Nicknamed the Pearl of the Orient, Penang has a diverse social fabric woven with many Asian influences. It's a tapestry of temples and mosques, markets and malls. City skyscrapers stand with emerald jungles and a shimmering coastline. A luxury holiday in Penang offers a cocktail of experiences as varied as the land and the cultures who inhabit it.
On the northwestern tip of the Malaysian peninsula, the state of Penang is formed of Penang Island and Seberang Perai on the mainland. It's an oasis of tropical palm trees, sandy beaches and vibrant rainforests, and the whole region is celebrated as being the culinary capital of Malaysia. There are some excellent attractions here, such as the sapphire-domed Masjid Abdullah Fahim mosque, and the unusual Snake Temple, known for its classic Chinese architecture, and being home to real-life snakes.
In George Town, the capital of Penang, high-rise buildings tower above the historical core listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its unique mix of colonial and Asian architectural styles. Blue joss smoke scents the air of the numerous markets, which bring a dash of lively colour to the city, whilst modern shopping malls offer exclusive designer wares. Travel to the top of the Komtar skyscraper and gaze across the city on a glass skywalk over 800 feet above the ground.
At Batu Ferringhi, you'll find long stretches of soft, white sand and turquoise waters offering a range of water activities like jet skiing. This area is a haven for sun worshippers, thanks to its idyllic beaches. Be sure to also visit the Tropical Spice Garden, covering 6 acres with 500 specimens of exotic flora, walks here are delightfully fragrant.
Penang enjoys temperature of around 30 degrees Celsius throughout the year. You'll find the weather is perfect for long days at one of the region's many pristine beaches. A popular time for luxury travellers to visit is January and February, the two driest months of the year.
The months between May and October see rainfall, but this tends to come in short bursts and the skies clear quickly. The temperatures are still warm, and usually the area is a little quieter.
Penang is often regarded as the culinary centre of Malaysia and the fine dining offered at your hotel will certainly lead you to agree. Enjoy modern grill cuisine expertly prepared by experienced chefs with a meticulous eye for presentation and try gourmet buffets with Chinese, Indian, Thai and Western cuisines.
Dine outside overlooking the beautiful sands of Batu Ferringhi Beach and catch a spectacular sunset whilst choosing from a carefully crafted menu of Malaysian specialities. Unwind with vintage wines and luxurious desserts.
As with any holiday, it's a good idea to carry some identification with you, and keep a photocopy of your passport. British nationals do not need a visa to enter Malaysia and can stay up to 3 months. Visit GOV.UK for more advice on visas and travel.