Backpacking in Penang

Backpacking In Penang – 2022 Travel Guide

If you plan to travel around Malaysia, backpacking in Penang is an excellent place to start. Whether you’re an adventure seeker, a cultural buff, an art enthusiast, or even better, a food lover… Penang caters to all types of travelers.

Culturally, Penang is mind-blowing. You’ll see Malays, Chinese, and Indians living harmoniously, and even their respective places of worship are next to each other. 

Tourists and travelers alike flock to Penang every year to see beautiful historical buildings, appreciate nature, gobble down some of the best street food, and the list goes on.

Read on to find out what Penang has to offer!

DISCLOSURE

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At a glance, here’s what we’ll be diving into:

1. Itinerary For Backpacking In Penang

2. Where To Stay In Penang For Backpackers

3. Getting To Penang

  • By Flight
  • By Car
  • By Bus
  • By Train

4. Getting Around Penang

  • Central Area Transit (CAT) Shuttle
  • By Bicycle
  • By Rickshaw
  • By Foot
  • By Grabcar

5. Best Time For Backpacking In Penang

  • Weather
  • Events And Festivals

6. Best Places To Visit In Penang

7. Activities For Backpackers In Penang

8. Best Eating Places For Penang Backpackers

  • Local Food
  • Western Food

9. How Much Does Backpacking In Penang Cost?

  • Basic Budget
  • Mid-Range Budget

10. Safety Tips For Penang Backpackers

Related Posts:

Itinerary For Backpackers In Penang

backpackers in Penang

Upon your arrival in Penang, Georgetown, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is THE place to launch your first 24 hours.

Honestly, driving or renting a car is not advisable if you travel around Penang because of the heavy traffic. In Georgetown, you can walk from one place to another.

Day 1

Fancy some bagels for breakfast? Head over to Mugshot Cafe, located in the heart of Georgetown. The ambiance is warm and welcoming and it has a charming artistic touch and wooden furniture. The bagels are delicious and reasonably priced. Try the salmon bagel or bacon and egg bagel. 

You can spend the rest of the day exploring street art murals around Penang Road, Muntri Street, Weld Quay, Lebuh Leith, Armenian Street, Ah Quee Street, and more. These artworks mostly depict Penang’s way of life and have become one of Georgetown’s most thriving tourist attractions.

As you wander from lane to lane, don’t forget to make a stop at Chowrasta Market on Penang Road. The ground floor sees wet and dry products. You can find traditional treats and pickles that Penang is famous for, like shrimp paste, dodol (sweet toffee-like sugar palm-based candy), and pickled nutmeg.

The upper floor is a heaven for book lovers. You’ll find a row of second-hand book shops that sell literary treasures, ranging from old classics to modern bestsellers.

While capturing moments at the stunning architectures of houses of worship such as the Kapitan Keling Mosque or Sri Mariamman Temple, don’t miss dropping by the clan jetties too!

Backpacking in Penang

After a day of exploring Georgetown, wind down for dinner at any of the hawker centers around Lebuh Kimberley, Chulia Street, Lebuh Keng Kwee, Lebuh Queen, and New Lane.

Day 2

On your second day backpacking in Penang, let’s get away from the town for a little while and travel to Bukit Bendera (Penang Hill).

There are two ways to reach the top. The easiest and fastest way is by boarding the Penang Hill Funicular Railway, and the recommended method is by hiking up. 

If you prefer to take the train:

When backpacking in Penang I prefer hiking the trails of Penang Hill for the breathtaking views, fresh air, the sight of rare orchids, the animals I’d bump into (not wild animals), in-between stops at the locals’ stalls, and so on. There are several entrances into the hike, and you can download the trail map here.

Backpacking in Penang

Don’t worry about getting lost because the trails are apparent. Just bear in mind that it’s not an easy hike as it goes all the way uphill. So, make sure you wear comfortable hiking (or walking) shoes and bring a large water bottle with you.

You can do many things on Penang Hill, so it’s easy to spend the whole day there. 

