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Taxi or rental car to explore Penang?

Amsterdam, The...
1 post
Taxi or rental car to explore Penang?

Hi All,

We are a going to Penang end of July and will stay for 3 full days there. I am doubting whether it is better and substantially cheapper to rent a car and explore Penang on our own or better to higher a car with a driver? We are not ready to pay too much for expensive tours, but if highring a driver for half a day would be just slightly more than renting a car, but saving a lot of stress, than it is definitely an option.

We are a family with 3 children 7, 10, and 2.5. and are planning to visit a number of usual touristic places incl temples, George town and the NP, but also spending some time just swimming (we will stay at Batu Ferringini) -> so more likely making half day tours.

Please advise on:

- rental car or driver with car? if a driver, any recommendations? should this booked much in advance?

- best places to visit in 3 days considering children

Thanks a lot in advance!

Penang Island...
Destination Expert
for Penang, Penang Island, George Town, Tanjung Bungah, Batu Ferringhi
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13,222 posts
209 reviews
1. Re: Taxi or rental car to explore Penang?

I am assuming you are planning to use the hotel pools for swimming. Swimming in the sea is not advisable as the sea is not clear and you can't see if there are any jellyfish lurking in it.

From Batu Ferringhi you can get the local rapidpenang 101 bus up to Teluk Bahang for the National Park, or you can take the same bus down to George Town. They run every 10 minutes or so. See www.rapigpg.com.my for more.

In George Town, the streets are narrow, congested with traffic and most places are within walking distance of each other. A car can sometimes just be a nuisance, particularly when parking spaces are so few and you won't have parking vouchers.

Same goes for a driver with car if you're visiting George Town.

If you're planning on going to Kek Lok Si and Penang Hill then a driver with car could be useful, especially for your youngest child, but bear in mind your driver will just be sitting in his car for hours at a time. He won't mind, plenty of his friends will be doing the same. You can pick up any taxi in Batu Ferringhi to do this. If you want the driver for a long period work on RM30 per hour for a minimum of 4 hours. A cheaper option would be to get a bus down to George Town and then a bus to Penang Hill etc, but you may wish to make life easier for your youngest and just go straight there.

All taxi drivers speak English, the island is so small that they know it intimately, and I've yet to find a driver who doesn't want to show off their knowledge.

For what to do with children, here's my list. Your 10 year old may well love Escape, but they'll all probably enjoy the newly opened Entopia.


SPLASH IN THE WATER Go to the SPICE Aquatic Centre in Bayan Lepas for full size Olympic pool and competition diving boards


TAKE A TRISHAW RIDE THROUGH GEORGE TOWN If you want to pre-book, there is only one company who you can do this through - www.metrobike.com.my/Prod_tour_packages.asp Their packages start from RM120/150 per person up to RM240 per person

PENANG MUNICIPAL YOUTH PARK There are there several big playgrounds, plus a series of cascading swimming and splash pools to cool down in. Penang Municipal Park penang-traveltips.com/penang-municipal-park.…

FEED THE GOATS AT BALIK PULAU GOAT FARM http://happygoats.com.my

PENANG HILL Take the funicular railway up. At the top there’s a hawkers centre, buggies to take you round the hill, cafes, a small playground, a Hindu temple, a mosque www.penanghill.gov.my

BAT CAVE TEMPLE up a side road near the entrance to Penang Hill http://www.batscavetemple.com.my

SEE THE ORANG UTANS AT ORANG UTAN ISLAND AND BUKIT MERAK LAKE RESORT A 1.5 hour trip from Penang. www.orangutanisland.org.my On the way back maybe visit the …

…. FIREFLIES AT NIBONG TEBAL www.amazingplanner.com.my

MONKEY BEACH AND TURTLE SANCTUARY Boats from the National Park entrance at Teluk Bahang. wildlife.gov.my/images/…tnpp.pdf

TELUK BAHANG FOREST Similar to Penang Municipal Park but easier to get to from Batu Ferringhi There’s a small playground and several pools.


