Infused with Malay, Chinese, Indian and European cultural influences, Penang State lies on the north-west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. It’s divided into two distinct parts – Penang Island and Seberang Perai on the mainland. In addition to beautiful beaches and an intoxicating food scene, the state has been nicknamed the “Silicon Valley of the East” for its tech industries.
Things to do in Penang
From exploring UNESCO-listed George Town to relaxing on the beaches of Penang National Park, this island-state offers an abundance of cultural and natural wonders.
Experience George Town’s culinary scene. George Town has been dubbed the “foodie capital of Malaysia” – and for good reason. Its colourful streets are home to lively street food stalls and fine-dining establishments where you can discover Penang’s richly layered gastronomy. Be sure to try the Penang-style char koay teow and the spicy noodle soup of Assam laksa.
Relax on the beaches of Penang National Park. On the north-west coast of the island is Penang National Park, which boasts some of the state’s most beautiful beaches. You can spend your days relaxing on Monkey Beach, Pantai Kerachut or Teluk Kampi, then soak up the spectacular views from the Muka Head Lighthouse.
Visit the Tropical Spice Garden. Home to more than 500 different plant species, the Tropical Spice Garden showcases Malaysia’s indigenous herbs and spices on a former rubber plantation. Follow one of the garden trails that lead past waterfalls and sustainably-built structures or attend a cooking class to learn the secrets of Malaysian cuisine.
Explore the Penang Bird Park. Bird lovers shouldn’t miss a visit to the Penang Bird Park, which occupies a landscaped garden in Seberang Perai. Its walk-in aviaries and geodesic-domed enclosures are home to over 300 species of birds that include giant ostriches, flamingos and mandarin ducks.
Getting around Penang
Penang Bayan Lepas International Airport is the main gateway to the state and is located around 30 minutes’ drive from George Town. Long-distance buses travel to destinations across Malaysia and throughout Penang while George Town can be explored on foot or by trishaw.