Head over to the massive and glorious Buddhist temple complex, Kek Lok Si Temple, on your way back from Penang Hill. It’s one of Malaysia’s largest Buddhist temples. At the center of the temple, there’s the Pagoda of 10,000 Buddhas – a truly fascinating sight.

On the way back to your hotel, you can have dinner at Gurney Drive Hawker Center. Some people drive four hours from Kuala Lumpur (KL) to eat here, and it’s a hub of all types of Penang food one should try. 

Day 3

Let’s continue the outdoor vibe on day three! Head over to the Penang National Park at Teluk Bahang to access some of the best beaches in Penang. If you’re an adventure junkie, you’ll love hiking to the pristine Monkey Beach and Kerachut Beach.

Penang backpacking

You’ll hike through the forest so there won’t be many sea views.  Wait until you see one of the few meromictic lakes (freshwater that never mixes with seawater) in the world when you arrive at the beach. There’s also a turtle sanctuary at the end of Kerachut Beach.

Before heading back to your hotel, make a stop at Batu Ferringhi to enjoy the night sea breeze. The Batu Ferringhi night market is quite legendary, and you can find numerous items sold there like handbags, t-shirts, arts and crafts, and many more. 

Most Batu Ferringhi hotels in Penang are luxurious, thanks to the beautiful beach and glorious coastline. While you’re gobbling down Penang’s street food from the night market, don’t miss catching the sunset!

Backpacker Hostels in Penang

Penang, specifically Georgetown, is jam-packed with charming boutique hotels and hostels that give you easy access to all major attractions in the city. The hostels in Penang are cheap, generally.

Here are 10 of the best backpacking in Penang places to sleep and party:

1. Tido Penang Hostel (from $11 per night)

Location: 106, Jalan Argyll, Georgetown, Penang (14.96km from Penang International Airport)

Highlights: 

  • Encourages cycling activity
  • Free WiFi
  • A 24-hour front desk
  • Non-smoking rooms
  • Airport shuttle
  • Laundry service
  • Games room
  • Elevator available

2. Wassup Youth Hostel (from $16 per night)

Location: 495E, Jalan Penang, Georgetown, Penang (17.7km from Penang International Airport)

Highlights

  • Outdoor swimming pool 
  • Free WiFi
  • Flat-screen TV
  • Personal safe
  • Private bathroom with shower and hairdryer
  • Shared kitchen
  • Games room
  • Free access to computers and TV lounge

3. My Hostel Muntri (from $13 per night)

Location: 28, Muntri Street, 10200, Georgetown, Penang (22.5km from Penang International Airport)

Highlights

  • Nearby Rainbow Skywalk and magnificent Pinang Peranakan Mansion
  • Free WiFi
  • Express check-in and check-out facilities

4. Drippin’ Dragon Hostel (from $6 per night)

Location: 32, Hutton Street, Georgetown, Penang (17.1km from Penang International Airport)

Highlights

  • Scrumptious buffet breakfast
  • Luggage storage
  • Movie nights
  • 24-hour air conditioning
  • Pets allowed
  • Board games/puzzles 
  • Garden

5. Dou Houz Georgetown (from $4 per night)

Location: 169, Lebuh Noordin, 10300 Georgetown, Penang (16.4km from Penang International Airport)

Highlights

  • Free WiFi
  • In-house restaurant
  • Rooms come with air-conditioner, fan, clothes rack, and a flat-screen TV
  • Express check-in/check-out
  • Laundry service
  • Private bathroom with shower facility and free toiletries

6. ST Hostel (from $7 per night)

Location: 45, Church Street, 10200, Georgetown, Penang (15.4km from Penang International Airport)

Highlights

  • Free WiFi
  • Luggage storage
  • Room service
  • Airport transfer
  • Shared kitchen and dining area
  • The double room comes with a private bathroom
  • Offers recreational activities

7. Kimberley Old House (from $8 per night) 

Location: Lebuh Kimberley, 10450 Georgetown, Penang (14.6km from Penang International Airport)

