Penang Island

A fascinating fusion of eastern and western influences, Penang is Malaysia’s most tourist-visited destination. Penang manages to embrace modernity while retaining its colonial charm.

Highlights

  • Explore the streets of George Town
  • Hop aboard the funicular train to reach Penang Hill
  • Try the Penang's iconic dish Char Koay Teow
  • Stroll through the night market or go bar hopping in Batu Ferringhi beach

Penang is a Malaysian state located on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia, by the Strait of Malacca. It is highly urbanized and industrialized and is one of the most developed and economically important states in Malaysia – and a thriving tourist destination as well.

A fascinating fusion of eastern and western influences, Penang is Malaysia’s most tourist-visited destination. The island manages to embrace modernity while retaining its colonial charm; due to its well-preserved heritage buildings Penang’s capital, Georgetown, has been listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site.

Georgetown, Penang

Georgetown is the colorful multicultural capital of Penang. It used to serve as an important trading hub in the Straits of Malacca.

The city gained attention due to its British colonial buildings, mosques and Chinese shophouses. Beyond the “old town”, George Town is a modern city with skyscrapers and shopping malls.

 

Batu Ferringhi Beach

The Batu Ferringhi Beach is one of Penang’s most popular destinations. It has a long stretch of soft, white sandy beach along a winding road named Jalan Batu Ferringhi which is filled with a host of accommodation and dining options.

Its night market is something tourists shouldn’t miss especially the items being sold. Its waters are also popular not only for swimming but for water sports activities such as windsurfing, parasailing, and many others as well.

 

Fort Cornwallis

Fort Cornwallis is a “star fort” that was built by the British East India Company during the late 18th century on the northeast coast of Penang Island.

It is the largest standing fort in Malaysia and in its entire history, the fort has never engaged in any battle.

 

Temples to visit in Penang

36% of the population of Penang are Buddhists and some of their temples are quite famous to tourists.

Some of these famous temples are Kek Lok Si Temple ( one of the largest and finest temples in Southeast Asia), Khoo Kongsi Temple (a large Chinese clan house with an elaborate and highly ornamented architecture), Snake Temple (perhaps one of its kind in the world and is filled with smoke of burning incense and a variety of pit vipers), Wat Chayamangkalaram Thai Buddhist Temple (a Thai temple famous for its large Reclining Buddha), and Dhammikarama Burmese Buddhist Temple (a temple filled with striking features and rich past).

 

Penang Food

Penang is one food paradise for all those “food trippers” out there. It has a good mix of traditional Malay, Chinese, Indian, and Peranakan dishes – if you are in a hurry and have no time to look for what to eat but you want to try all their amazing dishes, you may go to George Town where lots of Penang’s exquisite dishes may be found. A food paradise all at one place.

For guests, dishes such as Mee Goreng (a noodle dish), Fish Ball Koay Teow Soup (has fish balls made from eel), Asam Laksa (a noodle dish with a flavorful soup base that has a generous amount of flaked mackerels), Lor Bak (a perfectly marinated, delicately flavored, tender meat), Penang Road Famous Teochew Cendol (one of Malaysia’s favorite desserts), Kim Leng Loh Mee (a good bowl of noodles with thick, dark colored gravy, five – spiced powder and starched with egg white), Tua Pui Curry Mee (curry noodles with ingredients such as taupok, cuttlefish and more), Seafood Popiah(one of the oldest dishes in Penang), Char Kway Teow (a noodle dish with prawns and fresh cockles), Hokkien Mee (a noodle dish with bursting prawn flavor and slices of prawn and well balanced stock).

HOW TO GET THERE

You can use every form of transport imaginable; plane, train, bus, car and even a taxi. From Kuala Lumpur it generally takes around 5/6 hours to get to Penang, no matter which form of transport you use. Though it is only a 55 minute flight away from Kuala Lumpur.

There are many daily flights from numerous airports within and outside of Malaysia to Penang International Airport.

Between Langkawi and Penang also by boat. The trip between both islands will take approximately 2-5 hours.

BEST TIME TO TRAVEL

Just like the rest of Malaysia, Penang has a tropical rainforest climate that is bordering on a tropical monsoon climate. It is generally warm and humid all year round and it rains heavily between August and November.

During the day, Penang’s temperature reaches 30 to 32 degrees Celsius; during the evening, it reaches 23 to 25 degrees Celsius. It has 2, 670 millimeters of average annual rainfall and a relative humidity of 0 to 50%.

The best season to visit Penang would be between December and March when there is less rainfall.

ACCOMMODATION

The Eastern & Oriental Hotel Penang

The Eastern & Oriental Hotel is the embodiment of both a special time and a special place. For well over a century, this remarkable hotel – known simply as `The E&O’ to generations of travellers – has stood as a testament to the grand elegance of the British colonial era.

In many ways, it has also come to represent Penang itself; its story inextricably woven into the island’s history, its traditions an indelible part of many a traveller’s treasured memory, its name synonymous with the magical island once known as The Pearl Of the Orient.

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