Everyone needs a break every now and then. However, not everyone has the luxury of time and money to have a vacation somewhere far away and exotic. Thankfully, Malaysia has its own jewels that can give you the rest and relaxation you deserve without you breaking the bank and needing to take a long time off from work. One of these places is the state of Penang, located on the northwest coast of peninsular Malaysia.
Some local tourists would probably gloss over this part of the country, but Penang is definitely a must-visit. Here are a few reasons to convince yourself to go on a Penang tour instead of visiting Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi, or other popular Malaysian destinations.
It’s a Haven for Foodies
Tourists and even media outfits all over the world agree: Penang is one of the best food destinations not just in Malaysia but also around the globe. With influences from Chinese, Indian, and Malay cuisines, among many others, Penang has a lot to offer to food lovers. From char kway teow, white curry mee, and Assam laksa to muah chi and tau sar piah, you can spend an entire day touring the streets of Penang to sample all the flavours it offers. What’s even better is that the food here is so affordable. You can find delicious treats for as low as 5 ringgit! Make sure to visit Line Clear Restaurant in George Town and order their nasi kandar. It’s arguably the best version of the dish in Penang.
It’s Full of Gorgeous Art
If you love art, you’ll love Penang. In particular, you’ll love that almost every corner in George Town has urban street art created by both local and international artists. These larger-than-life masterpieces depict slices of life in Penang and involve not just paint and the walls but also real-life objects like bicycles and swing sets. If you want to see them all, you can easily find a map online and then trace their locations on foot. Penang is quite a walkable place, and you’ll surely love the sights and sounds as you search for every work of art on the map.
Aside from street art, Penang is also full of amazing architecture. You’ll see colonial buildings, intricate Chinese and Indian temples, and old-fashioned shops like they’ve been stuck in time. There are also some Malay villages in Penang, where you can marvel at their traditional “kampung” style of construction. Some of the best places to see marvelous architecture include George Town, the Snake Temple, Fort Cornwallis, the Thaipusam roads, and various local landmarks like the clock tower in the city square.
Its Heritage is Unique
Malaysia is a product of multiple cultures, but nowhere is this more evident than in George Town. Penang’s capital is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its streets full of beautiful structures influenced by Malay, British, Chinese styles. Visit Harmony Street and you’ll even find churches, mosques, and temples within steps of each other. In addition, many of these historical, well-preserved structures are still in use, whether for their original purpose or otherwise.
Another beautiful thing about Penang is that it’s multicultural down to every member of the society. Because of its strategic location, it was an important midpoint for trade in the olden days. Thus, mixed marriage became commonplace and the descendants of those marriages now populate the colourful streets. You’ll find a lot of unique groups in Penang, like the Arab-Chinese and the northern Peranakan. This multiraciality is also evident in religion. In fact, Penang is home to the only Jewish cemetery in Malaysia.
It Has Its Own Share of Natural Wonders
Penang is partly an island state, which means it has its own beautiful beaches like Batu Ferringhi, Tanjung Bungah, and Gertak Sanggul. Aside from beaches for swimming and water sports, there are also various nature hotspots like Penang Hill. Here you can enjoy cool, fresh air, walk under the canopy of towering trees, and enjoy the beautiful views of the city below. There are also plenty of destinations in Penang where you can have fun and enjoy nature at the same time, like Escape Park, Penang National Park, Teluk Bahang, Balik Pulau, and more.
Penang has everything going for it: great food, colourful history and culture, natural treasures, and great people. There’s a lot to see and do in such a small place, but the happy and “chill” vibe means you won’t feel rushed to explore everything at once. Consider a Penang tour for your next holiday. Visiting the so-called “Pearl of the Orient” might just be the kind of fulfilling vacation you’re looking for.