Highlights

  • Nearby local street food hub and main bus terminal
  • Air-conditioned rooms
  • Common room
  • Bicycle rental
  • Free WiFi
  • Laundry service/dry cleaning
  • Offers private tours

8. Queen’s Hostel (from $9 per night)

Location: 20 & 22 Queen Street, Georgetown, Penang (18.6km from Penang International Airport)

Highlights

  • Female backpackers only
  • Canopy-inspired beds
  • Auto-lock doors
  • Free toiletries
  • Free WiFi
  • Air-conditioned dorm rooms with individual reading lights
  • Shared bathrooms with hot shower facilities
  • Ironing facilities, hairdryer, and straightener provided
  • Common area adorned by multi-hued bean bags and books 

Getting To Penang

bus from KL to Penang

By Flight

Penang has an international airport (Penang International Airport) located in Bayan Lepas that receives direct flights from major capitals in Malaysia. Malaysian Airlines (MAS) and budget airlines such as AirAsia and Firefly also offer flights at competitive rates to and from this island.

The most convenient way is to book a Grab car from the airport. But if you have the luxury of time, you can take the Rapid Penang Airport Transit (AT) bus or Rapid Penang bus numbers 102, 306, 401, and 401E.

By Car

If you’re from KL, you can travel via the North-South Highway, which connects Penang to major cities in Peninsular Malaysia. The journey typically takes between four to five hours.

By Bus


Taking a bus from KL to Penang is another popular option. However, the journey can be long and tiring even if you take non-stop Konsortium or Transnasional buses.

Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS) is the main bus hub in KL. You can either get your tickets online or purchase them from the bus terminal.

By Train

Getting to Penang by train is another easiest and fastest way. The Malaysian Railways, Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB/KTM) offers six routes a day between KL Sentral and Penang Sentral in Butterworth. The journey takes just four hours and 10 to 15 minutes.

From Penang Sentral, the easiest way to get to Georgetown is by booking a Grab car.

Getting Around Penang

Getting around should be more straightforward if you know which areas in Penang you’re going to. But more often than not, first-time visitors to Penang would want to explore Georgetown first. 

Just bear in mind that almost everywhere in Penang is prone to traffic congestion. So, the best bet is to take the bus. To explore Georgetown only, you can either walk around, rent a bicycle or hop on one of those colorful trishaws.

There are three ways to get around Georgetown.

1. Central Area Transit (CAT) Shuttle

CAT shuttle or Central Area Transit Loop Line is a free shuttle bus system with numerous stops – 19 stations, to be exact, within Georgetown. 

They operate from 6 am to 11.40 pm. You may check this website for the routes.

Hot tips:

  • Prepare exact change before boarding the bus, specifically RM1 (the blue note).
  • Inform the driver of your stop because the bus won’t announce bus stop names. So you have to be alert.
  • Pick a hotel nearby KOMTAR if you plan to rely on the bus to get around Penang.

2. By Bicycle

Most of the hotels or hostels in Penang offer bicycles for free or for rent to their guests. There are also many bicycle rental shops along Armenian Street or Chulia Street.

A standard one-gear bike costs around $2 and $5 per day.

Note: Ensure the shop provides a helmet and bike lock.

Alternatively, you can opt for the Link Bicycles for more convenient docking stations around the city. It makes the returning process easier.

3. By Trishaw

The iconic 3-wheeled trishaw is another popular choice for exploring Georgetown, and you can easily find one at the junction of Armenian Street and Cannon Street. 

Average rate: Around $7 per hour for two people, depending on the distance.

Note: Offer a tip, please. Trishaws work purely by manpower, so it’s not an easy job!

4. By Foot

Walking around Georgetown is a sure way of making the best out of the historical city. You can travel at your own pace, and you don’t need to worry about where to park your bicycle. 

This method is excellent for photography buffs to take amazing shots of picturesque buildings, street arts, the best food in Penang, and the local people.

