There are many things to do in Penang, and since the island has plenty of nature — for example, Penang Hill, which just became a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, or Bukit Hijau — many visitors decide to ditch George Town’s boutique hotels, Batu Ferringhi hotels and Penang Heritage Hotels to experience Glamping in Penang.
Glamping, as many of you may know, is nothing else than a glorified form of camping for those who want to enjoy close contact with nature but without roughing it up — for that, check out our guides to the Bukit Mertajam Recreational Forest and the best hiking trails in Mainland Penang.
READ MORE – Best Glamping Spots in Malaysia
This post will be handy if you want to know:
- What are the best glamping spots in Penang
- What to expect when glamping in Penang
- Where to go camping in Penang abiding by the law
Best Glamping Spots in Penang
The following is a list of glamping spots in Penang we think you should consider if you want to spice up your next visit to the island with something a little more “wild”, but still stylish.
Set among rock boulders and tropical green settings, Boulder valleys glamping tents come with all the bells and whistles of far higher accommodation ranges, boasting plush beds and ensuite bathroom facilities.
The 25 tents here feel more like luxury hotel rooms in the midst of the rainforest, including treetop accommodation to enjoy incredible views over the canopy.
If glamping is not for you (why not?) you can still visit and indulge in Boulder Valley’s mix of Western and Asian cuisine served in natural surroundings. Much recommended to families or couples looking for a romantic weekend getaway.
Here’s a map of Boulder Valley:
2The Hillside Retreat Penang
Camping on the iconic Penang Hill, anyone? Unless you really go wild and hide (new regulations started in 2021 fine RM2000/USD500 to those found wild camping on the hill), the easiest and most glamping-like choice is the Hillside Retreat near Penang Hill’s Upper Station.
Don’t think this is a conventional glamping experience, because it’s pretty much just a regular camping ground in a resort’s garden – even if the views from up here are quite glorious.
And it’s quite ludicrously expensive, too, for a campsite: on weekdays, you’ll pay RM50 per pitch, and the price goes up to RM78 on Friday, Saturday and school holidays.
If you intend to cook, rest assured there are charges for that, too. They also have “Comfort Camping packages” offering their own tents, for RM188 per night.
You can see all the prices as listed here.
Here’s a map of Hillside Retreat Penang:
3The Habitat Starlight Camping
If you want to experience the serenity of Penang’s most ancient rainforest, you should consider opting for the Starlight Camping 2D/1N stay offered by the Habitat Penang Hill.
This new Penang Glamping Experience started in 2021 and includes Penang Funicular Train tickets, standard entrance pass to The Habitat, one dinner at the Andaman Tent, breakfast, sunrise, and sunset panoramic views from the top of Curtis Crest — the highest viewing platform on Penang island —, night walks, and even an exciting ride on Penang’s only zipline Flight of the Colugo.
The stay includes, of course, tents, shower facilities, and even wi-fi — how to upload your selfies, otherwise, you Insta-addict?
You get all of this for RM300 which, if you sum it all up, comes out as a pretty good deal for all that’s on offer. A highly recommended experience.
Here’s a map of The Habitat Penang Hill:
4 The Hill Relaxing Camp
Set on a hill slope in Relau in the south-central part of Penang island, the Hillside Relaxing Camp is not really “glamping”, but a very worthwhile campsite manned by a friendly owner.
You can drive here with any transport and park close-by to where you’ll set up your own tent/hammock, or rent one, for an evening perched high above Penang’s southeastern coast.
This is a proper camping experience, with not much provided in terms of facilities if not the chance to buy a BBQ dinner from the owner. The toilet facilities are basic and clean, and as it gets a bit chilly up here at night, remember that the water is COLD.
Here’s a map of The Hill Relaxing Camp:
Other places to camp in Penang
Penang’s most popular beach, Monkey Beach, is the only place you can camp legally inside of Penang National Park.
Nobody technically prevents you from wild camp at Monkey beach, but since the place is strewn with beach shack and A-frame style accommodation-cum-restaurants, it is certainly discouraged — let’s put it this way: it is “regulated” by those who make business on the beach.
The best place to camp is hands-down the Lazy Boys cafe. A collection of driftwood A-frame huts, tables, and loungers, this rasta-style beach bar is a solid option on Monkey Beach. Their campsite costs RM 10 per tent if you bring your own, and RM20 per tent if you rent it from them.
The price includes usage of toilet and shower facilities, and their kitchen — of course, you’ll have to BYO food, but they also sell simple dishes.
Don’t feel like camping at Monkey Beach? So check out this half-day Monkey Beach tour with pick-up and drop-off from your hotel.
Here’s a map of Lazy Boys Campsite:
6Bangawan Solo Campsite, Balik Pulau
Set in the northern corner of idyllic Balik Pulau, this campsite is ideal for large groups looking for a quiet place to get out in nature — and maybe explore the nearby sights and best Penang beaches. However, note that when contacted at the time of writing this article, they said that they do not accept customers… even though they are on Google.
Anyway: the campsite package is RM 300 per night, with check-in at 3 pm and check out at 12 pm on the next day. The cost is per group, not per person of course, and for a maximum of 20 people given current Covid–19 SOPs.
That package of course requires that guests bring their own tent, otherwise, renting one from them costs an additional RM 50 per tent, and includes a foldable mattress and pillow.
The area also has a house equipped with a living room with a sofa bed and a camp bed that guests can use to rest during the daytime. They can even sleep inside at night if they can make do with a mattress on the floor, and the use of ceiling fan only.
Here’s a map of Bangawan Solo Campsite: