Penang, Malaysia

Batu Ferringhi, Penang

Batu Ferringhi at night

Penang is an island off the northwestern coast of Peninsular Malaysia and also the name of the Malaysian state which comprises of Penang Island and the adjacent mainland called Seberang Perai. The beaches in Penang are nice but a little lackluster compared to beaches in other parts of Malaysia. However, this is more than compensated by the island's rich multicultural history which its Malay, Chinese, Indian, and European influences. Penang is also well known for being the 'food paradise' of Malaysia.
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Originally called 'Pulau Kasatu' (First Island), t
he name Penang comes from the Malay word 'Pinang', which means betel nut. Penang was part of the Malay sultanate of Kedah until 1786, when Captain Francis Light built a fort at the site of present-day Georgetown and managed to cede Penang to the British East India Company. Penang, along with Melaka and Singapore, was one of the three British Straits Settlements. The British established Georgetown (named after King George III of Great Britain) as the capital of Penang. In 2008, Georgetown was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Today, Penang has the highest population density in Malaysia and is the only state where the ethnic Chinese are the majority. The state of Penang has the third-largest economy amongst the Malaysian states after Selangor and Johor. Besides tourism being a major part of the state's economy, Penang also makes a good living of
electronic manufacturing. Today, there are several multi-national corporations operating factories in Penang's Free Trade Zones including Intel, AMD, BBraun, Dell, Flextronics, Agilent, Osram, Motorola, Seagate, and Jabil Circuit.

Georgetown, Penang

City of Georgetown

Penang, like the rest of Malaysia, has an equatorial climate characterized by high temperatures and humidity. This means temperatures range between 22°C (72°F) at night and 32°C (90°F) during the day. Humidity is high, ranging between 70% and 90% and an annual rainfall of about 2400mm. The driest months are usually January and February while the wet months are from September to November and with frequent rains and thunderstorms expected
in the afternoons.

Beach at Batu Ferringhi, Penang

Beach at Batu Ferringhi

When to Go
Penang's high holiday season is around Christmas, New Year's Day, and Chinese Lunar New Year (occuring in January or February). This is the time when hordes of Malaysian and foreign tourists descend on the island to enjoy the beach and other attractions that Penang has to offer. During the period, hotel accommodation tend to get packed and rates are at its highest. Therefore, plan accordingly when making a trip to Penang.

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