Penang, better known as Malaysia’s ‘Pearl of the Orient’ makes for a unique blend of captivating natural scenery and an intoxicatingly rich cultural heritage. The generous dollops of Chinese, European, Indian, and Malay influences have bestowed a heady eclectic charm upon the destination.

Today, the ‘Silicon Valley of Malaysia’ or Penang has come a long way from its earlier reputation of an unpopulated ‘Betel Nut Island’. After wilting away for sometime with the fall of British colonialism, the destination finally made a vigorous comeback. Penang has also succeeded in seamlessly blending together the awesome modern architectural creations of today with an old world ambience of the years gone by. All said and done, the fact remains that Penang is a massive tourist magnet that lures hordes of western travellers into buying tickets to Malaysia.

Best Time to Visit Penang

An equatorial climate ensures that temperatures stay uniform pretty much throughout the year. The overall annual rainfall is about 250 cms and humidity is high. The best time to take flights to Penang is from December to February. This is the time when Penang is quite dry. However, those looking for off season discounts may visit during August to December. This is monsoon season and Penang gets lashed by heavy rainfalls, though there are sporadic rains at other times of the year as well. Penang is also famous for celebrating different events and festivals with great aplomb and many tourists coincide their holidays to Penang when such festivals are underway.

Tourist Spots in Penang

Travellers taking flights to Penang are spoilt for choice with plenty of sightseeing opportunities, both natural and man-made. This small turtle shaped island is full of mosques, temples, and churches – most being hardly a stone’s throw away from each other. Although, the Batu Feringghi beach area is a famed landmark, Penang has much more to its name. In fact Georgetown, the capital of Penang is a UNESCO world heritage site and is full of unforgettable sightseeing wonders. Here is a smattering of some the most popular crowd pullers in Penang.

  • Kek Lok Si (Temple of Supreme Bliss)
  • Bukit Bendera
  • Penang Botanic Gardens
  • Amazing Nibong Tebal
  • Bukit Jambul Orchid, Hisbiscus & Reptile Garden
  • Penang Butterfly Farm
  • Fisheries Department Research Institute Aquarium
  • Penang Bridge
  • Pulau Jerejak Resort
  • Snake Temple
  • War Museum
  • Tropical Spice Garden
  • Fort Cornwallis
  • Toy Museum
  • Tropical Fruit Farm
  • Penang Durian Farm
  • Penang Bird Park

Shopping Attractions in Penang

Shopping is a heady experience on travel to Penang. Be it vanity shopping in some swanky air conditioned complex or picking up souvenirs from quaint old shops – Penang has a lot to offer by way of shopping. Especially, the night markets and open air bazaars are a major hit with locals and visitors alike. Another major highlight of Penang’s retail scene is antique shopping which many holidaymakers consider essential for a memorable Penang holiday. Most of the key shopping precincts are localised to the areas of Lebuh Panti, Lebuh Chulia, Lebuh Kapitan Kling, Lebuh Campbell, and Julan Penang. Here are some of the major shopping draws of the destination.

  • Queensbay Mall
  • Gurney Plaza, Gurney Drive
  • Prangin Mall
  • Penang Time Square
  • Flea Market at Lorong Kulit.
  • Pasar Malam (Night Market)
  • Little Penang Street Market

Eating Out in Penang

Food adds to the already long list of lures for buying air tickets to Penang. The cuisine in Penang is legendary to say the least. In fact, many consider Penang to be the food capital of Malaysia. Be it a hawker stall or some top notch restaurant, one can expect the best of Malaysian as well as multi-ethnic cuisines anywhere in Penang. The Penang Nyonya style of cooking is the hallmark of cuisine in Penang and perhaps the major culinary highlight is the Nyonka flavouring of the local Chinese dishes. Here are some of the most favoured places for eating out in Penang.

  • Red Garden Food Paradise & Night Market
  • Goh Swee Kee Teochew Restaurant
  • Roti Canai Jalan Transfer
  • Opera Oriental Cuisine & Lifestyle Gallery
  • Passage Thru’ India
  • Chaw Choon Restaurant
  • Floating Seafood Restaurant
  • Gee Seng Seafood Restaurant
  • Ah Keat Seafood Restaurant
  • Restoran Lin Koay Teow Th’ng
  • New Gurney Drive Food Court
  • Bali Hai Restaurant
  • Coffee Island
  • Corner Club Restaurant
  • Mr. Pot

Hotels in Penang

Being a major tourist hub, Penang is full of accommodation facilities that suit every taste and pocket. Beach resorts of the main Batu Feringghi tourist beach are amongst the most upscale accommodation options. Cheap hotels and accommodation facilities in Penang are mostly located in Georgetown. Love Lane, Muntri Street, and Chulia Street offer plenty of budget hotels. Here is a list of some popular luxury as well as budget facilities in Penang.

  • YMCA Malaysia
  • De Garden Hotel
  • Anne Guesthouse Penang
  • ParkRoyal Penang
  • Boomerang Lodge Batu Ferringhi Beach
  • Equatorial Penang
  • Copthorne Orchid Hotel Penang
  • Bayview Hotel Georgetown
  • G Hotel
  • Holiday Inn Resort Penang
  • Hard Rock Hotel Penang
  • Hotel Royal Penang
  • Sunway Hotel Georgetown
  • Eastin Hotel Penang
  • Flamingo By The Beach
  • Bayview Beach Resort
  • Cititel Penang

Airports in Penang

Penang International Airport is about 16 kms from George Town, the capital city of the destination. It is situated in Penang’s Bayan Lepas area and offers good connections to South East Asia’s major countries. The airport is a hub for AirAsia and Firefly. Air Asia is one of the low cost airlines offering cheap tickets to some of the Malaysian destinations. Some of the other airlines serving the airport include Air Mauritius, All Nippon Airways, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Delta Airlines, Etihad Airways, KLM-Royal Dutch Airlines, and Malaysia Airlines.

Getting Around in Penang

There are plenty of ways to get around in Penang, such as trishaws, taxis and bus. Hiring a car, motorcycle, or bicycle is another option. Many taxi drivers do not use the meters and insist upon mutually agreed fares. Penang is also an excellent place to explore on foot. One of the most convenient ways of sightseeing in Penang is by taking a trishaw ride.

(Note: This destination guide is based on information gathered from reliable resources available on the internet and provides only general information about the destination. Southall Travel holds no responsibility for any misrepresentation of facts and shall not be in any way liable for any kind of eventuality such as damages, loss, additional costs etc arising from the use of information given in this guide).

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