Penang is one of Malaysia’s most famous resort destinations. The state consists of Penang Island, and a strip of the mainland known as Seberang Perai. Georgetown, its capital, is a fascinating metropolitan city with historical buildings and cultural landmarks. Penang’s northern shoreline, characterised by expensive stretches of golden sand and glittering waters, is a vacation spot for foreign and local visitors alike.
Batu Ferringhi, situated along the coastal road northwest of Georgetown, is most popular beach in Penang, lined with a string of international-standard hotels and resorts.
Soak in the sun or unwind on the beach and enjoy a host of aquatic thrills from banana boat rides to canoeing and jet-skiing. For a spine-tingling adventure, try parasailing to enjoy the view of the beach from the sky.
As the sun sets, Batu Ferringhi comes alive with a carnival like atmosphere with an open-air bazaar selling anything from ornate curios to enticing souvenir items. Watch local artisans demonstrate the intricate art of craft-making and batik-painting. Dubbed the Ferringhi Walk, the bazaar offers shoppers a host of attractions.
Tanjung Bungah is another popular beach resort in Penang. The numerous luxury resorts here offer a relaxing seaside vacation. The most charming feature of Tanjung Bungah is its many secluded coves, nestled within the shelter of overhanging cliffs and gigantic rocks.
At the north western end of the coastal road lies Teluk Bahang. Its idyllic beach offers a solitary luxury hotel promising a tranquil ambience for those who prefer privacy. Nearby is the Tropical Spice Garden, a living collection of more than 500 verities of flora from Malaysia and around the world. The eight-acre valley is reputedly the largest showcase of tropical herbs and species in the region.
Further west from Teluk Bahang are several beaches which lie off the beaten track. Situated in Penang’s National Park, these pristine beaches make for excellent excursions to get a glimpse into the vast variety of the island’s flora and fauna.
Monkey Beach, a secluded spot in the northwest of the island, is ideal for quiet picnics under shady casuarinas. Adventure-lovers can explore the jungle trail from Monkey Beach to the Muka Head Lighthouse, perched atop a 785-feet-high cliff.
Further away, Kerachut Beach offers an unspoilt environment and picturesque views. In the hinterland, a lake containing distinct layers of fresh water and seawater is an added attraction. Both of these beaches are only accessible by boat or by hiking trails from Teluk Bahang. Enquire with the respective resorts or private operators. Avid birdwatchers or outdoor lovers can delight in taking the jungle trail to obverse monkeys, squirrels and other small animals along the way.
Jerejak Island, off the island’s east coast, makes an interesting escapade. This tiny island resort offers total privacy amidst lush greenery.
To experience the charms of Penang, take a city tour for a glimpse into its nostalgic past. The Esplanade in Georgetown is a delightful seafront foe an evening stroll. A distinctive landmark here is the Fort Cornwalls, erected by Captain Francis Light in the early nineteenth century. Hawker-style dining is the norm here and further up along Gurney Drive, a popular haunt for tourists.
Little India and Campbell Street delight with an endless assortment of bric-a-brac, souvenirs and antiques.