Located a short distance off the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Penang Island is a thriving cultural hotspot brimming with Malay, Chinese, Indian and European Influences. Renowned for having some of the best food in Malaysia, Penang also boasts an eclectic mix of historic architecture and some lovely beaches that help make the island one of Malaysia’s most popular tourist destinations.
A melting pot of international influences, Penang is regarded by many as having one of the most diverse and colourful cultures in Malaysia. George Town (named after King George III) is Penang’s capital, an eclectic maze of awe-inspiring skyscrapers, magnificent mosques and charming Chinese temples. Due to its exceptional architectural landscape and beautifully preserved historical buildings, the inner city of George Town has since been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
As well as its stunning architecture, many consider George Town to be the food capital of Malaysia – a delicious result of Penang’s different cultures and customs. Penang’s streets offer a delectable mix of mouth-watering street food and exquisite fine dining and are the best place to sample local favourites such as Char Koay Teow and Nasi Kandar.
Another option is Penang National Park. Although relatively small, it offers an impressive range of wildlife (including sea eagles and brahminy kites), as well as a wealth of stunning flora, forests, mangroves and mudflats. The park is also home to Monkey Beach – so named because of its crab-eating macaques – a charming stretch of white sand and green forest. Batu Ferringhi, Penang’s most popular beach on the northwest coast of George Town, is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy an array of water spots.