Penang The Pearl of the Orient lies off the northwestern coast of Peninsular Malaysia. The state comprises the island of Penang, covering an area of about 285 sq Km, and a narrow strip of approximately 760 sq km on the mainland known as Seberang Perai(Province Wellesley), which is separated by a channel 3 km wide at the closest point. They are linked by the Penang Bridge and a cross-channel ferry service. It’s population of more than 1 million represents a happy mix of the major races found in Malaysia with the Malays making up 32%, the Chinese 59% and the Indians 7%
Penang is one of the 13 states of the Federation of Malaysia; located on the north-west coast of Peninsula Malaysia. It is bounded on the north and east by the state of Kedah, to the South by the State of Perak and to the west by the Straits of Malacca and Sumatra (Indonesia). Penang consists of the island of Penang and a coastal strip on the mainland known as Province Wellesley. The island covering an area of 285 square kilometers, is separated from the mainland by a channel. The island and mainland are linked by the 13.5km long Penang Bridge; apart from this, a 24-hour ferry service plies the channel.
Penang’s climate can be described as equatorial, a pleasant mix of warm, sunny days and occasional cooling rain storms, with August through November being the wettest months generally. Average rainfall is 255 cms (100 inches) throughout the year. Humidity is usually high, and the temperature varies between 21o and 32o Celsius (70o to 95o Fahrenheit).
Penang is a land thick in culture and religion.Like the rest of Malaysia the official religion of Penang is Islam, however Penang state is very tolerant of the many religions and faiths that are practised within its state, in other words there is ‘freedom of worship. With it’s multi-ethnic society, Penang sees a kaleidoscope of festivals and celebrations which seems to last the entire year–Chinese New Year ,Chap Goh Meh,Thaipusam,The Birthday of the Goddess of Mercy (Kuan Yin),Wesak Day, Hari Raya Puasa, Birthday of HM The Yang Di-pertua Agong, Saint Anne’s Feast , Hari Raya Haji ,Festival of Nine Emperor Gods, National Day, Deepavali,Christmas Day etc. Aside from Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, Hindu and Christianity are prominent. Of note – each faith has on the island a building of worship that is well worth a visit. There could be no other place in the country that can dish up so many attractions within a small area. Therefore, for the history enthusiasts, spiritual seekers, or just a tourist bumming around, one have got to give Penang’s religious spots a chance.Penang is definitely a shopper’s paradise, with hundreds of retail establishments located conveniently in and around the city. The main shopping areas in Penang are concentrated in Jalan Penang, Lebuh Campbell, Lebuh Kapitan Keling, Lebuh Chulia, and Lebuh Pantai. Few places can compare with Penang for its variety of goods and reasonably cheap prices. During the annual Penang Shopping Carnival, one can take delight in bargains galore. The merry atmosphere is not confined to major shopping centers but also to the ever popular and delightful venues like Campbell Street and Little India. In addition to special discounts, retailers will be offering gifts, and organizing fun filled competitions. Bargaining is still very much a part of life in Penang, hence one should not be afraid to haggle over prices or to ask for discounts, especially in smaller shops.