The Port of Penang, George Town, and Penang Island are some of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Malaysia. With colonial architecture, a multi-cultural atmosphere, many luxury hotels and sea resorts, and modern shopping, George Town is a traveler’s heaven.
Recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2008, George Town and the Port of Penang have a 500-year history of trade and cultural mixing. With both Asian and European influences, the area is multi-cultural. George Town’s historic center is an excellent example of British colonial life in the late 18th and 19th Centuries.
Fort Corwallis, a star-shaped fortification, stands on the spot where Francis Light landed to take possession of Penang Island from the Sultan of Kedah. It was at one time surrounded by a moat and contained several buildings. The fort is the best-preserved fort in maintain Malaysia, and it is likely the only remaining British fort in Southeast Asia. It was designated an Ancient Monument and Historic Sit in 1977.
Penang Hill offers the best views of George Town, particularly in the night. A quaint cable train lifts you from the hot and humid coast up to cool breezes that can be as much as 4°C (40°F) cooler than the coastal plain below. The Port of Penang’s Penang Hill offers hiking trails for the more adventurous and fit travelers. At the top of the hill, you can get lunch or tea, buy a souvenir, take photographs of George Town and the Malacca Strait, or simply relax and enjoy the clean, cool air. The trains can be crowded on weekends.
The Port of Penang’s Botanic Gardens were created by Brit Charles Curtis in 1884. Known locally as the Waterfall Gardens, many residents of the city come here for their morning exercises, including Tai Chi and Qi Gong. A large troop of wild monkeys live in the gardens and will sometimes snatch treats and bags from unsuspecting visitors. The garden hosts a world music festival and an annual international floral fest.
Travelers who want to visit the Port of Penang, Penang Island, and Georgetown can find a long list of scheduled cruises on the Cruise Compete website.