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Penang

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Travel Guide Asia Malaysia Penang

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Introduction

Kek Lok Si Temple

Kek Lok Si Temple

© All Rights Reserved Degolasse

Penang (Malay: Pulau Pinang) is the second smallest of the 13 states of Malaysia, and George Town on Penang Island is its capital. Penang might refer to the city, the island or the state.

Penang state population has more than 1.5 million, nearly half residing on Penang Island. There are a considerably large population of ethnic Chinese, consisting of over two-fifths of the population - about the same proportion as the ethnic Malay. Expatriates consist of over five per cent of the population in the state due to the large number of multinational companies operating here such as AMD, Bosch, Dell, Hitachi, Intel, Motorola and Osram.

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Geography

Penang state consists of two parts, Penang Island and mainland Province Wellesley (Malay: Seberang Perai), connected by ferry from Butterworth across the 3-kilometre-wide North Channel and by the 13.5-kilometre-long Penang Bridge, the longest in Malaysia.

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Sights and Activities

  • Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion
  • Khoo Kongsi
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram (Reclining Buddha)
  • Night markets
  • Penang Hill Furnicular Train
  • Botanical Gardens
  • Penang Butterfly Farm
  • Northern beaches
  • Gurney Drive
  • Ferringhi Beach
  • Fort Cornwallis
  • Penang Museum
  • Penang War Musuem
  • Straits Quay
  • Penang Ferry

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Events and Festivals

  • Penang International Dragon Boat Race - Originating in China, this famous festival has made its way to this Malaysian capital because of its high percentage of Chinese inhabitants. Visitors can watch colorful dragon boats race accompanied by the rhythmic thumping of traditional drums. This event has attracted international participants from all over the world since its inception in 1979. It was initially created as a way to celebrate the celestial dragon of the Chinese culture.
  • Wesak Day - Considered a holy day among the Buddhist community of Penang. Wesak Day celebrates the birth, enlightenment, and death of Buddah. Celebrations are held throughout the city. Followers of Buddah can participate in a large procession that circles the entire city. The parade includes elaborate floats and decorations, along with hundreds of Buddhist monks that sprinkle holy water and offer chants and prayers. This event occurs every year in May.
  • Penang World Music Festival - During three consecutive days every spring, Penang hosts an eclectic and internationally popular music festival at its beautiful Botanical Gardens. The festival will feature world renowned musicians from Malaysia as well as other musicians from overseas who gather and participate in "a convergence of harmonic fusion". This event is sponsored by the Penang State Tourism Development and Culture Office and promises to entertain thousands with top world music performances.
  • George Town Festival - This month-long festival is celebrated in George Town every year commemorating the city's induction into UNESCO in 2008. The festival celebrates local theater, music, dance, film, art, opera, food, and fashion - with a specific focus on the city's dynamic culture and rich history. This event is held every June/July.
  • Bon Odori Festival - A high-energy event put on by the Japanese community in Penang every summer. The event is saturated in Japanese culture and cuisine. Visitors can expect to see fascinating displays of traditional dance and music performances. The celebration of "Bon Odori" comes to Penang comes from Japan, where each year, a festival is held to honor the departed spirits of Japanese ancestors. The evening of celebration culminates in a grand fireworks display. This event is held every July in Penang.
  • Nine Emperor Gods Festival - The Nine Emperor Gods Festival occurs on the 9th Month of the Chinese Lunar year and lasts for nine days. It is believed that during this time, the spirits of Nine Gods descend upon the earth by ceremonially possessing spirit mediums and putting them in a trance. During this popularly celebrated festival, processions are held throughout the city leading from religious temples to the sea or rivers. Devotees of these gods dress up in traditional white clothing, and they carry incense and candles through the streets of George Town. This religious event is held every October. Throughout the Nine day festival, witness the Preparation & Invitation, Hot Oil, Spear Skewing & Float Procession, Fire Walking and Fort Crossing Ceremonies culminating in the Sending Off Ceremony at the sea or river on an Emperor Boat. Race dates vary every year.

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Weather

Like the rest of Malaysia, Penang has a hot and humid tropical climate with daytime temperatures mostly around the 30 °C mark while nights are around or above 20 °C.

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Getting There

By Plane

Penang International Airport (PEN) has quite a few international and domestic services. AirAsia flies to/from Hong Kong, Johor Bahru, Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur, Kuching, Macau and Singapore. Other airlines serve cities like Taipei, Guangzhou, Xiamen, Langkawi, Medan, Phuket, Jakarta and Bangkok.

