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General Information

Introducing Penang
Brief History
The People
The Climate
The Language
Religion
Misc Facts

Extras

Extended
Penang History
Introducing Penang
Penang is located in Malaysia; South East Asia. Its proper name is Pulau Pinang. The island has also been known as 'Prince of Wales Island', and more recently 'The Pearl of the Orient'. Just to clear matters, Penang is not just an island but actually a state that also includes a small strip of land (Butterworth) on the peninsula of Malaysia.
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Captain Francis Light, Founder of Penang.
Brief History
Penang had been, prior to the English, known as a harbour for pirates. Then in 1786 the Sultan of Kedah ceded the state of Penang (Pulau Pinang), also known as Betelnut Island to Captain Francis Light of the East India Company in return for British protection. It was England's first stronghold in Asia, and they quickly populated the island and made it an important port within the Straits of Malacca. In 30 years the population boomed from almost nil to 10,000 with Georgetown as the capital. During World War II, the 'Pearl of the Orient' was invaded by the Japanese. At the same time the English departed.
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The People
Penang state has a population of just over one million with about 400,00 based in the capital Georgetown. The population is ethnically split between Chinese, Malays and Indians, the largest of the three groups being the Chinese followed by the Malays. For one reason or another, Penang has not endured the difficulties that such a diverse ethnic mix has brought to other parts of the country - it is known for it's tolerant and peaceful society.
Weather of Georgetown, Penang. Provided by the Weather Channel.Back to Top

The Climate
Sitting right on the equator Penang's climate is referred to as equatorial. There are no real recognisable hot and cold seasons in Penang. Rain falls fairly regularly all year round, although the heaviest showers are said to occur between August and November. The temperature consistently falls between a pleasant 23 degrees and 32 degrees celsius, although humidity can be high. Click here for 5-day forecast.
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Trishaw pedlar relaxing
The Language
Bahasa Melayu is the national language and the medium of instruction in local educational establishments. English is taught as a second language but is widely spoken and generally understood. In Penang, many Asian languages and dialects are also spoken and understood. These include Mandarin and other Chinese dialects such as Hokkien, Hakka (Khek), Cantonese, Tamil and other Indian dialects, Thai and Japanese.
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Religion
Like the rest of Malaysia the official religion of Penang is Islam, however Penang state is very tolerant of the many religions and faiths that are practised within its state, in other words there is 'freedom of worship'. Aside from Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, Hindu and Christianity are prominent. Of note - each faith has on the island a building of worship that is well worth a visit.
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Miscellaneous Facts
Currency: Ringgit Malaysia (MYR). RM3.80 = USD1 approx. Use the currency converter.
Time Zone: +8.00 GMT. Look at the current time.
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