Accolades for Penang

Penang Assam Laksa voted as World’s No. 7 Most Delicious Food (CNN Travel, July 21, 2011)

One of Malaysia’s most popular dishes is an addictive spicy-sour fish broth with noodles – consist of poached, flaked mackerel, tamarind, chili, mint, lemongrass, onion, pineapple and rice noodle.

Penang Ranks #8  out of 10 Islands to Explore Before You Die (Yahoo Travel, February 15, 2011)

Georgetown, Penang offers a delectable fare that  mingles Malaysian, Chinese, Indian, and European flavors. Foodies in search of supreme bliss should head to the marketplace Ayer Itam for a variety of dishes based on rice, noodles, fish, shellfish, chicken, pork, vegetables, eggs, and coconut.  The same fusion of cultures is evident in the local architecture, which ranges from modern high-rises to buildings built by 19th-century British colonialists. Add to the mix beach resorts, preserved mangroves, small fishing villages, and a share of temples, mosques, and churches.

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, Penang voted one of the Greatest Mansions and Grand Houses (Lonely Planet, May 2012)

Built in the 1880s, the magnificent 38-room, 220-window Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion was commissioned by Cheong Fatt Tze, a local merchant trader who left China as a penniless teenager and ended up as ‘the Rockefeller of the East’. The mansion blends Eastern and Western designs, with louvered windows, art nouveau stained glass and beautiful floor tiles, and is a rare surviving example of the eclectic architectural style preferred by wealthy Straits Chinese of the time. The house sits on the ‘dragon’s throne’, meaning that there is a mountain (Penang Hill) behind and water (the channel) in front – the site was chosen for its excellent feng shui. The mansion was restored from ruin in the 1990s.

Asia’s 10 Greatest Street Food Cities (

Penang is one of the world’s top eating destinations.

Street food–or hawker food, as it’s locally known–is the city’s big draw.

Penang hawker food reflects the multicultural makeup of the town, which has citizens of Chinese, Malay and Indian descent.

There’s also a distinct Nyonya cuisine in Penang, the fusion food that has resulted from the intermarriage of Chinese and Malay immigrants.

The streets of Penang are lined with hawker stalls, coffee shops and hawker centers where multiple vendors offer their specialties. …

Lone Planet picks Penang as top spot for foodies in 2014 (The Star, February 4, 2014)

Renowned travel guide publisher Lonely Planet has listed Penang as the top culinary spot for 2014, British dailyThe Independent reported.

The Pearl of Orient beat other top culinary spots like Victoria in Australia, North West Spain, the deep south in United States, Lake District in United Kingdom, Puglia in Italy, Georgia and Oaxaca in Mexico to bag the number one spot.

Lonely Planet’s commissioning editor Robin Barton said Penang was known for its hawker fare and the “must tries” were char kway teow, Hokkien mee, and asam laksa, according to the report…

Penang’s George Town named No. 4 in Lonely Planet’s list of top 10 cities for travel (The Straits Times, Singapore, October 29, 2015)

George Town came fourth after Kotor (Montenegro), Quito (Ecuador) and Dublin (Ireland) in Lonely Planet’s list of top 10 cities for travel.  The city was ahead of other better-known places on the list (in descending order) – Rotterdam (Holland), Mumbai, Fremantle (Australia), Manchester (United Kingdom), Nashville (United States) and Rome.

Penang Ranks #6 among 24 Surprisingly Affordable Places to Chase the Winter Sun (Holiday Lettings UK, Dec 14, 2015)

Penang is the perfect choice for travelers who want to experience the East in all its exotic glory. Renowned the world over for its cuisine, foodies will fall for the island state’s street food as well as its fine dining. Penang also offers the jungle and  the beach.

Penang Island one of 2016’s ‘must-see’ spots (Los Angeles Times, December 26, 2015)

George Town, Penang is a UNESCO World Heritage site with a 500-year history of trading. George Town was a British trading post from the early 19th century until Malaysian independence in 1957. It gives you British echoes, Malay essence, Chinese and Indian commercial traditions, scattered rickshaws and a stew of religions.

George Town, Penang Ranks #1 out of Ten Best Budget Travel Destination for 2016 (Forbes, Dec 29, 2015)

George Town, Penang Malaysia is the place to go for those who love to try new food but are on a budget. The cuisine is a blend of Malay,
 Chinese, and Indian specialities, and street food
stalls offer dozens of delicious options for just $2-3. You can easily eat well for under $10 
a day. Accommodation is cheap, with an abundance of budget-friendly 
hostels and Airbnbs. George Town is also a UNESCO World Heritage 
site where you can spend hours walking around the city,
 visiting temples and taking in the beautiful colonial architecture and
 colorful street art..

