted 27 Jun 2013, 20:27 by Elli Murr
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  • A sample from our facebook page. Follow us for regular updates.

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    Solitude and silent reflection seems to be moving with the times

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    Toilet humour, bar humour and a great quiz.
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  • Travel Guides
    Over 1,000 downloads of "A travellers Guide to Myanmar"

    We've had over 27,000 hits in just 7 months! For some, that's nothing, for the charities we support, approx. 2% of our visitors visit on.Which means all of our hard work is worth it. 

    Looks like we'll be publishing an update to "A Travellers Guide to Myanmar" in September ready for the new season. And already we have Peter and Anne from Balmain, Sydney Australia on board to give us updates for their pending trip in October.

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Definition of Charity: 
"Generosity and helpfulness especially toward the needy and suffering"

This is all about giving something back to the people of the countries that we've visited, to thank them for the wonderful experiences that we've had. There are no charges for receiving information on this site, because this is about sharing the latest information and not making money. You'll also note, there are no pop-ups or sponsored links to businesses. So, please take the time to look at some of the charities that we've highlighted on our charities page, and if you want to "pay" for the information you've received, then look into some of these worthy causes. Otherwise we'd gladly accept any support to help keep this site alive.

You will be directed to an Email window. 
If not, then email: volunteer@

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