As a beach escape, Penang can’t compete with the postcard coastlines and waterways of Langkawi. On the flipside, when it comes to food, the arts and architecture, Penang is your Malaysian island of the moment.
Charted by the Chinese in the 15th century and later founded by English trader Francis Light, Penang’s colonial vestiges are becoming increasingly more of a travel highlight, with ongoing restorations bringing the island’s older architecture back to life.
British heritage is only part of the picture here, as well. During the Brits’ 171-year long rule, Penang’s role as outpost for the East India Company paved the way for a variety of diasporic communities to make their architectural mark.