Malay words you should learn and memorize: Jalan (Road), Lorong (Lane), and Lebuh (Street).

5. By Grab Car

The fare of Grab cars in Penang is not as expensive as in KL, and it’s more convenient than taking a bus, especially for one-way journeys.

If you notice, I did not mention car rental or taxis. It’s not that Penang doesn’t have them. But cabs are expensive, and driving in Penang is not wise. The traffic is horrendous, and it’s challenging to find a parking spot unless you go to a mall.

Best Time For Backpacking In Penang

backpackers in Penang

Weather

First and foremost, Penang bears a tropical rainforest climate all year round with heavy rain, light rain, and sunshine in between.

The Monsoon season typically lasts from September to December and the best time to backpacking in Penang is from January to April.

The average temperature is above 30 ̊C in the day and above 25 ̊C at night.

Events And Festivals

Aside from the weather, another thing to look out for is the home-grown art festivals in Penang. 

The highly-anticipated ones, namely Georgetown Festival and George Town Literary Festival, are why people frequent Penang. These annual events are usually held in November or December, and art enthusiasts will love them!

Penang International Food Festival, George Town Heritage Celebration, Penang Bridge International Marathon, and Dragon Boat Festival are other well-known events you should experience at least once.

If you have the chance, I highly suggest joining the Penang Bridge International Marathon. Running in the wee hours on the bridge and around Georgetown is a surreal experience!

Best Places To Visit In Penang

1. Georgetown – UNESCO World Heritage Site.

2. Weld Quay Clan Jetties – A unique Chinese settlement.

3. Penang Hill – 830m above sea level, spectacular view of the island from the top.

4. Tropical Spice Garden – Southeast Asia’s only spice garden.

5. Kek Lok Si Temple – Largest, majestic Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia.

6. Penang National Park – Meromictic lakes (seawater and freshwater don’t mix).

7. Tanjung Bungah – A fishing village, offers watersports activities and a beautiful sunset.

8. Teluk Bahang – One of the pristine beaches in Penang, Malaysia.

9. Snake Temple – The only temple of its kind in the world.

10. St. George’s Church – Once, a source of inspiration to Shakespeare, among other artists and musicians.

11. Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Chayamangkalaram) – Houses a 33-meter gold-plated reclining Buddha.

12. War Museum Batu Maung – A British fort during World War II, the only one of its kind in Malaysia. 

Backpacking In Penang Activities

1. Spend Sunday At Pop-Up Market Hin Bus Depot 

The Sunday Pop-Up Market at Hin Bus Depot is tremendously famous among modern-day travelers when backpacking in Penang . It’s a platform for small business owners who usually sell their stuff online to do business physically.

These vendors are mostly passionate hobbyists eager to share their handmade products or arts and crafts with the crowd. You can also enjoy street performances or join workshops and activities to learn something or have fun.

2. View Penang On Top Of KOMTAR

The highest building in Penang, KOMTAR, stands at 232-meters with 65 levels of height. The most popular thing is to go to the top floor and walk on the Rainbow Skywalk, the highest glass bridge in Asia. 

If you enjoy such adrenaline, try the Gravityz – one of the highest sports platforms in Asia. Gravityz is a zip line activity alighted right outside one of the top floors.

The views overlooking Georgetown and the island are amazing. Come right before sunset and immerse yourself in the beautiful scenery. 

3. Have A Bit Of Spice And Everything Nice in Little India

Here, you can get the best of everything Indian – trinket shops, colorful sarees, and food and sweet treats. Samosas, masala dosa, tandoori chicken, and other various types of southern and northern Indian delicacies – you name it, they have it.

For lunch, don’t forget to have nasi kandar, Penang local rice with curries. Find Tajuddin Hussain Nasi Kandar, one of the best in Penang.

4. Capture Moments At The Penang Street Art

Backpacker Hostels in Penang

A visit to Georgetown won’t be complete without wandering around the street murals. After Ernest Zacharevic, a Lithuanian artist created the ‘Mirror of George Town’ series for the George Town Festival in 2012, street art in Penang began booming.

