Penang is a state in Malaysia and the name of its constituent island, located on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia by the Strait of Malacca. It is bordered by Kedah in the north and east, and Perak in the south. Often known as the “Pearl of the Orient”, Penang is the second smallest Malaysian state in area after Perlis, and the eighth most populous.
As the second smallest State in Malaysia, spreading over 1,031 sq. km, with 293 sq. km on Penang Island and 738 sq. km on Mainland Penang, Penang is the top 3 most developed and industrialized State in the country.
Highly urbanized and industrialized Penang is one of the most developed and economically important states in the country, as well as a thriving tourist destination. Penang has the third-highest Human Development Index in Malaysia, after the state of Selangor and the federal territory of Kuala Lumpur. Its heterogeneous population is highly diverse in ethnicity, culture, language, and religion. A resident of Penang is colloquially known as a Penangite.
Penang offers a wide array of attractions, from food to shopping, from heritage to eco-tourism, and from beach to health tourism. Penang was ranked 22nd among the 44 top places to go in 2009 by readers of New York Times. It is one of the two destinations in Southeast Asia in this ranking.
George Town, the capital of Penang, together with Malacca, in the southern part of Peninsular Malaysia were inscribed the UNESCO World Heritage Site on July 7, 2008. George Town was also ranked as the 9th most livable city among 49 Asian cities and 63 among 254 cities worldwide by ECA International in 2008. Historically, Penang was a shopping haven because of its free port status. Today, shopping in Penang has transcended to up-market shopping, depicting the well-known global brands.
Penang, long known as the food capital of Malaysia, is renowned for its good and varied food. In January 2009, Penang was ranked in the top 12 places in the food categories by the New York Times.
Penang was cited as the culinary capital of Malaysia and one of Southeast Asia’s liveliest street-food scenes. It’s especially famous “hawker food”, many served al fresco, strongly features noodles, spices, and fresh seafood. Aside from that, Penang is also ranked among top ten greatest street food cities in Asia, according to CNN Go. In 2014, Penang has been voted by Lonely Planet as the top food destination.