By Train

Butterworth station is a terminus on the northern route of the west coast railway line. KTMB operates trains to/from this station, with trains towards Kualu Lumpur and Bangkok.

By Bus

Several companies offer bus services to George Town from Kuala Lumpur (5-6 hours), Johor Bahru and Singapore (both around 10 hours) and other cities and towns across the Malaysian Peninsula. There are also minivans services to places in southern Thailand with van/ferry combinations possible, even to the Perhentian Islands.

By Boat

Ferries travel between Penang and Butterworth, Langkawi and Medan on the Indonesian islands of Sumatra. It's a relatively short ride to Butterworth, about 2.5 hours to Langkawi and 6 hours to Medan.

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Eat

Travellers are spoiled for choice when it comes to food in Penang with plenty of Malay, Chinese, Indian, Nyonya, local seafood, street food and good old western favourites.

  • Penang Laksa
  • Penang Rojak
  • Pasembur
  • Nasi Kandar
  • Char Kuetiau (Fried Flat Noodle)
  • Hokkien Mee (Prawn Noodle)
  • Yam Rice
  • Cendol
  • Ice Kacang

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Sleep

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Baba Guesthouse52 Batu Ferringhi 11100Hostel82
ET Budget Guesthouse47, Batu FerringhiGuesthouse83
Hotel Mingood164 Argyll RoadHotel80
HuttonlodgeNo. 17 Jalan Hutton off Penang RoadGuesthouse83
Love Lane Inn54 Love Lane George TownGuesthouse68
Old Penang GuestHouse53, Love Lane, GeorgetownHostel85
Oriental Hotel Penang105 Penang Road PenangHotel-
YMCA International Hostel, Penang211 Jalan Macalister YMCA of PenangHostel82
Baan Talay Homestay515 P Jalan Hashim Tanjong Tokong P.PinangGuesthouse77
Vacation ApartmentJalan Sungai Emas Satu Batu FeringghiApartment-
Annie's Bed & BreakfastNo: 7, Jalan Sungai Emas 3, Batu FerringhiGUESTHOUSE85
Paramount Hotel48F, Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah PenangHotel-
Eden Fairway Condo11-01-01 Eden Fairway Condo Lorong Emas Batu FeringghiAPARTMENT-
FERRINGHI INN & cafe3 Jalan Sungai Emas Eden SquareGuesthouse72
Red Inn55, Love LaneGuesthouse77
Value Inn Homestay2725 Lorong Kubur Butterworth, Pulau PinangGUESTHOUSE-
Sattcle Heritage House48, Jalan Chow Thye, George TownHostel-
Ryokan @ Muntri Street62 Jalan Muntri GeorgetownHostel84
Holiday Homestay PenangLeader Garden Condominium. Jalan Chee Seng 13. Chee Seng GardenGuesthouse-
Day & Night Guesthouse319, Chulia StreetGUESTHOUSE-
Eden Seavieweden seaview condominium jalan sungai satu batu ferringhiHostel-
Red Inn HeritageNo.15,Love Lane GeorgetownHostel83
LazyBoys TraveLodge392 Jalan Batu FerringhiGuesthouse83
Chulia Heritage HotelNo.380, Chulia Street GeorgetownHotel87
Reggae Penang Love Lane Hostel57, Love Lane, 10200 Georgetown PenangHostel83
Red Inn Penang55, Love LaneGuesthouse-
Red Inn CabanaNo.22,Lebuh Leith GeorgetownHostel82
Cocoa Mews101, King StreetHostel84
Red Inn Court35B & C , Jalan Mesjid Kapitan Keling Pitt StreetGUESTHOUSE86
Fastbook Hostel1228L-3, Jalan Paya Terubong In front of Desa Permata swimming poorHOSTEL85
MalabarNo. 26-28 Lebuh CintraHOSTEL86
Roommates Penang17 B, Lorong ChuliaGUESTHOUSE87
Guest Inn MuntriNo.17 Muntri Street George TownGUESTHOUSE-
Tofu Cafe Beds & Bikes484, Lebuh Pantai (Beach Street), George Town,HOSTEL-
The Beach House547-I /547J Solok Wee Hein TzeHostel-
Syok @ Chulia Hostel458 Chulia StreetHOSTEL-
LYF Lodge10 Lebuh Sri Genting 1HOSTEL-
Muntri HouseNo.48, Muntri Street GeorgetownGUESTHOUSE85
Heritage Lodge39 Lorong Ceylon George TownHOSTEL-

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 5.4157
  • Longitude: 100.326012

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