It has opened so many opportunities for local and international artists to share the products of their creativity on Penang buildings’ walls.

5. Indulge In Penang Food At Food Court Hawkers

Backpackers In Penang
  • Lebuh Kimberley: Located in the heart of Chinatown and thrives come nightfall. Recommended dish is char kway teow (rice noodles fried with dark soy sauce and topped with seafood).
  • Chulia Street: The atmosphere here is lively and the recommended dish is wonton noodles.
  • Lebuh Keng Kwee: Famous for its assam laksa (hot and sour tamarind-based seafood gravy) and cendol (shaved ice with green rice jelly).
  • Lebuh Queen: Located in the heart of Little India. The stalls sell some of the best Indian delights including nasi kandar.
  • New Lane: An excellent Chinese food street scene. Must-try dishes are oyster omelet and chee cheong fun (rice noodle rolls).

6. Explore The Clan Jetties

Penang backpacking won’t be complete without exploring the Clan Jetties. It consists of immigrant Chinese workers’ ancestral homes, built on stilts atop the water. But try to avoid the place on weekends as it gets too crowded.

The Chinese settlement is quaint and scenic, reflecting the life of old Penang. There hasn’t been much change in a century and the charm remains. 

However, as much as it’s a backpacking in Penang tourist attraction, it’s still a residence. Therefore, recently, a 9pm curfew was imposed. So, since it’s just a 5-minute walk from Armenian Street where the Penang street murals are, you might as well come here.

7. Meet Other Backpackers On Chulia Street And Love Lane

The cluster of side lanes within Chulia Street and Love Lane is undoubtedly a backpacker’s hub. It’s where they drink and party while munching on ‘drinking food’. It sounds like clubbing, but only it isn’t.

We’re talking about bars and pubs that spill tables on the street. Micke’s Place is a well-known hangout spot, and live musicians are strumming to songs that make people sing and dance. Right opposite is Wheeler’s, a hip cafe that serves a delicious Western menu and great coffees.

The price of drinks here is a bit on the high side and you may have to pay $3 for a can of beer instead of the local standard of $0.95.

8. Pop Into A Museum

Penang has a distinguished number of museums – more than 20! From interactive, war, to cultural museums, you really have to choose which one suits your soul. But if you fancy visiting all of them, why not?

Check out the list of museums in Penang, here. But if you eventually decide on one, go visit the Penang House of Music, located inside of KOMTAR. The House of Music is curated by Paul Augustin, a local musician, and connoisseur. 

Music is another of Penang’s amazing creations, so just for $7, you’ll discover the roots of all things that rock in Malaysia. Don’t miss it!

9. Eat Cake At China House

Step inside China House, and you’ll instantly feel this eclectic, artsy vibe like no other. It’s a trendy hangout spot for local and foreign travelers. The art scene in this cake house of Penang is intense. It’s hard to describe China House in one word because it’s aesthetic, retro, vintage, hip, stylish, chic, all at once.

Besides Western-style dishes and a bit of Asian mix here and there, you’ll find up to 30 types of cakes spread on a banquet table every day. There’s also homemade ice cream, bread, and pastries. I can’t recommend which cake to try, though, because I, too, am still in the midst of figuring out which one my favorite is!

10. Eat Seafood At Pulau Aman

Pulau Aman or Aman Island is a tiny island big on seafood, and it’s accessible from Batu Kawan by a 5-minute boat ride. But first, you can read more on ways to get to Batu Kawan from Georgetown here.

The 2-way boat ticket fee for adults is $1.90. Head to the floating restaurant to savor fresh seafood. After a delicious meal, you can walk around the fishing village to enjoy the sea breeze.

Backpacking In Penang Best Eating Places

Penang backpacking

Penang has an array of backpacker-friendly food, and I don’t mean instant noodles or porridge. While backpacking in Penang you can get budget-friendly Indian, Malay, or Chinese hearty meals and delicious delicacies.

