About Penang

Widely known also as the Pearl of the Orient, Penang is one of Asia's most famous islands. Its natural beauty and exotic heritage have been attracting curious visitors for centuries.

Penang © Adrian Cheah

Travel guides have referred to it as "... a place of mysterious temples and palm-shrouded beaches", while literary giant Somerset Maugham is known to have stayed on the island and spun tales about the romance of the white planter in South-East Asia.



Penang © Adrian Cheah

Penang today is very much an amalgam of the old and the new – a bustling port, a heritage city and an industrial base. Perhaps it has more to offer per square mile than any other place in the world. For sheer variety of locales, cultures and foods, Penang is hard to beat.

Penang © Adrian Cheah

In it's capital Georgetown, modern skyscrapers rise from one of Southeast Asia's largest collections of intact prewar buildings. Manufactures of sophisticated electronic goods compete for space with wet markets and old temples. Where else can you find a century-old church, a Chinese temple, an Indian temple, and a Muslim mosque all within a five-minute walk from one another? Likewise, tall urban structures stand beside the red-tiled roofs of Chinatown and "Little India" is just across the road, while the Malay kampungs lie on the outskirts.

Penang © Adrian Cheah

The seamless melding of the many peoples of Penang is best reflected in the delicious hawker foods (available around the clock) and the adherence to traditions and customs. Festivals abound throughout the year.

Penang © Adrian Cheah

Should one wish to get away from the busy city, the idyllic beaches and soothing hills are but minutes away, while the industrial free trade zone, the "Silicon Valley of the East", and the international airport are equally accessible.

Penang © Adrian Cheah

Penang or its Malay name of Pulau Pinang is made up of a turtle-shaped island, a total of 285 square kilometers, and a strip of land called Seberang Prai on Peninsular Malaysia about 48 kilometers wide.

Since 1985, the island has been joined to the mainland by the Penang Bridge, one of the longest bridges in the world. Alternatively, travellers arriving from the mainland can hop onto the ferry and take a 20-minute ride across. There are also international flights that connect directly to the international airport on the island.


 

General information about Penang

State Emblem

 The betelnut tree gave the island its name.

The Penang Bridge is not only a source of pride to the people of Pulau Pinang, it also unites the island with the mainland and part of the State. In addition, it symbolises the unity between the State and the Federation. The two pillars of the bridge stand for two basic features of the new Economic Policy, namely the eradication of poverty and the restructuring of society. The four cables represent the four major races of the nation – Malays, Chinese, Indians and others.

The five blue and white waves symbolise the five principles of the Rukunegara (Principles of Malaysian Nationhood) and also the five administrative districts of the State. The five colours at the base of the betelnut tree have the same meaning.

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