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About Penang

myMalaysiabooks brings you the delights of Penang, which is very close to our hearts. Read about her rich cultural heritage and fabulous street food and Nyonya cuisine - a place that truly reflect the diverse cultures of Asia, history and traditions.


Welcome to the Pearl of the Orient

 PENANG or Pulau Pinang

Francis Light statue, Penang Malaysia

Kek Lok Si , Air Itam , Penang Malaysia

Francis Light

Kek Lok Si Temple

Pulau Pinang or better known as Penang is a state in Malaysia with an interesting history. The capital, George Town is a unique Asian city, mordern by Malaysian standards yet rich in the cultures and traditions of Asia.  

    The state of Pulau Pinang or Penang comprises an island (Penang island) and a stretch of land on the west coast on the Malaysian Peninsular (Seberang Perai). The Pearl of the Orient, as she is affectionately referred to, is a melting pot of many cultures. Her history is reflected in her cultural diversity and urban landscape. 

     Penang is linked to other parts of Malaysia and internationally by roads, rails, air or sea. Visitors can  travel easily to Penang by road (bus or private vehicle) or the expressway through the state and to Penang island. There are rail links to Butterworth from Singapore and Bangkok. You can also fly from many cites over the world to her international airport on the island. Cruise ship or yacht can also berth at Port Swettenham on the island of Penang.

Where is Penang?

Free map - State of Penang

map of Penang


Location: North-western part of Peninsular Malalysia (West Malaysia)

Official Name of Penang: Pulau Pinang

Population: 1.7 million      

Capital: George Town (World Heritage site)

Head of State: Chief Minister

Chief Minister of Penang: Hon. Chow Kon Yeow (from 2018

Former Chief Minister: Hon Lim Guan Eng (11 March 2008- 14 May 2018



George Town, Penang (UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE - with Melaka)

 UNESCO world Heritage Site

Town Hall, George Town, Penang

George Town, the administrative centre is a cosmopolitan city with a mix of old and new, east and west. Move around the city to see the many cultural and heritage sites - Chinese clan houses, colonial buildings, old temples, mosques and the many pre-war shop houses.

Khoo Kongsi, PenangUNESCO World Heritage listed on July 2008

Melaka and George Town, historic cities of the Straits of Malacca (Malaysia) have developed over 500 years of trading and cultural exchanges between East and West in the Straits of Malacca. The influences of Asia and Europe have endowed the towns with a specific multicultural heritage that is both tangible and intangible.

Heritage and historical enclave of George Town

       The best way to see George Town is to walk the streets of and alley in the city or take a trishaw ride. See the mix cultural heritage that is both Asian and European - from the activities in the streets to the architectural diversity of the urban landscape. A walk through the streets of Georgetown will take you through a cultural landscape that can only be found only in this part of South-east Asia. You can also hop onto the free George Town shuttle bus (Free shuttlebus map) and see George Town. Walk round the historical enclaves of Penang around Armenian Street, China Town, Queen Street, Lebuh Farquhar, Lebuh Leigh, etc and see some of these cultural and historical sites: Chinese Kongsi houses, Indian temples, museums, Fort Cornwallis

Listing of Place and sites to see


More on Penang at


Lim Kongsi (Lim Clan house)

Lim Kongsi (Lim Clan House)

Scenes of George Town


Armenian Street, George Town, Penang



Buildings in George Town, Penang, heritage sites


Pre-war houses, streets of George Town, Penang


Peranakan (Baba Nyonya) Museum, Penang

Part of George Town


Indian Temple, Penang


See our heritage of Penang photos gallery.

My Penang -George Town, culture and heritage

Food and Culture of Penang


Penang Food

George Town is also the place for a 'heritage food' discovery. Be sure to sample the infinite array of Penang street food and Nyonya Cuisine - you will not find some of the food anywhere else.

     There is a wide variety of food that is uniquely Penang or Malaysia - Malay, Chinese, Indian, Thai, Peranakan (Nyonya/ Nonya) food and even a fusion of continental cuisines. Penang offers the best of Malaysian street food or better known as hawker food.  Penang is often referred to as the food capital of Malaysia.

