Penang Travel Guide

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Georgetown fishmarket

Georgetown fishmarket


Penang or its Malay name of Pulau Pinang is made up of a turtle-shaped island, a total of 280 square kilometers, and a strip of land called Seberang Prai on Peninsular Malaysia about 48 kilometers wide. Penang is also often called the Pearl of the Orient. It used to be the oldest British settlement in Malaysia predating Melaka. In 1786 Captain Francis Light took possession of the island. Today it is probably the most famous island of the country. It is not only known for its beach resorts, but for its colonial heritage you can especially witness in the Georgetown, the biggest city of the island.

Many visitors coming down from Thailand head for Penang first before they continue their trip to places like Cameron highlands, Kuala Lumpur or Melaka. Many people living in Thailand come to get a new visa at the local Thai consulate. Must see places are the Kek Lok Si Temple, Botanical Park, Penang Hill to name a few.

What is rather impressive to the foreign visitor is the existence of mosques, churches, Chinese and Indian temples a few hundred metres away from each other, some of which were built at the turn of the century. The famous author Somerset Maugham is known to have stayed on the island and spun tales about the romance of the white planter in South-East Asia.

Most visitors will either stay in Georgetown or in one of the beach resorts outside the city (See accommodation section). The most popular are Tanjung Bungah and Batu Ferringhi (Foreigner's rock). If you are looking for really clean and unspoiled beaches Penang might not be the right place, but it is still very nice and the whole atmosphere is really relaxed.


January 29, 2005 change by travellingmap

November 28, 2006 change by chokchai

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