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Chapter 1

[UPDATED] It’s Thaipusam: Road Trip To Penang!

Public Holiday

If you have always wanted to visit Penang and experience Thaipusam, this year is a good year as you get to make use of the long weekend.

Thaipusam falls on the 21st of January, which is a Monday. Which means you get to stretch out your leave to get either a four or five day weekend. There’s plenty for you to do in the Pearl of the Orient!

You have two options; either take Friday or Tuesday off to get a four-day weekend, or you can take Thursday and Friday off to get a full five-day off.


Here’s how much a family of four – consisting of two adults and two children below 12 years old – will likely spend on a four day holiday:

4-day Itinerary
Driving (Petrol & Toll)RM400
BusAeroline (with meals) = RM60 per person
Flight tickets (return)RM 160 per person
Transport, Food & ShoppingRM400
Lodging (3 nights)Sri Sayang by Coral Holiday Resort = RM1,110

DoubleTree Resort by Hilton = RM1,980

Neo+ Penang = RM1,020
Overall total spent on trip (assuming you're driving)RM1,830
*Prices are subject to change.

Penang is a small island and luckily, all the hotspot places are reachable in half an hour or less. We know you’re also worried about the heavy traffic that usually ensues during Thaipusam – but we’ll show you just how you can escape it!

Penang in 4 days – Itinerary 

Friday, Saturday 

The Thaipusam prep has begun, but the town is still clear at this point. Take advantage of that and use two full days to explore Georgetown to your heart’s content without worrying about traffic!

Little India Since it’s Thaipusam, the place will be lively and bustling with crowd. It’s a great place for shopping if you’ve always wanted to buy a saree, bindhi, bangles, and such. There are also plenty of places to eat – so go crazy on delicious Indian food!

Kuan Yin Temple Make a pit stop at this famous Taoist temple in Penang which is situated in Pitt Street, just nearby Little India. Built in 1728, it’s the oldest Taoist temple in Penang.

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion One of the favourite tourist spots in Penang, the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion is also commonly referred to as the Blue Mansion. People love admiring its 19th century architecture. And hey, one of the scenes from Crazy Rich Asians was shot right here.

blue mansion

Want to live Crazy Rich Asian Style? Spend a night at the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion – as it is also an 18-room personalised boutique hotel. Prices are around the RM900 range.

the top

Fancy Dinner At The Top View  You can’t go to Penang and not experience the tallest building there. KOMTAR is the pride of Penang, and it has recently been renovated to house a fancy rooftop dining place. Indulge yourself at the Top View Restaurant and Lounge for a cosy, classy, experience. Make your reservation here.

Fort Cornwallis Located near the Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower in Penang, the mighty Fort Cornwallis is fort built by the British East India Company in the late 18th century. The fort was never attacked and is still standing in perfect condition. It’s a great place to chill and perfect for photos.

Just down the road from Fort Cornwallis is the Penang Esplanade, a beautiful waterfront location with food courts nearby.

Shopping at Queenbay Mall Wind down with your family by getting dinner at Penang’s largest mall. End your night with a movie, or simply and head out for a stroll.


The traffic has slightly built up as the pre-Thaipusam celebrations have begun. If you want to experience Thaipusam but don’t really want to get caught up in the massive crowd, this is the perfect day for you to head to Jalan Waterfall.

Botanical Gardens You cannot enter Waterfall Road by car at this point. You can park the Youth Park open parking and take a nice long walk to the Botanical Gardens. There will also be a couple of stalls on the side of the road where you can stop for coconut water, milkshakes, fruit juices, ice cream, and “I Love Penang” t-shirts.

Waterfall Road Join the pre-Thaipusam celebrations along the Waterfall road, where you’ll see Hindu devotees carrying milk in vessels as offerings for Lord Muruga. You will also see chariot processions and kavadis.

Free Food! All along Waterfall Road, you will see panthals serving food or drinks for devotees. There will be a lot of people offering free vegetarian food and drinks to passers-by. You can also buy some snacks and vegetarian burgers, the latter is quite popular during Thaipusam.

thaipusamPhoto: Wikipedia

Waterfall Hilltop Temple This hilltop temple is the heart of Thaipusam. Devotees will walk up 513 steps from the foothill straight to the temple to visit and give their offerings to Lord Muruga. You should definitely head up there and pay the temple a visit, it’s magnificent. It gets pretty crowded at night, so take note of that.


The Thaipusam celebrations have gone full blast. Designated routes from Georgetown leading up to Waterfall Road will be closed for parades and processions. It gets really crowded, and it can be dangerous for kids as they may go missing in the crowd. So what do you do? You escape to Batu Feringghi.

Batu Feringghi Night Market This for a touristy indulgence. Wacky t-shirts, kitschy flip-flops, tacky tourist goods, and some good souvenirs. Note: Don’t buy the knock-off perfumes or make-up, it can cause allergic reactions on your skin.

Butterfly Farm The Penang Butterfly Farm located in Teluk Bahang (slightly further in from Batu Feringghi) is another popular tourist spot in Penang. It houses an impressive collection of butterfly species, including a small group of insects and reptiles. It’s perfect if you’re traveling with kids.

Taman Rimba After the Butterfly Farm, drop by Taman Rimba for a quick picnic while dipping your toes in the chilly waterfall.

avatar secret garden Photo: Malaysia Tours and Travel Agency

Penang Avatar Secret Garden Can’t miss this! This secret garden in Penang is located behind the behind the Thai Pak Koong Temple in Tanjung Tokong. The entire place lights up with neon LED lights, making you feel like you have been transported into a fantasy world. Entrance is free – what a great way to end your trip!


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