Penang is one big fat foodie paradise in Southeast Asia. Honestly, we were blown away by the many culinary prizes available here…Asam Laksa, Wanton Noodles, Hokkien Prawn Noodles, Char Koay Teow…Penang is one place we’d definitely rush back to just for the food!
Penang is also famous for its street art murals, particularly in the UNESCO listed cutesy colonial-era capital, George Town. And the biggest surprise of all, despite being a small island of less than 2 million, in a country where homosexuality is a crime(!), there is even a gay scene!
We visited Penang as part of our big trip around Malaysia and totally fell in love. We were told by both Malaysians and fellow travellers that Penang is a not-to-miss highlight of the country and oh boy were they right! We ended up extending our trip in Penang from a few days to two full weeks. Based on our firsthand experience, we’ve put together our gay guide to Penang setting out the best gay friendly hotels, hangouts, foodie tips, and more.
Is Penang safe for gay travellers?
For the most part, yes…as long as you’re careful and avoid any PDAs. It’s not as bad as the Middle East here, but it certainly ain’t no Barcelona, Bangkok or gay Berlin!!
There is a large LGBTQ community in Penang, both locals and foreigners, living and working quite openly. Penang is after all a touristic hub with a large international population, so people are more likely to be diverse, tolerant and open-minded here compared to other parts of the country.