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Penang (Malay: Pulau Pinang) is an island-state off the northwestern coast of Peninsular Malaysia. It comprises two halves - Penang Island, where the capital city of George Town is located, and a strip of mainland Peninsula named Seberang Perai. Penang was once known as the “Isle of the Betel Nut” and is listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site since 2008,
Nicknamed the Pearl of the Orient, Penang is famed for its beaches and its rich multicultural history dating back to the beginnings of British colonisation in the 18th. century. Penang is full of Malay, Chinese, Indian and European influences and is well known domestically and in Singapore for being the "food paradise" of Malaysia. Some of the most interesting sites of Penang include the sandy beaches of Tanjung Bungah, the landscape from the summit of Penang Hill and the vipers in the Snake Temple. The quaint nooks and crannies of Georgetown and the Tropical Spice Garden – the only spice garden in South East Asia – as well as Penang’s many flea markets (pasar malam), KOMTAR and modern shopping malls also merit a visit.
The fastest way to reach Penang from Singapore is by flight. A one-way air ticket from Singapore to Penang could cost as little as SGD79 when you’re travelling light and do not have checked-in baggage. The main advantage of traveling by air to Penang is time saved. The flight time from Singapore to Penang is usually less than 2 hours compare to 10 hours by express bus and even longer by train. Airlines that service this route are Jetstar, Tigerair and Air Asia, and there are a number of cheap flights to Penang from Singapore on a daily basis.
Singaporeans planning to drive to Penang must first head to Johor and from there get on the North-South Expressway. Penang is connected to the mainland and the North-South Expressway by the Penang Bridge. As traffic is usually congested in the morning and evening, the Penang Second Bridge or Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge connecting Batu Kawan and Batu Maung had been opened in 2014. There is no toll at the Penang Bridge for vehicles heading to the mainland, but vehicles headed to the island via Penang First Bridge must pay a toll of RM7 (SGD2.30) for cars, RM12 (SGD3.9) for vans.
Getting from Singapore to Penang by train is fairly straightforward and pretty cheap. The train departs Singapore Woodlands and ends in Butterworth Station with a couple of stops in Johor. At the Woodlands Train Checkpoint, take the KTM shuttle train to JB Sentral. The KTM shuttle service is not very frequent and you will have to check to confirm the timing and book your train ticket online in advance online so that you do not waste too much time waiting for your connecting train. The shuttle train fare costs SGD5 and is a short 5-minute train ride across the Causeway from Woodlands Train Checkpoint to JB Sentral. If you plan to travel without a stopover at Kuala Lumpur, then you’ll have to take the 8am train from Woodlands Train Checkpoint and transfer at JB Sentral to take the 10.10am train to Gemas by 2.45pm. The train leaving Gemas at 3pm will arrive Butterworth at 9.45pm.
It’s going to be a long bus ride to Penang from Singapore; you’ll be travelling more than 700km. So be prepared to spend 10 hours or more on the bus. As such you may want to consider booking a night bus that departs Singapore between 9pm to 10pm and arrives in Penang in the morning between 6am to 8am. Taking a bus from Singapore to Penang is one of the most economical transportation options to travel to Penang. One-Way bus fare from Singapore to Penang cost between SGD35 and SGD61 depending on the bus companies and the pick-up point most convenient to you. It is much cheaper than an airline ticket that usually costs around SGD 150.00 - SGD 200.00 during the weekend. If you’re looking for a reputable and trusted express bus service then go with Sri Maju, a bus company highly rated by Easybook.com. From Singapore, there are several pick-up points including Golden Mile Complex, Golden Mile Tower, Lavender MRT, Kitchener Road, Serangoon Road, City Plaza and Boon Lay. All long-distance express buses terminate at the Sungai Nibong Bus Terminal, which is about 10km from Georgetown.
Penang is dubbed as a jewel of the culture and tradition of Malaysia. This city is endowed with dazzling natural beauty along with unique architecture. The state has plenty of must-see attractions which are a mix of modern and quirky offerings, family-friendly amusement parks, and natural and cultural attractions that will allow you to experience the essence of the island.
Penang Hill was the first colonial hill station developed in Peninsular Malaysia and is located six km away from Georgetown. Set 821m above Penang’s capital, locals call it Bukit Bendera and it is generally about five degrees cooler than Georgetown. It is the last patch of tropical rainforest in Penang, so flora and fauna here have been protected since 1960. From the top of Penang Hill on a clear day, you can see the mountains of Langkawi and north Kedah, but it is the night time sight of lit-up Georgetown that is especially rewarding. The most popular way to the top of the hill is the Penang Hill Railway. Built in 1923, it is one of the world’s oldest funicular systems and has a 2,007m-long track that climbs the hill at a crawling 30-minute pace.
