Penang is a hot destination for tourism and vacations in Malaysia. Here is a travel guide on Penang

Penang Island Malaysia

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.

Sri Mariamman Temple, PenangPenang 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 architecture.

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 here.

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 Peninsular mainland.

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)

Tourist Attractions
Kelantan | Malacca | Negeri Sembilan | Penang | Perlis | Sabah | Sarawak | Terengganu

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