Penang

HISTORY

George Town, the capital of Penang, is one of the oldest and largest cities in Malaysia. It was named in honour of the English King George III who reigned from 1760 to 1820. The island was originally known by native seafarers as Pulau Ka-Satu, meaning The First Island, because it was the largest island encountered on the trading sea-route between Lingga and…  ...Continue

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SOCIAL AND CULTURAL

The ‘Greater Penang’ conurbation is the second largest metropolitan area in Malaysia after Greater Kuala Lumpur. Its geographical reach extends from Penang island to a parallel strip of land on the mainland called Seberang Prai (known as Province Wellesley during the British era) as well as parts of neighbouring state Kedah. ...Continue

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ECONOMY AND BUSINESS

Earlier described by travellers and visitors from Britain and Europe as the Pearl of the Orient, Penang is today probably the most visited city in the nation. It is largely urbanized but it also has smaller fishing and agricultural based villages so the countryside is really very close by. Almost 90 percent of households in the state have Internet connection.

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KOPITIAM AND EATERIES


Paya Terubong Nasik Lemak

200, Jln Paya Terubung, Paya Terubong, 11060 Ayer Itam, Pulau Pinang

+6 012-465 6596


CY Choy Road Hokkien Mee

533, Jalan C.Y. Choy, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang

+6 010-566 2217


Air Itam Sister Curry Mee

612 T, Jalan Air Itam, Pekan Ayer Itam, 11500 Ayer Itam, Pulau Pinang

+6 012-410 8152

 

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SHOPPING

No. Shopping malls/plazas

Address & Contact

1. 1st Avenue Mall 182, Jalan Magazine, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang

04-261 1121

2. All Seasons Place Lebuhraya Thean Tek, Bandar Baru Air Itam, 11500 George Town, Pulau Pinang

04-829 3999

3. Bukit Jambul Complex 11900 Bayan Lepas

04-645 6788

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TOURIST ATTRACTIONS AND PLACES

No. Tourist attractions and places

Address & Contact

1. Kek Lok Si Temple Penang, Air Itam

04-828 3317

2. Penang Hill Penang Hill, Bukit Bendera, 11300 Bukit Bendera, Penang

04-828 8880

3. Botanical Garden 10470 George Town, Penang

04-227 0428

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PERSONALITIES AND CELEBRITIES

HALL OF FAME

PROMINENT HOMETOWN FIGURES

Anwar Ibrahim (Bukit Mertajam) Politician
Nicole David Squash Player
Chung Keng Quee Pioneer Community and Business Leader
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  • HISTORY

    Palm tree at beach in Penang, Malaysia

    George Town, the state capital of Penang, is one of the oldest and largest cities in Malaysia. It was named in honour of the English King George III who reigned from 1760 to 1820. The island was originally known by native seafarers as Pulau Ka-Satu, meaning The First Island, because it was the largest island encountered on the trading sea-route between Lingga and Kedah. Similarly, the Siamese, then the overlord of Kedah, referred to the island as Koh Maak.

    Captain Francis Light

    The modern history of Penang began when the island became a British possession in 1786. Francis Lighta captain of the British Royal Navy who founded George Town, was also a trader for the British East India Company (EIC) and received from the company instructions to form trade relations in the Malay Peninsula.

    Light subsequently landed in Kedah, which was then a Siamese vassal state. Aware that the Kedah Sultanate was under external and internal threat, he promised British military protection to the then Sultan of Kedah, Sultan Muhammad Jiwa Zainal Adilin II; in return, the Sultan offered Penang Island to the British.

    Light founded George Town as a free port to entice traders away from nearby Dutch trading posts. Under the EIC’s administration, Penang served as a trading post for commerce between China and India. The colonial economy also consisted of the spice trade where nutmeg, clove and pepper were cultivated in farms on the island.

    Walkway to the sea

    One such colonial plantation was Ladang Buah Pala, which provided living accommodation to its estate workers’ descendants in Kampung Buah Pala right up until 2008. Penang–together with Malacca and Singapore–collectively became the Straits Settlements under British rule; and for a brief period of six years (1826-1832), George Town was the Straits Settlements capital.

