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Penang is a beautiful island off the northwest coast of mainland Malaysia. The island contains some beautiful colonial buildings, as well as a long history of foreign settlements. Like so many places in Asia, Penang owes is modern beginnings to the British East India Company. This was the first such settlement in Malaysia for the British, who sought to push out the Dutch and their spice trade. Back then Penang was known as "Betel Nut Island". Ethnic Chinese eventually followed. Islam was a strong part of the culture.
At less than 11 square miles, this tiny island belies the island's myriad features. There are pretty beaches and quiet fishing villages, as well as a fast-growing information technology center. Georgetown is the main city, and it is a popular take-off point for travelers departing for other islands and parts of Malaysia.
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Our General Manager Victoria Hilley lived in Malaysia for many years, and loved the wildlife, particularly orangutans and pygmy elephants.
Tour Georgetown on two wheels and take in its historic and colonial sites.
While the beaches are not overwhelmingly beautiful, they provide a nice place to enjoy a picnic on a sunny day. The most secluded beaches are at Teluk Kampi, Muka Head and Pantai Kerachut. There is an old and charming lighthouse at Muka Head beach.
Hiking to a Beach
The beaches of Penang are accessible on foot, if you are interested in hiking between 1-3 hours. For a shortcut, board a sampan fishing boat from Teluk Bahang Village.
Food Stalls and Cooking Class
Penang is one of the finest food outposts in all of Malaysia. Wander around Penang's myriad food stalls to sample the area's diverse cuisine, which includes mee sotong (fish-laden noodles), a local delight. Alternatively, why not take a cooking class?
Golfing, swimming (especially along the northern coast), surfing, jet skis, parasailing and cycling are all on the menu.
Penang Dragon Boat Festival
The event is held at Teluk Bahang Dam and features teams from Australia, China, Japan, Holland, the Philippines, Thailand, Canada, America and other nations. It has been on-going since 1979. Race dates vary every year.
This was a part of a military fortress built by the British Army during the rise of Japan as the 1930s unfolded. It was meant to protect from an attack on the southern flank. The fort was a mini-marvel, featuring underground tunnels, an intelligence and logistics center, offices, bays for firing artillery and an infirmary.
There is an outstanding collection of tropical butterflies, as well as snakes, scorpions and other dangerous insects.
Spend 10 days exploring peninsular Malaysia’s must-see spots on this thrilling luxury journey. You’ll tour the bustling capital of Kuala Lumpur, enjoy fresh tea at a plantation in the Cameron Highlands, visit UNESCO-listed sites in Penang, and relax beachside in Langkawi, all while staying in luxury hotels.
Voyage between Malaysia’s west and east coast on this remarkable 10-day journey that stops at fascinating points. You’ll explore UNESCO-listed Georgetown, hike through lush tea plantations in the Cameron Highlands, and take a boat cruise through Taman Negara National Park., all while staying in luxury hotels.
Step into the rich colonial histories of Singapore and Malaysia on this fascinating 9-day luxury journey. You’ll stay at the iconic century-old Raffles Singapore, stroll down Jonker Street in Old Malacca, trek through the picturesque Cameron Highlands, and take a private tour of UNESCO-listed Georgetown.
Experience for yourself the similarities and differences between sparkling Singapore and mesmerizing Malaysia. These two countries were once part of the same state, but in 1965, Singapore became independent. Nowadays, their cultural similarities make them friendly neighbors, while the juxtaposition of their vastly different landscapes...
Step into Malaysia’s stunning nature on this exhilarating journey through its western jungles. Explore high and low, birdwatching from the forest floor, walking high above it on Taman Negara National Park’s canopy birdges, and circumnavigating Belum-Temengor Rainforest in a kayak, before moving on to Penang.
Eastern & Oriental Express
Passengers aboard the Eastern & Oriental Express by Belmond get the opportunity to travel in style and luxury on magical journeys throughout Southeast Asia with a range of trips; destinations include the buzzing cities of Bangkok, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, the breath-taking temples of Angkor Wat and the UNESCO world Heritage town of Luang Prabang. Aboard the train, guests enjoy every comfort, with three options of comfortable private cabins, each with its own en-suite facilities, not to mention the train’s rear carriage where travelers can enjoy views of the passing scenery by day and socializing with cocktails and entertainment come nightfall. Dining is a pleasure with breakfast in bed and a range of international cuisine served in the dining cars. The train’s bar car is open all hours for guests to relax, chat and enjoy a drink or two as the landscape slides by.
Eastern & Oriental Hotel
A historical property, the Eastern & Oriental Hotel is reminiscent of British elegance during the colonial era while representing present-day Penang. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008, the hotel boasts a stellar location, close to downtown Georgetown and the cultural, financial and historical districts are located. With 100 suites, the E&O boasts a 750-foot seafront promenade and facilities including a swimming pool, 24-hour room service, a fitness center, sauna, meeting rooms, a business center and fitness center. Dining options include The Starkles Corner, a casual restaurant serving international cuisine and 1885, a Western-style restaurant serving dinner and traditional English tea. The E&O Hotel is located approximately 20 minutes from the Penang International Airport.
An acclaimed Malaysian heritage hotel, the Seven Terraces promises guests a beautiful, timeless, and romantic retreat at their boutique property. Presented with the UNESCO Award of Distinction for heritage conservation, the hotel has preserved a series of nineteenth century Anglo-Chinese terraces. Today, this intimate property comprises eighteen suites with open-plan bathrooms, mezzanine floors, carved wooden four-poster beds, fine Peranakan antique furniture, handcrafted ceramics, and traditional art. The in-house restaurant, Kebaya, serves creative, refined versions of classic Malaysian and Straits Chinese cuisine, and bababar, the in-house bar and lounge, serves specially-selected wines, beers, and spirits. Other facilities include a pool, verandah and garden, luxury boutique selling vintage furniture and decorations, and even cooking classes.
Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa
Set on the outskirts of Batu Ferringhi, Malaysiaâ€™s most popular, well-developed beach, the Shangri-La Rasa Sayang contains thirty acres of tropical gardens, and is built in the distinct Minangkabau style, with unique roofs and pointed, triangular shapes. The resortâ€™s 304 guestrooms, all of which feature complimentary Wi-Fi, LCD television, mini-bar and coffee/tea facilities, telephone, and satellite channels. There are three restaurants and cafes, serving grilled specialties, Peranakan, Malaysian, and other delicacies, and Oceanside dining. Facilities include two swimming pools, a health club, spa and sauna, tennis courts, and a golf course. The hotel lies forty-five minutes from Penang International Airport, and twenty minutes from the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Georgetown.
Situated in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Georgetown, the Traders Hotel offers rooms with floor-to-ceiling views of the surrounding cityscape or Penang Bridge. Because of its convenient location, with access to Penang Islandâ€™s main commercial and business hubs, Traders Hotel is one of the premier business hotels on the market. In-house restaurants serve Malaysian, Cantonese, and international specialties, and the bar at Traders offers live music. For those feeling a little more active, the hotel offers a gym, swimming pool, steam bath, sauna and massages.