Penang - 5 things to do
by Sheila Hendrick
Penang is a culturally diverse island just off the northwest coast of Malaysia. The island is steeped in multicultural history with influence from Chinese, European, Indian and of course Malay sources. Penang itself is a unique fusion of eastern and western cultures which is reflected most distinctly in its cuisine, the island is renowned as the Malaysian food capital.
We’ve compiled a checklist of our top spots you can’t afford to miss. Make sure to bring a camera!
Georgetown is the capital and hub of Penang, if you’re lucky enough to be travelling throughout Penang you will be passing through this vibrant city. Strict zoning laws and an effort for preservation in Georgetown has safeguarded some fantastic remnants of the British colonial era in Malaysia. Many of the amazing buildings constructed in the late 18th century remain to this day. The Penang State Museum offers a multi-ethnic perspective regarding the interesting history of Penang and would be a great place to start your tour of the city. Also make sure to check out Fort Cornwallis, constructed in 1793 by Captain Francis Light, the founder of Penang. For a fantastic view of the city, visit the Komtar Scenic View, it’s the tallest building on the island and offers a breathtaking 360 degree view.
Penang is one of the top street food destinations in the world. A distinct blend of Chinese, Indian and Malaysian influence has resulted in Peranakan cuisine, or Nyonya as it’s known to the locals. Upper Penang Road and Chulia Street are gilded with rich, affordable and distinctly local cuisine. Make sure to try the Penang Assam Laksa, the region’s iconic dish, or the Rojak if you’re feeling adventurous!
3) Penang Hill
Penang Hill is the garden of the state boasting a panoramic view of the eastern coast, 2000 feet above sea-level. Penang Hill itself is comprised of several individual hills such as Tiger Hill, Government Hill, Strawberry Hill, Western Hill, Halliburton’s Hill and Flagstaff Hill. This historic region was sought after by the British army in the 18th century for its colder microclimate. The surroundings boast stunning scenery with unique animal and plant life such as the Penang Slipper Orchid and Dusky Leaf Monkey.
4) National Park (Muka Head)
Muka Head sits at the very peak on the northwest point of Penang island, home to a granite lighthouse which sits 744 feet above sea level, accessible by a 4km walk through tropical forest and gorgeous beaches; this is the perfect location for a short hike.
5) Batu Ferringhi Beach
Speaking of beaches, you simply can’t miss out on Batu Ferringhi. Boasting a stunning ocean and sandy shores, Batu Ferringhi offers a brilliant location for some well needed R&R during the daytime, but once the sun goes down the beach is transformed into a vibrant night market, local merchants set up shop along the strip offering the finest in wares and eateries that Penang has to offer.
If travelling to Australia, why not call us on 01 8047188 and ask us about our FREE side trip to a Malaysian Island including Penang (must be booked in conjunction with longhaul flights) or click here