Holidays to Penang
Penang, an island state off the northwestern coast of Peninsular Malaysia, is an incredibly diverse holiday destination that offers a rich blend of cultures, history, and gastronomy. Known as the "Pearl of the Orient", Penang is famous for its UNESCO World Heritage-listed George Town, where colonial architecture coexists with ornate Chinese mansions and traditional Malay stilt houses.
The street art scene in George Town is another delightful attraction, inviting visitors to engage in a playful city-wide treasure hunt. Penang is also a foodie paradise, celebrated for its vibrant street food culture that serves an enticing mix of Malay, Chinese, and Indian flavors.
Beyond the urban areas, Penang boasts beautiful beaches, lush tropical gardens, and hillside retreats like Penang Hill, offering panoramic views of the island. Whether you're seeking cultural immersion, culinary adventures, historical exploration, or natural beauty, Penang offers a multifaceted holiday experience.
Penang offers a multitude of attractions and activities that cater to diverse interests. Here are some top recommendations:
- Explore George Town: Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, George Town is brimming with historic buildings, temples, and colonial architecture. Wander around its streets and enjoy the fascinating blend of cultures.
- Discover Street Art: George Town is renowned for its creative street art. Embark on a walking tour to discover the famous murals and wrought-iron caricatures that depict local life and traditions.
- Visit the Clan Jetties: Experience the traditional lifestyle of the Chinese clans who have lived in these waterfront houses on stilts for generations. Chew Jetty is the most touristic and vibrant, with a range of shops and eateries.
- Indulge in Street Food: Penang is often hailed as the food capital of Malaysia. Don't miss trying dishes like Char Kway Teow (stir-fried noodles), Asam Laksa (noodle soup), and Nasi Kandar (rice served with a variety of curries).
- Tour the Penang Peranakan Mansion: This museum is a recreation of a typical 19th-century Baba-Nyonya residence, offering a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle and unique culture of the Peranakans, also known as Straits Chinese.
- Visit Kek Lok Si Temple: The largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia, Kek Lok Si is an impressive hilltop complex with stunning architecture and views over Penang.
- Enjoy Beaches and Watersports: Head to Batu Ferringhi for a range of beachside activities, including jet-skiing, parasailing, or just relaxing on the sandy beach.
- Take a Trip to Penang Hill: Ride the funicular to the top of Penang Hill. Enjoy the cooler air, explore the nature trails, and soak in panoramic views of the island.
- Explore Tropical Spice Garden: This eco-attraction tucked within a natural valley features over 500 species of flora and fauna. It's a must-visit for nature enthusiasts.
- Visit the Entopia Butterfly Farm: A tropical sanctuary for butterflies and insects, it's a wonderful place for families and nature lovers.
Weather in Penang
Penang, located in Malaysia, has a tropical rainforest climate which is warm and humid throughout the year. The temperature typically ranges from about 22°C (72°F) to 32°C (90°F) throughout the year.
It has two main seasons:
The Dry Season: This typically occurs from December to March. During this time, the weather is mostly sunny and dry, making it the best time for tourists to visit. However, occasional rainfall can still occur.
The Rainy Season: The rainy season often falls between April and November, with September and October typically being the wettest months. During this time, Penang experiences heavy rainfall, often in the form of thunderstorms.
Do keep in mind that the climate can vary year by year and it's always good to check the weather forecast before planning any outdoor activities.
The weather, however, does not usually deter tourists as there are many indoor activities to engage in Penang such as exploring its rich heritage and food scene. Plus, the rain usually doesn't last the whole day and can provide a respite from the heat.
Cuisine in Penang
Penang is often hailed as the food capital of Malaysia due to its diverse and vibrant food culture. It's particularly famous for its street food. The fusion of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and Peranakan cultures in Penang has led to a unique blend of flavours and dishes. Here are some of the most common types of cuisine you can expect:
Hawker Food: Street food or hawker food is a must-try in Penang. Dishes like Char Kway Teow (stir-fried rice cake strips), Assam Laksa (a tangy, sour and spicy noodle soup), Nasi Kandar (steamed rice served with a variety of curries and side dishes), Hokkien Mee (prawn noodle soup), and Rojak (a fruit and vegetable salad) are local favourites.
