Malaysia / Penang

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Malaysia / Penang / The Island

Penang Island

Photo: The vehicular ferry that runs from and to Penang Island.

Penang (Pulau Pinang in Malay) is located on the north-western coast of Peninsular Malaysia. It comprises the Penang island and a strip on the mainland named Province Wellesley (Seberang Perai) which are linked by the Penang Bridge, the third longest in the world.

Captain Francis Light in 1786, acquired the island of Penang from the local sultan in exchange for protection. He later established a town and named it "Georgetown" after King George IV of England.

The Island measures a modest 285 sq. km. And is inhabited by slightly over a million people who hail from a diverse mix of cultures and religions.

Its owes much of its fame to its fine beaches which are ideal for all types of water sports. Along its beaches, resorts of international standards have sprouted up offering full facilities for rest and recreation.

Blessed with such a great variety of food that it is often said that Penangites don't eat to live; they live to eat. Hawkers stalls offering diverse selection of local fare are in abundance everywhere you go. Nasi Kandar, Satay (skewered marinated meat pieces), Laksa (noodles in spicy sour soup), Hainanese Chicken Rice, Popiah and Rojak are just some of Penang's sumptuous treats you can't afford to miss.

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Malaysia / Penang / Georgetown / The City

A city landmark in Georgetown

Photo: A city landmark in Georgetown.

The town was established in 1786 by Captain Francis Light, upon acquiring the island of Penang from a local sultan. He named the town after King George IV of England.

Today, Georgetown is the capital of Penang. It is the seat of administration and the commercial hub of the state. Located in the north-east part of the island and is connected to the mainland by Penang bridge.

A ferry service transports vehicles and passengers from mainland Butterworth to Georgetown and back, 24 hours a day.

Georgetown possesses a unique charm of old and new perfectly blended. Take to its streets and you will see small time peddlers exhibiting their wares within view of larger, more modern business establishments. Vintage trishaws share the roads with modern automobiles. Quaint, old buildings stand proud next to taller, more sophisticated ones.

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Malaysia / Penang / Georgetown / Attractions / Penang Museum and Art Gallery

Penang Museum and Art Gallery
Photo: Penang Museum and Art Gallery

Built in 1821, this former school houses a fine collection of old photographs, maps, charts and many other historical relics which provide an insight to Penang's history.

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Malaysia/ Penang / Georgetown / Attractions / Sri Mariamman Temple

Built in 1883, its the oldest Hindu temple in Georgetown, signifying strong Indian influence in this place. This is the main venue for Thaipusam festival.

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Malaysia/ Penang / Georgetown / Attractions / Fort Cornwallis

Fort Cornwallis

Photo: Fort Cornwallis

The historic site where Captain Francis Light first landed on this island in 1786.

The remains of this wooden fort was later rebuilt using stones by convict labour in 1804.

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Malaysia/ Penang / Georgetown / Attractions / Khoo Kongsi

Khoo Kongsi

Photo: Khoo Kongsi

It is the most picturesque temple in Georgetown.

The kongsi or clan-temple is a magnificient building with intricate carvings on the wall, pillars and roof created by master craftsmen from China. The beams are made from the finest wood and richly ornamented.

The building is used as a temple and also as a meeting place for the all Chinese who belong to the same clan.

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Malaysia/ Penang / Georgetown / Attractions / Kapitan Kling Mosque

Kapitan Kling Mosque

Photo: Kapitan Kling Mosque

Constructed in the early 19th century by an Indian Muslim merchant.

The mosque was built with islamic architecture of Moorish influence.

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Malaysia/ Penang / Georgetown / Attractions / Clock Tower

Clock Tower

Photo: Clock Tower

Historic centre of Georgetown.

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Malaysia/ Penang / Georgetown / Attractions / St. George's Church

St. George's Church

Photo: St. George's Church

Considered one of oldest landmark in Georgetown, this Anglican church was built in 1818.

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Malaysia/ Penang / Attractions / Penang Hill

Penang Hill

Photo: Funicular railway at Penang Hill

Rising 831 metres above sea level, Penang Hill is only accessible by funicular railway. Visitors can enjoy the panoramic view of the city and coastal area. On the top, there are gardens, a small cafe shop, a hotel as well as a Hindu temple and a Muslim mosque.

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Malaysia/ Penang / Attractions / Ferringhi Beach

Ferringi Beach

Photo: Ferringhi Beach

A strech of sandy beaches and tranquil sea. It is a perfect place for sea sports, sun bathing or pure relaxation. Aside from Ferringi Beach or Batu Ferringhi, other beaches share the same shoreline namely Tanjung Bungah and Teluk Bahang. Along this stretch that you will find world-class resorts that offer excellent accommodation and facilities. Secluded beaches can also be found but one may have endure thrilling, jungle trails to get there. Among them are Teluk Duyung, Monkey Beach and Pantai Mas.

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Malaysia/ Penang / Attractions / Kek Lok Si Temple

Kek Lok Si Temple

Photo: Kek Lok Si Temple

Built in 1890 on a hill slope, it is the largest Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia.

It consists of a maze of gardens, courts and passages and the seven tier "Pagoda of Ten Thousand Buddhas".

The 30 metre pagoda is a mixture of Chinese, Thai and Burmese architecture. The octagonal base is Chinese, the middle tier is Thai and the spiral dome Burmese.

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Malaysia/ Penang / Attractions / Snake Temple

The "Pure Cloud Temple", popularly known as snake temple due to the large number of snakes that stay here.

Venomous pit vipers and other poisonous snake coil harmlessly around the altars, incenses, nooks and corners of the temple.

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Malaysia / Penang / Attractions / Penang Bird Park

Parrots

Photo: Parrots, Penang Bird Park

The Bird Park houses 200 species of birds from around the world and be viewed from specially designed aviaries.

Man-made islands with landscaped gardens and ornamented plants decorates the park.

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Malaysia/ Penang / Attractions / Butterfly Farm

Butterfly

Photo: One of the different species that you can see in the Butterfly Farm.

The world's first tropical live butterfly exhibition and houses over 4,000 tropical butterflies of over 100 different species. They fluttered over blooming flowers in the landscaped garden.

Visitors can witness the complex metamorphosis of a butterfly from an egg to a fully grown one.

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Malaysia/ Penang / Attractions / Wat Chayamangkalaram

This Buddhist temple of Thai architecture houses a large reclining Buddha measuring 33 metres. Known also as "Temple of the Reclining Buddha"

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Malaysia / Penang / Attractions / Penang Bridge

Penang Bridge

Photo: Penang Bridge

Stretching 13.5 km. from Seberang Prai on the mainland to Gelugor on the island, this architectural wonder is officially acclaimed the third longest bridge in the world.