Introduction to Penang
Sometimes referred to as Pulau Pinang, this northern state sits along Malaysia’s western coastline and is home to 1.5 million residents or ‘Penangites’. The small state is unique as the governing authority is based only a few kilometres off shore on Penang Island. With an area of 300 kilometres square, it is the most populace island in Malaysia harbouring 750,000 residents. Penang has hot tropical weather all year round as it is located just north of the equator. Its peak tourist season is between the months of December and early February as this is its driest time.
History states Penang was once a haven for pirates to settling along its shores, quickly followed by a British occupation which caused its population to boom massively. World War II shook this area to its core but Penang’s historic buildings withstood the direct invasion fairly well. Since this period ancient buildings and beautiful gardens lay peacefully and are maintained well while other areas of Penang are highly urbanised and intensely developed.
Widely known as the food capital of Malaysia, Penang is heavily influenced by its multicultural society which has built up to be a mixture comprising of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and European communities. Pearly white beaches laced with palm trees can be found along the Batu Ferringhi resort which is located on the northern tip of Penang Island.
Focused solely on tourism, Batu Ferringhi has great value hotels and a vast selection of food to accompany the tranquil shoreline. Georgetown is the official capital of Penang and was listed as a world heritage site in 2008. Pre-World War II buildings still stand in well preserved conditions making visitors feel as if they have travelled back in time. As a devoutly religious area, Sundays in this town are very sleepy; residents take their day of rest very seriously. Historic architecture litters the streets across Penang from the Kek Lok Si (Temple of Supreme Bliss) 4 kilometres west of Georgetown, to the Fu Xing Gong (Snake Temple) located in Bayan Lepas, a 20 minute drive south of Georgetown.