Penang, also known as the Pearl of the Orient, is one of the most touristic locations of Malaysia. The island (285 square meters) is situated on the northwest side of the Peninsular Malaysia. There are loads of activities and sights on the island. Hanging around on the beach is also considered a fine option. About 700.000 people inhabit Penang Island, of which 59% are Chinese, 32% are Malay and 7% are Indian (2% are of other origin). The state of Penang has a population of 1,5 million (of which 43% are Malay and 41% Chinese). Penang has an eventful history; the diversity of the inhabitants clearly indicates this. Penang is especially known as the best place to enjoy wonderful local dishes; it is seen as the food capital of Malaysia. There are many hotels and resorts on the island, most are located in and around the city of Georgetown and around the towns Batu Ferringhi and Tanjung Bungah.
We at Car Rental Penang offers car rental services such as car rental, car with driver rental / chauffeur, van rental as well as coach rental. Due to our experienced and friendly sales staff who will attend to your queries professionally and courteously, we are happy to assist you should you want to organize tours in Penang such as Penang City Tour, touring of tourist attractions, visiting various food stops, and many more. If you want us to organize your Penang City Tour for you, just ask our sales staff and they will be more than happy to assist you.
Penang City Tour – History of Penang
Before Penang got its own government, the island was part of the state of Kedah. Kedah was an important Indian centre of influence and trade. In ancient texts Kedah is mentioned as the area which had the first Malaysian establishments. Kedah would also have an important role in the history of Malaysia. The Indian merchants already came to the Peninsular Malaysia before the 1st century. The main reason being to collect merchandise such as herbs, spices and gold. The Indians brought their own religion and culture with them; this is how Buddhism and Hinduism were introduced to Penang. Around the 9th century Muslim merchants from India and the Middle East set foot ashore Penang and the rest of the Malaysian peninsula. They were also mainly there for the trade to Southeast Asia. Unlike the Indians (Buddhists and Hinduists) and Chinese, the Muslims spent a lot of time in spreading the Islamic religion. The Islam spread quickly in this region.
Penang was discovered by Chinese merchants in the 15th century; it was then when the island was first charted. This was later changed to Penang, which in Malaysia’s native language means areca nut. Under the command of admiral Cheng Ho China became an important trading partner in Penang. Ping-Lang-Seu is the name he gave the island. The Chinese were especially interested in goods and materials. In exchange the Chinese brought their own goods and techniques to Penang and the rest of the Malaysian peninsula.
Around the 14th century dribs and drabs of European merchants set foot on Penang. The first ones were Portuguese. By keeping the maps secret the Portuguese had a monopoly in Southeast Asia. It was not till 1595 that the Dutch (VOC) arrived in Southeast Asia, not long after that the English arrived. The Englishman Francis Light convinced the Sultan of Kedah to handover Penang to the British East-India Company. Francis Light founded – not long after an English board was introduced – Georgetown, after the English king George IV. According to old documents Light used the following solution to making Penang accessible (a dense jungle at the time). To motivate laborers he fired a cannon filled with silver coins into the jungle. The jungle was cleared in a short period of time, making the construction of Georgetown possible. Before the 20th century merchants mostly came to Penang for the merchandise, this is why the island is known as ‘Pearl of the Orient’.
Penang City Tour – Attractions In Penang
An island of rich Chinese heritage, Penang has an array of temples, ruins, museums, preserved forests, and beautiful beaches that make a trip here more than worthwhile. Top it off with the fact that this island is said to be the country’s unofficial food capital, and it’s no wonder that tourism plays a huge role in its economy. From the water’s edge at the Clan Jetties to the brilliant blue sheen of the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, Penang is fairly impressive. We’ve listed the island’s attractions so the next time you make a trip here be sure to consult this list so you don’t miss out on anything when you plan your Penang City Tour with us.
Batu Ferringhi has been well-developed as a recreational spot teeming with resorts, restaurants and stalls that specially cater to the European tourist market. Batu Ferringhi’s atmosphere and feel can be likened to Patong Beach in Phuket, minus the pole dancers of course! There’s a wide range of accommodation available that will suit even the tightest budgets.
