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Penang is a fascinating combination of Eastern and Western influences, and a flight to Penang with Qatar Airways guarantees a varied and exotic experience.
The city has a definite old world charm and retains many of its age-old traditions, with the well-preserved antique buildings of George Town now an UNESCO World Heritage Site. When you fly to Penang you’ll be able to experience the city’s remarkable heritage for yourself as well as dine out in Malaysia’s acknowledged food capital and most colourful and cosmopolitan urban centre.
The sights and sounds of Penang reflect the city’s rich cultural heritage, from ornate temples to tropical gardens. This is your opportunity to glimpse a world where history, tradition and nature blend harmoniously and become greater than their parts.
George Town for example has a fascinating colonial past and its streets are lined with stately buildings from that time. Every structure has its own unique tale to tell, and you can take a guided walking tour during your trip to Penang to explore the district in more depth.
Penang Hill, 821 metres above sea level, is home to some of the grandest and most flamboyant of the city’s old colonial mansions, now turned into rather more useful shops and restaurants for the citizens and visitors.
You get excellent panoramic views of the city after an exhilarating 30 minute ride by cable car to the funicular station at the top of the hill.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife were particularly impressed by the Butterfly Farm when they visited Penang in 2008, and this enchanting location is still wowing visitors today. The live museum features hundreds of exotic species and is also a research and conservation centre.
On any trip to Penang a visit to Batu Ferringhi Beach is an absolute must. The miles of golden sand and fabulous sea views are a respite from the urban hustle and bustle and in the evening hawkers flock here to sell their wares and you can pick up some real bargains.
In the back part of George Town you’ll find the exotic and traditional Weld Quay Clan Jetties, home to no fewer than five of the major Chinese clans. There’s a laid-back lifestyle here, with rickety houses and huts, and the jetties are a reminder of the time when this was a major port more than a century ago.
The National Park along at Pentai Acheh is worth a visit for its immaculate beaches and eco-attractions such as a rare meromictic lake, where freshwater and seawater coexist. It’s a popular spot for hiking, boating and picnics.
There are all sorts of places to eat out in the bustling metropolis, from street vendors’ stalls selling traditional foodstuffs to haute cuisine restaurants specialising in international dishes. Drop into Penang Hawker Fare to explore Malay, Chinese and Indian fast food.
In Chulia Street and Upper Penang Road you’ll find a good selection of comfortable lounges and coffee shops.
George Town has some of the best restaurants in the whole of Asia, and even boasts its own George Town Festival to show off its varied cuisine. The stalls of George Town are a real kaleidoscope of gourmet offerings, with an unparalleled quality and diversity of regional cooking.
Penang’s Hawker Fare with its crowded roadside stalls and busy coffee shops is at the pulsing heart of the city and is a great place to grab a coffee and snack, and watch the crowds come and go. It’s here that you can also pick up a wide range of souvenirs and other merchandise if you’re travelling to Penang for a touch of retail therapy.
For more haute couture and boutique outlets head for the centre of George Town where you’ll find a range of designer clothes shops and upmarket jewellers. Although Penang has some small shopping malls you’ll find that the best shopping opportunities are in the independent outlets and the thousands of street hawkers.
Flights to Penang land at Penang International Airport, 14km from the centre of George Town. Three bus routes will the take you into the city.
Visa restrictions for entry into the country will depend on your country of origin, length of stay and whether your trip is for business or pleasure. So before you fly to Penang please check the visa and passport requirements.
Currency: Malaysian Ringgit (MYR)
Voltage: 240 V 50 Hz
Plugs: Type G
Language: Malaysian Malay / English
International dialing code: +60