    Penang became a British crown colony on 1 April 1867, putting it under direct British control. The island remained in British hands until 19 December 1941 when Japanese forces took it over. Revisionist historians have contended that the moral collapse of British rule in Southeast Asia came not with the surrender of Singapore to the Japanese during the second world war but with the covert evacuation of Penang’s European population at that point of history.

    A heritage of Penang island

    Another interesting historical note is that George Town, during the colonial period, due to the greater level of participation in municipal affairs by its local residents and substantial press freedom, was regarded as being more intellectually vibrant than Singapore. Hence the city became a magnet for well known English and Asian intellectuals and revolutionaries, including Rudyard Kipling, Somerset Maugham and Sun Yat-sen.

    Visitors to the city will find Penang’s history not only in its buildings and monuments but also in the community and everyday life of the city which is a rich mix of modernity and turbulent history.

    George Town Dispensary Building

  • SOCIAL AND CULTURAL

    Chinese Opera

    The ‘Greater Penang’ conurbation is the second largest metropolitan area in Malaysia after Greater Kuala Lumpur. Its geographical reach extends from Penang island to a parallel strip of land on the mainland called Seberang Prai (known as Province Wellesley during the British era) as well as parts of neighbouring state Kedah.

    Penang proper itself has a state population of close to 1.8 million, of which 46 percent are Malay, 43 percent Chinese, 10.5 percent Indian, and the remaining number an assortment of guest workers belonging to various nationalities.

    The biggest Chinese sub-ethnic group in Penang is the Hokkien whose forefathers originated from Fujian province in southern China. The Teochews and the Cantonese are the next biggest sub-ethic group of Penang’s Chinese community. The Chinese in Penang refer to themselves as Tn̂g-lâng or ”people the Tang dynasty”.

    The EIC brought European expats to reside in Penang. Many of these residents, however, were evacuated during the Second World War and never returned after Japanese planes strafed and bombed George Town in early December 1941.

    A legacy that has lasted longer than the British expat presence is the high level of English proficiency among older Penangites. This is due to their schooling in the mission schools that continue to this day to educate Penang’s young although the last of the Christian ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’ (nuns) who had taught in these schools have passed on.

  • ECONOMY AND BUSINESS

    Entering the Penang bridge

    Earlier described by travellers and visitors from Britain and the rest of Europe as the Pearl of the Orient, Penang is today one of the most visited city in the nation. It is largely urbanised but it also has fishing and farming based villages so the countryside is really very close by. Almost 90 percent of households in the state have Internet connection.

    Physically connecting Penang island to the peninsular mainland are the country’s two longest road bridges, the Penang Bridge and the Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge, as well as a ferry service that provides a leisurely and relaxing ride with panoramic photo opportunities.

    Penang has an international airport and a busy seaport. It also has what is dubbed the Silicon Valley of the East, an electronics manufacturing Free Industrial Zone located in Bayan Lepas with some of the world’s hi-tech companies having their manufacturing base in the area. Established in the 70s by the then Chief Minister, Lim Chong Eu, the Bayan Lepas Free Trade Zone has been instrumental in reversing the state’s economic fortune after it lost its free port status.

    A funicular track up to the temple

    Also among the biggest economic generators in Penang today are its seaside and recreation tourism sector, and booming medical tourism industry. Georgetown is a financial hub for northern Malaysia and home to famous corporations such as Standard Chartered which was the first bank to be established there in 1875 at Beach Street – so named because of its proximity to the beach.

    The old town of Georgetown in Penang, northern of Malaysia, Old Heritage British Colonel Building used for current Penang Local Council in Esplanade

    The Esplanade is Georgetown’s popular seafront promenade. When Captain Light first landed here, it was a swamp. His statue marks the spot and for tourists to snap a shot.

    The British Council in Penang is located in an interesting building that is the Chung Siew Yin building on Light Street – the street named after Francis Light. Nearby the historic banking district sits the illustrious Eastern & Oriental Hotel, also known by its initials E&O.

    Renowned authors who have stayed at the E&O include Rudyard Kipling, Somerset Maugham, Noel Coward and Hermann Hesse. Within walking distance of the hotel are the remains of Fort Cornwallis and its lighthouse.

    Other landmark buildings within the Georgetown heritage city limits are the Goddess of Mercy (Kuan Yin) Temple, Kapitan Keling Mosque, St. George’s Church and Fort Point Hindu Temple.

