Where To Stay In Penang: 6 Best Areas

The island of Penang is known for its rich culture and history, but have you ever wondered where to stay in Penang? Well, there are a number of best areas to stay in Penang to help make your decision easier. The following list includes some of the best options on offer. Have fun exploring!

Located on the north-western coast of Malaysia, Penang is the most densely populated state in the country. With a rich history and vibrant culture, there’s plenty to do and see to make this a trip to remember.

However, covering more than 400 square miles, knowing the best place to stay, in order to get the most out of your trip, can be quite a challenge, especially for first time visitors.

So, if you have your heart set on a trip to Penang but haven’t been able to narrow down which location best fits your own personal needs, I highly recommend reading on.

See more: When is the Best Time to Visit Malaysia?

Before we get to the main article, I want to give you a few tips that should help make coming to your decision much easier.

For example, if you prefer to stay near the airport, then Bayan Lepas will be your ideal location. On the flip side, if you are backpacking and want to experience a more traditional trip, then Balik Pulau is probably much better suited.

If you want to delve into the history and culture of the region, then the capital city of George Town has a much greater range of attractions on offer than anywhere else. However, if you’re visiting on business or need to visit the port for any other reason, then staying in Seberang Perai makes sense.

There’s even those who will be coming here looking for your “traditional” tourist style of vacation. If you prioritise high-end, exclusive resorts, with stunning views, then take a look at Penang Hill. However, if you’re after a relaxed beach vacation, then Batu Ferringhi is the place for you.

Whatever it is you’re looking for; chances are you can find it in Penang. The problem is, with the city covering such a large area, knowing where to look to find it can be an issue.

If you take these, and other similar considerations, into account while reading, you’ll make your job of finding the ideal location as quick and easy as possible.

💖 Best Area:George Town
💎 Best luxury hotel:Eastern & Oriental Hotel
🏨 Best mid-range hotel:Royale Chulan Penang
💰 Best budget hotel:Rope Walk Guest House


📌 6 Best Areas to Stay in Penang

Now that you know exactly what to look for, I will show you what I believe to be the 6 best areas to stay in Penang. I will explain what each place has to offer and who the location may be suitable for.

Best areas to Stay in Penang Map

To see more detail of where to stay in Penang map, go to google map;

1. George Town, Where to Stay in Penang for Foodie

 George Town, Where to Stay in Penang for Foodie

We begin our journey in the capital city of Penang, George Town. Located in the northeast of Penang island, it is the 3rd most populous city in Malaysia. While its numerous suburbs offer a range of thrilling sights and activities for visitors, it is its historic centre that is the main attraction.

Designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 2008, the 1.6 square mile area is bursting with historic attractions. It also features one of the largest collections of pre-war buildings anywhere in Asia.

You have Fort Cornwallis, an 18th century British fort, built by the infamous East India Trading Company. There is the Penang State Museum, a museum and art gallery, built in the early 19th century, which displays the history, art and culture of the region. Then there is the collection of famous buildings, like the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, the Eastern & Oriental Hotel, Penang City Hall and a number of others in the Central Business District.

There are even a number of buildings that display the diverse religious culture of the region. Temples such as the Goddess Of Mercy Temple and the iconic Wat Chaiyamangkalaram are surrounded by locations like St. George’s Church and the Kapitan Keling Mosque.

Outside of the history, George Town is also known as the food capital of Malaysia. Offering a wide range of cuisine, bars, restaurants and street stalls, which give visitors the chance to enjoy some of the traditional gastronomy of the region while they’re taking everything else in.

Due to what’s on offer here, institutions such as Forbes, Time and Lonely Planet have heralded Georgetown as one of the best places to visit, not just in Asia but in the entire world. This makes it by far the best place to stay for anyone who prioritises history, culture or food during their visit.

Stay in George Town if you want to experience some of the area’s famous cuisine; you are interested in the history and culture of Penang.

Best Hotels in Penang – George Town:

Royale Chulan Penang is located within walking distance to Clan Jetties of Penang,  Pinang Peranakan Museum, Wonderfood Museum, Little India, and Fort Cornwallis. The hotel provides an outdoor swimming pool, free wifi, and an in-house restaurant.

