Welcome to Penang, An Island off the nortwestern coast of Peninsular Malaysia. During the glorious era of exploration, Penang became one of the main connecting links for the Asian and American continents and a melting pot of traders from both. This is the main identifying factor of penang that has become malaysia’s most diverse, cosmopolitan and exciting multicultural region.
The centre of all activities in Penang is undoubtedly George Town, Penang’s city, and an urban centre that delivers the old-world Asia in spades. No wonder this city along with Melaka was fêted as Malaysia’s newest UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2008. George Town is relatively clean, safe and well managed. During my visit, I was happy to find the pavements along most roads were well maintained to a good standard. George Town has many attractive pre-Second World War houses and shops, as well as 19th century churches, temples, mosques, and colonial buildings.
Aside from its reputation as a heritage destination, Penang is also well known domestically and in Singapore for being the veritable “food paradise” of Malaysia for its culinary originality and diversity. Some of the best of Malaysian traditional food can be found over the island. These dishes include Char Kway Teow, Penang Laksa and Nasi Kandar are to be found practically everywhere. I ate one of the best char kway teow in my life in a small restaurant I’d come across down a small alleyway. This was a restaurant not listed in any tourist guide I’d seen.
Another unique aspect of Penang is how it’s been acknowledged as one of the leading destinations for ‘medical tourism’ in the Asian region. Here foreign travels come to seek treatment for their medical problems. The hospitals in Penang are staffed by highly trained doctors and nurses as well as providing excellent modern facilities. The majority of the doctors here are educated and certified in the US, Europe and Australia. This all comes at very competitive prices thus providing the island with a valuable addition to its economy.
Between sightseeing on Penang, Lone Pine hotel provides a most comfortable and accommodating place to stay. Tucked away in an idyllic spot along the Batu Ferringhi coastline, Lone Pine is one of the legendary lodges of Penang and features a mixture of colonial spirit and idyllic charm throughout its 90 rooms. All rooms feature breathtaking sea views and a plunge bath on the private balcony.
My trip to Penang was an eventful one and I got the chance to see some of the amazing heritage buildings from before and during the British colonial days. I also stumbled upon some of the best traditional food I’ve ever tasted as well as soaking in the island’s tropical delights. AirAsia has direct flights from several international airports. For more info click on www.airasia.com