An Introduction to Penang

The Pearl of the Orient - and Malaysia's Northern Corridor

The Pearl of the Orient - and Malaysia's Northern Corridor

From a backwater island, to a thriving British colony, to being dubbed the 'Silicone Valley of Asia', there is more to Penang than meets the eye - even to the casual visitor

An Introduction to Penang

Touted as the "Pearl of the Orient", Penang is truly one of a kind, with its glorious past and promising future. Locals and foreigners alike have never failed to fall for its idyllic, serene beaches, and fast-developing state capital, Georgetown.

Away from the state-of-the-art skyscrapers in the city are the stretches of pristine beaches. Truly, Penang is a mixture of industrial development and exotic heritage.

Founded by Sir Francis Light in 1771, "Pulau Pinang" as it is known in Malay, is a turtle-shaped island of 292 square kilometres - including a strip of land called Seberang Prai on Peninsula Malaysia, about 48 kilometres wide. "Pulau" means "island" in Malay and "Pinang" means "betel nut".

Prior to the arrival of the British, the island was owned by the Sultanate of Kedah. A decade later, the Sultan's heir, Abdullah, took the throne. He asked to have the island taken away for the then-equivalent of Straits Settlement Dollars $30,000 per year in rental.

Francis Light established Penang as a British colony and entreport in 1786, although at that time, the British occupation of Penang was not legally ratified until five years later when 'gunboat diplomacy' forged a treaty in ... View more

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