Hompton Hotel by the Beach This family-friendly hotel is a lovely 4-star hotel in George Town, with a bar, a restaurant, a fitness centre, and free wifi. It’s close to Tanjung Bungah Beach, Rainbow Skywalk at Komtar, and Avenue Penang.

JEN Penang Georgetown by Shangri-La is just a few steps from the KOMTAR building, 1st Avenue Shopping Mall and Prangin Mall. It’s also close to Upside Down Museum and Dark Mansion – 3D Glow In The Dark Museum, and 5D Interactive World.

Rope Walk Guest House This budget accommodation is located within a short distance from Prangin Mall, the main bus station, and Komtar.


🎬 Check out my virtual tour about the best places to stay in Penang in this video or continue reading:

Where to stay in Penang: Best Areas to Stay in Penang, Malaysia

2. Seberang Perai, Where to Stay in Penang for Shopping

Our second destination is the only one on this list, and in fact the only city in Penang, that isn’t located on Penang Island. The second most populous city in Malaysia, Seberang Perai is instead located on the Malay Peninsula opposite.

Perhaps its most prominent feature is being home to the Port Of Penang, the state’s largest seaport. This has helped to drive the city’s economy and draw numerous businesses to the region.

On a tourism front, the city offers a diverse range of activities for the modern traveller. For starters, it is one of the premier shopping districts in Penang, featuring a number of malls and stores, selling an incredible range of products that will have all visitors covered, no matter what they’re looking for.

In terms of more traditional attractions, the city thrives on activities that rely on nature and the great outdoors.

You have the Penang Bird House, which is home to more than 300 species of bird, as well as a wide range of other plant and animal life. With walk in aviaries, gardens and ponds, it is the largest of its kind anywhere in Malaysia.

Then there is the Bukit Mertajam, a tropical rainforest reserve, featuring countless hiking, cycling and even driving trails. This offers adventurers the chance to explore nature and see indigenous trees, some of which are more than 100 years old.

There’s even some small towns and fishing villages dotted around the outskirts. These offer visitors the chance to experience the region’s more traditional side, in a laid back, natural environment.

A relatively unique city, Seberang Perai is likely the best option for anyone looking for a truly diverse city, that offers just as much in both the urban and rural departments.

Stay in Perai if you are interested in shopping; you want or need to visit Penang Port; you want to visit Penang Bird Park; you want to explore a rainforest reserve; you would like to visit a small fishing village.

Best Hotels in Penang – Perai:

Sunway Hotel Seberang Jaya This 4 star hotel is located in Perai, close to  Sunway Carnival Mall, PECC Exhibition & Convention Centre, State Mosque, and Auto City.

The Light Hotel Penang offers modern and stylish mid-range accommodation with free WiFi, an outdoor pool and fitness centre.

Ixora Hotel Penang is just a few steps from Megamall Pinang, with modern guest rooms with an outdoor pool, free WiFi. It close to Butterworth Bus Terminal and Prai Industrial Parks.

Kinora Homestay is set close to Sunway Carnival Mall, PECC Exhibition & Convention Centre, State Mosque, and Auto city.


3. Penang Hill, Where to Stay in Penang for Exploring Nature

 Penang Hill, Where to Stay in Penang for Exploring Nature

Our next destination of Penang Hill is one of the most directly tourist focused areas in Penang. Its stunning views and slightly cooler temperatures have mad in a popular destination with visitors, particularly those from foreign countries. This has led to a selection of accommodation such as bungalows being built throughout the region.

A somewhat rural area, many of its attractions are of the more natural kind. There are beautiful forests to stroll through, featuring a range of plant and wildlife, cascading waterfalls and flowing rivers. Speaking of which, these rivers have differing flows, offering rapids ideal for rafting in one area, while calm shallows, perfect for paddling and bathing, can be found elsewhere.

Whether you want to spend your days walking, picnicking and relaxing, or doing something that gets your blood pumping, this is a location that has you covered.

Penang Hill also has the unique feature of the Penang Hill Railway. A funicular railway system that runs from the base to the top of the hill, it is the only one of its kind in Malaysia, making riding it a unique experience in its own right.

Stay in Penang Hill if you want to explore the more natural side of Penang; you want to ride on the funicular railway; you enjoy stunning hilltop views.

