By Penang Global Tourism
It’s time to Experience Penang, The Diversity of Asia through its incredible diversity in culture, heritage, arts, food as well as its natural surroundings of lovely sandy beaches, breathtaking hills and hidden gems! Listed by CNN Travel as one of the “best places to visit for the ultimate Asia experience”, Penang unfolds endless, enriching Asian experiences for one and all. What’s more, its capital city George Town boasts a UNESCO World Heritage Site with myriad different architecture, cultures and cuisines – all of which can be found within the 2.6km heritage enclave!
Discover the ever-present tastes, sights and sounds of Asia in Penang, where cultural treasure troves can be found in George Town or just a mere drive away. Kick start your vacation in George Town UNESCO World Heritage Site – a melting pot of culture, heritage and arts. Get on an iconic trishaw and discover colonial architectural gems, Peranakan mansions, Chinese clan houses, museums, places of worship and even floating villages at your own pace. Learn how to make joss sticks and rattan creations the old fashion way as these heritage trades are still alive in George Town today. There are fragments of modern culture splashed across the island and the mainland. Hunt down quirky murals in George Town in the unlikeliest of places – on a prewar shophouse, a once derelict bus depot and even on a former funeral parlour! George Town may be the only Asian destination in Lonely Planet’s book ‘Street Art’, but Balik Pulau, Air Itam and Butterworth’s blossoming art scenes are definitely worth checking out, too.
Touted as “Asia’s next great foodie city” by Conde Nast Traveler, Penang definitely will get you eating from sunup to sundown! Feed your Instagram with visual stories of Malay, Chinese and Indian hawkers cooking up local fares passed down through the generations. If that’s not enough, learn to prepare local specialties from the freshest ingredients cooked from scratch. It is no secret that Penang is home to an ever-evolving and diverse selection of eateries, so you’ll find plenty of Muslim-friendly, vegetarian and fine dining options to satisfy your tastebuds.
Those looking for adrenaline-filled adventures can visit the ‘7 World Wonders of Penang’, a string of world-class attractions in the heritage city of George Town, the 130-million-year-old virgin rainforest of Penang Hill, and the lush rainforest of Teluk Bahang. From watching the world go by between your feet at the world’s first tower curved skywalk to walking on the world’s highest altitude stressed ribbon bridge and sliding down the world’s longest water slide with a Guinness World Records title, these man-made marvels promise unforgettable adventures for thrill seekers.
Just a short drive from George Town, Penang Hill feels like a world away, with ancient rainforest that’s older than the Amazon for all to explore. Enjoy a scenic ride up the Penang Hill funicular railway, home to the world’s steepest tunnel track. Nurture a love of nature and enjoy the outdoors at The Habitat Penang Hill. From camping under the stars and zipping through its ancient rainforest like a colugo, The Habitat ticks all the boxes for nature lovers.
Spend a short break at the Teluk Bahang-Batu Ferringhi coastline, a seaside haven for tourists looking for lavish stays while soaking up some rays. With swaying coconut trees, lace-like waves and emerald waters, the sandy stretch is perfect for a beachside getaway. Water sport activities are in no shortage in Batu Ferringhi, too, so one can easily opt to parasail or hop on a banana boat. Most of the resorts here offer onsite spas with varied treatments and ambiances so you can rejuvenate from a day of exploration with a relaxing spa ‘sesh.
Now you’ve hit off all the main tourist spots, it’s time to get off the beaten track. For city dwellers looking for a taste of pastoral life, the charming countryside of Balik Pulau boasts sprawling rice fields, durian farms, nutmeg orchards as well as rural fishing villages to be experienced. In Seberang Perai, every corner springs a surprise. The outlying island of Pulau Aman lures seafood-loving foodies, and with fishing, camping and jungle trekking on offer, this car-free island does not disappoint. Head to the idyllic Kampung Agong and enjoy a laid-back atmosphere feeding your Instagram with gorgeous outdoor pianos, swings and giant nests framed by a dramatic backdrop that is the 1,217m-high Gunung Jerai.
No matter what time of the year you visit, there’s sure to be a celebration as the people of Penang celebrate various festivals and events all year round. Cultural and religious celebrations like Chinese New Year, Thaipusam and Hari Raya are often celebrated with colorful street celebrations and samples of some of the best ethnic food around. Other annual events such as Penang International Food Festival, Penang Anime Matsuri, Japanese Bon Odori Festival, George Town Heritage Celebration, George Town Festival, Penang Hill Festival, Penang Bridge International Marathon and Dragon Boat Festival are not to be missed in Penang.
Whether you’re a culture craver, a thrill seeker, a reveller, a foodie or an explorer, this destination has a lot to offer.