Why Penang is still Pearl of the Orient

“North, South, East, West, Penang is Best”
Anonymous: Failed poet who was carefully shot and carelessly buried for his bad rhymes.

. . .Why not Singapore?
Both Singapore and Penang were British settlements. After Stamford Raffles established Singapore in 1819, the capital of the Straits Settlement was transferred to Singapore from Penang, and Penang’s status was reduced to that of a Residency.

It would appear that Singapore never stopped growing since . . . today it is an urban and developed city with world-class facilities and architecture. Both islands have a multi-cultural heritage and are predominantly chinese, yet they are different worlds altogether.

Singapore is a man-made wonder - its buildings, road system, theme parks, and facilities reflect its attention to sophistication and detail.Penang is a chaotic wonder. Cars, buses and  trishaws squeeze through shophouse-lined streets,  narrow lanes and twisting alleys.

Orchard Road Singapore

In Singapore, most of the old buildings have already made way for today’s skyscrapers. Whatever “heritage” buildings that are left is restored to mint condition, which more often than not, are converted into yuppie hang-outs. In Penang, most of the old buildings still stand as testament to bygone days: fading terraces, aged shophouses with bamboo roller blinds, dilapidated coffee shops, and ancient temples . . . looking every bit their age. The people still perch themselves on ancient wooden stools with their cup of coffee on marble-topped tables, watching the streets - where fruit vendors, food hawkers, cobblers, trishaw peddlers and lottery sellers go about their everyday life.

In an era where cities consumed with western-style development house their heritage in museums and such, Penang’s heritage is alive and pulsating - in her streets, her customs, and her festivals ( Plus our excellent food are simply to die for ).

. . . Why not Bali?
Bali and Penang are fabled for their wonderful beaches, and both are major tourist destinations for their respective countries.

Bali’s heritage and culture are as rich, vibrant and colourful as Penang’s. While Bali’s exotic culture comes from her Balinese background,Penang’s colours are derived from a multicultural background - that of the Chinese, Muslim, Indian, and colonial influences.

If diversity and contrasts is your cup of tea, then Penang is your destination ( Plus our excellent food are simply to die for ).


I Also Want to Praise
“I also want to praise” is a free forum where browsers, especially Penangites or those familiar with Penang can post their views and remarks - just like the ones on the right column.
Go ahead,
tell us why Penang deserves to be the Pearl of the Orient.


Why is Penang still Pearl of the Orient

Why Penang Sucks!

Penang Drivers


From: Albert Luah
Sales Executive

"Penang is very compact and always full of surprises - everything also we have here-la."

From: Oliver

Penang have a lot of cute guys but most of them are so kedekut (stingy) ... always taking you to kopi tiams only ... and you can forget about eating in high class joints! They will take you for miles just to have a bowl of cendol ... at a road side stall (of course! ) where you have to eat standing up.

Olivia Tang
Physician, Singapore

From: Boey Mei Chin
Computer Analyst

"Orang Penang not so kiasu like certain people from other places."

From: Capt. Margrit

Your food is great and very affordable, the scenery is beautiful (although too much plastic/rubbish at times), some of the beaches are hot, shopping? ...oeps, there goes my money, plenty! and a lot of Penangites are quite friendly to a new foreign Penangite. But I will never get used to your drivers!!!!!

Your web site is great, very informative and entertaining.

Thank you

From: Adeline Chew

I would say that it is more like a joy ride to the people who can drive in penang ... not the usual boring routine.


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