Penang is one of the most scenic island states and as well as the most visited tourist attraction in Malaysia. Also known as the Pearl of the Orient, it consists of an island and a narrow strip of the mainland coast. Penang is home to one of the largest, most diverse, exciting and cosmopolitan cities of Malaysia — George Town. Besides carrying the beautiful name of Pearl of the Orient, George Town as one of the historic cities of the Straits of Malacca is also proudly listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. With that, no wonder Penang properties have been on high demand.
Below are ten reasons why you should visit Pearl of the Orient and enjoy the unique fusion of culture, architecture, food and residents of Penang.
- Take a stroll at naturally diverse beaches of Penang
Besides the rich history and enchanting building, Penang offers several attractive beaches with a tranquil environment such as Batu Ferringhi Beach and Teluk Bahang Beach. Batu Ferringhi Beach is always crowded with foreigners who are seeking for oozing sands and water sports but also to stay close to the city for good food and nightlife. Teluk Bahang Beach on the other hand is not as crowded as Batu Ferringhi beach and still offer plentiful of water sports activities.
- Visit the Penang National Park
The Penang National Park is located about 30km from George Town. The park has spectacular natural attractions- a diverse mix of flora and fauna ideal for exploration in the pristine coastal-forested area. It has wetlands, mudflats, coral reefs, mangroves and turtle nesting beaches. Entrance to the Penang National Park is by walking. However, rental boats are also available if you wish to visit the nearby beaches.
Penang National Park is a perfect place for taking the sunset shot. In fact, it is known as the Bay of Glowing Amber thanks to its unique, scenic and spectacular view of the sunset. The coastal tropical rainforests have over 1000 species of trees and birds. Bring along your camera and take your best shots.
- Hike at the Penang Hill
The Penang Hill is among the oldest hill stations established by the British colonialists. Standing at 833m above the sea level, the area comprises several hills such as the Western Hill (highest point), Strawberry Hill, Flagstaff Hill, Halliburton’s Hill, Tiger Hill and the Government Hill. The hill gives a stunning panoramic view of the historic city of George Town and a fusion of Asian, British and modern architectural features along the Eastern Coast.
You can also take a train ride up the Penang Hill and enjoy the cool temperatures at the op as you enjoy bird watching. In the afternoon, do not forget to drop by David Brown’s Strawberry Hill and enjoy some tea and warm scones with fresh strawberry and clotted cream.
- Hunt for Penang street art in George Town
George Town has an amazing mixture of magnificent Chinese villas and British styled homes. An interesting, eye-catching street art mimicking the daily lives and activities of the locals are seen along the roads. The street art filling public spaces in the city is in the form of hand-painted murals and welded iron wall caricatures. The artwork helps you understand the culture and other past events.
- Enjoy the lively nightlife of Penang
Penang is home to fine hotels, all-night restaurants, and discotheques that make a perfect setting for the night partying. A trip to Penang is incomplete without experiencing the lively nightlife – countless standalone nightspots, clubs, and pubs around the city centre. Think of an evening at the Slippery Senoritas; it would be an unforgettable experience to watch people dancing on some vibrant beats. Of course, the nightlife goes beyond and you can always embark on a bar hopping journey following this handy guide.
- Embark on a Food Trail
Penang has topped the chart as a world food destination over other places like Bangkok and Paris. Penang food never fails to impress visitors from all walks of life. Being a culinary paradise, you will need to step into local eatery and experience a true food heaven whose fine dishes cannot be replicated anywhere. Few places can surely satisfy your cravings — Penang Road for the Penang Teochew Chendul; Lorong Seratus Tahun for Curry Mee; Bangkok Lane for Mee Mamak; Air Itam for Assam Laksa; Lorong Selamat for Char Koay Teow.
- Travel to the past
Penang being a trading hub and interaction point between the West and the East is rich with heritage and stunning architecture including the famous Fort Cornwallis, Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion and Kek Lok Si Temple. These are gems of the past that have unique stories about the way of life, religion and culture back then.
- Participate in the International Marathon at Penang Bridge
This prestigious Penang Bridge International Marathon is a sports event meant to unite local and international marathon enthusiasts every year. The race is known for a captivating sunrise view revealing the panoramic view of Penang. The bridge is among the largest bridges in the world, stretching 13.4 km long with 8.4 km length over water. You can participate as a traveller or runner, and have an unforgettable experience on the spectacular Penang Bridge.
- Discover Heritage Landmarks in George Town
Penang has a blend of Oriental heritage and colonial buildings – a charismatic element of the Pearl of the Orient. Most present day government services and businesses are located within these buildings. George Town is a treasure trove of buildings in lovely colours and designs accompanied by dramatic stories of Penang’s most prominent leaders and families.
One can take a trishaw ride around George Town at any time and enjoy touring the city. Hopping onto a round island tour for sightseeing is something not to miss. The island is a quiet and calm forest on one side, and a busy, thriving city on the other side. Another option is catching a ferry to the mainland and back- it will be a wonderful memory.
- Visiting museums in Penang
Museums of all kinds are mushrooming in Penang with over 20 museums worth visiting, each with a different theme. The most economical way when visiting museums as a group is purchasing the Penang Museum Trail and Museum Adventure Pass. Students with their ID cards often get better rates in most museums. Some of the best museums include the Penang 3D Trick Art Museum, PG Gold Museum, Pinang Peranakan Mansion, The Camera Museum, Glass Museum, One East Museum, Sun Yat Sen Museum and the Colonial Penang Museum.