Malaysia's 'Pearl of the Orient' carries a natural beauty and cultural splendour like no other place. Its name comes from the Malay translation of betel nut - 'Pinang'. Every year, thousands of visitors come here to experience the unique cultural heritage and scenery. It is also a very cosmopolitan city, perhaps the second busiest in the country after Kuala Lumpur.
Penang consists of a 285 sq. km island connected via a 13 km bridge to an additional 760 sq. km of mainland, referred to as Seberang Perai. Commercial and administrative activity is concentrated in the capital of Georgetown, located on the northeast tip of the island. Temples and other historical sites are scattered in many places and the northern areas hides some picturesque beaches.
Today, Penang is fast, furious and alive with culture and people. Though the number of visitors may have lessened since its duty-free status was taken over by Langkawi, the island state is currently undergoing a revival among visitors through tourism efforts by its people and the Government to return it to its glory days.
A fascinating fusion of the East and West, Penang embraces modernity while retaining its traditions and old world charm. These are reflected in its harmonious multiracial populace and well-preserved heritage buildings which led to George Town being accorded a listing as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site recently. Long regarded as the food capital of Malaysia, Penang also entices visitors with its beautiful coasts and scrumptious cuisines.