From its establishment as the first British trading post in the Far East in 1786, Penang is today a bustling city with a unique blend of the East and West. This is reflected in its heritage buildings as well as in the lifestyles, food and customs of the local people.
Georgetown, named after King George III of England, is the seat of the state's administration as well as the centre for commerce, education, social activities and entertainment. Among the places of interest in this city are the Khoo Kongsi, Kapitan Keling Mosque, Sri Mariamann Temple, Fort Cornwallis and Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram, a Buddhist temple with one of the world's longest reclining statues of Buddha.
The Khoo Kongsi, an impressive clan house built by master craftsmen from China, features a magnificent hall embellished with intricate carvings and richly ornamented beams of the finest wood. This unique architectural heritage gives Georgetown its charming appeal and distinctive character.
Trendy restaurants, sidewalk cafes, 'nasi kandar' stalls, discotheques, night markets, department stores and quaint pre-war shops together with a host of other places all combine to give the city its lively and colourful character.
Traditionally known as the 'Pearl of the Orient', Penang owes much of its fame to its fine beaches, which are ideal for all types of water sports. Resorts of international standard have mushroomed along its beaches, offering full facilities for rest and recreation.
Other established tourist spots on the island are Penang Hill, Kek Lok Si Temple, Butterfly Farm, Botanical Gardens, Snake Temple and the Penang Bird Park on the mainland.
A characteristic sight in Penang is its gaily decorated trishaws which offer tourists a fun way of taking in the island's sights at a leisurely pace. For an exhilarating experience, crossover to the mainland. Take a refreshing drive up forest-clad hills to enjoy the scenic beauty of the island. On your way back, stop at Balik Pulau and sample its highly-acclaimed durians and nutmegs.