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About Region - Penang (Island), Malaysia

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Penang (Island) Region Image Gallery
The beautiful island of Penang (known as the Pearl of the Orient) was the first British outpost established in Southeast Asia in 1786 by Captain Francis Light who named it Prince of Wales Island. The island is connected to the mainland at Seberang Perai (formerly Province Wellesley) by the Penang Bridge (one of the longest in Asia at 4.5 miles), and also a ferry service. The capital, Georgetown, is a city steeped in history and tradition, yet full of progress and modern development and combines the best of east and west, whilst retaining its old-world flavour. The island is a blend of hilly rainforest, and occasional plantations of rubber, oil palms, and spices. There are beautiful beachside resorts, an excellent National Park, the extensive Botanical Gardens, fruit and butterfly farms, fishing villages and many other places of interest.
Beaches
Batu Ferringhi, Tanjung Bungah, and Teluk Bahang are some of Penang's famous white sandy beaches located along the northern coast of the island. They are lapped by blue waters and fringed with miles of coconut plantations, yet have easy access to the many sea front hotels, restaurants, souvenir shops and booths offering water sports facilities. The less frequented beaches at Teluk Duyong, Monkey Beach, Pantai Keracut and Pantai Mas, are accessed via trails in the Pantai Acheh Forest Reserve in Teluk Bahang and are truly amazing places to relax and enjoy the seclusion and tranquillity of this beautiful region.
Penang Hill
At 830 metres above sea level Penang Hill provides a panoramic view of the island from its peak and is an enchanting place to visit. It has one of Asia's first Swiss-built funicular railway systems and the small cable-pulled cars have made the 30-minute journey up and down since 1923. There is a small hotel the Bellevue at the top with a pleasant garden and aviary, a good restaurant and the best views of the island. There are good walking trails through lush groves of bamboo, and a canopy walk.
The Botanical Gardens
The Gardens were created in 1844 as a tribute to Charles Curtis who collected botanical specimens from the nearby hills, and are situated a quarter of a mile from Penang Hill, covering some 74 acres. The well-laid out, picturesque garden has plenty of lush green tropical plants and some colourful examples of Penang's native flora. The sound of waterfalls gushing down from the hills and the chatter of Leaf monkeys and long-tailed macaques enhance the nature experience.
Penang Bird Park
The five-acre park is situated in Seberang Jaya, some 12 kms east of the ferry terminal. It was the first bird park to be built in Malaysia and houses over 800 species of birds, mostly from Southeast Asia, in specially designed aviaries. The well-landscaped park has man-made islands and gardens, and is filled with ornamental plants including a wide variety of orchids and hibiscus
Butterfly Farm, Teluk Bahang
The farm has some 3000 living specimens from about 120 rare species of butterflies, frogs, scorpions and other insects collected around the area. Within the farm there is a garden enclosure, breeding area, laboratory, souvenir shop and information centre. The farm also has a lily pond, artificial waterfalls, a rock garden, tunnel and a bubbling mud pool.
Penang National Park
The park is located at the end of the Batu Ferringhi Road and offers some excellent trails through natural countryside. The park can also be reached by a 30-minute boat ride, or by a jungle trek of some 90 minutes, from Teluk Bahang village. Attractions include a popular beach called Teluk Duyung, which is also known as Monkey Beach because of the large numbers of monkeys found here, and the white sandy beach of Pantai Kerachut, where green turtles nest from April to August, and Olive Ridley turtles come from September to February. The area contains a mixed fresh and seawater lake where certain fish, birds and reptiles have adapted to living in this unusual environment.
Georgetown
The colourful, bustling capital is situated in the northeast part of the island and retains a strong Chinese flavour with its old shophouses selling traditional goods and its numerous temples, coffeeshops and market-places. There are narrow side streets, trishaws, temples and traders selling their goods, along with shops and department stores providing a very competitive choice of cameras, electrical and electronic goods, clothing, batik, souvenirs, antiques and knick knacks. Georgetown is a compact city and most sights are easily seen on foot, by hiring a trishaw, or by taking part in an organised tour.
