Penang is not as popular as Kuala Lumpur just as far as its name goes. However, you shouldn’t think it’s any less beautiful because the city is one popular destination in Malaysia. Though it hasn’t been invaded by backpackers yet, it welcomes tourists aboard cruise ships that stop on the island.
So what attracts tourists to Penang? The place has dramatic landscapes, colonial architecture, beautiful beaches, and, of course, some of the world’s mouth-watering food. It is situated on the coast of Peninsular Malaysia and is composed of two parts—George Town and Penang Island. The city is the second smallest state in terms of landmass with Kedah as its border.
As a tourist destination, Penang is called the ‘Pearl of the Orient’ as evidenced by its multitude of attractions that appeal to tourists from all over the world. From a rich culture and street food to street art, Penang will never disappoint.
So are you ready to be fully convinced to visit Penang?
What better way is there to explore a new city than through its gastronomic offerings? This city will amaze you with a delectable selection of dishes that has been greatly influenced by a variety of cultures. Its exotic culinary delights are mostly of Chinese and Malay origin. If you must know, the Nyonya is an all-time favourite of Malaysia.
Make sure to try the Assam Laksa, which ranks 26th of the world’s 50 most delicious food. It’s a spicy noodle soup that consists of laksa noodles or rice vermicelli with coconut milk and chicken served in a spicy soup base.
Char Kway Teow is another must-try dish that’s sweet, spicy, and savoury. Many travellers find this dish one of the best and most amazing food finds in all of Penang.
Floating villages are among the popular destinations in many Asian countries, including Malaysia. In Penang, you can find one that was started by migrants from China in the 19th century. Once a busy commercial port in Malaysia, the floating village allows you to walk on exotic wooden bridges and offers equally exotic culinary delights. More than that, you can also buy various types of street arts from the locals here.
If you’re a beach lover, then Penang has some of the best beaches for you. The place brims with sand and sun as well as cocktails and food from the different restaurants and bars on the beach. Need time to unwind and relax? Grab a cocktail and watch the sunset on a lounge chair.
In the 19th century, Penang experienced a wave of Chinese immigration that brought with them some of their traditions. Many of these have been adapted and can be clearly seen in modern Penang. Among these is the clan house, which served as a safe community for Chinese immigrants who shared the same dialect and came from the same region. The people in these clan houses also honoured their ancestors to help solidify their bond as members.
One of the clan houses is Cheah Kongsi that beautifully resembles a Chinese grand palace, featuring Chinese, Malay, and European designs.
One of the biggest considerations when visiting a new place is its accommodations. There is no need to worry about that when you’re in Penang because it offers a multitude of hotels from luxurious 4-star hotels to budget hostels. Most of these are found in George Town and have all the amenities that you expect from a hotel. And if you want to experience George Town’s restored colonial buildings, choose a hotel that’s situated within such buildings. There’s surely a lot that you can find here.
In Penang, Buddhism and Islam are prevalent, which is why Penang is home to the Kapitan Keling Mosque. A well-preserved mosque, it is decorated with crescent moons, stars, and golden domes, making it a genuine piece of architecture. As it is still in use to this day, do make sure to be mindful of the places that restrict photography.
We hope we have convinced you to visit Penang because it’s a truly beautiful place with stunning sights that wait to be uncovered.