|Widely known 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.
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 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. 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. 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.
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 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.
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Penang Network Services Sdn
13th Floor, Wisma TNB, No.30, Anson Road, 10400 Penang, Malaysia.
Tel: 04-228 9100 Fax: 04-228 9300