A small island off the west coast of Malaysia, Penang is also the name of a state which includes the island and the Seberang Perai district. The island is known for two things above everything else – its world-famous cuisine and the island’s pristine beaches. Penang is also where various cultures including Malay, Indian and Chinese meet to create a feast for the eyes. The island has numerous towns and cities worth visiting, the largest being Georgetown, which has been designated as a World Heritage Site. It also feels like a more authentic corner of Malaysia as, compared to Kuala Lumpur and other large cities, you’re more likely to see how people in the country actually live.
For some of the narrow roads on the island, anything other than a supermini or city car would be unsuitable for getting around in, although care should be taken on dirt roads.
Driving in Penang
Road Driving Side
Urban Speed Limit
Rural Speed Limit
Motorway Speed Limit
Important things to note
Many of the roads on Penang Island are narrow and one-way, proving tricky for many people driving larger vehicles such as 4x4s.
Motorbikes are very popular on the island. A handful of drivers are known to have a carefree attitude to safety on the roads, so be sure to watch out for them.
Rush hours in Penang are from 7.30pm-9.30am and 5.30pm-7.30pm. They tend to occur more on weekdays and during public holidays.
Highlights & Hotspots
The best place to see first is the historic centre of Georgetown. Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion is one of many examples of British Colonial architecture which helps to make the Old Town so fascinating, being the former home of a famous local merchant.
Staying in Georgetown, Armenian Street is the most famous thoroughfare in the city. Many of its major landmarks are there, while there are also plenty of shops where you can pick up a few authentic souvenirs made in Penang.
Kek Lok Si-Temple of Supreme Bliss is apparently the largest Buddhist temple in the whole of South East Asia. This massive complex has plenty of supreme examples of local architecture as well as some amazing imagery of Buddha.
Perhaps the most visually impressive event taking place on the island is the Penang International Dragon Boat Festival. Attracting dragon boats from teams all over the world, this festival, which includes a big race between the mainland and the island of Penang takes place every June.
Penang International Airport (Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Pulau Pinang) is to the south of the island near Bayan Lepas and close to nine miles south of Georgetown. It serves destinations across South and South East Asia including Hong Kong and Jakarta.
The airport is located close to Highway 6 ‚Äì Jalan Bayan Lepas. It goes north towards both Bayan Lepas and the centre of Georgetown.