Penang, an Old World Charm in a Tropical Climate

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A popular destination is the Snake Temple which is about 3km from Banyan Lapas International Airport. It is dedicated to Chor Soo Kong, and named for the many poisonous snakes coiled around the temple’s pillars and beams. The smoke of burning incense is believed to render the snakes harmless.

Wat Chaiya Magkalaram is yet another site to be seen with brightly painted ‘naga’ serpents outside and on the inside is a 33m gilded reclining Buddha. In the foreground there are urns that contain the ashes of devotees. Wat Chaiya Magkalaram is one of many attractions in the area.

If you’re more of a history buff the War Museum is an interesting place to visit. Site of a 1930’s British military fortress to protect the island from enemy incursion, the Penang War Museum now protects artefacts from Penang’s pivotal role in two World Wars.

The Penang Bird Park, located on 5 acres of land is home to about 800 avian guests from around the world. The Bird Park features picturesque ponds complete with swimming ducks, swans, and carp amid the water lilies and ornamental plants, a walk-in aviary, and a children’s playground.

Created by the British in 1884, the Botanical Gardens are a haven of Penang flora. This is a favourite spot for tranquil picnics by the waterfall and jogging. The 30ha Gardens is also known for its bold monkeys.

Another favourite attraction is the star-shaped Fort Cornwallis is where Francis Light landed on 11 August, 1786 to take possession of the island from the Sultan of Kedah. For tourists, the fort features a unique look into Britain’s military past. Among the displays is the fort’s chapel and the infamous Sri Rambai cannon.

George Town ’s streets are fascinating, and within a few small blocks you can see the indigo blue Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, the famous E&O Hotel, the Penang Museum & Art Gallery, St. George Church, Fort Cornwallis, and George Town’s Clock Tower. The area of Upper Penang Road is also becoming known as for its chic nightlife.

firefox-gray As you probably already know, Penang has a reputation as a famous and fabulous food paradise. There’s Chinese, Nyonya, vegetarian, Indian, Malay, Hakka-style, Western, and many hybrids. Nasi kandar, asam laksa, satay and so much more are available at hawker stalls, open-air restaurants, and hotel eateries.

For a birds eye view ride the cable car at Penang Hill. Malaysia’s first hill station, Penang Hill is 830m above sea level, and visitors can reach it by an adventurous four-hour hike or riding the historic funicular railway. Cool and refreshing, the summit offers fantastic views, as well a kiosk for refreshments.


There are nicer beaches around Malaysia, but if you’ve come for the food and history, you can stay for the sandy stretches. The most popular beach areas are Batu Ferringhi, also known as “Foreigner’s Rock”, and Teluk Bahang that’s quite close to the Batik Factory and Butterfly Farm.

The capital of Penang, George Town is located on the northeast corner of Penang Island, which is connected to the mainland by one of the longest bridges in the world. Established in 1786, George Town is a unique blend of new and old – colonial and modern architecture, rickety trishaws and late-model automobiles.

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