Up the coast from Kuala Lumpur, Penang’s mix of historical heritage, alluring cuisine, easy going beaches, modern city life and the interesting UNESCO World Heritage Site of Georgetown, makes for a very worthwhile destination.

A city with an assured contemporary buzz has also held onto its past and multicultural heritage for an intriguing mix of architecture with churches, mosques, temples and reflects Penang’s assorted social fabric of Chinese to Malay and Indian. Infamous throughout all of South East Asia for its gastronomy, many find its food stalls, hawker centres and restaurants reason enough to visit Penang. Thanks to the culinary contribution of its varied inhabitants you can feast on Indian curries, Thai delicacies, Malay specialities and Chinese staples.

Besides history and culture, Penang also boasts an array of luxurious sun-soaked beaches on the northern shore. Here, swaying palm trees dot the serene, sandy coastline with Batu Ferringhi being a top choice.

What to do

  • A privately guided historical tour of Georgetown
  • Private tasting tours with an expert local guide and food buff
  • Explore the intriguing cultural and religious mixture of Penang

When to go

December to February are the best months to go for the dry season and during which many of the national festivities take place.


For me, Penang is a must-see for any visitors to peninsular Malaysia. The ties with its colonial past are still very much apparent as you travel by rickshaw through the UNESCO-protected Georgetown. As well as the British connection, Chinese and Indian influences make this attractive city a real melting pot of cultures. It also means the food here is some of the best in the country!

Rachel O'Leary
Travel Designer