The best of Penang hawker food can range from rice dishes to noodles and snacks. The most famous of her street food is usually a fusion of what is a combination of Asian food - Sino-Malay, Indian-Muslim, etc.

Typical Penang hawker food are: hokkien mee , laksa, char kueh teow, chee cheong fun, lobak or otak-otak, pasembur, etc.  (see Penang food page) However, don't leave Penang without tasting the unique local Nonya Cuisine (Nonya / Peranakan Cuisine), which is a mix of Chinese and Malay cooking - often of food cooked with aromatic herbs. And of course Nyonya Kueh - famed throughout Malaysia , that originates here.

    Penang also offer visitors many shopping delights. You can shop at open-air markets, at bazaars or in air-conditioned shopping complexes. A unique experience is to walk through the night market or pasar malam, a place for you to get all sorts of bargains, from clothes to fruits. The most popular night market is at Batu Ferringhi, Penang Island.

You will find details of all this in our travel guide My Penang (myPenang) and Details here on Penang Food

Where to eat in Penang

Where to but Penang Tau Sar Pneah (Tambun biscuits)


Penang State MosqueUnique Cultural Experience in Penang

With cultural diversity comes numerous cultural and religious holidays and celebrations. You will see in her celebrations a mingling of Malay, Chinese, Indian, Arabic and European cultures. Enjoy her celebrations and festivals that reflects what is in Asia.  Visit Penang during one of the many Malaysian festival to enjoy the celebration and festivities, all on one small island. Check out the numerous Chinese festivals of Penang here. Get to know more about Penang in myPenang.

       The most renowned temple is of course Kek Lok Si, which is the most visited tourist spot at the foothill of penang hill. However, also at the foothills of Penang Hill, adjacent to the Penang Hill railway station is the newly restored Thni Kong Tnua or Jade Emperor Godís temple....Penang Hill is a place for relaxationcheck out this place.  Visit Chinese clan houses, the snake temple, Fort Cornwallis, Air Itam, Kuan Imm Teng, museums, churches, mosques, and many more places. Pre-war houses; streets of George Town, Penang, Malaysia Unesco Heritage site

     For nature lovers, there are ample parks and beautiful beaches on Penang island, along Batu Ferringhi and Teluk Bahang. Or venture further to vacation in the nearby mystical island of Langkawi in Kedah...............More on Penang

Penang Street art

One way to learn about the cultural heritage and history of Penang is to walk through George Town and see the numerous street art of painted wall and iron (wire) crafted art on walls. 



Tau Sar Pneah, tambun biscuits, Penang local biscuits

Tau Sar pneah/ Tambun biscuit


Penang lobak and hare chnee - Penang food

Lobak and hare chnee


Penang Hokkien mee, Penang hawker food

Hokkien mee

Malaysian Food      

Malaysian cakes/ kuih muih Malaysia

Malaysian home recipes





Website on Penang


Browse My Penang - George town and all about Penang



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Malaysian kueh

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Notes: Nyonya / Nonya refers to the women who are decedents of the early Chinese settlers in Malaysia. Many married the locals or adopted the some Malay cultural practices resulting in a unique culture which is a mix of Malay and Chinese. These people are referred to as the Peranakans or Baba and Nyonyas. (Baba refers to the male Peranakans)

     To know more about the Peranakan get a copy of myPenang, written by a local who knows the culture.


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History of Penang

Details on History of Penang HERE

Heritage Sites of Penang

Book review



My Penang


Where to Stay

Tips on booking your hotel stay: Compare hotel rates from multiple popular websites before booking, to get the best offer. The only place to compare hotel rates in Ringgit or Singapore dollars or your home currency.

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How to get here

Getting to Penang and Moving around


Means / Transit

By Air

Fly to Penang International Airport located on Penang island

By Road

Pulau Pinang is served by very good network of roads. Travel to the state by the North-South Expressway

By Sea

Travel by ferry of cruise ship to George Town, Penang Island

By Rail

The railway cut the length of Seberang Perai. The main railway station is at Butterworth.

Details at: Penang Transport System and moving around Penang

(see: Map of Penang)

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