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Penang Bridge

The island of Penang, which is also known as the 'Pearl of the Orient' lies off the northwestern coast of peninsula Malaysia and has an estimated population of 1,000,000 people. The state capital of Penang, Georgetown, named after King George III of England, is located at the northeastern tip of the island. This lively metropolitan city has much to offer travelers with its colourful history, fascinating culture, and lovely beaches.

Visitors will find trendy restaurants, sidewalk cafes, discotheques, night markets, departmental stores and quaint pre-war shops together with a host of other places to give this state its lively and colourful character. Another attraction is the Penang Bridge, spanning 13.5 km from Seberang Perai on the mainland to Gelugor on the island. This engineering marvel has been acclaimed as one of the longest bridges in the world.

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Penang is definitely a shopper's paradise, with hundreds of retail establishments located conveniently, in and around the city. These places are famed for its variety of goods and reasonably cheap prices. Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak, or fondly known as KOMTAR is one of the biggest and most famous shopping complexes in the city. It is located in the heart of Georgetown and is 65 stories high. Over here, visitors can find a labyrinth of boutiques, fast food outlets, restaurants, amusement arcades and shops as well as two of the biggest department stores. Visitors can also have an excellent aerial view of the whole city as well as daily cultural shows at the Tower Tourist Center on the 58th floor. A duty free shop on the 57th floor offers good shopping and the souvenir center is yet another place to get memorabilia of Penang.


Lebuh Letih pre-war shophouse

If visitors are searching for fine jewelry, then Lebuh Campbell and Lebuh Kapitan Keling are the places to go. Batik , the highly versatile fabric available as individually designed pieces or as clothing, table-cloths, napkins and furnishings, may be purchased at factories in Teluk Bahang and in souvenir shops at Batu Ferringhi. For batik paintings, it can be found in galleries in Jalan Penang, Lebuh Leith and Batu Ferringhi. Antique lovers, in search of rare bargains can go to the junk shops along Rope Walk (Jalan Pintal Tali) for a range of antique items and bric-a-brac such as porcelain ware, chains, coins, old glass, old ceiling lamps and antique clocks.

Places of interest

Khoo Kongsi
Part-temple, part-meeting hall for the Chinese Khoo clan, this particular kongsi is extraordinarily ornate. When it was first built in 1901, its roof caught fire on the night of completion. This incited rumours that the heavens were incensed that the building bore too much resemblance to the Heavenly Emperor's Palace. Ascaled-down version was then constructed. The current building, adorned with intricate wood carvings, coloured tiles, and friezes of dragons and deities, served as a location set for the 1999 film, Anna & the King.

Khoo Kongsi

Penang Hill

Penang Hill ( Bukit Bendera )
Malaysia's first hill station, Penang Hill is 830 metres (2730ft) above sea level, visitors can ascend to the top by either hiking up or by the funicular railway which has been operational since 1922. Apart from the cool, refreshing climate and the fantastic view at the summit, visitors can also view the picturesque bungalows, a beautiful flower garden and a bird park.
There are bungalows for rent and a hotel for those who want to stay for more than a day. Visitors can also indulge in refreshments and snacks at a convenient tea kiosk located on top of the hill.

There is a good walking track up the hill. It takes 4 hours to reach the top and is recommended only for the more energetic. The jungle trail begins at the 'moongate' at Jalan Air Terjun, approximately 300m from the Botanical Gardens entrance.

Fort Cornwallis
To get the best of Penang's colourful past, walk around the old colonial area that envelops Fort Cornwallis. The fort is one of Penang's oldest monuments, and the site of Captain Light's historic landing in 1786. Erected by convict labour, the stone structure is now home to many weathered canons. Look out for Seri Rambai, the largest cannon at the fort, which is venerated by childless women for its procreative powers. Fort Cornwallis also features a small museum which traces the fort's history, an open-air amphitheatre, and souvenir shops.

Little India
Colourful saris, fragrant spices, and glittery jewellery gather in Penang's Indian enclave to give visitors a multi-sensory experience. The old-world charm of Penang is romantically captured in traditional trades like astrology and betelnut-peddling.

In the heart of Georgetown lies Chinatown. Stretching from Weld Quay to Jalan Penang, Chinatown never fails to evoke a sense of history. Take a nostalgic stroll on the well-preserved streets lined by shophouses, clan houses, and temples.

Kek Lok Si Temple
Arguably the largest and most fascinating Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia, it features a seven-storey pagoda that has a mix of Chinese, Thai, and Burmese craftsmanship. The dome on top is of Burmese design, the middle part Thai, and the base Chinese. Perched impressively atop the hill of Air Itam, this temple took a whopping 20 years to complete and now boast gardens and a turtle pond.

Kek Lok Si Temple

Batu Ferringhi, Teluk Bahang, and Tanjung Bungah Beaches
Lying on the northern coastal route of Penang Island, these beaches have made Penang a world-class beach resort island. At Batu Ferringhi, the white and sandy shoreline is a haunt for many sports like parasailing, windsurfing, and jet-skiing. The beaches of Teluk Bahang and Tanjung Bungah are perfect spots for sunbathing while the lush foliage fringing the sands makes trekking in the forests a popular activity.

Snake Temple
Snake temple which was built in 1850 is a sanctuary for poisonous snakes. They coiled around the pillars, beams and potted plants within the temple and are believed to be rendered harmless by the smoke of the burning incense. 

Penang Bird Park
Home to 800 tropical birds of 300 species, the 2,000-square-metre park features gigantic cassowaries, emu, and ostriches.

Penang Butterfly Farm
The first of its kind to be built in the world, the farm is home to more than 400 species of butterflies and insects. Butterflies flutter about under a huge net in the 0.8-hectare area. A lily pond, artificial waterfalls, and gardens peppered with exotic flowers add to the landscape.

Penang's Famed Beaches

Penang's Famed Beaches
The northern shores of Penang Island are well known for its beautiful beaches with its golden sand and deep blue sea, making the beaches a famous spot for both locals and visitors of Penang. Along these beaches are resorts of international standard which offer a host of water-based recreational facilities. Visit the Batu Ferringhi Beach, which offers all the scenic delights of a tropical island paradise. Along these beaches are resorts of international standard which offer a host of water-based recreational facilities

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Sea Sports

Sea Sports
Beach hotels provide facilities for a host of sea sports such as sailing, windsurfing, water skiing, parasailing, canoeing and speedboat rides. The uninhabited islands of Pulau Bidan, Pulau Telur and Pulau Song Song off Batu Ferringhi are ideal for snorkeling , scuba diving and fishing. Within these island's crystal clear depths are some of the most fascinating attractions of the underwater world.

How to get there.....
By Air :
Penang is easily accessible by air with daily flights from major capitals of the region. It has direct links with Singapore, Bangkok, Nagoya, Medan, Xiamen (China) and Madras, operated by Malaysia Airlines. The Penang International Airport is about 20 km from the city centre.

By Road :
The opening of the Penang Bridge linking the mainland of Peninsular Malaysia to Penang Island has facilitated driving to Penang.

By Ferry :
From Butterworth, it is necessary to take the ferry to Penang Island. The ferry service is available around the clock for both passengers and vehicles. Tickets are purchased at the Butterworth terminal and the rates are applicable for a return journey.

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