The Island of Penang
The Island of Penang is located in the NW corner of the Malaysian Peninsula. The capital city is Georgetown which is located on the northern end of the island (a.k.a. Pulau Pinang). Geographically speaking Pulau Pinang consists of the Island and also the strip of mainland known as Seberang Perai. Access to the mainland is available by ferry and also the 2 bridges. From the mainland city of Butterworth transport throughout the Malaysian Peninsula is available by express bus or rail service. Plus, there is an international airport located on the island.
Penang is most well known for its cultural diversity. The British had initially colonized Malaysia and as a result many immigrants arrived from other British colonies such as India. Additionally, the Chinese had been immigrating here for centuries to work as coolies in the Georgetown harbor and also work as tin miners on the mainland. When combined with the existing Malay population, Malaysia was left with a unique cultural combination after achieving independence from the British. This cultural diversity is most evident here in the State of Penang Therefore, Pulau Pinang is a great place to find many different cultural festivals and also sample the food.
“Pearl of the Orient”
Pulau Pinang was known as the “Pearl of the Orient” during colonial times and served as a rival trading hub to Singapore. However, Singapore eventually proved to be the more competitive location for ships and trading. However, Penang has since revived itself as an international tourist destination. Popular attractions here include Kek Lok Si Buddhist Temple, Bukit Bendera, the Botanical Gardens, Entopia and also the Spice Gardens. Additionally, many spices such as nutmeg are still cultivated here.
The best time of year to visit Penang is during the spring festival season. At this time visitors can take part in the festivals such as Chinese New Year, Thaipusam and also Pai Ti Kong. Additionally, Wesak Day comes around May every year and it really adds to the cultural adventure that defines Penang.