Penang Island is a well known tourist destination in Malaysia that not only offers pristine beaches but also great cultural heritage sites that features different religion that peacefully co-exists in the island.
This Malaysian Island is located off the Malay Peninsula in the Malacca Strait with its capital Georgetown, a well known medical tourism hub and shopping hub. Unlike other Malaysian states, Penang Island has a rich foreign influence after it served as a trading port of the renowned British East India Company in the 1700’s. Malaysia, in its entirety, became a British colony until August 31 of 1957 where it claimed its independence from the British Empire’s grasp.
The most physical evidence of Penang Island’s rich foreign influence can be visibly seen in Georgetown’s cultural museums and landmarks in the Colonial Fort Cornwallis, the Chinese Clan Temple in Khoo Kongsi and the Indian-style Kapitan Keling Mosque.
Aside from its rich Western cultural influence, Penang Island has also adapted very well established Chinese cultural influence through its cuisine, art and religion making it a destination that is popular for a diverse cultural fusion of east and west.
Because of the island’s diverse cultural coexistence of Malay, Indian and Chinese it became a melting pot of different cuisines no wonder it is considered as the food capital of Malaysia.
For tourist, there is a wide array of hotels and resorts that offers what the island is known to be. It is easy to book and reserve hotel room in Penang Island since most of its hotel chains and resorts has its own accessible websites.
To give you a small overview about Penang Island’s top tourist spots, here is a list of it.
The Monkey Beach- it is a pristine white sand beach situated within the Penang National Park in Teluk Bahang in the northwestern tip of Penang Island. Aside from this beach, Penang Island has numerous beaches that possesses white sand beaches and crystal blue waters like Kerachut Beach.
Penang Hill forms- This panoramic natural hill formation that gives a birds eye view of Georgetown is a must visit place. This hill formations is considered as the island’s highest peak at 735-meters above sea level and it is easily accessible through Penang Hill Railway from its base station located at Air Itam.
Botanical Gardens Waterfall- Georgetown has its own central park that provides its constituents a place to unwind and relax. The Botanic Gardens was built in 1884 and is considered as Malaysia’s oldest botanical garden. This tourist spot in Penang Island is very popular for both local and foreign tourists because of its large greenery that serves as the city’s major recreational area regularly visited by more than a thousand city dwellers and tourists.
Penang National Park- It is Malaysia’s smallest national park enclosing 2,562 hectares of protected rainforest that has mangrove swamps, mud flats, coral reefs and pristine beaches that has a protected area for turtles’ nesting grounds.
FOOD AND SHOPPING
Penang Island’s most popular shopping center is Komtar, a towering 65-storey commercial and business center located in the heart of Georgetown. This towering mall is also considered as Malaysia’s sixth tallest skyscraper that houses signature brand shops and restaurants.
Other notable shopping places and centers in Penang Island are Little Penang Street Market, First Avenue Mall, Lorong Kulit Flea Market and the Gurney Plaza that also boasts local products and textiles as well as souvenir items and delicious cuisines.
ARTS AND CULTURE
Penang Island’s heritage has created a diverse culture that showcases arts from different cultures. One of the most notable place in Penang Island is its museum and art gallery that houses all the rare antiquities, paintings and other valuable artwork from its renowned local artisans dating back centuries ago. It also houses Penang Island’s relics, photographs, maps and other historical artifacts. Penang’s museum and art gallery is also situated in Georgetwon.
Other known historical sites and museums in Penang Island are the Penang Islamic Museum, Sun Yat-sen Museum, Batik Painting Museum, and Universiti Sains Malaysia Museum and Gallery.