Penang is a Malaysian state located on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia, by the Malacca Strait. It has two parts: Penang Island, where the capital city, George Town, is located, and Seberang Perai (formerly Province Wellesley) on the Malay Peninsula. The second smallest Malaysian state by land mass, Penang is bordered by Kedah to the north and the east, and Perak to the south.Penang Island is connected to the rest of the state by Malaysia's two longest road bridges, the Penang Bridge and the Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge; the latter is also as of May 2019 the longest oversea bridge in Southeast Asia.
Penang's population stood at nearly 1.767 million as of 2018, while its population density rose to 1,684/km2 (4,360/sq mi). It has among the nation's highest population densities and is one of the country's most urbanised states.George Town, Malaysia's second largest city, is also home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Penang's modern history began in 1786, upon the establishment of George Town by Francis Light. Penang formed part of the Straits Settlements in 1826, which became a British crown colony in 1867. Direct British rule was only briefly interrupted during World War II, when Japan occupied Penang; the British retook Penang in 1945. Penang was later merged with the Federation of Malaya (now Malaysia), which gained independence from the British in 1957. Following the decline of its entrepôt trade towards the 1970s, Penang's economy was reoriented towards hi-tech manufacturing.
Penang has always been one of the most popular tourist destinations in Malaysia. Throughout history, the state welcomed some of the most influential personalities, including W. Somerset Maugham, Rudyard Kipling, Lee Kuan Yew, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles.Penang is known for its rich heritage and architecture, its vibrant multicultural society, a wide range of modern entertainment and retail choices, natural features such as beaches and hills, and the world-famous Penang cuisine.
Unlike other Malaysian states, Penang does not rely only on air transportation for tourist arrivals. Aside from the Penang International Airport, Swettenham Pier, conveniently located within the heart of George Town, has emerged as one of the major tourist entry points into the state.
Penang Island is connected to the mainland by two bridges. The 13.5 km (8.4 mi) Penang Bridge, completed in 1985, spans the Penang Strait between Gelugor on the island and Perai on the mainland. Spanning 24 km (15 mi), the Second Penang Bridge is located further south, linking Batu Maung on the island to Batu Kawan on the mainland. The latter was opened to the public in 2014 and is currently the longest bridge in Southeast Asia.
Penang International Airport (PEN) is located in Bayan Lepas at the southeast of Penang Island, 16 km (9.9 mi) south of George Town. It serves as the main airport for northern Malaysia, with frequent links to major regional cities such as Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Bangkok, Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh City, Taipei, Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Doha.
The Port of Penang, the main harbour in northern Malaysia, is operated by the Penang Port Commission. The Port consists of seven facilities, with six of them in Butterworth and Perai on the mainland, including the North Butterworth Container Terminal, Butterworth Deep Water Wharves and the Prai Bulk Cargo Terminal. The Port of Penang, the third busiest seaport in Malaysia, handled more than 1.52 million TEUs of cargo in 2017.