China Town
The heart of Georgetown, bustles with frenetic activity, especially during festivals. There are numerous shops, Chinese and Hindu temples and mosques, and the street named Lebuh Chulia contains many restaurants, small hotels and resthouses, providers of some of the best food in the region. Visitors can experience temple ceremonies, morning vegetable markets and night bazaars and find handicrafts and antique shops at Lebuh Farquhar.
Fort Cornwallis
Fort Cornwallis was built on the site of Francis Light's historic landing in 1786. It was originally a wooden stockade which was replaced by a concrete structure built by convicts in 1804. Now it houses an open-air amphitheatre, a history gallery, café, handicraft and souvenir centre, and also the famous Dutch cannon, which had been presented to the Sultan of Johor. The statue of Sir Francis Light can be seen, along with an old soldier's campsite, and interactive displays of warfare engaged during the colonial days.
St George's Church
St George's Church is the oldest Anglican church in the country, and is located in Lebuh Farquhar to the east of Fort Cornwallis. This well proportioned stately building was built in 1818 by convicts and features a marble floor and towering spire. At the entrance there is a canopy in memory of Captain Francis Light.
Penang Museum and Art Gallery
Penang Museum and Art Gallery displays historical artefacts highlighting the important periods in Penang's development. There are hundreds of exhibits as well as clay, stone and porcelain ware. There are maps, charts and memorabilia of the first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman. The museum houses some excellent old prints and paintings tracing the early years of Penang's discovery and development.
Temples
The highly ornate Sri Mariamman Temple is close to the Museum on Queen Street, and was built in 1883. Permission to enter must be obtained from temple officials. The elaborate Khoo Konsi is the grandest clan temple on the island and was constructed between 1853 and 1898. The building features a magnificent hall with intricate carvings and rich ornamental beams bearing the mark of master craftsmen from China. The Goddess of Mercy Temple (Kuan Yin Teng) was built in the 1800s by the first Chinese settlers in Penang. Crowds of devotees are drawn to the Temple during the birthday of the Goddess which is celebrated three times a year, burning joss sticks and paper money to the goddess and to the god of prosperity. A Chinese puppet show or theatre performance is usually shown in the evenings.
Mosques
The Kapitan Keling Mosque was built by an Indian Muslim merchant in the early 1800s. It features an ochre-yellow façade and domed minaret reflecting Moorish-Islamic influence.

The State Mosque features elegant modern architecture and took four years to complete. It can accommodate 5000 worshippers and permission to enter must be obtained from the State Religious Department, Lebuh Pantai.
Penang War Museum
This museum in Batu Maung is built around the remnants of an old British fort, and enables the visitor to observe the life lived by a typical British soldier and his Asian counterpart during WW II. There are several installations above and below ground where old war relics including pillboxes, cannons, armaments, uniforms and cooking equipment are stored. A walk-through exhibition depicts soldiers' living quarters for the different ranks, old cookhouses, lock-ups, tunnels and ventilation shafts. There is also an interactive firing range, where visitors can fire at targets using paintball guns. A pleasant seating area provides views of the surrounding area.
Kek Lok Si (Temple of Paradise)
Above the small town of Air Itam stands the Temple of Paradise. It was founded by a Chinese Buddhist priest who arrived in Penang in 1887. Construction began in 1890 and took 20 years to complete. The centrepiece is the seven-tiered Pagoda of a Million Buddhas, which is 98ft high and dedicated to Tsi Tsuang Wang. The pagoda is a blend of three architectural styles, with a Chinese octagonal base, a Thai centre core and a Burmese peak. There is a Tortoise Pond, where the creatures can be fed with special biscuits, and inside the shrine are statues of the Laughing Buddha, Sakyamuni Buddha, and Kuan Yin.
Komptar Shopping
The biggest shopping landmark is Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak at Jalan Penang. It features a geodesic dome, which serves as a multipurpose hall, and the 65-storey complex contains offices, department stores and restaurants. The watches, electronic and other items sold here are amongst the cheapest in Malaysia. A revolving restaurant at the top provides a panoramic view of the island and mainland.
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