    Beautiful old mansions open to the public and worth a visit are those that used to belong to late Chinese tycoons Lim Lean Teng, Cheong Fatt Tze and Leong Fee.

    Penang state government offices are located in the Komtar tower at the epicentre of the city. The Komtar building also features a geodesic dome that is the work of local architect Lim Chong Keat. He was inspired by visionary architect Buckminster Fuller.

  • KOPITIAM AND EATERIES


    Paya Terubong Nasik Lemak

    200, Jln Paya Terubung, Paya Terubong, 11060 Ayer Itam, Pulau Pinang

    +6 012-465 6596


    CY Choy Road Hokkien Mee

    533, Jalan C.Y. Choy, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang

    +6 010-566 2217


    Air Itam Sister Curry Mee

    612 T, Jalan Air Itam, Pekan Ayer Itam, 11500 Ayer Itam, Pulau Pinang

    +6 012-410 8152


    Island Park Kopitiam

    Island Park, 38, Tingkat Tembaga, Taman Guan Joo Seng, 11600 Jelutong, Pulau Pinang

    +6 017-401 8422


    Toh Soon Cafe

    Lebuh Campbell, George Town, 10450 George Town, Pulau Pinang

    +6 04-261 3754


    Ying Her Kopitiam

    104 E, Jalan Macalister, 10400 George Town, Pulau Pinang

    +6 011-1255 9309


    Swee Kong Kopitiam

    319, Jalan Burma, George Town, 10350 George Town, Pulau Pinang

    +6 016-410 3452


    XiXiang Kaya Kopitiam

    Gurney Paragon, L2.19, Level 2, 10250 George Town, Pulau Pinang

    +6 04-295 9284


    Ho Ping Cafe 和平茶餐室

    211, Jalan Penang, George Town, 10000 George Town, Pulau Pinang

    +6 012-332 8219


    Yee Hai Kopitiam

    P, 309, Jalan Perak, Jelutong, 11600 George Town, Pulau Pinang

    +6 012-490 9983


    Toh Soon Cafe

    140- 184 Lebuh Campbell, Off Jalan Penang, 10200 Georgetown, Pulau Pinang

    +6 04-261 3754


    City Rio Cafe

    64-I Lebuh Bishop, Georgetown, 10200 Penang

    +6 04264 5010


    Kedai Kopi Sin Hwa

    329, Jalan Burma, Georgetown, Penang

    +6 017-426 0903


    Kedai Makanan Cintra Food Corner

    40, Lebuh Cintra, 10100 Georgetown, Pulau Pinang

    +6 012- 480 3308


    Ah Leng Char Koay Teow

    343, Jalan Dato Keramat, Georgetown, 10150 Pulau Pinang

    +6 012-498 3962


    Cowboy Street Cafe

    No. 171-B, Lebuh Victoria, 10300 Georgetown, Pulau Pinang

    +6 012-493 5875


    Kafe Ping Hooi

    No. 179 Lebuh Carnarvon, 10100 Georgetown, Pulau Pinang

    +6 016-422 9188


    Tong Ann Coffee

    No. 90 Jalan C.Y Choy, 10300 Georgetown, Pulau Pinang

    +6 04-261 5008

  • SHOPPING

    No. Shopping malls/plazas Address & Contact
    1. 1st Avenue Mall 182, Jalan Magazine, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang

    04-261 1121

    2. All Seasons Place Lebuhraya Thean Tek, Bandar Baru Air Itam, 11500 George Town, Pulau Pinang

    04-829 3999

    3. Bukit Jambul Complex 11900 Bayan Lepas

    04-645 6788

    4. D’Piazza Mall Bayan Baru, 11900, Pulau Pinang

    04-637 1999

    5. GAMA Supermarket & Departmental Store No. 1, Wisma Gama, Jalan Dato Keramat, 10150 Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia.