Bukit Mertajam Recreational Forest
Rising 457m above sea level, Bukit Mertajam Recreational Forest sprawls over 37 hectares of lush, hilly terrain. This forest reserve is equipped with camping sites and numerous streams pouring into shallow ponds. The four-kilometre hiking trail that leads all the way to the mountain’s summit is extremely popular with hikers and joggers alike. A small waterfall also passes through this area, providing visitors with a refreshing cool dip.
Bukit Panchor Forest Park
A small but well-developed recreation park, Bukit Panchor Forest Park is a 8-hectare lowland forest located in Nibong Tebal near Seberang Perai. With flowing river and lush vegetation, the forest provides a welcome respite from the hectic city life. There’s plenty to see and do here, such as unique mangrove life forms, bat caves and a wetland boardwalk.
Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion
A boutique hotel that’s one of Penang’s best-known attractions, the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion is an ornate edifice built in the traditional Hakka – Teochew style. Located at 14 Leith Street, the structure was erected in the 1880s when Hakka merchant, Cheong Fatt Tze commissioned its construction.
Penang Bridge may not be an official sightseeing spot in Penang but it is the sight that greets most visitors to the island. A 13.5km-long suspension bridge that connects the island to the mainland at Seberang Perai, it is considered a Penang landmark, with locals comparing it to London Bridge.
Penang City Hall
The City Hall located along the Esplanade is a fine building of Victorian architecture built in 1903; a reminder of the colonial era in Penang. The City Hall faces a historic field – Padang Kota which is a venue for festivals and other large-scale events. Today, the Hall is still used for period meetings among the Penang Municipal Council Chamber.
Penang Fort Cornwallis
Located close to the Esplanade, on the northeastern coast of Penang, the star-shaped Fort Cornwallis is the largest standing fort in Malaysia and one of the earliest structures in Penang. Not a particularly impressive edifice, these days the privately managed historical site is simply a set of ten-foot high outer walls with an enclosed park within.
KOMTAR is located in central Georgetown, along the north-south Jalan Penang and east-west Jalan Magazine. The 65-storey high-rise and mall is one of the most prominent landmarks in Penang with a viewing deck on the 58th floor offering views of the island and across the straits to Penang’s mainland.
Penang’s version of Hollywood’s Rodeo Drive, Penang Road is arguably the most important thoroughfare on the island. A mixture of nouveau-riche and quaint heritage, it runs the length from Lebuh Farquhar in the north, to Jalan Gurdwara in the south – near the Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak (KOMTAR tower) – at the junction of Macalister Road.
Penang Street Art
Making strolling through Georgetown’s streets just a little bit more exciting, in 2012 Penang’s municipal council hired London-trained Lithuanian artist, Ernest Zacharevic and charged him with breathing new life into some of the atmospheric Chinese shop-houses around the inner city.
Penang Tropical Spice Garden
Set just up the road from the Teluk Bahang junction, Penang’s Tropical Spice Garden is an eight-acre collection of secondary jungle with some 500 species of flora and fauna. Southeast Asia’s only tropical spice garden is a good place to spend the afternoon with your kids – the nature conservation complex features three garden trails that take you on 20-45 minute journeys past stream crossings, waterfalls and structures made of recycled organic materials. The award-winning farm was set up utilizing predominantly natural and recycled building materials salvaged from pre-war shop houses or sourced from local antique stores.
Penang Wonderfood Museum
Penang Wonderfood Museum offers visitors a kitsch, kooky and in-depth look at the city’s unique food culture with larger-than-life displays of Malaysian dishes. Set within a 1940s colonial building in Georgetown, the museum is divided into three galleries called Info Zone, Wow Zone, and Educational Zone.
The scenic beach of Teluk Bahang is rocky, shady and serene – perfect for a weekend retreat minus the large crowds of nearby Batu Ferringhi. Those who crave isolated beaches should go to Teluk Duyung, Monkey Beach, Pantai Kerachut or Pantai Mas – all only accessible via trails around the Pantai Acheh Forest Reserve in Teluk Bahang. There are camping grounds available for you to spend a night under the stars and in the morning, head to the recreational forest for jungle-trekking or visit the Forestry Museum. Coastal villages dot the area where evenings signal the return of the fishermen from the sea with their day’s catch. Look out for great seafood in Teluk Bahang – it’s one of the best!