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Penang

Penang Island was known, once upon a time, as Pulau Pinang or the “Isle of the Betel Nut”. Listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 2008, this virgin paradise has no shortage of cultural sights and natural scenery. Penang is a state in Malaysia, located on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia by the Strait of Malacca. It is the second smallest Malaysian state in area after Perlis, and the eighth most populous. A resident of Penang is colloquially known as a Penangite.

Pulau Pinang, long well known as the food capital of Malaysia, is renowned for its good and varied food, and most Malaysians claim that the best food is found here. Penang was recognised as having the Best Street Food in Asia by TIME magazine in 2004, citing that "nowhere else can such great tasting food be so cheap". Penang's cuisine reflects the Chinese, Nyonya, Malay and Indian ethnic mix of Malaysia, but also shows some influence of Thailand. Its especially famous "hawker food", many served al fresco, strongly features noodles, spices, and fresh seafood. The best places to enjoy Penang's food include Gurney Drive, Pulau Tikus, New Lane, Penang Road and Chulia Street.

The most popular beaches in Penang are located at Tanjung Bungah, Batu Ferringhi, and Teluk Bahang, and these contiguous beaches are home to Penang's famed hotel and resort belt. More secluded Muka Head, which hosts a lighthouse and a marine research station, and Monkey Beach — both within the Penang National Park — offer more pristine water.

Parks, Gardens and Natural Environment

Penang has managed to retain a considerable area of natural environment. Located at the fringe of George Town, at the foot of Penang Hill are two adjacent green areas — the Penang Municipal Park (popularly known as Youth Park) and the Penang Botanic Gardens. Penang Hill, despite encroaching development, remains thickly forested and lush in vegetation. The Relau Metropolitan Park was opened in 2003. Robina Beach Park is a park by the beach near Butterworth.