Welcome To Penang


Penang tourist attraction

Pearl Of The Orient


Penang, often referred to as the Pearl of the Orient is one of the most picturesque and romantic cities of the East. Located on the north-west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Penang received its name from the Pinang or Betel Nut tree once commonly found on the island. Established as the first British trading post in the Far East in 1786, Penang today is a bustling metropolis reflecting a uniquely exotic blend of East and West.


The state of Penang consists of the island of Penang and a strip of land on the mainland known as Seberang Perai (formerly, Province Wellesley). The two land masses are linked by the Penang Bridge, one of the longest in Asia at 13.5km. Penang is also connected by a ferry service to the mainland.


On Penang island is the capital Georgetown, a city steeped in history and tradition yet sparkling with progress and modern development. Certain sections of Penang present a quaint picture from the past where narrow side streets, trishaws, temples and traders plying their goods, seem to belong to a forgotten era. Penang is a shoppers? paradise for goods old and new, at bargain prices. There is a wide, competitive choice of cameras, electronic and electrical goods, clothing, batik, souvenirs, antiques and knick knacks. The island also boasts some of the best food in the region, ranging from Nyonya cuisine to stall favourites like nasi kandar, char kway teow and Penang laksa, which is a different variety from that found in other state.

Penang beach




Georgetown - Penang Capital


Georgetown on the north-east part of the island and Penang?s colourful, bustling capital, still retains a strong Chinese flavours with its old shop houses selling traditional goods and its numerous temples, coffee shops and market-places. Georgetown is a compact city and most sights are easily seen on foot or by hiring a trishaw. The old colonial part of town is near Fort Cornwallis while the financial centre is on Lebuh Pantai, the main street. There are many grand colonial buildings here including banks and old trading offices, reminders of the fact that Penang was one of the oldest British settlements in Asia. Jalan Penang is the main shopping district while Lebuh Chulia contains many restaurants, small hotels and rest houses. Many places of interest are highlighted in a walking tour that also includes some temples and mosques in Chinatown.




This British outpost was founded by Captain Francis Light in 1786. Light received Penang on behalf of the East India Company by promising the Sultan of Kedah protection against the Siamese. The island was sparsely inhabited when Light arrived and there is a story that he shot pieces of gold out of a cannon into the interior to encourage labourers to clear the land. He renamed the island Prince of Wales Island as the acquisition happened to occur on the Prince?s birthday. He soon established Georgetown and later acquired a strip of land on the mainland adjacent to the island which became known as Province Wellesley. Light established Georgetown as a duty-free port and encouraged settlers to claim as much land as they could clear. The virtually uninhabited island had a population of 10,000 people by the turn of the century. In 1805 Penang became a dependency of Bengal. It was later elevated to become a fourth Indian Residency government with an administrative structure similar to that of Madras and Bombay. In 1826 Malacca and Singapore were transferred to Penang and the Residency of the Straits settlements was formed. The economy boomed and Georgetown developed the first English Language School in Southeast Asia in 1816.




Penang has a mixed economy of commerce, industry, tourism and agriculture. High-tech industry is well developed here with many international electronics companies producing computer peripherals and chips. Tourism related services are also highly developed as Penang is a premier destination and one of Asia?s top meeting, convention and exhibition centres. Agriculturally, there is some land use for oil palm, padi, rubber and fruits. Penang?s port is a deep-water port that links Malaysia to more than 200 ports internationally.




By Air

Penang?s main airport, the Bayan Lepas International Airport is about 20km from the city centre. Penang is easily accessible by air with daily flights to major capitals of the region. There are direct flights to Penang from Singapore, Bangkok, Haadyai, Phuket, Medan and Madras operated by Malaysia Airlines. MAS also operates several daily flights between Kuala Lumpur and Penang. Other domestic services including Pelangi Air and Berjaya Air also operate flights to Penang.


Airport Taxis

Taxis and limousines plying the airport route use the coupon system with fixed fares from the airport to the destination. The passenger pays the fare at the taxi booth in exchange for the coupon. Limousine services charge slightly higher fares.


By Road

The Penang Bridge links the mainland of Peninsular Malaysia to Penang Island. A one-way toll is imposed at the toll plaza in Seberang Perai on the mainland. No payment is required for travelling from the island to the mainland. The North-South Expressway makes Penang easily reached via Seberang Perai.


By Rail

Rail travel to Penang along the main line from the south to the north terminates at Butterworth. Taking the train is a comfortable way to travel as well as see a lot of the countryside. The journey from Kuala Lumpur to Butterworth takes approximately six hours. Air conditioned coaches are available for first and second class passengers. From the Butterworth Railway Station, the ferry terminal is a stone?s throw away.


By Ferry

There are ferry services available from Butterworth to Penang Island. The Penang Port Commission provides a 24-hour service for both passengers and vehicles. Tickets are purchased at the terminal in Butterworth.




Penang's public transport system is efficient and getting around by taxis, buses or trishaws may be a fun and inexpensive way of catching the sights.



City taxis are required to charge according to the meter effective from August 2006. Please request that the meter is switched on before you begin your ride.



Most buses use coin machines to collect fares. The main bus terminals are at Pengkalan Weld (ferry terminal) and KOMTAR (ground floor). A free shuttle bus service around Georgetown is available on weekdays from 7am ? 7pm. It begins at the Jetty (bus stop I) and passes by Komtar (bus stop 10) before returning to the Jetty (please refer to map).



Besides the novelty of travelling in this three-wheeled vehicle, trishaws allow visitors the opportunity to enjoy the sights in Georgetown at a leisurely pace. One can stop at any point to snap pictures or buy souvenirs. There is no standard fare and it would be wise to agree on the price before you get on the trishaw. For extended sightseeing, it is advisable to hire them by the hour.

Welcome To Penang