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Welcome to Penang Malaysia


General Information

Penang , Malaysia , hotels, resorts, tour and travel information. Penanag, "The Pearl of the Orient" lies on the north-western coast of Peninsular Malaysia . The state comprises an island of some 285 sq. km and a narrow strip of approximately 760 sq. km on the mainland known as Seberang Perai (Province Wellesley separated by a channel 3 km wide at the closest point). They are linked by the Penang Bridge and a 24-hour ferry service. Its population of more than 1 million represents a happy mix of the major races found in Malaysia with Malays making up 32%, the Chinese 59% and Indians 7%.

Penang, a brief history

Georgetown , at the north-eastern tip of the island is the seat of administration and is also the commercial hub of the state. This bustling metropolitan city combines the best of east and west as seen in its fascinating collection of fine old buildings, each bearing the stamp of different foreign influences in its colorful history. Much of its charm also lies in its famous golden beaches and clear blue seas. Penang today is a resort island in full bloom - an idyllic playground for worshippers of the sun and the sea. Its multi-racial population contributes to a wealth of cultural attractions and festivals for visitors to bring home memories of happy times in Penang .

Penang today bears the mark of an early history of successive foreign influences - from the early Indian Civilization that took root in northern Malaya to that of the Portuguese, Dutch and later the British who came to this part of the world in search of spices and stayed to participate in the lucrative trade.

The history of modern Penang can be traced back to 1786 when Francis Light managed to persuade the Sultan of Kedah to cede "Pulau Pinang" (island of the Betel nut) to the British East India Company. Light landed at the site of the present Esplanade and according to local legend, fired gold coins into the surrounding jungle to induce his men to clear the area. The island was originally named Prince of Wales Island and the settlement that soon grew up was named Georgetown after King George III. In 1800, the Sultan of Kedah further ceded a strip of land on the mainland across the channel which Light named Province Wellesley, after the then Governor of India. In 1832, Penang formed part of the Straits Settlement with Malacca and Singapore . It flourished and grew to be a major trading post for a lucrative trade in tea, spices, china and cloth. For more than a hundred years, it remained under British Colonial rule until 1957 when it gained independence and became one of the states of the newly formed Federation of Malaya and later Malaysia in 1963.

Visa Information

Visitors to Malaysia must hold a valid passport or travel document with a minimum validity of six months beyond the intended visiting period. Most nationalities do not require visas for social or business visits, however you should check with your nearest Malaysian consulate Malaysian diplomatic mission or Tourism Malaysia office for confirmation.

For further information, please visit the Malaysian Immigration Department's website (

Some Simple DOs and DON'Ts

When visiting Malaysia, visitors should observe local customs and practices. Some common courtesies and customs are as follows:

  • Although handshakes are generally acceptable for both men and women, some Muslim ladies may acknowledge introductions to men by merely nodding and smiling. A handshake should only be initiated by ladies. The traditional greeting or salam resembles a handshake with both hands but without the grasp. The man offers both hands, lightly touches his friend’s outstretched hands, and then brings his hands to his chest to mean, “I greet you from my heart.” The visitor should reciprocate the salam.
  • It is polite to call before visiting a home.
  • Shoes must always be removed when entering a Malaysian home.
  • Drinks are generally offered to guests. It is polite to accept.
  • The right hand is always used when eating with one’s hand or giving and receiving objects.
  • The right forefinger is not used to point at places, objects or persons. Instead, the thumb of the right hand with four fingers folded under is the preferred usage.
  • Shoes must be removed when entering places of worship such as mosques and temples. Some mosques provide robes and scarves for female visitors. Taking photographs at places of worship is usually permitted but always ask permission beforehand.
  • Toasting is not a common practice in Malaysia. The country’s large Muslim population does not drink alcohol.

Tropical Health and Vaccinations

Dehydration and Sunburn
The sun is strong throughout the year in the country. Proper care against sunburn must be constantly taken. Dehydration and loss of salt through perspiration are two other common problems for the unprepared traveller. Drink plenty of fluids and replace your salt loss. Make sure you pack clothing suitable for a warm humid climate

Due to the constant humid climate, mosquitoes tend to be present throughout the year. The three most significant diseases transmitted by mosquitoes are Malaria, Dengue Fever and Japanese B Encephalitis. To repel mosquitoes, ticks and other arthropods, apply an insect repellent containing DEET to your skin or clothing.

Yellow Fever
There is no risk of yellow fever in Malaysia. A certificate of yellow fever vaccination is required for entry if you are coming from countries in South America or sub-Saharan Africa.

Generally, the level of food hygiene throughout the country is high. However, make sure your food and drinking water are safe. Food from street vendors should be treated with care. Drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles. If possible, avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes. Bring along iodine tablets and portable water filters to purify water if bottled water is not available. Also, wash your hands often with soap and water. As an extra precaution, bring along anti-diarrhoea medication and an antibiotic prescribed by your doctor to self-treat moderate to severe diarrhoea.

Recommended vaccines:
Poliomyelitis (childhood booster)
Tetanus (childhood booster)
Typhoid (food & water borne diseases)
Hepatitis A (food & water borne diseases)

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