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The best weekend getaways

weekend getaway

The Best Weekend Getaways in Penang

Are you an Expat living in Penang and in need of a quick escape from the city? Luckily, there are plenty of fantastic weekend getaways just a short distance from Penang. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach getaway or an adventurous jungle retreat, there’s something for everyone. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best weekend getaways for expats living in Penang.

Langkawi Island

Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 islands located in the Andaman Sea, about 30 km off the mainland coast of northwestern Malaysia. It is a popular weekend getaway destination from Penang for its stunning beaches, clear waters, and natural beauty.

How to get there

The easiest way to get to Langkawi from Penang is by taking a flight from Penang International Airport to Langkawi International Airport. The flight takes about 45 minutes, and there are several airlines that operate daily flights between the two destinations.

Alternatively, you can also take a ferry from Penang to Langkawi. The ferry ride takes about 2.5 hours, and there are several ferry companies that operate daily services between the two destinations.

Best things to do in Langkawi

  1. Island hopping: Take a boat tour around the surrounding islands of Langkawi and explore their stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and diverse marine life.
  2. Skybridge: Visit the Skybridge, a curved pedestrian bridge located 700 meters above sea level, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and sea.
  3. Cable car ride: Take a cable car ride to the top of Mount Machinchang and enjoy panoramic views of the island and the Andaman Sea.
  4. Wildlife Park: Visit the Langkawi Wildlife Park and Bird Paradise and see a wide variety of tropical birds, mammals, and reptiles.
  5. Beaches: Relax on some of the island’s most beautiful beaches, such as Pantai Cenang, Pantai Tengah, and Tanjung Rhu.

Langkawi is a great weekend getaway for expats living in Penang looking for a relaxing escape.

Cameron Highlands

The Cameron Highlands is a hill station located in the state of Pahang, Malaysia. It is known for its cool climate, tea plantations, and scenic hiking trails. Located about 200 kilometers north of Penang, it is a popular weekend getaway for expats. To get to Cameron Highlands from Penang, you can take a bus or drive. Once you are there, you can visit the tea plantations, explore the hiking trails, or visit the strawberry farms.

How to get there

The best way to get to Cameron Highlands from Penang is by taking a bus. You can take a direct bus from Penang Sentral to Tanah Rata, the main town in Cameron Highlands. The journey takes about 4-5 hours, depending on traffic.

Best things to do in Cameron Highlands

  1. Visit the tea plantations: Cameron Highlands is famous for its tea plantations, and a visit to one of these plantations is a must-do activity. The Boh Tea Plantation and the Cameron Valley Tea Plantation are two popular options.
  2. Explore the Mossy Forest: The Mossy Forest is a unique forest ecosystem that is home to a variety of flora and fauna. Guided tours are available to explore this forest.
  3. Go strawberry picking: Cameron Highlands is known for its strawberry farms, and you can go strawberry picking at one of these farms. The Big Red Strawberry Farm is a popular option.
  4. Visit the night market: The night market in Brinchang is a must-visit attraction in Cameron Highlands. You can find a variety of local food and souvenirs here.

If you’re looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of Penang, the Cameron Highlands offer a refreshing change of pace. With its natural beauty, cool temperatures, and unique attractions, it’s no wonder that it’s one of the top weekend getaways for expats.


Ipoh is a charming city located in the state of Perak, Malaysia. It is known for its beautiful colonial architecture, delicious food, and limestone hills. To get to Ipoh from Penang, you can take a train or drive. Once you are in Ipoh, you can explore the old town, visit the famous cave temples, or take a dip in the hot springs.

How to get there

The easiest way to get to Ipoh from Penang is by car or bus. The journey takes around 2-3 hours depending on traffic. You can also take a train from Butterworth railway station to Ipoh, which takes around 2 hours.

Best things to do in Ipoh

  1. Visit the Ipoh Old Town: Take a stroll along the streets of the Ipoh Old Town and admire the beautiful colonial-era architecture. You can also visit the Concubine Lane, which is a narrow alleyway filled with shops and cafes.
  2. Explore the Kek Lok Tong Cave Temple: This stunning temple is located in a limestone cave and features beautiful gardens and a tranquil lake.
  3. Try the local food: Ipoh is famous for its delicious local food, especially its noodles and white coffee. Be sure to try the Ipoh Hor Fun, a flat rice noodle dish served with chicken and prawn soup, and the Ipoh White Coffee, a creamy and aromatic coffee made with roasted beans.