Best Places to Stay near Penang Hill:

Straits Garden Suites, Georgetown is located in George Town, around 3km from 1st Avenue Penang and Penang Times Square, Rainbow Skywalk at Komtar, and Wonderfood Museum.

G Hotel Kelawai is a modern and luxurious accommodation with an outdoor swimming pool, an in-house restaurant, and free WiFi. It closes to Gurney Plaza, Gurney Paragon, and Down Museum.

G Hotel Gurney The 5-star hotel overlooking Gurney Drive, and also close to Gurney Plaza and Gurney Paragon, and Fort Cornwallis.


4. Balik Pulau, Where to Stay in Penang for Backpackers

Next up is the town of Balik Pulau, a location in the south west of Penang Island where the economy revolves heavily around agriculture. It contains the only large areas of untouched countryside, mangroves and orchards in the region, as well as a number of fishing villages.

This has led to the town quietly developing a reputation as a tourist destination. Visitors who come to Penang to experience an authentic Malaysian culture are drawn in by the honest, rural lifestyle that is on display in the town.

In order to capitalise on this, accommodation in the area has increased and orchards and farms have begun offering tours and samples of their traditional crops, like cloves, durians and nutmeg.  There are also a number of markets selling local produce and traditional products, such as nutmeg juice, where visitors can purchase larger quantities of their favourite items.

While certainly a destination for a more specific type of traveller, it is nonetheless ideal for anyone wanting to experience a more “real” version of Penang.

Stay in Balik Pulau if you want to visit a more traditional destination; you are backpacking; you want to visit farms and orchards; you want to sample the local produce.

Best Places to Stay in Balik Pula:

MaliHom Private Estate is set in Balik Pulau, Southern Penang, close to Queensbay Mall, Snake Temple, and Penang Botanic Gardens. Rooms feature a private garden or deck with beautiful views of the natural landscape, an electric kettle, a minibar, en suite bathrooms with essential oil toiletries, and a hairdryer.

Happy Holiday home This holiday home is in Balik Pulau, 14 km from Queensbay Mall, Kek Lok Si, Penang Hill, and Penang Butterfly Farm. It has 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, bed linen, towels, a flat-screen TV, a dining area, a fully equipped kitchen, and a balcony with mountain views.

KontenaStay Al Furqan Located around 15 km from Penang Hill, Kek Lok Si, Kontena, Tropical Spice Garden, Penang Butterfly Farm, Queensbay Mall, and Penang Botanic Gardens.


5. Bayan Lepas, Where to Stay in Penang Close to Airport

Our penultimate destination of Bayan Lepas is located on the south-west of Penang Island. Founded in the late 19th century, it is a largely residential neighbourhood.

That said, there are a number of reasons that visitors often choose to stay here. For starters, it is the location of Penang International Airport. This is ideal if you are someone who likes to remain close, in order to avoid missing your flight or having to drag your baggage all over the place. This is an especially appealing trait in a destination as large as Penang.

Outside of the airport, there are also a number or other popular attractions located in the area. You have the Queensbay Mall, the largest shopping mall in Penang; the SPICE Arena, one of Penang’s major sporting venues; The Snake Temple, the only Chinese temple in the world inhabited by snakes; and the Penang War Museum, a converted fort, displaying military instillations from the 1930’s.

This set of popular attractions, combined with its location, make it an ideal destination for anyone who has these high up on their list of things to do and see

Stay in Bayan Lepas if you want to stay close to the airport; you want to go shopping; you are attending an event at the SPICE Arena; you want to visit The Snake Temple; you are interested in the military history of the area.

Best Hotels in Bayan Lepas:

Lexis Suites Penang is located in Bayan Lepas away from hustle and bustle city center. Close to Penang Bridge and Queensbay Mall. It has air-conditioned suites with a private pool overlooking panoramic views from the balcony, a seating area with a flat-screen TV, a safe, en suite bathroom with either a bathtub or shower facilities, free toiletries, and a hairdryer.

AC Hotel by Marriott Penang This mid-range hotel is located in a short drive from Penang bridge, and Georgetown, Penang International Airport. it features comfortably furnished, the spacious air-conditioned rooms feature warm lighting, satellite TV, and a modern marble bathroom.


6. Batu Ferringhi, Where to Stay in Penang for Family

Our final destination of Batu Ferringhi is the sort of option you would expect to find in many popular vacation spots. A suburb on the outskirts of George Town, this is the premier beach location in Penang, equally popular with both locals and tourists alike.

