Penang, literally meaning Island of Betel Nut, is famous for its natural scenic beauty. Also known as the 'Pearl of Orient', Penang entices visitors with its warm seas, golden beaches, lush greenery and delicious cuisine.
Penang was established by Francis Light in 1786 as the first British
trading post in the Far East. Light persuaded the Sultan of Kedah to
cede Pulau Pinang ("Island of the Betel Nut") to the British
in exchange for military assistance.
The island was originally named Prince of Wales Island and the
settlement that soon grew up was named Georgetown after King George III.
In 1800, the Sultan of Kedah further ceded a strip of land on the
mainland across the channel, which Light named Province Wellesley, after
the then Governor of India.
In 1832, Penang formed part of the Straits Settlement with Malacca and
Singapore. It flourished and grew to be a major trading post for a
lucrative trade in tea, spices, china and cloth.
Penang remained under the British Colonial rule until 1957, when it
gained independence under the Federation of Malaya. It was briefly
occupied by the Japanese from 1941 to 1945. In 1963, Penang became part
of Malaysia when Sabah and Sarawak came into the group.
Penang has an equatorial climate with uniform temperature throughout
the year. Humidity is high and total annual rainfall is around 250 cm.
August to November are the wettest months.
Best Time to Visit
Since August to November are the wettest months, it is better to avoid
Penang during this time of the year. The period between December and
February is pretty dry and is an ideal time to visit Penang.
Tourist Attractions / Places to See
Georgetown City: Georgetown, the capital of Penang, is a
beautiful city that blends the old and the new. It has its own Chinatown
and Little India. The architecture of the city manifests its cultural
diversity and is an amalgam of British, Thai, Burmese, and Chinese
Clock tower: Erected in 1897, this tower marks the historic
center of Georgetown, and was erected, to commemorate the Diamond
Jubilee of Queen Victoria.
Fort Cornwallis: The fort was built on the site where Sir
Francis Light first landed on the island in 1786. It is a rectangular
concrete structure with several cannons protruding from its ramparts.
Within the fort there is an open-air amphitheatre, a handicraft and
souvenir center, and a bunker.
Komtar Tower: This 65-storey complex, known as Kompleks Tun
Abdul Razak houses departmental stores, commercial offices, shops and
restaurants, theatres, and squash courts. The tower located in the
central district of Georgetown offers a panoramic view of the island.
Wat Chayamangkalaram Temple: The Buddhist temple with Thai
architectural style features a fabulous gold-plated reclining Buddha,
the third largest in the world and the niches behind the statue house
urns containing the ashes of devotees.
Kek Lok Si: It is the largest Buddhist temple complex in
Southeast Asia. The temple presents a blend of Chinese, Thai, and
Burmese architecture. Kek Lok Si features a seven-tiered pagoda of Ban
Po Thar dedicated to the Boddhisattva Tsi Tsuang Wang.
Snake Temple: It is the only temple of its kind in the world.
One can see multitude of pit vipers coiled around objects on the altar
here. They are believed to be harmless.
Sri Mariamman Temple: The Hindu temple has fabulous sculptures
of gods and goddesses over its entrance and on its façade and
highly ornate interior with a priceless statue of Lord Subramaniam
embellished with gold, silver, diamonds and emeralds.
Penang Hill: Penang has many hill stations such as the Western
Hill, Tiger Hill and Strawberry Hill that offer breathtaking panoramic
views of Georgetown. The dusk view from Flagstaff Hill is an
unforgettable experience. A vigorous walk along the delightful trails
and a funicular ride on the train are other interesting things to do
Khoo Kongsi: The Chinese immigration to Penang gave rise to the
formation of clan formations or kongsi and each of them constructed a
hall to serve as the locus of its community. The Khoo Kongsi is the most
famous example of these magnificent halls and was said to rival the
palace of China's emperor. However, the original Khoo Kongsi burnt to
the ground almost as soon as it was completed and the present structure
is only a scaled down version of that original. The intricate carvings
and richly ornamented beams made of the finest wood are the highlights
of the hall.
Penang Bridge: The bridge is known to be the longest in Asia and
third longest in the world. It connects Penang Island with the
Beaches of Penang: Penang is known for its wonderful beaches.
Some of the most popular beaches in Penang are Tanjung Bunga, Batu
Ferringhi, and Teluk Bahang.
Shopping in Penang is great fun. There are number of shopping avenues
from modern air-conditioned complexes to quaint old shops where you can
get rare antiques and collectibles. Colourful open-air bazaars, and the
night markets or pasar malam are a must visit at Penang.
The main shopping areas are concentrated in Julan Penang, Lebuh
Campbell, Lebuh Kapitan Kling, Lebuh Chulia, and Lebuh Panti.
Penang is an antique lover's paradise. Here, one can find a myriad
collection of goods ranging from exotic curios, jewellery, souvenirs,
clothing, fabric like batik, pewters, vases, ashtrays, baskets, mats,
and other handicrafts to the latest electronic gadgets.
How to Reach Penang
By Air: Penang is easily accessible by air with daily flights
from major capitals of the region. It is directly connected with
Singapore, Bangkok, Hadyai, Phuket, Maden, Xiamen, and Chennai, operated
by Malaysian Airlines. The Bayan Lepas International Airport is located
about 20 km from the city center.
By Road: The opening of the Penang Bridge linking Penang Island
to the Peninsular mainland has facilitated driving to Penang.
By Rail: You can take a train from Butter worth to Kuala Lumpur
and from Butter worth you can take a ferry to Penang.
02 Nights & 03 Days at Penang
02 Nights & 03 Days at Penang (Free & Easy)