Penang or Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
also known as the Prince of Wales Island and the 'Pearl of the Orient'.
Founder: Captain Francis Light, 1786
Capital: Georgetown - Named after King George III of Great Britain.
A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE since 26 July 2008
Penang, the inner city of Georgetown in particular is a cultural and religious melting pot with a unique colonial heritage which will transport you two centuries back. As you step out of the inner city you will see modern Penang with skyscrapers reaching the sky, nice beaches and hills. And not forgetting Penang's renowned street food! Penang has it all!
*Click on the links provided for more information.
Before you start exploring Penang proper, head to the Penang State Museum at Farquhar Street to learn more about Penang and her history.
Opening hours :
9.00am to 5.00pm - Saturday to Thursday
Admission Fees: RM1.00 (Adult)
So far, I have brought two foreign visitors around Penang and played host to my friends from outstation and at the same time read alot of travel blogs written by foreign visitors to Penang.
Most foreign backpackers were clearly not very well-informed about Penang thus they found Penang to be boring and lack places of interest. They ended up sitting around their budget hotels in Chulia Street drinking beer and chatting with other backpackers.
As a proud Penangite, I would love to play my part in promoting Penang to the world.
1. State with highest population density in Malaysia.
2. Only state in Malaysia where ethnic Chinese are the majority.
3. State with third largest economy in Malaysia after Selangor and Johor.
4. Home to multinational corporations such as Intel, Dell, AMD, Seagate and Motorola.
5. Cyber-city status and UNESCO World Heritage Site.
6. 9th most liveable city in Asia - ECA International Location Ranking Survey
7. Has the best street food in Asia - TIME Asia
When is the best time to visit?
Check the events calendar at the Penang Tourism website.
Annual events to look out for:
Penang International Dragon Boat Race
Penang International Floral Festival
Wesak Day Procession
Bon Odori Festival
St. Anne's Festival
Hungry Ghost Festival
Nine Emperor Gods Festival
Getting around Penang can be hard work, as buses (has since improved - check out RapidPenang [check the routes on the website]) tend to be infrequent and taxis uniformly refuse to use the meter. Always haggle with the taxi driver and agree on a price before jumping into a taxi. Avoid driving during the rush hours between 7.30 a.m. - 9.30 a.m. and 5.30 p.m. -7.30 p.m. Motorcyle riders can be undisciplined and tourists should be extra vigilant of them. One of the best ways to sightsee is to walk around Georgetown; but wear light clothes, start early in the morning, and put on plenty of sun-block during the daytime. When crossing the roads, remember to look both ways, even on a one-way street! (motorcycles/scooters/mopeds)
[source - wikitravel]
clockwise from top left: Penang trishaw, Penang ferry, Rapid Penang bus, Penang Hill tram.
The main hub for RapidPenang buses in Georgetown is at Komtar and the secondary hub is at the ferry terminal.
Express/long-distance bus terminal is located at Sungai Nibong, south of the island.
Accommodation - Try here & here
There are plenty of options ranging from budget ones along Chulia Street & Love Lane to highly exclusive hotels and resorts such as the Eastern & Oriental Hotel and Shangri-La's Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa.
Places of interests:
clockwise from top left: Queen Victoria Clocktower, Fort Cornwallis, Church Street Pier, Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion.
clockwise from top left: Penang city hall, Penang town hall, Penang legislative assembly, prewar shophouses.
photo taken from photojerk.com - Homestead Mansion along Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah.
Georgetown Inner City which includes many heritage sites and historical buildings such as:
(click on the links!)