Overall, Ipoh is a great destination for expats looking for a weekend getaway from Penang. With its beautiful scenery, delicious food, and rich history, Ipoh has something for everyone.

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is the capital city of Malaysia and is known for its iconic landmarks, delicious food, and vibrant culture. To get to Kuala Lumpur from Penang, you can take a flight or drive. Once you are in Kuala Lumpur, you can visit the famous Petronas Twin Towers, explore the Batu Caves, or shop at the famous Jalan Alor.

How to get there

Kuala Lumpur is located approximately 350 kilometers from Penang. The easiest way to get there is by plane, with numerous flights departing daily from Penang International Airport to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). Alternatively, you can take a bus or drive to Kuala Lumpur, which takes around 4-5 hours.

Best things to do in Kuala Lumpur

  1. Visit the Petronas Twin Towers – This iconic landmark is a must-visit when in Kuala Lumpur. You can take a tour of the towers or simply admire the view from the ground.
  2. Explore the Batu Caves – The Batu Caves are a series of limestone caves and temples located just outside of Kuala Lumpur. It’s a great place to explore and take in the natural beauty of Malaysia.
  3. Eat street food at Jalan Alor – Jalan Alor is a street food haven that is popular among locals and tourists alike. You can find a wide range of Malay, Chinese and Indian dishes here.
  4. Shop at Bukit Bintang – Bukit Bintang is Kuala Lumpur’s premier shopping district. It’s home to numerous malls and shopping centres that cater to all types of shoppers.

Phuket, Thailand

Phuket is a beautiful island located in Southern Thailand. It is known for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant nightlife. To get to Phuket from Penang, you can take a flight from the Penang International Airport. Once you are in Phuket, you can explore the beaches, take a boat tour of the nearby islands, or enjoy the nightlife at Bangla Road.

How to get there

Phuket has its own international airport, which is well-connected to major cities across Asia. Flights from Penang to Phuket are available and take around 1 hour and 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can take a ferry from Penang to Langkawi and then take a flight or ferry to Phuket.

Best things to do in Phuket

  1. Visit the beaches: Phuket is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, including Patong Beach, Karon Beach, and Kata Beach. Spend a day soaking up the sun, swimming in the crystal-clear waters, or trying out water sports like surfing, jet skiing, or parasailing.
  2. Explore Phuket Old Town: Take a stroll through the historic streets of Phuket Old Town, where you can admire the stunning architecture, colourful street art, and sample some of the delicious local food.
  3. Visit the Big Buddha: The Big Buddha is a 45-meter-tall statue located on top of a hill in Phuket. The statue is visible from most parts of the island and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
  4. Take a boat tour: Explore the stunning islands around Phuket by taking a day trip on a boat tour. You can visit places like Phi Phi Island, James Bond Island, or the Similan Islands, and enjoy activities like snorkeling, swimming, and sunbathing.
  5. Enjoy the nightlife: Phuket is famous for its vibrant nightlife, with plenty of bars, nightclubs, and restaurants to choose from. Head to Bangla Road in Patong to experience the best of Phuket’s nightlife scene.

Phuket is a great weekend getaway from Penang for Expats, offering a range of activities and experiences to suit everyone’s interests. Whether you want to relax on the beach, explore the local culture, or party the night away, Phuket has something for everyone.

Final Thoughts and Recommendations on Weekend Getaways

If you’re an expat living in Penang, you’re already living in a fantastic location with plenty to see and do. But if you’re looking for a change of scenery or a quick weekend getaway, Langkawi, Cameron Highlands, Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur, and Phuket are all great options to consider.

Langkawi is perfect if you’re looking for some beach time and want to relax and unwind. Cameron Highlands is great if you love nature and want to explore the lush greenery and tea plantations. Ipoh is perfect for foodies and history buffs who want to explore the city’s rich cultural heritage. Kuala Lumpur is great if you’re looking for a city break and want to indulge in some shopping and sightseeing. And finally, Phuket is perfect for those who want to experience Thailand’s famous beaches and nightlife.

No matter which destination you choose, make sure to plan your trip in advance and book your accommodation and activities ahead of time. This will help you avoid any last-minute stress and ensure that you have a relaxing and enjoyable weekend getaway.

So pack your bags, grab your passport, and get ready to explore some of the best weekend getaways from Penang.

Also, check out our other article РBest beaches in Penang 

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Note: Some of the info here are derived from AI. As such it may not be 100% accurate but it is always a good idea to do your own due diligence.

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Tags: travel, weekend getaways

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