Back when the distinction between governments, armies and companies was less precise, the British-based East India Company sailed into Penang harbour and took over the 28-sq-km island as its first settlement on the Malay peninsula, a move intended to break Dutch Melaka’s monopoly of the spice trade.
What evolved on the formerly unpopulated ‘Betel Nut Island’ was a bustling port. Entrepreneurs of every imaginable ethnicity, most notably Chinese, flocked to this new land, creating wealth and cultural hybrids. Like many company settlements, Penang wilted after the collapse of the British Empire. Today it’s become the ‘Silicon Valley’ of Malaysia although this high-tech world is scarcely noticeable to the casual traveller. Beyond the capital Georgetown’s heat and decay are beach resorts, such as Batu Ferringhi, and the sleepy Malay fishing village of Teluk Bahang.
Best places to stay in Pulau Penang
Kuala Lumpur, Melaka & Penang travel guide
Beautiful heritage and stunning modern architecture, delicious streetside meals, masses of markets and malls, and an engaging mix of cultures wait to be discovered in Kuala Lumpur, Melaka and Penang.
Penang: Malaysia in miniature
There’s a place in Penang, south of Little India in Georgetown, where you can find good food, sport on the TV, a pretty temple and somewhere around the corner, the soul of the island. Hyperbolic? OK, a little...
Kuala Lumpur, Melaka & Penang - Planning your trip (Chapter)
This chapter contains the 17 Top Experiences, Welcome to Kuala Lumpur, Melaka & Penang, Need to Know, What's New, If You Like, Month by Month, Itineraries, Shopping, Travel with Children and Regions at a Glance chapters from Lonely Planet’s...
Live the dream in Penang's heritage hotels
Georgetown, the capital of Pulau Penang (Penang Island) in Malaysia became a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2008, preserving an area that holds the largest number of pre-war buildings in Southeast Asia - louvered shop houses, white colonial buildings, gold leaf-encrusted Chinese temples and palatial mosques...
Kuala Lumpur, Melaka & Penang - Understanding KL, Melaka & Penang & Survival Guide (Chapter)
This chapter contains the Understand Kuala Lumpur, Melaka & Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Melaka & Penang Today, History, Malaysian Cuisine, Culture, Environment & Wildlife, Survival Guide, Directory, Transport, Health and Language chapters from Lonely...
Penang Hill and Kek Lok Si Buddhist Temple Afternoon Tour
Explore Southeast Asia's largest Buddhist temple, Kek Lok Si, perched against a hill slope in Air Itam. Marvel at the statue of the Goddess of Mercy and the 30 meter high Pagoda and take a stroll through the Penang Botanical Gardens located at the foot of Penang Hill on this 4-hour tour.
Penang City Tour
Penang has perhaps the largest and well preserved colonial-era old town, with excellent examples of Chinese clan houses, colonial homes, public buildings and private mansions. Visit Little India and exciting Chinatown, and make a stop at the world famous Royal Selangor and the Penang Museum. Before the day is over stop at Wat Chayamankalaram to see the big reclining Buddha.
Kuala Lumpur, Melaka & Penang - Penang (Chapter)
This is the Penang chapter from Lonely Planet’s Kuala Lumpur, Melaka & Penang guidebook. Coverage includes: Georgetown, Penang Hill, Kek Lok Si Temple, Botanical Gardens, Pulau Jerejak, Snake Temple, Batu Maung, Kampung Pulau Betong, Teluk...