Penang Island is situated 2 miles off the Malaysian Northwest mainland. Also known as the Pearl of the Orient and the Island of Pearls, it was the first lands to be held by the British in South East Asia and is connected to the Malaysian mainland by it’s 2 bridges. There are also regular ferry options from Butterworth Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal, where the fare is around 20p, but it’s not all bad, as the return journey is free of charge.
The world heritage UNESCO site and capitol Georgetown is named after King George III and has a historic history and influences from around the globe, The island is also known for its international cuisine incorporating Chinese, Indian, Malay, and from our European cousins sold from street vendors and restaurants, and is world renown for it’s tagline of a “foodies paradise”.
It’s international Airport is well served from neighboring countries, and with a 3 month visa on arrival, gives you ample time to explore the island and all that Penang has to offer. A taxi from the airport to Georgetown will set you back £7-8 and takes around an hour in heavy traffic, but overall, travelling around is inexpensive.
Getting around the island is best by rapid buses and an inexpensive way between destinations and cost from 1.40 to 3.40 MR (20-50p). They are very regular and all around Georgetown and Gurney Drive. We caught a 30 minute bus from Gurney drive to Batu Ferringhi that cost us just over a £1 each way for both of us.
It’s neighboring island Langkawi in the archipelago is situated just off the Thailand border and neighboring Satun is just a short boat ride away that serves a direct route to Thailand and the southern islands.
Georgetown is a great place to wander around, and being a UNESCO world heritage site, has something around every corner. There is street art to be found all around, some well hidden, and various places to look out for, including the clan jetties, fort Cornwallis, Little India and the Queen Victoria memorial clock.
Gurney Drive is about a 10 minute taxi ride away from Georgetown (£3), directly on the shore line, and has numerous large shopping malls and upmarket hotels, and if fish is your thing, then some excellent street food is located at the gurney drive hawker centre at the end of the promenade.
Penang hill (have to be lucky with weather for good views) will cost you around £6 for the train that takes about 20 minutes to the top.
Batu Ferringhi Beach & night bazaar
Batu Ferringhi is a very quiet beach resort and has a very relaxed vibe. A few high end hotels are on offer along with some beach-side accommodation in the £10-20 range.