Off the northwestern coast of peninsular Malaysia lies the tranquil island state of Penang and its plentiful beaches, some which are hailed as the most breathtaking in Malaysia. Downtown Penang, or George Town, the capital city of the state, is heralded as one of the oldest cities in Malaysia, and it has been named a World Heritage Site. Penang is surrounded by the clear, warm waters of the South China Sea, the Gulf of Thailand, and the Andaman Sea. From this tropical Malaysian state you can access numerous small islands, picturesque beaches, and charming coastal villages.
Holiday on a Budget
Malaysia is a popular holiday destination for travellers who prefer low costs and a wide variety of Asian attractions. The Malaysian island city-state of Singapore, with its many glamorous tourist attractions, lies just to the south of Malaysia and is regarded as a hot-list destination for world travellers. The country of Malaysia and the state of Penang offer the holiday traveller plentiful beaches, tropical forests, and a blend of Chinese, European, Indian, and Malay cultural influences. Shopping and entertainment opportunities abound, as do a wide selection of multicultural culinary experiences.
The Penang capital city of George Town, so named for King George III of Britain, is the second largest city in Malaysia. George Town offers a multitude of shopping malls and centres, restaurants and eating establishments, nightlife opportunities, and prominent tourist attractions. Lodging varies from low profile, no frills budget hotels to high-end business and luxury hotels. The money conscious traveller can book a budget hotel room in downtown Penang for less than US$100, or a luxurious suite in a fine hotel for much more. George Town is very pedestrian friendly, and much of what it has to offer the tourist is within walking distance of many lodging opportunities.
How to Get There
Penang International Airport is served by several China and Asia airlines including China Airlines, Hong Kong’s Cathay Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Thai AirAsia, Singapore’s Tigerair, and numerous others. It is also served by public bus transportation, taxi service, various shuttles and private escort services, and private car hire. Travellers can also get to Penang via bridge by automobile or bus service, including public transportation bus and tour bus, taxis, and private automobiles. Train service is available to Butterworth, a mainland Malaysia city in North Seberang Perai, with service to and from the Malaysia capital city of Kuala Lumpur. Penang Port, the only port serving Penang with port-operated ferry services, operates a ferry service connecting George Town to Butterworth.
Several private tour operators offer a number of popular tours and daytrips that are very affordable. Popular tours include culinary and food tours of Penang and George Town, a railway tour of Penang Hill above George Town that offers picturesque views of the city, landscape, and water, as well as a number of private day tours. Ferry and ship tours are also available to experience the surrounding islands and beaches.