The beaches found along the coastline of Penang are not spectacular and cannot be compared to the beaches found on other islands in Southeast Asia. However, Penang island makes up for this since it’s renowned for its cuisine and multicultural history which includes European and Asian influences. The island is home to about 700 000 people, most of which are Malay and Chinese. There are also a wide variety of hotels and resorts, most of which can be found close to the city of Georgetown and other smaller towns such as Tanjung Bungah and Batu Ferringhi on the north coast of Penang island. The north coast is the most developed part while the southern parts are much more rural and largely consists of small villages.
Penang Island features an incredible blend of natural, cultural and even historical attractions. I won’t be mentioning any of the beaches as I have mentioned earlier that the beaches here are not incredible. They are well worth a visit though but the island has a large variety of other tourist attractions that are well worth seeing.
Georgetown is the main city on Penang island and sits on the north coast. It has also become a UNESCO world heritage site thanks to its beautiful colonial architecture. There are many incredible sights and things to explore in this town ranging from history and cuisine. Tourists can explore the town on their own, however it will be much more interesting and educational when done via an organized tour. I would recommend exploring Georgetown by means of a bicycle tour. Metro Bike is the best bicycle tour operator and you can visit their site at www.metrobike.com.my for more information.
Making your way up the top of Penang Hill is something you cannot miss out on. The peak sits at just over 800 metres above sea level and offers tourists the most breathtaking views of the entire Penang Island and surrounding areas. Don’t worry though, you’re not expected to climb this hill on your own as the most popular method of reaching the top involves taking a 30 minute train ride. At the top of the hill you will find 3 religious buildings, a restaurant and even a python snake show.
The Penang Tropical Fruit Farm covers an area of 25 acres and has over 250 different types of Asian, Latin American, Caribbean and African fruit. It was started back in 1993 in order to protect and safeguard rare fruit trees from around the world. Only organic fertilizers are used and no pesticides. Daily two hour long guided tours are available which will allow tourists to sample and learn more about each of these unique and rare fruits from around the world. However, the best time to visit here would be on weekends which is when they spread out the various fruits for tourists to try out and they have a barbecue.
The Muka Head National Park may be the smallest national park in Malaysia but it’s also the most impressive. Tourists can stroll down Pantai Kerachut beach from where you can get on boats to visit smaller neighboring islands. Then there is Meromictic Lake, which is a lake that contains both fresh and sea water that doesn’t mix. Then there is the lighthouse that was built in 1883. It’s still in use today and tourists are welcome to climb the stairs to the top where they can enjoy breathtaking views of the ocean and coastline.
The busy season on Penang Island is between December and February and you can expect to see the coastline full of tourists from around the world. If you will be visiting Penang during this period make sure you book your accommodations well in advance. If you prefer more peace and quiet then visit here from March to November. The prices will be lower, temperatures slightly cooler and much less crowds.
Penang Festivals: Read more about the interesting and cultural festivals which takes place on the island.
Accommodations: Find out which accommodations are available on the island by visiting tourismpenang.net.