George Town Ranks #6 as Best Places to Retire Abroad in 2016 (CNN, January 6, 2016)

George Town, the capital of the state of Penang with its museums, arts centers, free concerts, jungle parks, beaches and amusement parks is extremely affordable. You can eat out for about $3 a person unless you are eating in an upscale restaurant.

George Town, Penang – The 15 Best Cities in the World for Food (The Culture Trip, January 25, 2016)

George Town is home to some of teh finest street food in the world.  Many vendors use the same recipes that have been used for generations with hints of Chinese and Indian fusion.  Food is served from morning to night.

The Best Places in the World to Retire (Conde Nast Traveler, Mar 3, 2016)

These places are the best cities in the world for Americans to retire, taking into account culture, access to health services, quality of life and community.

  • Coronado, Panama
  • Penang Malaysia
  • Cascais, Portugal
  • San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
  • Killarney, Ireland
  • Corozal, Belize
  • Concord, CA
  • Grand Haven, MI
  • Santa Fe, NM
  • Louisville, KY

George Town Festival 2016 (The Star, Sunday, July 31, 2016)

The George Town Festival 2016’s opening weekend in Penang fascinated visitors with various arts, culture and heritage-related programs. There are world-class performances, shows and exhibitions by local and international names, to be held at various locations around George Town until August 28.  Some are ticketed but most are free.

Foundation of 19th Century police station found at Sia Boey (, August 7, 2016)

The remnants of an old police barrack, believed to have been in existence in the 1880s, have recently been discovered by a team of USM archaeologists working at the Sia Boey site.

The archaeologists have also found hundreds of Chinese and European ceramic sherds, old coins resembling those used in the British North Borneo Company, earthenware, animal remains as well as a wooden bollard.

Penang TYT’s Birthday Honor List (The Star, August 13, 2016)

National Mosque’s grand Imam Tan Sri Syaikh Ismail Muhammad heads the list of 1,223 recipients for state awards in conjunction with the Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas’ 78th birthday celebration. He is the sole recipient of the Darjah Panglima Pangkuan Negeri (DPPN) award which carries the title Datuk Seri.

Seven people received the Darjah Gemilang Pangkuan Negeri (DGPN) award which carries the title Datuk Seri.  They are Malaysian composer Datuk Dr Ahmad Khan Nawab Khan, Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) Admiral Tan Sri Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin, Value Partners Group Ltd chairman Datuk Cheah Cheng Hye, National Health Institute (IJN) CEO Datuk Dr Mohd Azhari Yakub, investPenang director, Datuk Lee Kah Choon, Chip Yoo Latex Co. Ltd president Datuk Serm Juthamongkhon, and Petronas president and group CEO Datuk Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin.

Eleven others received the Darjah Yang Mulia Pangkuan Negeri (DMPN) which carries the title Datuk. Among them are Penang police chief comm Datuk Abdul Ghafar Rajab, Keysight Technologies Malaysia and Singapore president Datuk Gooi Soon Chai, Penang Development Corporation general manager Datuk Rosli Jaafar, and Eco World Development Group Bhd CEO Datuk Sundarajoo Somu.

Seventy-five others received the Darjah Setia Pangkuan Negeri (DSPN) which carries the title Datuk.

Penang’s Very First Digital Library

Penang will have its first ever digital library by October 2016.  It will be the first library in Penang, which will be completely paperless or ‘bookless’, The RM2.5 million library will be housed at the former Puspanita building within the grounds  of Penang Free School (PFS). This project is initiated by the state government in collaboration with Keysight Technologies and Eastern & Oriental (E&O) Group, supported by TIME.  The digital library will host more than 3000 e-books, e-magazines and reference journal.

Click here for more information.

Spotlight on Penang yet again (Star 2, September 26, 2016)

Penang will host the World Tourism Conference (WTC) 2016 from Oct 17 to 19, 2016. Penang will be the fourth destination in Malaysia to do so after Malacca (2013), Kota Kinabalu (2010) and Kuala Lumpur (2007). The conference, to be held at the E&O Hotel, is organised by the Malaysian Tourism and Culture Ministry in collaboration with the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

September 27 is World Tourism Day!

November 25 is International Meatless Day!

PBA provides more parking in Telok Bahang (Mutiara Buletin, September 16 – 30, 2016)

Telok  Bahang  is a hive of activities with  locals and tourists. The locals go to the Telok Bahang Dam for exercise as well as the Taman Rimba or Forest Reserve for its waterfall and greeneries.  The tourists will visit the Escape Park as well as the latest attraction there, i.e. The Entopia. Cyclists also park their cars there to cycle to Balik Pulau and back. The influx of visitors to Telok Bahang has led to an increasing need for parking space.  As such, in response to the state government’s recommendation, the PBAPP will provide parking area at the Telok Bahang Dam pumping station.

