How to see Penang for less than $18 per day

Penang Island panoramaPenang Island panorama (19 January 2011)

Penang is a fantastic travel destination. And the good news is, you can visit Penang for less than US$18 per day! And that includes all meals and accommodation! Now, how do you achieve that? That's the purpose of this article, my friend.

Don't get me wrong, Penang can be expensive if you want it to be. Hotels at the high end of the scale can set you back $450 per day. As such prices, you can't get even a pillow for your $18. Let's imagine for a moment that $18 is all you can spare per day for your trip to Penang. In order to make every cent counts, let's split up the amount into your basic expenses: accommodation, meals and transport.

Half your expenses will go towards a bed for the night. If you check the list of hostels in Penang, you'd see that you can get a bed for as low as $6.51 or some times even less. But before you straightaway book the cheapest bed available, check where it is located. You don't want to stay somewhere where the transportation cost will blow your budget.

I would personally recommend that you find a place to stay somewhere within George Town. I recommend finding a bed for about $9.00. That gives you a balance of another $9 to play around. The old quarter of George Town that has been designated as a Unesco World Heritage Site has a lot of cultural as well as heritage buildings for you to explore. Not only that, the area is served by a free shuttle bus that makes a loop around the old city - make use of this free service as often as possible. It saves you time and energy.

To keep up your energy, you need to have three square meals. The good news about George Town is that you can easily have breakfast, lunch and dinner for not more than $2 per meal, inclusive of drinks. In fact, that's more than you need. What can you get for $2? Most of the food listed in the Penang Food Directory will cost you less than $1.20, which leaves another 80 cents for a glass of soft drinks. Yes, I do expect you to try the Penang street food - they are entirely safe to eat, and in fact, Penang food is famous throughout Malaysia and Singapore. It would be indeed a shame to visit Penang and not try any Penang food.

So far we've spent $9 for accommodation, and $6 for our three meals. That's a total of $15. Which means, we still have a balance of $3. You can use it to treat yourself on anything you wish. Most of the tourist sights in George Town (thankfully) is free of entrance fees, but a few does charge, including Khoo Kongsi, Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, Pinang Peranakan Museum, Penang Museum, to name those within George Town. You may use your spare $3 to visit any of these sights (if all the free attractions do not sufficiently satisfy you). Otherwise, you can also use it to take rides on the Rapid Penang bus, with routes covering the whole Penang Island as well as the mainland.

As I have described, you can certainly enjoy a stay in Penang for less than $18 a day, and you will have a great time too!

So what are you waiting for? Come on over to Penang and enjoy!

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