Penang -No 2 Attraction

Penang

Kek Lok Si Pagoda

Known as “Pearl of the Orient”, this Unesco World Heritage Site is the second most visited tourist attraction place in Malaysia and retain much of its old colonial building charm and Chinese cultural heritage. Penang comprises of the Penang Island proper and the mainland Seberang Jaya (formerly called Province Wellesley) hinterland. Most tourist stay on the island as this is where most of the tourist attractions and sandy beaches are located.

Penang historical, cultural and religious mix can be seen its many colonial buildings, Chinese mansions, old shop houses, temples, churches and mosques. All located side by side to each other especially at the World Heritage Site.

Attractive places to visit in Penang are George Town, Penang Street, Esplanade, Penang Hill, Kek Lok Si Temple, Batu Maung, Snake Temple, Penang Aquarium, Gurney Drive, Batu Ferringhi, Butterfly Farm, Taman Negara Pulau Pinang, Tropical Spice Garden, and Botanical Gardens. Within the Unesco World Heritage Site are attractions like the old British buildings and Chinese pre-war shop houses, mansions, among which are Penang Museum, Fort Cornwallis (old British Fort), Victoria Clock, Kuan Yin Temple, Sleeping Buddha, Residence of Ku Din Ku Meh (Heritage Building), Sun Yat Sun House (Heritage Building), Campbell Walk, Pinang Peranakan Mansion, Little India, Dharmikarama Burmese Temple, Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, St. George Church, Cathedral of The Assumption, Sri Mariamman Temple, Kapitan Keling Mosque, Acheen Street Mosque, etc. Many of the buildings are in process of upgrading. A funicular train at Air Itam enable visitors to reach the Penang Hill top which offers spectacular view of the city.

Penang Bridge

Penang Bridge

Many of the buildings in George Town are reflective of the heritage of the old British and the Chinese architecture that were built in those days. Even some of the roads still retain British names like Lebuh Farquhar. Butterworth, a town on the mainland is the drop off point from the Malayan Railway for visitor to Penang by rail. Ferries traverse the island and Butterworth from the railway station. At Weld Quay is “Port Swettenham”, the staging jetty for the Star Cruise Liner for cruises along the Straits of Melaka and the Andaman Sea. It makes stops over at Phuket in Thailand. Penang is linked to Pulau Langkawi by high speed boats ferry.

Penang was founded by Sir Francis Light who formed an outpost for the British East India Company in 1786 and the first foothold in mainland Malaya in an area dominated by Dutch presence. This was the result of negotiations between Sir Francis Light and the Sultan of Kedah to protect Kedah from Burmese harassments and raiding parties. Penang became the first British settlement in the Malay Peninsula. After its founding, many Chinese traders came to settle in Penang due to its strategic position in the Straits of Melaka. George Town took its name from the British king, George III and its name still remains till today.

Penang Hokkien Mee

Penang Hokkien Mee

Penang is famous for its spice farms and fruits farms like nutmegs, cloves, durians, mangoes, rambutans,   etc. These are popular with the locals. Food in Penang is second to none and certainly one of its main attractions. Popular food areas are Gurney Drive, Macalister Road and Batu Ferringhi which serve tasty and delicious local food. For shopping, Penang has shopping complexes like Gurney Drive Plaza and Komtar.

There are many hotels in Penang ranging from the 5 star to as low as the bag packers one star budget hotels. The Eastern and Oriental Hotel (E&O) is one hotel that dates back to the colonial days but with facilities and services of superior standards. Beautiful beaches are located at Tanjung Bungah and Batu Ferringhi where most upper scale and international class hotels are found.

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