- Dr. Sun Yat Sen's Penang Base
- The 1886 Building
- ABN-UMRO Bank (Royal Bank of Scotland at present)
- Ban Hin Lee Bank building
- Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion
- Church Street Pier
- City Hall Buildings
- Eastern & Oriental Hotel
- Fort Cornwallis
- Francis Light's Tomb
- The Garage,
- Ghee Hiang biscuits
- House of Yap Chor Ee (The Sire Museum Restaurant)
- Hu Yew Seah
- India House
- Jewish Cemetery
- King Edward VII Memorial Hospital Building
- Limburg (KFC Larut Road)
- Logan Memorial
- Loke Mansion
- Malayan Railway Building
- Penang Supreme Court
- Queen Victoria Clocktower
- Standard Chartered Bank Building
- State Assembly Building
- Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Centre
- Penang Town Hall
- Woodville Mansion
- Penang HSBC Building
- Clan Jetties & Chew Jetty Weld Quay
- Pinang Peranakan Mansion
- KOMTAR Tower
Places of Worships
Clockwise from top left: Kek Lok Si Temple, St. George's Anglican Church, Hindu Temple, Floating Mosque.
Clan House/Clan Temples
- Church of the Assumption
- Wesley Methodist Church
- St. George's Anglican Church
- St. Anne Church, Bukit Mertajam (mainland)
Thai Buddhist Temple
Inner city tour - Try the three-wheeled trishaw for a pleasant experience of an inner city tour. Some of the trishaw peddlers are pretty knowledgeable when you ask them about Georgetown and its history. Take the Penang ferry as well from the island to the mainland and back for the unique experience. It is the oldest ferry service in Malaysia.
Colonial era schools
Penang Free School, est. 1816 - The first English-medium secondary school in South East Asia.
Gurney Drive promenade at night.
Penang's centre for entertainment, food and shopping where locals and tourists alike throng the promenade after the sunset to eat their favourite Penang hawker food, stock up on pirated DVDs, young couples dating along the promenade, kids running around, shoppers walk in and out of Penang's premier shopping mall, Gurney Plaza, youngsters sipping Cappuccino in trendy cafés or teh tarik in nearby mamak stalls, some getting ready to party in nearby clubs and lounge, ambitious young men gazing at the expensive condominiums along Gurney Drive, luxury cars and sports cars zooming into hotel lobbies....this is the centre of Penang!
If you fancy water sports activities make sure you make a trip up to Batu Ferringhi!
There are plenty of restaurants in this area and a night market selling souvenirs and all sorts of paraphernalia.
- Penang Botanic Gardens
- Penang Hill
- Taman Rimba Teluk Bahang
- Tropical Spice Garden
- Penang National Park
- Penang Municipal Park (Youth Park)
- Pulau Jerejak
- Teluk Bahang Dam
- Penang Butterfly Farm
Only if you have time to spare:
Chinatown - Roughly bordered by King Street, Stewart Street, Muntri Street, and Campbell Street.
Little India - Market Street, King Street, Queen Street and Penang Street - all now form the heart of Little India.
We Penangites have a passion for eating and Penang's food is known all over the world.
It has been featured in many international magazines and TV channels such as the Discovery Travel & Living. Don't travel all the way to Penang for a BigMac or KFC for goodness' sake. Venture out and explore Penang's exotic and spectacular food, just follow the local crowd!
Penang's Famous Hawker Food
[Click on the link to discover some of them]
Penang Peranakan Cuisine
Golden BBQ Steamboat, Nagore Place
Jolly BBQ Steamboat, 8-Row
Check out the following blogs with extensive reviews of Penang food.
Shiok or Not
My very own Penang food directory
-not the most updated one because i've been away for quite a while
- definitely not as good as KL's but it's definitely picking up!
Upper Penang Road & Leith Street
Gurney Drive belt (includes G-Hotel, Gurney Plaza & Gurney Hotel)
New World Park
Gurney Plaza I & II
AEON Seberang Perai
Sunway Carnival Mall
One Stop Midlands Mall
Bukit Jambul Complex
Penang Times Square - opening soon
....[for more check out this website]
I hope all the above information will be helpful.
Please utilise the links given
CREDITS: Links mainly from http://penang-traveltips.com
Photos: Kazuo Lim @ PBase Galleries, Jiann Fa, TYW & Victor of skyscrapercity.com