Tap into this post to read about some of our sightseeing, fun facts, travel tips and many pictures of our time in Penang, Malaysia. We encourage you to get out and see the world if you are able, and if not, we will bring it to you through our posts. We hope you enjoy!
The unique design of the flag of Malaysia has significant meaning. The 14 stripes and 14-pointed yellow star represent the 13 member states of the Malaysian federation and the Federal District of Kuala Lumpur, each having equal status. The crescent and star represent the primary religion of Islam and yellow represents royalty. The blue square stands for unity of the Malaysian people as well as Malaysia’s heritage as a former member of the British Commonwealth (originally adopted from the British Union Jack).
Another port of call on our cruise from Dubai to Singapore was Penang, which is a beautiful Malaysian island along the Malacca Straits in southeast Asia. Due to its strategic position along the Malacca Straits, Penang has a long and rich history as an important trade port dating back to the first century A.D. when India and China first traded there. Many hundreds of years later, British captain Sir Francis Light settled Penang in 1786 on behalf of the East India Trading Company becoming British Empire’s first trading post in the Far East as well as the first British settlement on the Malay Peninsula.
Our cruise ship docked in the deep harbour of Georgetown and our first impression from the ship was…wow! As far as the eye could see were deep blue waters, mountainous terrain, and bright blue skies. From the cruise terminal we first took a taxi to Penang Hill and bought tickets to ride the inclined train to the top where we had cracking views over Penang. We spent a couple of hours at the top snapping photos and climbing up 50 or so stairs to the colourful Buddhist temple at the top, nearly 800 meters (2600 feet) above the sea.
Kek Lok Si Buddhist Temple
After Penang Hill we negotiated a day rate with our taxi driver and carried on with our adventure to Kek Lok Si, which is the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia. It was a very beautiful complex of temples and pagoda that reflects Chinese, Thai, and Burmese architecture. We spent a few hours touring the impressive gardens, grounds, and temples. Kek Lok Si is a must-see destination when in Penang!
Facts & Figures
— ‘Penang’ is the Malay word for the Areca Nut Palm tree for which it is named
— During the 18th century, many convicts from India were used as laborers to build roads, drain swamps and clear jungle in the development of Georgetown; in fact, much of Penang’s early infrastructure development and service industries were comprised of Indian convicts
— Penang Island is about one-third the size of Singapore
— Penang is one of the 13 Malaysian states and one of the nine hereditary kingdoms of Malaysia
— Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy with an elected king from a pool of sultans who represent the nine Malaysian states with hereditary kingdoms (Malaysia has 13 total states); the king of Malaysia reigns for 5 years and resides in the Malaysian National Palace in KL
— English is widely spoken in Penang; we had no problems communicating at all
— Taxis are safe and easy to use, fares are reasonable can be metered or negotiated, and drivers generally speak English
— The unit of currency for Malaysia is the ringgit (RM)
Isaiah 33:22 – New Living Translation (NLT)
22 For the Lord is our judge, our lawgiver, and our king. He will care for us and save us.
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