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Is Penang Island Tap Water Safe to Drink?

Do not Drink :(

LAST UPDATED: 12:21 pm, May 31, 2021

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Can You Drink Tap Water in Penang?

No, tap water is not drinkable.

Tap Safe includes data from many publicly available sources, including the WHO (World Health Organization), CDC (Center for Disease Control), and user submitted databases, but unfortunately there's not enough data about Penang.

To see user submitted ratings of the water quality for Malaysia, see the "User Submitted Ratings" box on this page.

The tap water in Penang Island, Malaysia, generally not safe to drink. The water does not meet the WHO standards for safe drinking water. The Malaysian Ministry of Health has established standards/parameters utilizing those set by the World Health Organization.

Nevertheless, you can use tap water for cleaning, showering, and brushing your teeth. You may also boil the water to make it potable, as advised by some locals. But if you want to avoid spoiling your vacation, you stick with bottled water that you can purchase in any convenience stores or supermarket.

Most of the ice is made with purified water, especially in restaurants.

Penang Island Tap Water

Penang Island, located in the northern part of Malaysia, has long been a favorite destination for tourists because of its picturesque landscape and tropical weather. This island, which is quite famous for its lovely beaches and natural beauty, attracts tourists from around the world in large numbers. However, most of the visitors tend to overlook the tap water quality, which they tend to drink straight from the tap. This, in turn, causes several severe problems, including stomach ache, dehydration, and various skin problems. It has been observed that over 75% of the people living on Penang Island have this problem!

To curb this alarming rate of cases of sickness caused by drinking untainted water, the Government of Penang has made all the local houses have the legal minimum filter installed in every household unit. Moreover, all the hotels and resorts along the island have to ensure that the water is free from harmful bacteria by installing a chlorine tank in every room. However, while most people realize the importance of establishing the filters, many people do not even know how to do so. Here is a simple method you can follow to ensure that the water you drink is as good as the bottled water you purchase from the market.

All you have to do is use a multi-stage filtration system that effectively cleans the water by removing all the harmful particles and chemical residues from leaving your body. There are various brands of such techniques that you can quickly get over the internet, and all you have to do is choose the best one suited to your requirements. After you have made the payment, the system would install the water filter and in no time would start working. In just a few days, your problem of tasting smelly water would be solved and would start giving you the delightful taste you are used to enjoying! What more could you ask for? So, do not miss this opportunity. Take the Penang Island tap water and enjoy the refreshing taste of water that is as pure as the bottled water!

Penang Island Water Quality

A visit to Penang Island is a unique and exciting experience that one will surely cherish for the rest of his life. Located in Southern Malaysia on the Gulf of Siam, Penang Island enjoys a warm tropical climate with a mild year-round temperature and a soft and silky sandy soil that makes swimming in its lakes and rivers an extremely pleasurable experience. The water level in the lake levels is low. One can participate in many recreational activities such as boating, jet skiing, diving, water skiing, surfing, paragliding, and much more. It is also home to many exotic birds, reptiles, and mammals found in Malaysia.

Penang’s water quality is highly regulated by the Malaysian government who works hard to maintain the lake’s standard and ensure that it remains clean and safe for every individual to use. It also has various beaches that vary from rocky shores to calm lagoons with pristine white sand beaches. Some waterfalls are lined with lush green vegetation that offers a sense of tranquility to the tourists. The limestone caves situated on the island are a great attraction to many people. They are also home to several exotic animals, such as the Penang tiger.

Apart from the soothing water and the natural beauty that Penang offers, it is also a place where you will find some of the best shopping malls in Malaysia. Penang Island is one of the cosmopolitan cities in Southeast Asia and a central commercial hub. The residents of Penang are fortunate enough to have a wide variety of local and international shopping malls to choose from. The presence of enormous shopping malls such as the Penang International Shopping Complex and the Penang Grand Mall has made Penang one of the most popular places in Malaysia to live. Being one of the cosmopolitan cities in Southeast Asia, Penang also has a sophisticated culture. There are several local festivals that one can attend to experience authentic Asian culture. Penang people are always willing to help their visitors overcome any difficulty they may encounter during their stay in the area, so the Penang tourism industry thrives by the day.

Penang Island Water Supply

The Penang Island water supply can be traced back to 1957 when the then newly-installed civil and military regiments in conjunction with the Malaysian Government began to dam up the island’s rivers. Damming up these rivers prevents saltwater intrusion while also preventing the movement of solid waste products such as mud, leaves, and charcoal. The dredging operation for the civil war also caused flooding to other areas surrounding Malaysia. This major disaster prompted the National Parks and Wildlife Department to research how this massive water problem could be combated. The results are detailed in a report that the NPWDSC (Navy Petroleum Systems Limited) produced in 1992. It is interesting to note that although the damming operation had begun, it was not fully operational at the time of the floods.