Kek Lok Si Temple
Kek Lok Si, also known as the Temple of Supreme Bliss, is the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia and is located in Air Itam, nearby Penang Hill. The complex is divided into three zones; the temple grounds, mid section and the hilltop. The grounds comprise the hill entrance, stalls and the turtle pond. The mid section of the temple houses temples, gardens, the pagoda and the four heavenly kings pavilion; meanwhile, the hilltop plays host to an enormous statue of the Goddess of Mercy, Kuan Yin as well as more gardens and temples. The complex is a cornerstone of the Malaysian Chinese community and features a maze of souvenir kiosks as well as a turtle and fish pond. The turtle pond – known as The Liberation Pond – was built because according to Chinese tradition, turtles symbolize longevity, strength and endurance and the act of capturing and freeing a turtle is a symbol of spiritual liberation.
Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion
Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, a boutique hotel that’s one of Penang’s best-known attractions. Its architecture features an ornate edifice built in the traditional Hakka – Teochew style and represents the best of 18th and 19th-century Chinese architecture. Locals call it the Blue Mansion and it remains one of only three traditional Chinese mansions outside of China. Located at 14 Leith Street, the structure was erected in the 1880s when Hakka merchant, Cheong Fatt Tze commissioned its construction. The mansion has won many awards such as the 1995 Malaysian National Architectural Award for Conservation, the 2000 UNESCO Most Excellent' Heritage Conservation Award, ‘Best Tourist Attraction 2003’ Merit Award by the Malaysian Ministry of Culture, Arts & Tourism and the 2008 Best of Malaysia Travel Award’s ‘Best Boutique Hotel’ by Expatriate Lifestyle magazine, Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion is undoubtedly one of Penang’s most prominent attractions.
Fort Cornwallis is the largest standing fort in Malaysia. Set close to the Esplanade and Penang Clocktower, the star-shaped bastion is one of the oldest structures in Penang. Built in 1786, Fort Cornwallis was intended as a defensive structure against pirates, Kedah forces and even the French during the Napoleonic Wars. Named after Marquis Charles Cornwallis, only a set of ten-foot-high outer walls remain, with an enclosed park within. Situated on Penang’s north-eastern coast, a stroll along the privately-managed Fort Cornwallis’ perimeters will take you about 10 minutes.
Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram Temple
Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram Temple is the largest Thai temple in Penang. Situated just off Jalan Burma, the yellow-and-blue temple is also known as Wat Buppharam. Built in 1845, it is home to a 108ft-long reclining Buddha image, said to be the third largest in the world. Draped in a gold-leafed saffron robe, the sprawling statue was erected as a monument to signify Buddha’s final resting position at his death and symbolizes his detachment from worldly matters. Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram Temple is open between sunrise and sunset and entrance is free. During traditional Buddhist festivals like Songkran and Loy Krathong, local Thais in Penang crowd the temple for the celebration since the temple acts as the focal point for the event.
Penang is the food capital of South East Asia and is paradise for any foodie due to its diverse array of cuisines and flavours. You will find Chinese, Indian, Malaysian, Western and everything in between, all serving up unique twists on the classics, as well as more innovative fusion dishes.
Char Koay Teow
Char Koay Teow is one of the most iconic street food dishes in Penang and you will find it everywhere you go. This dish is made by frying flat rice noodles with a light and dark soy sauce, prawns, briny cockles, chewy Chinese sausage, crispy sprouts, fluffy egg (chicken or duck) and a hint of chilli, often served on a banana leaf.
The oyster omelette, also known as “Oh Chien” is a culinary delight amongst the list of street foods in Penang. The oysters are fried in an egg & rice flour batter (to make it crispy), with chives and then accompanied with spicy chilli or garlic sauce. One of the popular places to try out this dish is the Red Garden Hawker Centre located at Lebuh Leith in George Town.
Penang Assam Laksa
Assam laksa is a spicy-sour, fish-based soup served with thick, white noodles. In Penang, assam laksa gets its tangy and fishy flavour from tamarind and mackerel. Upon consumption, prawn paste is added, as well as an assortment of herbs and spices. A popular store for this dish is located at the Air Itam Market, located nearby the Kek Lok Si Temple. The stall has been using this recipe for their assam laksa since 1955 and it has now been perfected. Since then, the stall has passed the recipe from mother to child.
This 362-hectare tropical island is located directly across the channel from the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone, on the southeastern coast of Penang island. The island offers numerous outdoor activities including nature and historical trekking, mountain biking, archery, personal care such as aromatherapy massage, foot treatment, body scrub. Ferries to the island start at 6:30AM and continue until 12:30PM and guests have the option to go to the island for a day trip or stay at the island.
Penang Bird Park
Penang Bird Park is a small bird park located on the mainland (Seberang Perai) about 10 minutes from the Penang Bridge. Take a walk under nice shady trees and look at various varieties of birds including ostriches, sea eagles, peafowls, hornbills, flamingos, macaws, and grey parrots. There are also two walk-through aviaries and a fish pond. This place is perfect for a family getaway with the children. Open daily from 9AM-7PM.
With the flight and ticket package available at Traveloka Singapore, you can visit Penang more easily and cheaper. Choose a variety of tour packages that we offer, and modify as you like to get the combination you want.
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