Penang is one of Malaysia’s most famous resort destinations. The state consists of Penang Island and a strip on the mainland known as Seberang Perai. George Town, its capital, is a UNESCO World Heritage City with fascinating historical buildings and cultural landmarks. Penang’s northern shoreline, characterised by expansive stretches of golden sand and glittering waters, is a popular holiday spot for foreign and local visitors alike.
Batu Feringghi, situated along the coastal road northwest of George Town, is the most popular beach in Penang, lined with a string of international-standard hotels and resorts. Soak in the sun or unwind on the beach and enjoy a host of aquatic thrills from banana boat rides to canoeing and jet-skiing. For a spine-tingling adventure, try parasailing to enjoy the view of the beach from the sky.
As the sun sets, Batu Feringghi comes alive with a carnival-like atmosphere with an open-air bazaar selling anything from ornate curios to enticing mementos. Watch local artisans demonstate the intricate art of craft-making and batik-painting. Dubbed the Feringghi Walk, the bazaar offers shoppers a host of souvenir items.
Tanjung Bungah is another popular beach in Penang. The numerous luxury resorts here offer a relaxing seaside getaway. The most charming feature of Tanjung Bungah is its many secluded coves, nestled within the shelter of overhanging cliffs and gigantic rocks.
At the northwestern end of the coastal road lies Teluk Bahang. Its idyllic beach offers a solitary luxury hotel promising a tranquil ambience for those who prefer privacy. Nearby is the Tropical Spice Garden, a living collection of more than 500 varieties of flora from Malaysia and around the world. The eight-acre valley is reputedly the largest showcase of tropical herbs and spices in the region.
Further west from Teluk Bahang are several beaches which lie off the beaten track. Situated in Penang’s National Park, these pristine beaches make for excellent excursions to get a glimpse into the vast variety of the island’s flora and fauna.
Monkey Beach, a secluded spot in the northwest of the island, is ideal for quiet picnics under shady casuarinas. Adventure-lovers can explore the jungle trail from Monkey Beach to the Muka Head Lighthouse, perched atop a 785-feet-high cliff.
Further away, Kerachut Beach offers an unspoilt environment and picturesque views. In the hinterland, a lake containing distinct layers of freshwater and seawater is an added attraction. Both of these beaches are only accessible by boat or by hiking trails from Teluk Bahang. Enquire with the respective resorts or private boat operators. Avid birdwatchers or outdoor lovers can delight in taking the jungle trail to observe monkeys, squirrels and other small animals along the way.
To experience the charms of Penang, take a city tour for a glimpse of its nostalgic past. The Esplanade in George Town is a delightful seafront for an evening stroll. A distinctive landmark here is Fort Cornwallis, erected by Captain Francis Light in the early nineteenth century. Further up is Gurney Drive, a gastronomic paradise featuring an assortment of local delicacies.
Little India and Campbell Street delight with an endless assortment of bric-a-brac, souvenirs and antiques. Not to be missed when visiting this island are the spectacular street art and wrought-iron markers scattered around the heritage city of George Town, particularly along Armenian Street.
The Penang Bridge and the Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge connect Penang Island to the mainland. A toll is levied on the mainland’s side of the bridge. Buses to Penang are available from most parts of the country.
Malaysia Airlines operates direct air services to Penang from Singapore, Bangkok and Medan. The airline also provides daily shuttle services between Kuala Lumpur and Penang. The budget carrier, AirAsia, flies to Penang from Kuala Lumpur as well as from
Bangkok, Yangon, Jakarta, Surabaya, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Phuket and Medan. Firefly connects the island to the capital city of Malaysia as well as international destinations such as Phuket, Koh Samui, Banda Aceh,Medan, Doha, Taipei,Guangzhou and Singapore. Malindo Air also serves the Penang route from the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang,
KTM or Malayan Railway provides train services to Butterworth from Kuala Lumpur, Alor Setar and Padang Besar, as well as from Hat Yai and Bangkok in Thailand.
Ferry services are also available from Langkawi. The journey takes around 2 hours and 30 minutes. Penang is a stopover for the luxury cruise line, Star Cruises.
Tourism Malaysia Penang Office
Tel: 604 261 0058
There is so much to do and so many places to see in Malaysia. To make sure that you don’t miss anything, use this handy map to navigate your way across the country and find great places to visit.
Perlis is the northern gateway to Malaysia. Despite its small size, Perlis has an abundance of attractions that make it a great destination.
Kedah is Malaysia’s largest paddy producing state. Delve into history in Lembah Bujang, the site of an ancient civilisation or relax in Langkawi, a world-famous resort island.
The site of a UNESCO World Heritage City, Penang is a holiday paradise with fabulous beach resorts and eclectic cultures. It is also the undisputable haven for foodies.
A tin-rich state in its heyday, Perak beckons with a range of sights and experiences. The state’s top attractions include Pangkor, an island getaway and Pangkor Laut, an internationally-acclaimed private island.
Hailed as the Cradle of Malay culture, Kelantan is a destination teeming with age-old arts, crafts and pastimes.
Beautiful islands, culture and nature give Terengganu its magical appeal. Dive, snorkel, sunbathe at the islands or journey to its hinterland to experience the best of nature.
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Selangor is home to the country’s main airport KLIA, and the main gateway by sea, Port Klang. It is also the country’s most developed state with a long list of shopping malls and themed attractions.
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The birth place of the nation, Melaka is a treasure trove of history and heritage. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage City for vestiges of the past.
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