Is Penang Safe for Travel in 2024?

Penang, Malaysia
Safety Score

Penang is a Malaysian state located on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia, by the Malacca Strait. It has two parts: Penang Island, where the capital city, George Town, is located, and Seberang Perai on the Malay Peninsula. 

Warnings & Dangers in Penang

Overall Risk


Penang is considered one of the safest cities in the region. The crime rate is low here. You should beware of the outskirts of the city and watch your belongings, especially during the holidays.

Transport & Taxis Risk


Public transport is not well developed. Traffic on the roads can be hectic and unsafe. Pickpockets are common on buses. Use only licensed taxi services.

Pickpockets Risk


Pickpocketing occurs in Penang at every turn, so wear an anti-theft backpack, look after your belongings, and don't leave your phones and wallets unattended. In crowded places, keep an eye on your surroundings.

Natural Disasters Risk


There is a possibility of flooding in Penang during the rainy season. Check the weather conditions before your trip here.

Mugging Risk


The risk of serious robbery and armed attacks is shallow in Penang. There is little danger of these attacks in the suburbs. However, the likelihood that you will be attacked is minimal.

Terrorism Risk


In the past, the country has become a target for terrorist attacks, so this risk cannot be completely ruled out. Study the political environment and news before your visit here.

Scams Risk


Fraud is commonly associated with street vendors offering counterfeit goods to tourists. Don't buy them even if the price is beautiful. Also, only withdraw money from ATMs at banks with cameras to avoid skimming your card.

Women Travelers Risk


Women traveling alone in Penang should avoid late-night walks and be very discreet on the city streets. Heightened precautions won't hurt.

How Safe Is Penang for Tourists?

Penang is quite a safe place to travel.

The crime index here is at a low level.

The main problems are related to corruption and vandalism.

Always remember to use common sense here, as if you were in your own country.

Precautions should be taken to protect against burglars, pickpockets, and fraud.

Do not walk alone or be especially careful in deserted areas, alleys and streets, especially after dark.

In some suburbs, such as Jelutong, crime rates are higher, but they are usually off the tourist routes.

Do not use an unmarked taxi known as Kereta Sapu.

Beware of strangers offering a ride.

Carry valuables (camera, bags, etc.) with care in motorcycle or bicycle baskets.

Thieves (usually also on motorcycles) can attack them when you stop at traffic lights.

Keep your valuables in the hotel safe.

Carry things in an anti-theft backpack.

Watch out for the (sometimes aggressive) long-tailed macaques in botanical gardens.

Do not eat when entering the garden.

Monkeys love food (including ice cream) and can try to get hold of it.

Be careful about your surroundings in waters off Batu Ferringhi beach, where you may be harmed by unregulated and haphazardly piloted jet skis and/at other water activities.

Jellyfish (including the rarely seen but dangerous box jellyfish) can be a risk at certain times of the year.

Be careful with strong currents off Kerachut Beach during the monsoon season (usually June-Oct).

The sea off Kerachut Beach may be infested with jellyfish during certain months, so swimming during this time is not advisable.

Do I Need a Visa to Visit Penang?

Visitors to Malaysia must obtain a visa from one of the Malaysian diplomatic missions unless they are citizens of one of the visa-exempt countries. All visitors must hold a passport valid for at least 6 months.

Which Currency Is Used in Penang?

The Malaysian ringgit is the currency of Malaysia. It is divided into 100 sen (cents).

How's the Weather like in Penang?

In Penang, the wet season is oppressive and overcast; the dry season is muggy, windy, and partly cloudy; and it is warm year-round. Best Time to Visit Penang: November to January.

What Do I Need to Know about Airports in Penang?

Penang International Airport is one of the busiest airports in Malaysia. The airport is located near Bayan Lepas at the southeastern tip of Penang Island, 16 km south of the city center. Previously known as the Bayan Lepas International Airport, it was opened in 1935, making it the oldest airport in the country.

Should I Get Travel Insurance for My Travels?

A travel insurance policy is a must when visiting a foreign country or city. Make sure you got it before starting your journey; the customs officer may ask for it.

What Are Some Things to Do in Penang?

Penang Island, once known as the Pearl of the Orient, is Malaysia’s most densely populated urban center.  To capture Penang’s diversity, a guided tour is highly recommended. Absorb sweeping panoramas from atop Penang Hill; visit Kek Lok Si Buddhist temple, and relax on the white sands of Batu Ferringhi beach. Stroll through historic Fort Cornwallis and the riotously colorful streets of Little India and Chinatown, and visit the fascinating Penang Museum.

Is the Water in Penang Safe to Drink?

Tap water is not drinkable in Beijing. You should buy bottled water or boil tap water.

Is Uber Safe in Penang?

There is no Uber taxi in Penang. You can use any other local taxi services.

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