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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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.

Butterfly Farm

There is an outstanding collection of tropical butterflies, as well as snakes, scorpions and other dangerous insects.

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?

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.

Motorbike Tour

Tour Georgetown on two wheels and take in its historic and colonial sites.

Outdoor Sports

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.

War Museum

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.

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