Overlooking the Penang Strait, Butterworth is a bustling industrial town where high-rise buildings meet revered temples and international restaurants. You can also experience Malaysia’s nature and wildlife at a bird sanctuary, protected marshland and nearby sandy beach.
Things to do
One of the largest of its kind in Malaysia, Penang Bird Park lets you get up close with over 300 species of birds housed in expansive walk-in aviaries. Along with daily feedings, the bird park has natural ponds where you can see fish, pythons and monitor lizards. Afterwards, head over to the 13.5-kilometre-long Penang Bridge, which transports you across the Penang Strait and features two striking 40-metre-tall pylons.
Immerse yourself in Butterworth’s rich local culture at the Tow Boo Kong Temple, an impressive Taoist temple with a lush inner courtyard and sacred prayer hall. Visit during the annual Nine Emperor Gods Festival to witness nine days of religious ceremonies and celebrations, including festival dress and cheek and tongue piercing.
Interested in exploring the native environment? Visit Air Hitam Dalam Educational Forest, where you can stroll through protected marshland on boardwalks and suspension bridges. Keep an eye out for native flora and fauna and climb up the various observation towers for panoramic views of the region. Dataran Pemuda Merdeka is closer to the centre of town and provides grassy picnic areas under tall palm trees.
When you’ve worked up an appetite, visit the highly-touted Ki Heong Coffee Shop, which serves fresh coffee and delicious tasting plates. The nearby Bee See Heong is great for vegetarians with its tofu-based meals, while Restoran Hui Kee offers traditional curries and rice dishes.
Butterworth is easily reached by catching trains or buses to the town’s central railway station or bus terminal. You can use public buses or taxis to get around, but it’s more convenient to have your own hire vehicle.
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