About Penang

The name Penang has a Chinese sound to it and you know that when it comes to things Chinese, they are enigmatic, attractive and have that Chinese chic to them. Well, I didn’t say that Penang is Chinatown really, because you will find Malay, Indian and Chinese people. You will love everything about this island, especially the expansive beaches. Just like all other Malaysian states, Penang is filled with culture, tradition and a rich history.

Below is a summary of what Penang is all about, to enable you to have some knowledge about it, no one likes going to places they have no knowledge of, I am sure you do not either.

Brief history

Penang’s history dates all the way back to the archeological times. It is said to have been originally inhabited the now extinct Semang – Panga and Yen lineage cultures. The pre-colonial era saw the discovery of the area by the Minangkabau people who later on interbred with the Arabs who came to the land coming up with a mixture of the Arab- Minangkabau people.

The colonization of Penang Island begun with English trader and adventurer Captain Francis Light, who made a number of strides in the area, including renaming the area, and having it leased to him by the sultan for military protection. The demise of the captain marked the official beginning of colonization, with Penang being used as a penal settlement, the Sultan losing his power over the island in exchange for money, but had developments in the trade of spices, tin among other goods.

Just like other states in Malaysia, Penang was redeemed by the Second World War and after many attempts, they joined the Federation of Malaysia, even though Penang was originally in Singapore.

Geography and climate

Penang is found on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia, by the Strait of Malacca. Penang state is divided into two, the Penang Island and the Seberang Perai. The island is estimated to be 293 square kilometers, and is mostly forested, hilly and the plains are relatively narrow.

Sebarang Perai on the other hand is estimated to be 653 kilometer square and is a narrow hinterland. The two parts are separated by body of water.  Penang is bordered by Kedah to the north and east, Perak to the south.

The climate, just like all of Malaysia, is tropical rainforest. However, the climate is also influenced by the sea and wind patterns, which sometimes cause a haze. Additionally, Penang experiences some dry months in the year starting with December through February.


Getting around Penang and going outside it is pretty easy as it is served by road, sea, rail and air transport. The bridges, roads and highways connect Penang Island to the mainland. If you want to move around cheaply, use public transport. Buses are readily available and they are cheap, reliable and quick.
Air transport is made possible due to the presence of the Penang International Airport (formerly Bayan Lepas), which serves as the northern gateway to Malaysia. It has direct flights to other states and it enables easy movement of cargo. Ferry services were the main link between the island and the mainland before the bridges were built. This does not mean that they are no longer important. The high speed ferries provide transport to the resorts around the island daily.