Penang, a merger of state and island, is one of Malaysia’s most visited regions. Journeys south and west reveal a forested mountainous interior. It’s easy to get the idea that Penang’s beaches are the only reason to visit but you’ll get a more balanced view of the island’s offerings if you make an effort to spend time away from the coast and explore the region.
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008, Georgetown plays host to busy streets with markets, temples and historic buildings that will impress even the most world weary traveller. The mainland strip, Seberang Perai – formerly known as Province Wellesley – has little to detain tourists; in fact the area is primarily known as home of the industrial town of Butterworth, the transportation hub for the whole area. Meanwhile, the ever popular Gurney Drive plays host to the island’s best known strip of eateries. Alternatively, there’s a variety of lodgings, from mid-range deals to five star sanctuaries, available in Bayan Lepas (Penang’s Free Industrial Zone) close to the Penang International Airport.