Numerous stunning beaches, including its most popular option, Miami Beach, offer visitors a wide range of choice when it comes to which stretch of golden sand they want to spend their days on.

With many offering amenities like beach bars and activities, such as parasailing, they will have you covered, whether you want an all-action vacation or a relaxing getaway.

Around them, numerous high-rise hotel complexes have been constructed to cater to the increased demand, including the crown jewel of the area, the Hard Rock Hotel Penang. Offering luxurious options to people with a range of budgets, they make a beach vacation here a comfortable and easy option.

While other attractions in the area may be a little limited, the Entopia Butterfly Farm, wide selections of bars and restaurants, as well as the legendary Batu Ferringhi night market should still provide options to keep visitors entertained throughout.

That’s all without mentioning that downtown George Town is located just a short distance away. This makes it a perfect choice for those who want access to the city center, without being stuck in it the whole time. This is particularly beneficial for groups such as families with small children.

Stay in Batu Ferringhi if you are traveling as a family; you are looking for a beach vacation; you want to be near to the big city but not located directly in it.

Best Hotels in Batu Ferringhi

PARKROYAL Penang Resort offers rooms with sea or hill views and free wifi. It is close to Feringghi Night Walk Bazaar, and Batu Feringghi Waterfall. it features modern and contemporary style rooms with LED TV, in-room movies, tea & coffee making facilities, minibar, personal digital safe, and DVD player upon request.

DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Hotel Penang The 5-star luxury hotel is close to George Town, and Tanjung Bungah. It provides rooms with a sitting area, a private bathroom, a TV, a minibar, and a coffee/tea maker, and ironing facilities.

The Bayview Beach Resort is in Batu Ferringhi Beach in Penang provides rooms with private balconies that face the hills or the sea. It offers an outdoor swimming pool, an in-house restaurant, and a bar.


With our list of options taken care of, I’m sure the vast majority of you will have now decided where you plan to stay. However, I am now going to answer some of the most frequently asked questions people have about Penang, to help those who are still undecided make up their minds as well. 

Where To Stay In Penang George Town?

Following on from above, if you’ve decided that George Town is the place for you while visiting Penang, then I would highly recommend staying at The Prestige Hotel Penang. A stunning, five star hotel, with a “superb” 9.2/10 rating, located near the sea front, at the heart of the city.

This luxurious hotel will ensure you are comfortable and relaxed throughout your entire stay. Its location also means you don’t have to worry about travelling all over to see the best sights and tourist attractions.

With historic locations, legendary food and out of this world quality, this is a destination that has all the ingredients to create an incredible vacation that you will never forget.

How Many Days To Stay In Penang?

With Penang being a state as opposed to just a city, there is a vast number of things to do and see, spread over an incredibly large area. While it doesn’t offer as much as some of the worlds more famous and historic cities might, it still has plenty to keep visitors entertained.

That’s why I would recommend around two weeks as the ideal amount of time to visit for. That gives you long enough to explore the cities and move from place to place, without feeling like you’re having to rush.

At the same time, it doesn’t give you so long that you’re left feeling like what you’re seeing is just more of the same and visiting attractions you aren’t really that interested in, purely to give you something to do. 

When Is The Best Time To Visit Penang?

When it comes to picking the best time to visit Penang, it is a little different to most cities.

Temperature is usually one of the first things to look at when traveling, but Penang is a destination that is hot at all times, with average temperatures remaining incredibly consistent year-round.

However, it is still the weather that is going to guide my recommendation. That’s because it’s a place known just as much for its rainfall as it is for its temperatures. So, with this in mind, I am going to recommend January and February as the ideal time to visit.

They feature, by a distance, the least rainy days and daily rainfall of any time during the year. This will allow you to enjoy the area, its warm climate and stunning attractions, without having to worry about getting soaked all the time.

See More:

Exploring Penang (Georgetown): Things To Do in One Day

Penang is a beautiful place, albeit one that may appeal to a more select group of visitors than other places around the world. With a diverse range of destinations throughout, this article will hopefully have helped you narrow down which town or city is best suited to your own personal needs.

Now, all that’s left to do is go and get things booked, so you can experience it all for yourself.

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