During researching this report, the National Parks and Wildlife Department learned that the flooding of the peninsular had occurred due to deficiencies in two critical factors. These two factors are soil resistivity and infiltration. Sufficient soil resistivity can prevent saltwater intrusion, while infiltration can reduce the quality of the rainfall produced by rivers and streams. The Penang Island water supply can therefore be traced back to the 1950s. However, soil resistivity has since deteriorated, particularly in the lower reaches of the peninsular.

The soil near the rivers is impoverished, resulting in an inflow of mud and salt before, during, and after every flood. Because of this, most of the natural water runoff from the tenant has either washed away or evaporated into the sea, with the rest trickling down through open maintenance holes and small gorges in the valleys. While some of the water still makes its way to the delta and is carried by intermittent river currents, the majority is washed away by rising tides and water drains to the sea. The commissioning of the Pasir Gudang Jetty marks a milestone in Penang’s water history and environment.

Penang Island Water Treatment Plant

The Penang Island water treatment plant is situated in conjunction with the Sungai Port, located at a distance of 45 minutes drive from Kuala Lumpur. This particular port was established about 25 years back and is well renowned for its commercial benefits for local and foreign visitors. The whole area has all the facilities required for a cruise ship to dock. It also has an excellent airport and several hotels. Several companies are involved in tourism in Penang. These companies make sure that there is always a lot of tourist activity in and around this particular place. The whole region is well known for its natural beauty. All the water bodies surrounding Penang are managed not to pose a threat to marine life.

There are several treatment plants situated here. The water treatment plant is located at Damar in Sungai Petit, under Zafarul Islam’s leadership. It is one of the largest water treatment plants in Malaysia, and it is managed on a full-time basis. This is one of the largest water treatment plants that can treat over thirteen thousand gallons of water daily. The water is treated through various methods, the majority of which are chemical-based.

This particular water treatment plant is well known for the methods used by the staff to treat the water. It uses several technologies that include activated carbon filters, sub-micron filtration, ion exchange, and carbon adsorption. The plant also uses several machines to treat water, some of which are rows of razor scooters used for the mechanical transfer of the treated water into the tanks.

Penang Island Drinking Water

The Penang Island is known for its perfect fishing opportunity. The best months to catch Perch are from June to November. The other popular fish you can see during these months are Wahoo and Mahi. The best time of the year to fish on Penang Island is in the winter, from September to March. There is another popular time for fishing in Penang, which happens to be around the full moon. This happens to be the best fishing season, as you can catch vast numbers of Perch and Mahi during this time.

You will also need to take good care of your health when it comes to Penang Island’s drinking water. Do not take water directly from the faucet, but make sure to have it chilled within a day or two. Also, do not use tap water to fill up your glasses because it is usually contaminated with chemicals and bacteria. Keep yourself away from the pool and spa water because they will always have traces of chlorine which you should not intake.

Of course, the best way to stay healthy is to go for healthy food. There are plenty of local and ethnic restaurants where you can get great meals. Some are vegetarian, while others serve Muslim and Chinese cuisines. But you can get to know the local food by asking your waiter because sometimes they will be able to tell you the different types of food served in the area.

Water in Penang Island

The shallow and sandy peninsulas of Penang Island are an excellent place to go for a relaxing day, even if you don’t intend to stay long. Here, you will try out the many water activities that include swimming, jet skiing, sailing, boating, fishing, hiking, and much more. It’s even possible to do all three in one place! For those who want to spend a quiet day away from the hustle-bustle of the city, here’s your chance to do just that.

Of course, you can always choose to stay in the peninsulas, or stay in your room and enjoy the fresh air and beautiful view. However, you can do so much more on Penang Island, especially if you decide to take a dip into the sea while there. If you are the adventurous type, you can rent a speedboat, go banana boating (yes, with the banana skin), or even jet skiing or kite surfing. If none of these water sports appeal to you, then you can go deep-sea fishing or laze around in your room in the sun all day.

You can even enjoy your stay by going diving or snorkeling. Both of these water sports are considered very popular on Penang Island. So you can relax by the pool or have a barbecue by the water and then enjoy some good food and drinks in your room. You can also just lounge around in the pool during the day. At night, there are many places to go for entertainment like restaurants, shopping centers and even a golf course for the people who wish to take their sport a little further. So, if you are thinking of getting yourself a place in Penang Island, make sure that you get your hands on one of the many villas available to rent as they cater to the people coming in from all over the world who want some privacy. Don’t worry about the cost as it is pretty cheap here compared to other places in Malaysia.