Besides the street food hubs mentioned above, let’s check out some other Penang best eating places for backpackers.

Backpacking In Penang Local Food

1. Nasi Lemak Ali

Nasi lemak or coconut rice is an ultimate Malaysian favorite. Neatly wrapped with banana leaf, you can choose to have the standard nasi lemak with anchovies and hard-boiled egg, or nasi lemak with either squid, prawn, fish, or salted fish.

Each nasi lemak, regardless of the ingredient, is priced at $0.50 per pack. 

Opening hours: Mon-Fri; 7 am to 2 pm, Sat; 7 am to 1 pm (closed on Sun)

Address: Sri Weld Food Court, Beach St, Georgetown, 10300 Georgetown, Penang.

2. Chicken Claypot House

This famous clay pot house is known for its authentic Sichuan-style chicken clay pot. They use ayam kampung (free-range chicken) cooked with lots of spices and chicken broth. You can enjoy your meal with hotpot ingredients.

You can request to add more soup and turn the dish into a steamboat hotpot. Don’t forget to complete your meal with their homemade lemonade or herbal tea!

Opening hours: Daily, from 12 pm to 10 pm.

Address: 130, Macalister Road, Georgetown, 11400, Penang.

3. Lighthouse Cafe Hailam Noodle

Hailam noodle (yellow noodles cooked in a dark gravy made of soy sauce, oyster sauce, and dark soy sauce, mixed with lots of minced garlic and shallots, and usually chicken or beef) from the Lighthouse Cafe goes for $1.60 per pack for takeaways and $1.80 for dining in. 

This dish is a real bang for your buck, considering the vast noodles portion loaded with prawns and deep-fried pork lard. The best part is, they also offer a free flow of ice cream! Lighthouse cafe donates a portion of its proceeds to charity. So, eating here is indeed tummy and spiritually fulfilling.

Opening hours: Mon-Fri; 11.30 am to 2.30pm and 5.30pm to 9pm (closed on Tuesdays).

Address: Lighthouse Cafe, 52A, Penang Road, 10,000 Georgetown, Penang.

4. Yan Kee Chee Cheong Fun

Deemed the best Muslim-friendly chee cheong fun on the island, this stall has been operating at Kimberly Street since 1979. The hawker has a unique way of treating the rice noodle rolls, and one may relish the dish in four flavors to enjoy different tastes. 

Interestingly, Chinese-American Chef Martin Yan and Hong Kong TVB actress Aimee Chan are among some of the celebrities who have traveled to Penang to try this delicacy.  

Opening hours: 7.30am to 12pm.

Address: J201, Lebuh Kimberly, 10100, Georgetown, Penang.

5. Aimi Lim Halal Hokkien Mee

Hokkien mee is egg/rice noodles cooked in a prawn-based spicy broth with hard-boiled eggs, some veggies, and prawns as the main ingredients. Aimi Lim Hokkien Mee is located inside Toon Leong Coffee Shop so that you can enjoy your meal with a glass of kopi ais (iced coffee). Aimi Lim’s Hokkien Mee is best enjoyed anytime. 

Opening hours: 8am to 11am (might sell out earlier). 

Address: 84, Toon Leong Coffee Shop, Transfer Road, 10050, Georgetown, Penang.

6. Nasi Melayu Lidiana

Nasi Melayu means Malay mixed rice. The difference with Chinese chap fan (Chinese mixed rice) is the side dishes. But essentially, both types of mixed rice have staple side dishes such as fried fish and chicken. Even the Chinese Penangites claim that this is one of the best Malay places to eat.

A plate of rice, chicken, and veggies with some gravy typically costs $1.90 and is best eaten for lunch. The place has been running for over 43 years, and the recommended dish is fried fish stuffed with sambal (chili paste).

Opening hours: 7am to 9pm daily. Closed on Sundays.

Address: 11200, Tanjung Bungah, Penang.