Exploring George Town on Bikes (Mutiara Buletin, September 16 – 30, 2016)

Penang is set to be the first cycling state. The Penang Bike Sharing System (BSS) was launched by the Penang Chief Minister at Youth Park on August 28. The BSS is taking commuting to a different level. This means that Penang is one step closer to be a livable and international city.

Apart from building a dedicated bicycle lane from Straits Quay to Penang International Airport, the city will be linked with bicycle lanes and commuters will have the convenience of BSS.

Link Bike is an initiative of the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) to make Penang an international city.  Link Bike will define a new way to connect and commute within George Town.  Anyone can pick up a bike from any of the 25 stations and return it to another station. It is as simple as scanning on the QR Code to release the bicycle.

We celebrate our Local Kopi today! (derived from

The International Coffee Day is celebrated this week – on three different days – Sept 29, 30 and Oct 1  – in different countries. We celebrate ours today!

Malaysians love their strong, robust and aromatic kopi, though foreigners may consider it an acquired taste.

Our Kopi facts:

  • 95% of Malaysia’s coffee beans come from the Liberica coffee plant.
  • Only 2% of the world’s coffee production is Liberica which is considered harsh and acidic.
  • That is why our local kopi is stronger than the smoother expresso made from Arabica beans.
  • Liberica beans are also much cheaper than Arabica beans
  • Malaysian coffee is roasted twice. During the second roast, sugar, margarine and salt are added to give it its unique flavor.

Ways to enjoy our kopi:

  • Kopi-o-black kopi with sugar
  • Kopi –kopi with condensed milk
  • Kopi-si –kopi with sugar and evaporated milk
  • Kopi-cham –kopi with tea
  • Kopi peng is iced kopi with condensed milk
  • Kopi-o peng is iced black kopi with sugar
  • Kosong –no sugar

Penang Free School Old Boys enjoy grand dinner to celebrate institution’s 200th anniversary (NST, 21 October 2016)

Some 5,000 people packed the Penang Free School (PFS) field at its bi-centenary celebration grand dinner this evening.

A sea of people gathered under a canopy amid changing lights strung the facade of the school premises.

Among the dignitaries who graced the dinner were Raja of Perlis Tunaku Syed Sirajudin Putra Jamalullail and his consort Raja Perempuan of Perlis Tuanku Tengku Fauziah Abdul Rashid.

Present were Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas and his wife Toh Puan Majimor Shariff.

PFS Board of Governance chairman Datuk Abdul Rafique Abdul Karim announced that the attendance was the highest ever recorded for a school reunion in Malaysia, beating an early estimate of 4,000 people.

In his speech, Abdul Rafique said the school would strive to strengthen existing bonds among the old scholars. “Our aim is to strengthen the bonds and spread the spirit of brotherhood to every former PFS student.

It was an evening of great camaraderie among the Old Free Scholars who came from far and near to mingle with one another.

3 cities in Malaysia make the Top 10 Asian destinations for 2017 (Star December 8, 2016)

Malaysia has three destinations in the Top 10, the only country with such a high number – with Kuching, Kota Kinabalu and George Town all making the list!

Kuching is at eight spot, KK at nine and George Town rounds it up at 10.

The awards recognize 43 destinations around the world selected by an algorithm primarily measured by year-over-year increase in positive TripAdvisor traveller review ratings for accommodations, restaurants and attractions, and increase in booking interest. This is the fifth year of the awards and Travellers’ Choice Destinations on the Rise lists were also revealed for the United States, Europe and South America.

Penang named 2nd top tourist destination for 2017 by CNN (NST, Jan 9, 2017)

Penang came in 2nd after Prince Edward Island, Canada as CNN’s Top Tourist Destination for 2017. Penang is only one of the three locations in Asia in the list, which includes destinations in Thailand and China. Penang was singled out for its cuisine and as having one of Asia’s best street foods.

Malaysia is Asia’s best place to retire (

According to International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index, taking into account the cost of living, retiree benefits, climate, healthcare etc, 10 out of 24 countries have been selected the best places in the world to retire. Malaysia was ranked top in Asia and 6th overall.  Malaysia is the only Asian country to make the top 10.

9 Reasons to Visit Penang that have Nothing to do with Street Food (

Even without the food and the decadent buildings, Penang is a very special place. It’s also a rich tropical egg-yolk that’s hard to break for first-timers. There are nine ways to go beyond George Town’s gentrified façade. Get to know some of the real multi-ethnic, artistic and natural depth that the entire island of Penang has to offer…

Malaysia Ranks 6th in Forbes International Living’s 10 Best Places to Retire Around the World in 2017 (

International Living says for its “878 idyllic islands, stunning beaches and untouched rainforests.” Malaysia is a multicultural place that’s home to a mixture of Malay, Chinese, Indian, Europeans and Americans.

The cost of living is low, the health care quality is high … the food is not just first class, but world class …   the shopping in Kuala Lumpur and Penang … is to die for.