Source of Water in Penang Island, Malaysia

The primary source of tap water in Penang, Malaysia, is from the surface water of the Sungai Muda. The Penang Water Supply Corporation managed the treatment plant in the city. Two reservoirs are set to provide water in town. The Air Itam Dam and Teluk Bahang Dam were at low capacity levels due to abnormal rainfall.

The PBAPP is implementing water pressure management initiatives during peak consumption hours in a bid to reduce water consumption in the state. If there is a spike in water consumption, some suburban areas on higher ground or at the end of water pipelines will experience low water pressure. The short term plan is to ensure everyone that they have enough water during the dry season. A long term plan is to add another water resource in the city of Penang as the needs of the inhabitants grow every year.

Penang Island Water Resources

One of the best Malaysian holiday destinations, Penang Island, is located in the northern part of Peninsula Malaysia and boasts many tourist attractions. It is one of the most visited islands of Malaysia, with thousands of tourists from every corner of the world visiting Penang every year. The island is well known for its lovely beaches, adventurous water sports activities, and the rich culture and tradition of the people of Penang. One of the major attractions of Penang is that it never faces any climate change because the sun does hit the island at a red dot all through the year. There is hardly any chance of cloud on the beaches. The monsoon season, which usually lasts for three months, is also an excellent time to visit Penang.

Most of the water bodies around Penang are rich in natural resources. Many popular diving spots yield remarkable results when you get expert help from any skilled diving professionals. One of the main dive sites is located near Jalan Raya Ubud, and it is here that you can find the Bornean blue tooth. While you get an excellent chance to explore the underwater world of Penang Island during the monsoon season, you also have a chance to see the turtles swimming and basking under the sand.

Besides these, there are several other places in Penang where tourists can enjoy the natural beauty in their ways. There are several mountain streams, rivers, and lakes that are ideal destinations for nature walks and trekking. There are some beautiful mountain trails for trekking, and some even offer a picturesque view of Penang. For those who love walking, then Penang offers several walking tracks which will take you through the tropical jungles of the country and lead you to the hinterland areas where you can enjoy a serene environment and discover the natural wonders.

Penang Island Surface Water

Penang Island is well-known as the Queen of Malaysia, but what is lesser-known (but is no less enchanting and idyllic) is its captivating surface water, the best in the whole of Southeast Asia. Breathtakingly beautiful, Penang is a small island located in the northern part of Sabah, Celebes, and Sarawak peninsulas. It shares its border with Sabah and Sarawak in the east and Borneo in the south. Its capital town is Langkawi, and its main tourist attraction is peninsular of Borneo.

What attracts tourists to Penang is its natural beauty, rich culture, a rich array of activities, and natural resource – the clear, shallow surface water. The water, free from any chemical pollutants and free from any unwanted fishing industry, attracts thousands of surfers every day. Penang water has crystal clear water that is very healthy for swimming. You can find restaurants and bars along the coastline to get a wide variety of delicious seafood delicacies. In addition, you will find many places for snorkeling, diving, and other water sports.

If you’re a nature lover, you will love Penang’s tropical forests and jungles. The Penang wildlife is very diverse. You will have an unforgettable experience exploring them and the different species of animals and plants that live in them. Most of the big animals are found in wetlands or moist woodlands. Penang has the world’s largest manatee population, and tourists can see a good deal of wildlife by simply walking around the zoo and forested nature trails. It would be best if you also were sure to visit the Batu Feringghi National Park, the reserve for orangutans in Penang.

Other links:

Is Penang Island Tap Water Safe to Drink? Tap water & safety quality

The estimated price of bottled water

$0.40 in USD (1.5-liter)


Penang tap water
  • Drinking Water Pollution and Inaccessibility 31% Low
  • Water Pollution 63% High
  • Drinking Water Quality and Accessibility 69% High
  • Water Quality 38% Low

The above data is comprised of subjective, user submitted opinions about the water quality and pollution in Penang, measured on a scale from 0% (lowest) to 100% (highest).

Related FAQS


Always take extra precautions, the water may be safe to drink when it leaves the sewage treatment plant but it may pick up pollutants during its way to your tap. We advise that you ask locals or hotel staff about the water quality. Also, note that different cities have different water mineral contents.

Sources and Resources

Current Weather in Penang


Some of the Convenience Stores in Penang Island

Happy Mart
  • Happy Mart
  • 7-eleven
  • E Mart
  • 98 Convenient Shops
  • Magstore Gurney Paragon
  • Ezy
  • CSB Shop
  • Luv Express
  • Shell Select
  • 24 XPRESS
  • Pick & Pay
  • Double L

Estimated Price of Bottled Water

1.5 liter$0.41€0.37£0.321.77
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