"PENANG: Malaysia’s Pearl of the Orient" Penang Travelogue by ancient_traveler

Penang Travel Guide: 2,547 reviews and 5,626 photos

Penang Bridge

Penang or its Malay name of Pulau Pinang is made up of a turtle-shaped island, a total of 292 square kilometers, and a strip of land called Seberang Prai on Peninsular Malaysia about 48 kilometers wide.

Since 1985, the island has been joined to the mainland by the Penang Bridge, one of the longest bridges in the world. Alternatively, travellers arriving from the mainland can hop onto the ferry and take a 20-minute ride across. There are also international flights that connect directly to the international airport on the island.

Malaysia’s ‘Pearl of the Orient’ carries a natural beauty and cultural splendour like no other place. Its name comes from the Malay translation of betel nut – ‘Pinang’. Every year, thousands of visitors come here to experience the unique cultural heritage and scenery. It is also a very cosmopolitan city, perhaps the second busiest in the country after Kuala Lumpur.


is a fantastic place to catch a view of the sunset – and eat at hawkers stalls. Most of Penang’s glorious food can be ordered from the hawker stalls in the area, from Assam Laksa to Popiah and Char Keow Teow to Hokkien Mee. Many families also come here to picnic on weekends and during the night, a bazzar selling all types of goods comes alive in Gurney Drive.


the Wat houses a reclining Buddha statue that is the third largest of its kind in the world - 33 meters in length. On the temple grounds, there are many Buddhist sculptures as well.


a house of benevolence on a street of harmony. Its ituated on Pitt Street (now Jalan Mesjid Kapitan Keling) was constructed in the early 1800s by Chinese migrants, on land given by the East India Company. The temple was built in the style of classic Chinese architecture with ornate curved-ridge rooftops made to look like ocean waves, decorated with dragons and supported by pillars which also feature carvings of dragons. These mythical creatures are believed to be temple guardians.


is a finely-crafted Buddhist temple, located on a hill in Ayer Hitam. Inside, visitors can stroll in the gardens, visit a turtle pond and admire shrines and other sculptures of Buddhist origin.

Penang Laksa

Penang laksa also known as assam laksa from the Malay, comes from the Malaysian island of Penang. It is made with mackerel (ikan kembung) soup and its main distinguishing feature is the assam or tamarind which gives the soup a sour taste. The fish is poached and then flaked. Other ingredients that give Penang laksa its distinctive flavour include lemongrass, galangal (lengkuas) and chilli. Typical garnishes include mint, pineapple slices, thinly sliced onion, hε-ko, a thick sweet prawn paste and use of torch ginger flower. This, and not 'curry mee' is the usual 'laksa' one gets in Penang.

  • Page Updated Feb 12, 2011
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