    604-226 2111

    6. The Summit Bukit Mertajam Plaza 566, Jalan Arumugan Pillai, 14000 Bukit Mertajam, Pulau Pinang

    04-538 6666

    7. Gurney Paragon 163-D, Gurney Paragon Mall,, Gurney Drive, 10250 George Town, Penang

    04-228 8266

    8. Gurney Plaza 170, Gurney Dr, Pulau Tikus, 10250 George Town, Penang

    04-222 8222

    9. Sunway Carnival Mall 3068, Jalan Todak, Seberang Jaya, 13700 Perai, Pulau Pinang

    04-397 9888

    10. Island Plaza 118, Jln Tanjung Tokong, Seri Tanjung Pinang, 10470 George Town, Penang

    04-890 8228

  • TOURIST ATTRACTIONS AND PLACES

    Penang’s beach belt stretches from Tanjung Tokong to Tanjung Bungah to Batu Ferringhi to Teluk Bahang but it is Batu Ferringhi where foreign visitors flock to which has the most seaside resorts, seafood restaurants and a night crafts bazaar.

    Popular tourist stops include the Kek Lok Si pagoda in Ayer Itam, the two Buddhist temples in Burma Lane — the Burmese one on one side of the road while the Siamese temple is on the opposite side of the road (with its back facing Bangkok Lane), and the Snake Temple in Bayan Lepas.

    Religious events that are a Penang tradition drawing large crowds to the streets include the Wesak Day night procession featuring lit Buddha statues on floats, the Thaipusam procession featuring chariots of the god and the Saint Anne’s feast day and pilgrimage to her church in Bukit Mertajam.

     

    No. Tourist attractions and places

    Address & Contact

    1. Kek Lok Si Temple Penang, Air Itam

    04-828 3317

    2. Penang Hill Penang Hill, Bukit Bendera, 11300 Bukit Bendera, Penang

    04-828 8880

    3. Botanical Garden 10470 George Town, Penang

    04-227 0428

    4. Penang State Museum & Art Gallery Lebuh Farquhar, George Town, 10450 George Town, Pulau Pinang

    04-226 1462

    5. Dhammikarama Burmese Temple 24, Jalan Burma, Pulau Tikus, 10250 George Town, Pulau Pinang

    04-226 9575

    6. Wat Chaiya Mangalaram Thai Buddhist Temple 17, Lorong Burma, Pulau Tikus, 10250 George Town, Pulau Pinang

    016-410 5115

    7. St. George’s Anglican Church 1, Lebuh Farquhar, George Town, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang

    04-261 2739

    8. Viewing Deck Hill Heritage Trail, Jalan Bukit Bendera, 11300 Ayer Itam, Pulau Pinang

    04-828 8880

    9. Colonial Penang Museum 7, Jalan D.S Ramanathan, Pulau Tikus, 10350 George Town, Pulau Pinang

    04-228 8561

    10. The Habitat Penang Hill Jalan Stesen, Bukit Bendera Air Itam, 11500 Penang, Pulau Pinang

    04-827 2677

  • PERSONALITIES AND CELEBRITIES

    PROMINENT HOMETOWN FIGURES

    Anwar Ibrahim (Bukit Mertajam) Politician
    Nicole David Squash Player
    Chung Keng Quee Pioneer Community and Business Leader
    Anwar Fazal Activist
    Danny Quah Academic
    Eddy Choong Badminton Player
    Chung Thye Phin Pioneer Community and Business Leader
    Gu Hongming Author
    Heah Joo Seang Community and Business Leader
    Koh Lay Huan Pioneer Community Leader
    Koh Tsu Koon Politician
    Lim Boon Keng Pioneer Doctor and Educationist
    Lim Chong Eu Politician and State Chief Minister
    Loh Boon Siew Business Tycoon
    Hamid Mydin Sepak Takraw Pioneer
    Yeap Chor Ee Pioneer Businessman and Philantrophist
    Ong Hock Thye Chief Justice
    Nor Mohamed Yakcop Politician
    Tan Aik Huang Badminton Player
    Tan Twan Eng Writer
    Wee Chong Jin Judiciary
    Wong Pow Nee Politician
    Wu Lien-teh Pioneer Public Health Doctor and Plague Fighter
    Gurmit Singh Environmentalist
    Jomo Sundaram Academician
    Raja Mohar Raja Badiozaman Civil Servant
    Abdullah Badawi (Bayan Lepas) Former Prime Minister
    Karpal Singh Politician
    David Arumugam Singer
    Shamsul Saad (Balik Pulau) Activist
    Jimmy Choo Shoe Designer
    Tajuddin Rasdi (Butterworth) Activist