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Welcome to Penang

Penang is one of the thirteen states that make up Malaysia and lies off the northwest coast of Peninsula Malaysia. The island covers an area of 285 sq km and is linked to the mainland by the 13.5 km Penang Bridge and a 24-hour ferry service.

Getting There

By Air

Penang International Airport
11909 Bayan Lepas
Penang Malaysia
Tel: (604) 6430373

Penang is easily accessible by air with daily flights from major capitals of the region. The national carrier Malaysia Airlines operates more than 20 flights daily between Kuala Lumpur and Penang. The Penang International Airport is about 20 km from the city center.

City taxis are available outside of the airport. Just approach the taxi-limousine counter on the far right of the arrival hall and pay for a taxi there. Indicate to the receptionist that you are going to City Bay View Hotel, Georgetown. Taxi rate from airport to Georgetown is about RM28.

However, taxis around town area do not have a fixed rate and despite having meters, they would refuse to use it. Therefore, it is best to negotiate the best rate for yourself before entering the taxi.

Flight Schedule

Servicing Airlines Departing City Flight Frequency Reservation Tel
Malaysia Airlines(MAS) Kuala Lumpur/Penang Daily (03)746-3000-24hr(04) 262-1403
Singapore Airlines(SIA) Singapore/Penang Daily (03) 292-3122(02) 223-8888-24hr
Air Asia Kuala Lumpur/Penang Mon, Wed, Sat (03) 7651 2222
Thai Airways Bangkok/Penang Daily (04) 226-8000
Cathay Pacific Airways Hong Kong/Penang Mon,Tue,Fri,Sat (04) 226-0917
EverGreen Airlines(EVA) Taipei/Penang   (04) 229-1484

By Road

The opening of the Penang Bridge linking the mainland of Peninsular Malaysia to Penang Island has facilitated driving to Penang. A charge of RM 7 is levied on all classes of cars at the toll plaza in Perai on the mainland. No payment is required for travelling from the island to the mainland.

By Ferry

From Butterworth, it is necessary to take the ferry to Penang Island. The ferry service is available around the clock for both passengers and vehicles. Tickets are purchased at the Butterworth terminal. Rates are applicable for a return journey.

Fares: J Adult-RM0.60 J Children-RM0.30

*The rates charged for vehicles are based on the engine capacity of the car and number of passengers.

Cars below 1200c.c. RM4.00 + 0.40 sen per passenger
Cars above 1200c.c RM 5.00 + 0.40 sen per passenger

Frequency:
6am-midnight: every 8-10 mins
midnight-1.20am: every 30 mins
1.20am-6am: every 60 mins

Penang-Pangkalan Raja Tun Uda ( (04) 210 2363-24 hrs
Butterworth (04) 331 5780 (office)
Pangkalan Sultan Abdul Halim (04) 332 9211 ext. 385-24 hrs

By Rail

The journey from Kuala Lumpur to Butterworth takes approximately 6 hours. First and second class passengers travel in comfort in the air-conditioned coaches. Taking the train is a comfortable way to travel within the country, and offers an opportunity to view the countryside.
Keretapi Tanah Melayu BerhAd, Butterworth (04) 331 2796.

Traveling visa and customs formalities

Please refer to the following link for the latest and detailed information about visa requirement to enter Malaysia
http://www.tourism.gov.my/destination/entry.htm

Map of Penang

Food

Hawker Fare At Its Best

Welcome to the world of Penang's reknown hawker fare. Most vacationers know that no holiday in Penang is complete without tasting the many sumptuous hawker delights. Here is a list of recommended hawker sites where the vendors cook up a storm that will satisfy everyone's palate.

Gurney Drive is a popular 2km esplanade's hawker center which has a large number of stalls with an even larger variety of Penang's deliciously famous hawker food, which come in large portions with lots of ingredients. There is a good mixture of Malay, Chinese and Mamak (Indian Moslem cuisine) food that you could sample to your heart's content for as low RM 1.70 and above.

Among the local food that you must sample are assam laksa, passembor, nasi kandar, ais kacang (or famously called ABC which stands for "ais batu campor"), tea tarik with roti canai and so on.

Assam Laksa

An irresistible hawker's delight: translucent meehoon immersed in sourish assam soup, topped with pieces of fish, mint leaves, strips of cucumber and pineapple. This Peranakan-influenced soup dish is priced at a modest rate of between RM1.70 and RM2. Char Bee Hoon (fried rice noodles) Delicious and economical. For as little as 80 sen, one can enjoy a filling meal. Though fried in bulk, the quality is maintained as if every plate you eat was individually fried. A good takeaway order.

  • In the morning: a stall opposite Perak RoAd wet market.
  • In the evening: a pushcart at Chulia Street/Chulia Lane junction.
  • Also at the night hawker stalls in Kimberley Street.

Nasi Kandar

A popular meal for those who like curry. Rice, vegetables, an assortment of meat or fish curry served in whatever combination you prefer; mix the different curry gravies for a totally unique dining sensation!

  • At Burmah RoAd, opposite Union Primary School.
  • Also, the stalls at Jalan Gurdwara.
  • Kasim Mustafa Restaurant
  • Kayu Nasi Kandar Restaurant in Bukit Jambul

History of Penang

Penang was established as in 1786 by Francis Light as British's first trading post in Far East. Light had persuaded the Sultan of Kedah to cede Pulau Pinang ("Island of the Betel Nut") to the British in exchange for military assistance. To stimulate Penang's growth, the British founder and superintendent, Francis Light, decided to allow immigrants to claim whatever land they could clear. Within a few decades, the island had attracted more than 10,000 settlers and traders, including Malays, Sumatrans, Indians, and especially Chinese. Light's attempts to stimulate agriculture on the island were largely unsuccessful, but Penang was soon established as a major trading port for tea, spices, china, and cloth. The city of Penang is today a bustling city in which Eastern and Western influences blend to form a unique culture.

People of Penang

The people of Penang come from mainly three main groups - Malay, Chinese and Indian. There is also a high number of immigrant workers from Indonesia, Bangladesh and Myanmar currently working and residing in Penang. Malaysian Chinese have a tremendous presence here in this island - in some ways more so than the Malays. There are small Malay villages/enclaves on Penang Island namely Balik Pulau and Batu Maung.

Climate

Temperature are fairly uniform throughout the year between 22C to 33C and humidity is very high at 85-95% with rainfall fairly distributed throughout the year.

Security

Generally speaking, Penang is a safe place. However to prevent any untoward incidents from happening, it is best to take the following measures:

1. Participants are encouraged to leave their passports at the hotel's safety deposit box at the front desk. They could make copies of their passports to take along when outside the hotel.

2. The hotels also recommend that guests not to carry large amounts of cash outside the hotel.

Page location: http://www.eva.mpg.de/~gil/ismil/8/penang.html
Page last modified: 18 July 2004