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Penang – Pearl of the Orient

Penang travel guide


Penang – Pearl of the Orient

Penang – Pearl of the Orient

Penang has a rich history and cultural heritage, with influences from various ethnic groups such as Malays, Chinese, and Indians.

Penang is often referred to as the “Pearl of the Orient”. This nickname is a reference to the state’s location on the Strait of Malacca, which was historically an important trading route between East and West. The term “Orient” is often used to refer to the countries of East and Southeast Asia, and Penang’s position as a hub of trade and commerce in the region has earned it the moniker “Pearl of the Orient”.

Penang is a state located on the northwest coast of Malaysia, in the Malay Peninsula. The state is composed of two parts: Penang Island, where the capital city, George Town, is located, and Seberang Perai, which is located on the mainland.

Penang has a rich history and cultural heritage, with influences from various ethnic groups such as Malays, Chinese, and Indians. It is known for its diverse food scene, street art, historic buildings, and beautiful beaches. The state also has a thriving economy, driven by industries such as electronics, tourism, and manufacturing.

Penang is a popular tourist destination, and there are many attractions that draw visitors to the state. Here are some of the most popular tourism attractions in Penang:

  1. George Town – The historic capital city of Penang is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is known for its charming colonial-era architecture, street art, and cultural landmarks.
  2. Penang Hill – A popular hill station and nature reserve, Penang Hill offers stunning views of the island and the surrounding area.
  3. Batu Ferringhi Beach – A beautiful beach area with a range of water sports and activities, as well as many restaurants and bars.
  4. Kek Lok Si Temple – One of the largest Buddhist temples in Southeast Asia, Kek Lok Si Temple is a stunning architectural masterpiece and a popular pilgrimage site.
  5. Penang National Park – A large nature reserve that offers hiking trails, beaches, and a variety of wildlife.
  6. Clan Jetties – A series of wooden jetties that are home to various Chinese clans, with traditional houses and shops.
  7. Penang Street Art – A collection of colorful street murals and installations that have become a popular attraction in George Town.
  8. Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion – A beautifully restored 19th-century mansion that offers guided tours and a glimpse into Penang’s rich history and culture.
  9. Snake Temple – A unique temple where live snakes are kept and worshipped.
  10. Penang War Museum – A former military fortress that has been converted into a museum, showcasing Penang’s role in World War II.


The cost of living in Penang can vary depending on several factors such as the type of accommodation, lifestyle, and personal preferences. Generally speaking, Penang is considered to be a relatively affordable place to live compared to other major cities in Malaysia and around the world.

Here are some estimated monthly costs for basic expenses in Penang:

  1. Accommodation: Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center can range from RM1,200 to RM2,500, while outside the city center, it can range from RM800 to RM1,800.
  2. Food: The cost of food in Penang is relatively low, and a basic meal at a local food stall can cost around RM5-10, while a meal at a mid-range restaurant can cost around RM20-30.
  3. Transportation: Public transportation in Penang is affordable, with a one-way bus fare costing around RM2-3, and a taxi ride starting at around RM10.
  4. Utilities: The monthly cost of utilities such as electricity, water, and internet can range from RM150 to RM300, depending on usage.
  5. Healthcare: The cost of healthcare in Penang can vary depending on the type of treatment required, but generally, medical treatment is relatively affordable compared to other countries.

Overall, the cost of living in Penang can be relatively affordable, particularly if you choose to live outside the city center and adopt a modest lifestyle.


If you are planning a trip to Penang, here are some tips that might be useful:

  1. Explore George Town: The historic capital city¬† is full of interesting architecture, street art, and cultural landmarks. Take a walking tour or rent a bicycle to explore the city’s sights and sounds.
  2. Try the local food: Pnang is known for its diverse food scene, including local specialties such as nasi kandar, char kway teow, and laksa. Be sure to try some of the delicious street food available at hawker centers and food stalls.
  3. Visit Penang Hill: Penang Hill is a popular tourist destination that offers stunning views of the island and the surrounding area. Take the funicular train to the top and enjoy the cool mountain air.
  4. Stay in a heritage hotel: Penang has many beautifully restored heritage hotels that offer a glimpse into the state’s rich history and culture. Stay in one of these hotels for an unforgettable experience.
  5. Visit the beaches: Penang has some beautiful beaches, including Batu Ferringhi Beach and Teluk Bahang Beach. Spend a day relaxing on the sand and enjoying the sun and sea.
  6. Learn about the local culture: Penang has a rich and diverse cultural heritage, with influences from various ethnic groups. Visit temples, museums, and cultural centers to learn more about the state’s history and traditions.
  7. Use public transportation: Public transportation  is affordable and efficient. Take the bus or the ferry to get around the island and explore different areas.
  8. Stay hydrated: Pnang can be hot and humid, so it’s important to stay hydrated. Carry a water bottle with you and drink plenty of fluids throughout the day.
  9. Be respectful: Penang is a diverse and multicultural place, and it’s important to be respectful of local customs and traditions. Dress appropriately when visiting religious sites and be mindful of local etiquette.

Have fun!: Penang is a vibrant and exciting place, so make the most of your trip and have fun exploring all that the state has to offer.

An adventurer, who really likes Asian culture. A photographer who also likes to write.

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