Approximately 112km south of Langkawi, lies the island of PENANG the 'Pearl of the Orient'. When first discovered by Captain Francis Light in 1786, the island was filled with lush tropical vegetation. The betel nut palm was a common sight all over the island - a fact which gave rise to the name of Pulau Pinang (Island of the Betel Nut). Penang has come a long way from its early beginnings as the first British trading post in the Far East. Its capital Georgetown is a bustling metropolitan city with a unique blend of East and West.
By contrast, the famous beaches of Penang - Tanjung Bungah, Batu Ferringhi and Teluk Bahang offer all the scenic delights of tropical island paradise - stretches of golden sandy beaches, clear blue seas and tiny secluded coves enclosed by clusters of rocks. Penang is a resort island in full bloom with numerous hotels of international standard fronting the sea along the beaches on its northern coastlines. The range of facilities and amenities available here makes it an ideal playground for worshippers of the sun and the sea.
But there is another side of Penang that still remains to be discovered. Along the northwestern coastline are some of the fine beaches on the island. Imagine a sparkling sea, powdery white sand, sunlight filtering through coconut groves - the scene of perfect tranquillity. These beaches remain as Penang's best kept secrets because they are relatively inaccessible except by hiking through jungle trails. The rewards would make the effort really worthwhile.
Location & Maps
Penang - Getting There
Penang is easily accessible by air with daily flights from major capitals of the region. It has direct links with Singapore, Bangkok, Nagoya, Medan, Xiamen (China) and Madras, operated by Malaysia Airlines. The airlines also operates more than 20 flights daily between Kuala Lumpur and Penang.
The Penang International Airport is about 20 km from the city center. Taxis plying the route follow the coupon system by which fixed fares are charged between the airport and various destinations in Penang. Limousines charge higher fares.
The Penang Yellow Bus Co. operates an hourly service between the Airport and Weld Quay in the city between 6.00am to 10.00pm daily (Bus No. 83).
The journey from Kuala Lumpur to Penang Island is accessible by road via the Penang Bridge. The journey will take about 4 hours and 38 minutes by car. A charge of RM7.00 is levied on all classes of cars using the bridge at the toll plaza in Prai on the mainland. No payment is required for the return trip form the island to the mainland.
From Butterworth, it is necessary to take the ferry to Penang Island. Operated by the Penang Port Commission, the ferry service is available around the clock for both passengers and vehicles. Fares for passengers and vehicle charges are collected at the Butterworth terminal. No payment is required for the return journey.
The train journey from Kuala Lumpur to Butterworth takes approximately 6 hours and affords the opportunity to view the scenic countryside of Peninsular Malaysia. Comfortable air-conditioned coaches are available for first and second class passengers. Malayan Railway or Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) also operates regular services to Alor Setar, Padang Besar, Haadyai and Bangkok from Butterworth. For enquiries regarding train services or fares, contact the KTMB offices at Port Weld in Penang (Tel: 604-261 0290) or Butterworth (Tel: 604-331 2796).
Places of Interest
Batu Ferringh is a haven for a string of world-class resorts including rows of specialty restaurants and shops. As the sun sets, the sidewalks facing the Batu Ferringhi road become cluttered with makeshift stalls. The string of stalls stretch all the way from Shangri-la's Rasa Sayang Hotel to the Casuarina Hotel, offering tourists a variety of cheap merchandise especially of the 'bootleg' sort.
The Penang Bridge is a 13.5km long bridge stretching from Seberang Prai on the mainland to Gelugor on the island, this is one of many architectural wonder in Malaysia.
It was officially opened by our visionary Prime Minister, Dato' Dr. Mahathir in 1985. It ranks as the longest bridge in Asia and 5th largest in the world.
The Penang Bridge costs RM 800 million and took five years to build. Before the bridge was built, people depended upon ferry services to cross the Penang Straits.
A clock tower at the junction of Jalan Tun Syed Sheh Barakbah and Lebuh Light. The clock tower built to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. The 60 feet high clock tower is divided into four tiers. The first tier is octagonal, followed by square base. Second and third tiers and finishes by arched and domed cupola. Moorish design elements such as the dome and arches, the balconies on the second tier with horse shoe arched openings, battlemented parapet of the first tier and etc. were used in the design. The clock placed on the third tier. From a far the clock tower look more like a minaret of a mosque.
The Penang Butterfly Farm (PBF), the first tropical butterfly farm ever set up in the world, was founded in 1986. It is located in Telok Bahang, a fishing village located north of the island.
At the last count, the Penang Butterfly Farm is sanctuary to an average flying population of 4,000 Malaysian butterflies from 120 different species, including some very rare and famous ones, like the Indian Leaf (Kallima paralekta), the endangered Yellow Birdwing (Troides helena) and the Rajah Brooke's Birdwing, arguably Malaysia's most well-known insect.
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