7. Roti Canai Gemas Road

Roti canai is a flatbread dish served with sweet and spicy Indian curry – a staple breakfast in Southeast Asia, particularly Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore. 

The best way to eat it is by pouring the curry all over your roti canai. The locals call it banjir (flood). So, when ordering, say this – “Boss, roti canai banjir satu!”. The Mamak (Indian-Muslim men who prepare the dish) will be delighted!

Gemas Road’s roti canai comes with their chicken, sunny side up, and onion. The tender chicken meat and the flaky, slightly crispy outer layer of the roti will blow your mind.

Opening hours: Sun – Sat, 7 am to 12.30 pm, 5.30 pm to 10 pm. Closed on Mondays.

Address: 29 Jalan Gemas, Taman Kampar, 10460 Georgetown, Penang.

Western Food

1. VIA PRE (Serves pork dishes)

Highlights: Thin crust, woodfire oven-baked pizzas, a good selection of Italian and international wines.

Address: 20E, Lebuh Penang, 10300, Georgetown, Penang.

Opening hours: Sun – Mon, 11.30 am to 11 pm. Closed on Tuesdays.

2. Holy Guacamole

Highlights: Order the big, crunchy slew of tortilla chips smeared in cheese and jalapeno peppers! The quesadillas, fajitas and margaritas are great too.

Address: 65, Love Lane, 10200 Georgetown, Penang.

Opening hours: 12 pm to 10 pm daily.

3. Viva Victoria

Highlights: Must-try dish is the slow-cooked lamb shanks – tender as butter! They also offer vegan dishes like the crowd-favorite cauliflower steak with quinoa. 

Address: 169, Lebuh Victoria, 10300 Georgetown, Penang.

Opening hours: Sun – Tue, 12 pm to 10 pm. Closed on Mondays. 

How Much Does Backpacking In Penang Cost?

On average, backpacking in Penang costs around $10 to $20 per day. Of course, it depends on your appetite and spending habits too. 

Let’s look at the cost breakdown so you’ll know how much money you need to backpack in Penang.

Basic Budget

  • Hostel dorm: Around $5 to $7 per night.
  • Food and drinks: Local breakfast costs around $1.50 to $3.
  • Street food: Around $3 (factor in twice a day).
  • Activities: Depending on what you plan to do, allocate at least $5 to $8.

TOTAL: Around $25.

Mid-Range Budget

  • Private room: Around $12 to $30 per night.
  • Food and drinks: Around $4 to $6 for continental breakfast in most cafes in town.
  • Street food: Around $3 (factor in twice a day).
  • Activities: Depending on what you plan to do, allocate at least $5 to $8.

TOTAL: About $45.

Backpacking In Penang Safety Tips

Malaysia is a safe country, so backpacking in Penang is safe too. The crime rate is pretty low with petty thefts here and there. With that being said…

1. Don’t carry drugs with you. Drug trafficking incurs a mandatory death penalty.

2. Party safe. As anywhere else, don’t drink and drive. 

3. While having fun exploring, don’t let your bags and valuable belongings out of sight.

4. Credit card fraud is possible so never give away your cards when paying for goods.

5. Don’t use your phone while walking on the streets to avoid accidents and snatch thieves.

6. Liaise with reputable companies like Klook to book any activities.

7. Don’t walk alone at night.

8. Minimize public display of affections.

9. Tsunamis can hit almost any of Malaysia’s coastlines.

10. Avoid anything, everything, and anyone that seems too good to be true.

Backpacking in Penang is an excellent way to learn and appreciate the people and places that make up the framework of modern-day Penang. The glory of Penang is not made up just by its heritage sites or heavenly food offerings, though. The people are friendly and welcoming too.

As you wander through the streets, jungles, and beaches, make chatting with the locals a habit. This way, you’ll get the chance to discover lesser-known places, perhaps be invited to witness sacred traditions, listen to underrated stories, dying trades, and everything else that makes Penang a special gem amongst her people.

Backpacking In Penang – 2022 Travel Guide

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