Penang – Holiday in the Best of Malaysia
Encompassed by Kedah in the north and east, and Perak in the south, Penang is a major tourist destination in Malaysia. Located on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Penang is among the most developed city in the country. An important city, economically, Penang is famous for its rich cultural diversity. The city is the 3rd highest Human Development Index in Malaysia, after Selangor and Kuala Lampur. Penang spreads on an area of 1,031 km2 of land and serves as home to more than 1,520,143 inhabitants. The local people of Penang are called as ‘Penangite‘or ‘Penang lang’ and speak Malay as their official language. Besides Malay, Mandarin, English, Penang Hokkien and Tamil is also spoken in Penang. The history of the city dates back to the times of Semang-Pangan, who are believed to be the earliest inhabitants. The city has also been ruled by Ming dynasty, East India Company and British Empire at some point in history.
Penang International Airport is the only international airport serving Penang and is currently directly connected to numerous domestic as well as international destinations. A major passenger as well as cargo hub, the Penang International Airport is at a distance of 14 km the city center. Penang has a tropical climate with 3 distinct seasons. The month from November to February is the peak tourist season as not only the weather is at its best; numerous festivals are also celebrated during these months. The months from February to April are the shoulder season and are a good time if you want to explore the city, minus the crowd. The wettest season in Penang last from May to October and this season should be avoided by tourists. There is very little variation in annual temperature and the city does not have any snowfall. International Dragon Boat Festival in June, Penang Pesta Dragon Boat race in December, Chinese festivals, Chingay procession, New Year in January, Christmas in December, Hungry Ghost Festival, Penang Bridge Marathon, Mid-Autumn Festival and George Town Festival are the major events and festivals celebrated in Penang.
Start your Penang tour by visiting the Historic George Town, which is a popular UNESCO World Heritage Site. Laden with numerous notable historical building and crammed with colorful streets and museums, this is the most popular attraction in the city. Dhammikarama Burmese Temple, located in Georgetown is among the oldest Buddhist temples in the city and famed for its serene Buddha statue. Wat Chaiyamangalaram, a Thai Buddhist temple is another major draw known for its 33 meter long gold-plated reclining Buddha statue, which is one of the largest Buddha statues in the world.
Penang Toy Museum (housing a vast collection of action figures and collectables), Batu Feringgi (most popular beach area of Penang), Penang National Park (a wildlife habitat featuring rainforest trails, turtle nesting areas and a lake etc), Kek Lok Si Temple (one of South East Asia's most beautiful temple), Gurney Drive (a sea front promenade), Snake Temple (the best place to see live pit vipers circling the altar of the temple) and Penang Hill (for enjoying enigmatic views of the city) are the major attractions one should not miss in Penang. If you are a beach fanatic then Penang will not disappoint you. Visit Tanjung Bungah, Batu Ferringhi, and Teluk Bahang, which are the 3 most popular beaches in the city and are brimming with famous hotels, resorts and restaurants.
Eating and Shopping
If you love food, then Penang will never fail to awestruck you. A food connoisseur’s heaven, the best local food in Penang can be savored at Gurney Drive. A popular sea front promenade, this is the place where you can find a mix of high end restaurants along with cheap street food. Ask for Bak Kuk Teh, Oh Chien, grilled squid, Assam Laksa, Mee Goreng, Char Kway Teow, Hokkien Hae Mee, Laksa Lemak, Wanton Mee, Char Koay Kak and nasi lemak, which are the local delicacies. Besides the regular local cuisines, the city is equally famous for India, Chinese, Burmese, Thai and even Acehenese cuisines. The food in Penang is representative of its multi-cultural society and the streets are the best places to sample some of the most authentic dishes. However, if you are light on stomach, then there are many fine dining places as well available all over the city. Georgetown is one of Asia’s largest street food cities, and highly recommended for those planning a trip to Penang.
A major shopping destination in Malaysia, there is ultimate options for shoppers in the city. While it goes without saying that the city is in possession of glamorous malls and high end luxury stored but the charm of the local street market in Penang is unsurpassed. Chowrasta Market, Batu Ferringhi Night Market, Little Penang Street Market, Macallum Street Night Market, Lorong Kulit Flea Market and Campbell Street are the places to buy some of the cheapest finds in the city. Clothes in batik prints, embroidered pillow cases, handmade jewellery, pickled fruits, woven bamboo table mats, decorated chopsticks, variety of T Shirt and local fried chips are among the things you can buy in Penang.
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Airports near Penang
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