Evolving as one of the most loved holiday hotspot and an affluent business point across the world, Penang is the turtle shaped island of Malaysia. Interestingly the name Penang comes after "Pinang" a Malay word for betel or areca nut palm. Hence this only "island state" of Malaysia is often time referred as the Betel Nut Island. Situated in the Strait of Malacca history of Penang evocatively began when a keen explorer, Francis Light threw his rays of discovery off the northern Malaya littoral in this island, which became the faultless fit to the jigsaw of the British Empire's eastern money puzzle. Yes, The East India Company sailed to the Penang harbour with guts of breaking the spice trade monopoly by the Dutch Melaka.
Popular Places of interest in Penang
Once a bustling port, dried after the collapse of the British Empire, but today we know it Penang as the
'Silicon Valley' of Malaysia.
George Town- Many Chinese entrepreneurs flocked to the island during the early days of British Empire, predecessors of the community largely settled what we call today Georgetown- one of the most colourful cities and recent addition to the UNESCO world Heritage Sites. This is largely the Chinese city with terrific tumbledown shop-houses, most prominent Penang Khoo Khongsi, a Chinese clan-house for people bearing the name Khoo. From broad streets to borough architecture, this city still earns livelihood with ancient trades from fortune telling, to rattan weaving and the like. Simultaneously the skyscrapers add sparks to the modern Georgetown, making this to be an ideal place to wander.
While travellers who wish to enjoy the urban facilities stays in one of the ubiquitous hotels of Georgetown, but tourists desiring a peaceful retreat heads to the interiors of Penang- Teluk Bahang. It is the friendly fishing village, located in the north western tip of the Penang. There are some beautiful points of interest. A Tropical Spice Garden, along the road of Teluk and Batu Ferringh is the haven of tropical lushness and cologne of over 500 species of flora. There is a Tropical Fruit Farm cultivating over 140 types of subtropical, tropical that are native and hybrid. There is also a newly made Penang National Park, smallest in the Malaysia.
The more picturesque part of Penang Batu Ferringhi is the Foreigner's Rock full of small coves and plenty beaches. This is the resort trip crossing the Teluk Bahang, with cues of countless hotels and restaurants. A good night market and the Yahong Art Gallery, where tourists take home antiques, jewelleries, batik prints and more as souvenirs. Get good deals on the hotel prices during the busy seasons, if you can beat the crowd!
This is the free industrial zone In Penang and has year around attractions drawing tourists from all over the world. Bayan Lepas is connected to George Town by the Expressway, a distance of half an hour, which is also blessed by the biggest shopping mall of Penang and the Penang international airport.
Top Five Things You Must Know About Penang
Climate: Penang is gifted with an equatorial type of climate, enjoying a warm and humid weather conditions majorly all throughout the year. While temperatures rises as high as 30 Degree Celsius in the daytime, nights are comparatively cooler experiencing temperatures around 22 Degree Celsius. After the hot summers, Penang is blessed with showers of rain during the month of August that continues of-and-on till November, while months of January and February remains dry.
Language: Penangite's official language is Bahasa Malaysia but standings one of the most influential business hub, English is a commonly spoken language, especially in the tourism industry. But it being a multi racial destination, Penang speaks diverse languages including Hokken, Cantonese, Mandarian, Tamil.
Demography: Locals of Penang are fondly called Penangites and they are proudly a multi-cultural land, blesses with diverse ethnicity, and dialects as well. Penang is home to more than 1.2 million people, with an almost equally distributed males and female population.
Religion: Islam is the official state religion in Malaysia but there is a liberal practise of Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Taoism, Sikhism, and other religions. Visitors will be mesmerised by the profusion of temples, churches along with mosques all standing together, one by the another. Just like the locals visitors as well gets the opportunity to celebrate multicultural festivals all throughout the year.
Transport: Travelling in and around Penang is convenient and extremely accessible as all the routes are well connected. Penang transportation includes all public transports from buses, taxi, car rentals, trishaw and motorcycle and also the latest addition of mono rail. Penang's International airport is in Bayan Lepas, which is supposedly the third busiest airport of Malaysia.
Bus service is the cheapest that covers major parts of Penang while cab services are more apt for tourists living away from the city centres. A recent launch in the bus transportation system, Rapid Penang has created a huge benchmark in the overall transportation system.
Car travel includes two options; car rentals and taxis. Car rentals are much cheaper for about RM 150 offering five-seater and tourist enjoy the much needed freedom and flexibilty.
For quick and close city jaunts cycles, trishaws and motorcycles are ideal transports, cheap and accessible.
Three ideal places to stay in Penang
Get wonderful view of Penang from the beautifully architected hotels that are fashioned and equipped with all major amenities.
Residence Teluk Bahang - Luxurious and provided with wide amenities and perks has great line of coffee shops, tours, family rooms, good car park. Fashioned for utter comfort the residence has 3 rooms total on 2 floors with single, double deluxe and a deluxe suite. The hotel offers various recreational opportunities.
Lone Pine Hotel - In contrast to the mega resorts, it is comparatively smaller with only 50 rooms but all the rooms are completed renovated, they are enormous and gives an institutional feel for the grey dotted tiles. Bathrooms are quite clean and hygienic. The sandy shores of Batu Ferringhi are just few steps away from the place, with a beautiful relaxing pool and beachfront hammocks.
Gurney Hotel - Georgetown visitors gets a fancy accommodation, embellished with modern establishments. It offers the Gurney Drive with delicious local street food and the popular Gurney Plaza Mall.
Shopping Stations You Will Love To Stop-For-A-Shop in Penang
Penang is also called the shopper's paradise in Malaysia , where shopping thrills are doubled with one's hand at bargaining. Countless line-up of shopping malls, roadside stalls and also the night markets Penang offers widest collection of products that are affordable and yet negotiable.
- The major shopping centres of Penang are:
- Jalan Gurney
- Campbell Street
- What to shop?
- Gold Jewellery
- Tau Sar Peah
How Safe you will be in Penang?
Penang is quite a safe place to travel and especially Georgetown, other than the rare scam artists and pickpockets that happens almost everywhere. Tourist have not been drawn to any major disputes unless they go out of their way to attract attention. Ownership of guns and firearm is tightly restricted and even the public drinking has been outlawed in order to negate petty vandalism. The government requests visitors to carry their passports or some other official document all time for personal safety. The emergency telephone number is 999. If local customs and localities are respected Penang will be one of the most safest destinations in the world.