Where to stay in Penang
Each neighbourhood in Penang has a unique feel and type of accommodation. Here are the different areas to consider.
Zone A: Core Georgetown
Georgetown city is the most densely populated area in the Penang Island. It is due to its status as the capital city of Penang. Parts of the city has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Georgetown contains one of the largest collections of pre-war buildings in Southeast Asia. Hence, there are lot of heritage hotels around the area with an affordable price.
Staying in Georgetown has its own perks. Being the liveliest district in Penang, the city offers magnificent temples, buildings riddled with amazing graffities and beautifully decorated trishaws. Famous and popular attractions are walking distance from each other.
It is also lively at night, there are lots of pubs and night entertainment for people to enjoy. There are endless supplies of restaurants and cafes ranging from cheap to upscale to satisfy the travellers gastronomy need.
The cons of staying here are the noise and the crowd. It can be very packed during the weekends and public holiday. The traffic jam can be worse. It is also can be really noisy at night.
Zone B: Around Georgetown
The neighboring area are less dense than the city center. The price of the accommodation is slightly cheaper than the city center. The place also is a little bit quiet compared to the city center.
Although the areas are not a walking distance to nearby attractions. The places are still well connected through the public translation. Other than that, there's not much difference between the outskirt of Georgetown and the city center itself.
Zone C: East and South
The east and the south of Penang Island are the least touristy area in the island. The zone is full of residential areas and industrial areas.The area is also quite far from main town.
Penang International Airport is located in the south part of the island. It makes the commute to and from the airport easier. The price of the accommodation would be slightly cheaper than any other area in the island. There are also plenty of local dish the travellers could try sold at the stalls and restaurants nearby the area.
There are not a lot of shopping place or nightlife activities going on. The distance from one attractions to another are quite far from each other.
Zone D: Gurney Drive
Gurney Drive is known for its famous hawker delights that offers variety of Penang delicacies. It is also hosts plenty of high end hotels that offers a breathtaking view of the ocean.
Besides the hotel, It also host two big shopping mall named Gurney Paragon and Gurney Plaza. Both are walking distance from each other. The shopping malls cater those who love to shop.
Since Gurney Drive hosts a lot of high end hotels. The option for cheaper accommodation is quite rare. The seaside is not suitable for swimming or any water recreation. However, it is still offers a nice view of the sea.
Zone E: Tanjung Bungah
Tanjung Bungah is located at the north side of the island. It is a seaside suburb sandwiched between Gurney and Batu Feringghi. The environment is quite and the view of the seaside is stunning.
Visitors can enjoy water sports such as beach volleyball or beach soccer. There are also spots for fishing.
Tanjung Bungah caters to travellers with a little bit extra on the budget. There are a number of beach resorts built along its natural landscape. The area is suitable for families who enjoy a quiet retreat.
There are also restaurants with affordable price in the area. The night activity is rare and there is no shopping mall in the area. The place is slightly more expensive than the rest of the island.
Zone F: Batu Ferringhi
Just like Tanjung Bungah, Batu Ferringhi also offers the seaside view with beaches available to the tourist. However, unlike Tanjung Bungah. Batu Ferringhi is crowded and livelier. The accommodations there ranging from budget hotels to luxury hotels.
The beaches are open to public so there are lots of families having their picnic and swimming along the beach. There are a number of water sports and water recreational operators operating at the beach.
Batu Ferringhi also host a night market that offers lot of local delicacies. The place is often packed especially on the weekend. There are lines of seafood restaurants offering a variety of good seafood delicacies.
Rest of the Island
The rest of the island consist of fishing villages, villages with paddy field and the hill area with a nature park. There are homestay programs the travellers can sign up if they want to experience the culture and the daily life of the local people.
There are horse stable, herbs garden, nature park, durian farm and many more greeneries the island could offer. The area is less touristy and very quiet at night. It might be hard to find accomodation in the area, but the price is usually slightly cheaper.
The road at the hill side is winding and dark at night. That makes the road a bit unsafe to navigate for the driver unfamiliar with the area.