Peranakan or Nyonya Cuisine: Peranakan cuisine, also known as Nyonya cuisine, comes from the Peranakans, descendants of early Chinese migrants who settled in Penang, Malacca, Singapore, and Indonesia inter-marrying with local Malays. The cuisine is a unique blend of Chinese, Malay, and Indonesian flavors. Some popular dishes include Nyonya Laksa (spicy noodle soup), Otak Otak (grilled fish cake), and Ayam Pong Teh (chicken stewed in fermented soybean paste).
Chinese Cuisine: Penang's Chinese community contributes to the island's diverse culinary scene. You'll find everything from Dim Sum breakfasts to flavorful noodle dishes like Wantan Mee and the dessert Ais Kacang, a shaved ice dessert with sweet toppings.
Indian Cuisine: Penang is also known for its Indian food, with a focus on South Indian cuisine. Roti Canai (Indian-influenced flatbread), Banana Leaf Rice, and various types of curry dishes are common in the Indian food scene of Penang.
Malay Cuisine: Traditional Malay food can also be easily found in Penang. Nasi Lemak (coconut milk rice), Satay (grilled skewered meat), and Ikan Bakar (grilled fish) are just a few examples of Malay dishes you might encounter.
Seafood: Given its location on the coast, Penang offers a variety of fresh seafood dishes. These range from simple grilled fish to extravagant seafood platters.
Western Cuisine: There are also numerous cafes and restaurants serving Western food, from pizza and pasta to steak and burgers.
Desserts and Snacks: For sweet lovers, the diversity of desserts is amazing. Try Cendol (an iced sweet dessert), Tau Sar Piah (mung bean biscuits), and various tropical fruits.
Don't forget to enjoy local beverages like Teh Tarik (pulled tea), local coffee, or fresh tropical fruit juices. When in Penang, it's encouraged to explore the food stalls, hawker centers, and night markets to get a true sense of the local food scene.
Local markets are also a great place to sample local cheeses, olives, and other produce if you're looking to have a picnic or prepare your own meals.
Accommodation in Penang
Luxury Hotels and Resorts: Penang has several high-end luxury hotels and resorts, especially around the beach areas of Batu Ferringhi. Here you can expect top-notch amenities like swimming pools, spas, fitness centers, and gourmet restaurants.
Mid-range Hotels: In George Town and other popular areas, you'll find numerous mid-range hotels that offer comfortable accommodations with standard amenities.
Boutique Hotels: Given Penang's rich history, there are several restored colonial buildings that have been turned into boutique hotels, particularly in George Town. These offer a unique and often luxurious stay.
Budget Hotels and Hostels: For those on a budget, there are many affordable hotels and hostels available throughout Penang. Some of these even offer private rooms, although shared dormitories are more common.
Bed and Breakfasts: B&Bs offer a more personal touch to your stay and can often provide valuable insight into local attractions and cuisine.
Homestays and Vacation Rentals: If you're planning to stay for a longer period, or if you want a more home-like environment, homestays and vacation rentals can be a good option. These range from apartments to houses, and are particularly common in residential areas.
Heritage Accommodations: In the UNESCO World Heritage Site of George Town, you can find heritage guest houses or hotels. These accommodations offer the charm of the past combined with modern facilities.
Always remember to check reviews and book in advance to secure the best accommodations for your needs. Also make sure to sort your travel insurance well in advance of your holiday, Multi-Trip Travel Insurance from Tripinsurer.com is just one that might suit your needs as it offers up to 62 days continuous cover per trip.
- Emergency Assistance 24/7 - 365
- Personal Accident Up to £25,000
- Cancellations Per Person Up to £5,000
- Emergency Medical Expenses Up to £15 million
- Delayed & Missed Departure Cover
- Baggage Cover