Malaysia’s ‘Pearl of the Orient’ carries a natural beauty and cultural splendour like no other place. Its name comes from the Malay translation of betel nut – ‘Pinang’. Every year, thousands of visitors come here to experience the unique cultural heritage and scenery. It is also a very cosmopolitan city, perhaps the second busiest in the country after Kuala Lumpur.
Penang Hill is also known as Bukit Bendera in Malay Language. It is the getaway from the concrete jungle in the hustle bustle of the city of Georgetown. Penang Hill is Malaysia’s first hill station. It was discovered by the legendary Francis Light when he commissioned the area to be cleared for plantation. Most tourists visit the hill as it offers serenity and tranquility with mesmerizing view of Penang and friendly nature. There are quite a number of activities that can be done on Penang Hill. You can spend some time to get a taste of the diversity of Malaysian’s cultures by visiting both mosque and Indian temple on the hill. There is a bird sanctuary and a canopy walk up there too. If you plan to spend a night or two on the amazing hill, there are bungalows available for rent with affordable price.
The KOMTAR Tower, in the city of George Town in Penang, Malaysia, is Penang‘s tallest skyscraper and the sixth tallest building in Malaysia. KOMTAR is an acronym for Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak, named after the second Prime Minister of Malaysia.
The tower was constructed in 1974 and completed in 1986. When the skyscraper topped out in 1985, it was originally completed with 65 floors and a height of 232 metres (761 ft). At the time of its completion, the KOMTAR Tower was the second tallest building in Asiaafter Sunshine 60 in Tokyo. The building maintained its status as Malaysia’s tallest skyscraper for another 3 years before being surpassed by Menara Maybank in Kuala Lumpur in 1988. To this day, KOMTAR Tower’s status as Penang’s tallest skyscraper remains unchallenged.
Penang Street Art
Making strolling through Georgetown’s streets just a little bit more exciting, in 2012 Penang’s municipal council hired London-trained Lithuanian artist, Ernest Zacharevic and charged him with breathing new life into some of the atmospheric Chinese shop-houses around the inner city. An effort to spawn awareness of the rich history of the streets, the project was a success with Zacharevic turning certain areas into thriving tourist destinations that also became the much-talked about object of attention among locals. His artwork is spread out across Penang’s city centre, along roads like Muntri Street, Weld Quay, Lebuh Leith, Armenian Street, Ah Quee Street and more
Batu Ferringhi is a suburb of George Town in Penang, Malaysia. Located along the northern coast of Penang Island and about 11 km (6.8 mi) northwest of the city centre, it is the prime beach destination in Penang among locals and tourists. To cater to the influx of tourists, several major high-rise hotels have been established along the 4 km (2.5 mi) stretch of beaches, including Hard Rock Hotel.
Kek Lok Si Temple
Comprising a series of monasteries, prayer halls, temples and beautifully-landscaped gardens, this national icon was built in 1890 by Beow Lean, a devout immigrant Chinese Buddhist. The ten-acre site was purchased in 1893 and the initial temple structure was built on the summit of He Shan. 20 years later, the two-decade long additional construction of this sprawling house of worship is largely funded by donations from the Penang Straits Chinese community. The complex is a cornerstone of the Malaysian Chinese community. Also known as the ‘Temple of Supreme Bliss’, it features a maze of souvenir kiosks as well as a turtle and fish pond. The turtle pond – known as The Liberation Pond – was built because according to Chinese tradition, turtles symbolize longevity, strength and endurance and the act of capturing and freeing a turtle is a symbol of spiritual liberation.
Penang: “The Paradise Food of Asia”
Penang has the reputation as being the “food paradise” in the region as it offers a diverse and exotic mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian cuisine, which reflects the multicultural mix of the city. It is popular among locals and tourists alike. Local Penangites mostly find these hawker fares cheaper and easier to eat out at any time of the day due to the iniquitousness of the hawker stalls all around Penang Island. Penang was recognized as having the Best Street Food in Asia by Time magazine in 2004, citing that “nowhere else can such great tasting food be so cheap”. In 2013, Penang was also ranked by CNN Travel as one of the top ten street food cities in Asia. Penang has also been voted by Lonely Planet as the top culinary destination in 2014.