Penang – an island located off the north-western coast of Peninsular that is made up of two parts. A turtle-shaped island in the Straits of Malacca 8 km west of Peninsular Malaysia, and Seberang Perai (formerly Province Wellesley), a rectangular-shaped district that is part of the mainland.
Until 1786, Penang was part of the Malay sultanate of Kedah till Captain Francis Light built a fort at the site of present-day Georgetown and managed to get the island relinquished to the British East India Company. The three British Straits Settlements hence includes the island, Malacca and Singapore.
Penang’s largest city which is Georgetown is linking the development of the eastern coast of the island to the city of Bayan Lepas in the southeast. Not only that, Batu Ferringhi, is also being heavily established and landscapes the island’s best beaches and resorts.
The island is rich with multicultural history which is full of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and European influences. Penang which is also well-known with the Penang beaches and of course its food paradise is definitely not to be missed in Penang!
Cities in Penang
- Georgetown – a UNESCO World Heritage site and the capital of Penang and is indeed one of the favourite spot for tourists as it has many attractive pre-Second World War houses and shop houses, 19th century churches, temples, mosques, and colonial buildings.
- Batu Ferringhi – white sandy beaches, luxurious hotels & restaurants makes it a favourite spot for both locals & tourists.
- Bayan Lepas – Penang’s leading electronic manufacturing area as well as Penang’s International airport.
- Balik Pulau – A small town nestled among Malay villages, fruit orchards, and padi fields.
- Teluk Bahang – A quiet little fishing village at the north-western tip of the island
- Tanjung Bungah – A resort area with large hotels built along the beach that is positioned between Georgetown & Batu Ferringhi.
Mainland (Seberang Perai)
- Butterworth – The mainland gateway to Penang which directly crosses the Straits of Malacca from Georgetown.
- Bukit Mertajam -is the capital of Seberang Perai Tengah district
- Bandar Perda – It is just 30 minutes away from Butterworth and 15 minutes from Penang Bridge
- Nibong Tebal – The capital of Seberang Perai Selatan district
- Simpang Ampat – A small famous town that is well-known for its seafood at Bukit Tambun and Batu Kawan
- Seberang Jaya – A satellite township
- Tasek Gelugor – A small town which is 30 minutes from Butterworth
Major Attractions in Penang
- Kek Lok Si Temple – An extensive hillside structure that is presumed to be the largest Buddhist temple in South-East Asia
- Bukit Bendera – A limestone hill with cold breeze and beautiful night
- Penang Botanic Gardens – Established by Charles Curtis of Britain in 1884 was known as the Waterfall Gardens by the local community.
- Penang Butterfly Farm – Stocks a large collection of tropical butterflies, as well as rare tropical insects, scorpions, snakes, fish, lizards, and other reptiles.
- War Museum – A large abandoned military fortress built in 1930s by the British to protect the southern approaches to the island.
- Fort Cornwallis – This brick-and-mortar fort was first built using bakau wood in 1786 by the British under Captain Francis Light at the site where they first landed.
- Tropical Fruit Farm – 25-acre farm in the scenic hills near Balik Pulau that has various kinds of fruit trees there and sample fresh fruit at reasonable price.
Travel by bus
The main express bus terminal in Penang is Sungai Nibong Bus Terminal and Komtar Bus Terminal in Penang Island, as well as Butterworth Jetty Bus Terminal in Butterworth.
The buses in Georgetown arrive and depart at the bus terminal at Sungai Nibong, which is just a fifteen-minute ride from the centre, and about ten minutes from the airportMajor coach operators that provide express bus services to Penang include: Konsortium, Plusliner, Nice, Transnasional, Sri Maju, Supernice, S&S International and etc.
Getaround by bus
RapidPenang is one of the main local bus service providers that provide frequent transportation on the main artery to Batu Ferringhi, Teluk Bahang, dtown Pulau Tikus, (northwest end of) Gurney Drive, Tanjung Tokong, Tanjung Bungah, Batu Ferringhi and terminates at the Penang National Park entrance.
For your knowledge, the main hub for buses in Georgetown is KOMTAR and the secondary hub is located at the Pengkalan Weld (Weld Quay) ferry terminal. As for Rapid Penang bus 203 and 204 to Air Itam (RM1.50 adult) departs westward on Lebuh Chulia (the main backpacker hotel road) or southbound from the KOMTAR building. This is handy for those visiting both Kek Lok Si Temple and Penang Hill (Bukit Bendera).