Penang is the second smallest state in Malaysia, comprising the island with the same name (Pulau Pinang) and a small stretch of land on peninsular Malaysia. Its capital Georgetown - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - lies on the eastern edge of the island.
Penang stands out in Malaysia as being one of the most developed and urbanised regions, which causes it to sometimes being likened to Singapore. The assertion makes sense given its combination of skyscrapers and colonial buildings, yet it isn't quite reality just yet. But what Penang is, is an island that offers tourists a really interesting mix of cultural and colonial/historical sights, mosques and temples, beaches and of course night markets where you can explore such a vast array of local delicacies that you are guaranteed to be absolutely stuffed (from Laksa to Nasi Lemak and Popiah to all kinds of sweet desserts) when done.
A typical trip to Penang would likely include at least the following two things: casually exploring Georgetown on foot and hitting the beach. As for the latter, the beaches of Batu Feringghi are a good generic starting point (also home to a good night market, so stay until after sunset), but if you have the time try to head to beaches that are a little harder to reach. Monkey Beach on the north-west side of the island lies within Penang National Park and is a lot quieter, for instance.
Within Georgetown you need to at least check out Little India, Chinatown, Armenian Street, the Khoo Kongsi clan house and the Kek Lok Si-Temple. Of course there is much more if you have the time for it. In the evening head up to Penang Hill by train for majestic views over the city. [Review by travelindicator]
You can find the best hotel deals in Penang here.
- Penang is a region in Malaysia. It is situated at an altitude of 16ft and the best airport to fly into is PEN (Penang International, Penang)
- The currency used in Malaysia is the Malaysian ringgit (MYR)
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More Penang travel resources
Good places to start are as always the Wikitravel pages on Penang and on Georgetown, both of which are quite well written and full of useful information (that is not always the case, mind you!). We also like Tourism Penang and the official government Penang tourism sites as places that do not only try to sell you stuff. Travelfish and NY Times are not bad as usual either and for some excellent blog posts about Penang look here, here, or here.
Penang Attractions (Foursquare)
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Rawa Island, Langkawi, Bohey Dulang, Tioman Island, Malacca City, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Ipoh, Cameron Highlands, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Mersing, Pulau Gaya, Pulau Redang, Johor Bahru, Pangkor, Taiping [Browse all]