KEK LOK SI TEMPLE AND TURTLE POND Feed the turtles in the pond and climb up the Pagoda


BATIK FACTORY at Teluk Bahang For a quick tour of the workshop in the back where they actually make the fabrics. www.penangbatik.com.my/index_about_us.html

PENANG BOTANICAL GARDENS For monkey watching or a tour round in the buggies. botanicalgardens.penang.gov.my/index.php/en/

ADVENTURE ZONE Besides Golden Sands Hotel in Batu Ferringhi

CARTOON WORLD on Level 5 of Gurney Paragon Mall and is ideal for young kids ages 3 to 6 years old

MEGA KIDDIE WORLD - Queensbay Mall & Gurney Plaza. The top floor of Queensbay Mall and Gurney Plaza, Level 4 have quite a collection of amusements. The multi-story playscape easily entertains kids from ages 3 to 7 years.

URBAN PLAYGROUND Located on the 2nd floor of Penang Times Square,

KIDLAND, an educational-cum- entertainment centre in Prangin Mall

ESCAPE at Teluk Bahang For rope ladders, elevated walkways and swinging around in the trees. www.escape.my

PENANG BIRD PARK Over on the mainland www.penangbirdpark.com.my

BEN’S VINTAGE TOY MUSEUM 55 Lebuh Acheh, George Town


SNAKE TEMPLE To see all the snakes out the back.

FIND THE STREET ART IN GEORGE TOWN Pick up a map or get one from the tourist office in Beach Street

GO TO THE WAXWORK MUSEUM on 1st floor M Mall 020 in Times Square where you can pose with the exhibits

OCEAN new children’s area on 1st floor M Mall Times Square





UPSIDE DOWN MUSEUM in Lebuh Kimberley where everything appears to be hanging from the ceiling, until you turn your photos the “right” way up

ENTOPIA at Teluk Behang (the old Butterfly Farm) www.entopia.com/about-entopia/

WONDERFOOD MUSEUM in Lebuh Pantai and be amused by the oversized models of food

RIDE BICYCLES through the countryside at Balik Pulau http://www.explorebalikpulau.com.my

2. Re: Taxi or rental car to explore Penang?

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3. Re: Taxi or rental car to explore Penang?

Renting a car on Penang is a good idea but Sat Nav/ TomTom is worth the extra. I think we used Budget and booked well before our vacation.

We rented a car for a very reasonable fee and the rental agency delivered it to the hotel. We were very glad of it, although the roads are quite busy we had no problem with traffic. It was really most useful for visiting the following: Kek Lok Si temple ( just drive straight in), you can park on the side streets around the funicular station at the foot of Penang Hill (ignore the official car park and rip off parking), and you can visit the Botanical Gardens. Don't try to drive into the centre of Georgetown in the rush hour . The best plan with Georgetown is to aim not too close to the centre and Walk! We found parking on ground awaiting development and a shopping mall had car parking also. We drove into Georgetown twice, the second time on a Sunday and we wished we had driven the whole way in because it was so quiet..Yes, car rental wins it!

If you have only three days you really don't want to be hanging around for public transport- there is lots too see.

London, United...
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41 posts
1,089 reviews
4. Re: Taxi or rental car to explore Penang?

I've rented a car once last year, it costs about RM150 per day for a small car, larger cars will be more expensive so you'd probably wanna set about RM250 per day budget.

Taxis are generally expensive, and my friend had to pay almost RM35 for a trip from Hard Rock area to George Town, that is typically about 15 minutes and it's quite overpriced. Not sure if I'm allowed to say this but the alternative is Uber which is more economical and honest. Grabcar is also available but not sure about the rates. Unfortunately, there are not enough Uber drivers around so prices are always on surge and you'll need to wait a long time if you're unfortunate, for a car to arrive.

If that's a problem to you, you may consider renting a car, but also do understand that the roads are very narrow and some of the older sites have limited to no parking.

5. Re: Taxi or rental car to explore Penang?

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