Penang’s old-world charm is what you notice first. George Town is lined with well-preserved heritage shops and buildings, each with their own unique history. Night time brings the streets to life with delicious and inexpensive local food. Read more now on Phuket villas
A few streets further, the symbols of capitalism, progress and modernity are evident. Shopping malls and skyscrapers are located next to colonial-style buildings and shophouses with Peranakan influences.
Penang is so charming because of its unique cultural and architectural townscape, which combines both traditional and modern. George Town, in recognition of this unique characteristic, was listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site in July 2008 Penang has become a more attractive tourist destination as a result.
Penang does not rely solely on tourism to maintain its economy. In the south of the island, the Bayan-Lepas Free Industrial Zone is home to a number of high-tech electronics plants. The state has seen a decline in foreign direct investment due to the cheaper labour costs of China and India.
Penang is repositioning as a medical tourism hub to increase its appeal as an investment destination. Penang, along with perennial favourites such as Kuala Lumpur or Johor is quickly becoming a popular real estate destination for foreigners and Malaysians seeking a second home.
According to Malaysia Property Incorporated, a trade group that promotes Malaysian property internationally, Indian investors were fourth in terms of residential property investment in Malaysia in 2008 after Singapore, United Kingdom, and Korea. Penang is the third largest economy in Malaysia, behind Selangor, and Johor.
One island, many types
Penang, also known as the “Pearl of the Orient”, is a 285 sq km island located in the Straits of Malacca. It has an estimated 1.5 million inhabitants. Penang is smaller than Singapore but has much to offer. The island has an irregular shape, like a tortoise. Its interior is hilly and covered with forest.
Balik Pulau, located on the west side of Penang, is a sleepy area that has only one main route cutting through the hilly terrain and picturesque reservoirs.
However, the main focus is on the north and east coasts. Luxury hilltop condominiums and villas with stunning views of the Andaman sea can be found in the Batu Ferringhi area and Tanjong Bungah. These are prime locations.
Batu Ferringhi has a number of hotels, resorts on the beach and international schools. Among the notable resorts and hotels are Shangri La Rasa Sayang Resort, Shangri La Golden Sands Resort Grand Plaza Parkroyal Holiday Inn Resort Ferringhi Beach Resort, and Shangri La Golden Sands Resort. Upland International School can be reached on foot.
Tanjong Bungah also has many hotels but they are not as luxurious as the ones in Batu Ferringhi. This area is also a favorite among expatriates because of the high-end and medium-end condos that are nearby. It is also close to the Dalat International School, and Gurney Drive shopping district.