Situated on an island off the northwestern coast of Malaysia, Penang is widely known for its multicultural heritage, rich history and one of the most diverse dining scenes in the world. Penang is accessible from a number of countries in the region, and it is a popular stop on many Southeast Asia travel itineraries. Whether it’s to visit the beaches or experience the culture, a trip to Penang will surely be a memorable one.
When to go
Crowds typically descend on Penang between Christmas and the Chinese New Year. Travelers visiting during this time of year can expect higher prices and limited accommodation options. At many other times of year, travelers may experience high temperatures or rain. The beginning of the high season, or the tail end of it, is generally a good time to visit. The heat isn’t oppressive, and the crowds aren’t overwhelming.
Penang is accessible by just about any mode of transportation. An airport is serviced by many regional airlines, there is efficient train service, and there are a variety of ferry options. Many travelers choose to take a bus to Penang, which can be the most affordable option in many cases. While there are many tour operators in Penang, it’s best to go with a reputable company when making travel plans.
Things to do
Many visitors flock to the northwestern corner of the island, where beaches untouched by development back up to the Penang National Park. Further inland, there are plenty of opportunities for camping and jungle trekking. Of course, the food is reason enough to visit Penang. Informal food stalls serve up some of the best cuisine here. Smart travelers will follow the lead of the locals and head for the stalls that produce the biggest crowds. Penang is also a cultural and historical destination, and there is no shortage of temples, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and botanical gardens. Finally, Penang is home to a variety of festivals and international events, a result of the island’s diverse population.
Penang is generally a safe place to visit, but it’s important to take the same precautions one would take anywhere else. Walking alone at night, or in deserted places, should be avoided, and valuables should be left in the hotel. Natural attractions present their own hazards, and special care should be taken when swimming at the beaches or trekking in the jungles.
Penang is a popular destination for international as well as Malaysian tourists. After a quick exploration of the island’s features, including its natural attractions, history and culture, it’s easy to understand why there are so many visitors every year. Easily accessible from other countries in the region, Penang will likely remain near the top of Southeast Asia travel itineraries for years to come.
Tags: penang island, transport, travel penang