Penang is a small island sitting off the north-west coast of Malaysia, but connected to the mainland by a huge bridge. Penang has several sides to it – of course, it has gorgeous beaches, but there are also UNESCO World Heritage Sites, beautiful jungle landscapes and delicious street food. Georgetown, Penang’s capital and biggest city, is the hub of the island, but the beach resorts are extremely popular with tourists.
Penang has many lovely beach towns but one of the most popular is Batu Ferringhi, where there are 5-star resorts, a huge stretch of powdery white sand and a good night market. There are also plenty of adventures to be had inland; venture into the rainforest of Penang National Park, go zip lining at Escape Adventureland or take the funicular train up Penang Hill for beautiful panoramic views of the island.
Penang has a multicultural society, largely due to its history as a British colony as well as its large Chinese population. Georgetown is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and here you’ll find British-style buildings and street names that wouldn’t look out of place in London. The Chinese culture is most apparent at the Clan Jetties around Georgetown harbour; each jetty is named after a different Chinese clan and has quaint wooden houses built on stilts.
Penang has a diverse and varied dining culture, with everything from Malaysian street food carts to fine dining. Penang cuisine is a mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian influences, so if you venture onto the streets for a bite to eat you’re sure to find exciting dishes like satay kebabs, rich curries and spicy noodle soups. However, if you’re craving a taste of home, head to the shopping malls – they always have Western food outlets.