Penang State is located on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia. It comprises two parts: Penang Island, where the capital city George Town is located and Seberang Perai. The two parts are, however, connected by Malaysia’s two longest road bridges; the Penang Bridge and the Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge. Penang state counts around 1.8 million inhabitants as of 2018. Formerly a British settlement, Penang gained its independence after WWII and later merged with the Federation of Malaya, the current Malaysia. Penang is undoubtedly one of Malaysia’s most vital economic states along with Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.
Penang Hill or Bukit Bendera
Penang Hill is the highest point in the state of Penang and comprises a group of peaks on Penang Island. It is located at around 9 km west of the center of George Town, the capital city of Penang. Nevertheless, the locals know it rather by its Malay name Bukit Bendera (literally “Flag Hill”). The latter refers to the original name Flagstaff Hill.
At 833 m above the sea level, the Western Hill is the highest point. Moreover, it offers an impressive panorama view over the surrounding lowlands, green forests, and the city. obviously, the area served as a retreat during the British colonial period. Nowadays, it is a major tourist destination in Penang.
To access the top of the hill, you may use the Penang Hill Railway starting from the Hill Railway Station Road. The funicular makes the climb up in just 10 to 20 min, including a few mid-stops upon passengers´ request.
The Habitat Penang Hill
The Habitat Penang Hill is a marvelous must-experience nature escapade that one cannot miss when visiting Penang. It offers probably the most complete Malaysian rainforest experience. The 1.6 km Nature Trail dates to the early 1800s. At the time, the British East India Company initiated the first work of the current trail.
While on the site, let yourself be submerged by thousand and one sights and sounds of the rainforest. Once up, enjoy the panoramic 360-degree views of Penang Island from Curtis Crest Treetop Walk. Furthermore, you will be able to experience the rainforest by the skyway and from the air with the Flight of the Colugo zip line course.
While on site, just let yourself immerse in the stunning natural beauty of the rainforest, with its amazingly marveling flora and fauna. Here inhabit rare and ancient species that cannot be seen elsewhere. This wildlife´s natural sanctuary is unique and unmissable destination in Penang.
George Town, Capital City of Penang
With a population of around 720 000, George Town is the third most populous city in Malaysia. Moreover, since 2008, the city´s historical Centre figures on the list of the UNESCO as World Heritage Site; along with Malacca City´s old Centre. Nowadays, George Town serves as the capital city of the Malaysian state of Penang.
Following its creation by Francis Light in 1786, as the first British Settlement in Southeast Asia, George Town served first as an entrepôt for the East India Company; along with Singapore and Malacca. After Japan has annexed the city during the World War II, George Town returned under the British colonization at the end of WWII. And later, George Town was declared a city by the Queen Elisabeth II.
Like Malacca, George Town is a cosmopolitan city. Most probably, this is much due to the prominent intermixing of ethnicities, religions and cultures that anchored on the city over the last centuries. Furthermore, the city´s cosmopolitanism is especially visible in the different architectural styles, both colonial and Asiatic. As a result, George Town is home to unique cultural heritage sites. Consequently, it has become an important touristic destination. And, over the years, it has also acquired the distinction as Malaysia’s gastronomic capital, mainly for its typical, unique, and inescapable street food.
Notable sites to explore in George Town:
- Historical Streets of George Town
- Clan Jetties
- Kek Lok Si Temple
- Batu Ferringhi Night Market
Dive, Swim or Fish in Penang
For a fully enjoyable holiday at any destination in Malaysia, you must not forget to include the beaches in your itinerary. Beaches are very popular both among local people and visitors. In Malaysia, top beaches offer a wide range of water activities such as diving, snorkeling, swimming, and fishing. Penang excels with its countless sights and activities, whether you travel there in summer or winter. Besides its pristine beaches, Penang is also famous for its traditional culture displays, its nightlife, which is enjoyed both by locals and tourists alike and offers a great getaway experience.
Pangkor Island, Perak
Pangkor Island (Malay: Pulau Pangkor) is a relatively small island in Manjung District, Perak. First, in the 17th century, it served mainly as a retreat for local fishermen, merchants, and pirates. However, the Dutch, intending to control the tin trade in Perak, built a fortress. Hence, still nowadays the Island is referred to as the Dutch Fort.
Pangkor is located midway between Kuala Lumpur and Penang, off the coast of Perak. Besides the main island Pangkor, it consists of five smaller islands. Undeniably, Pangkor Island is blessed with an ideal mild weather all the year around. The west coast of Pangkor is famous for its beautiful beaches, resorts, and hotels for tourist accommodations. While the east coast is where the locals live and work in the local foods, fisheries activities, and boat workshops. With its stunning white sand beaches, crystal clear waters and rich fauna and flora, Pangkor is a small paradise on Earth and has much to offer to its visitors.