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The Pearl Of The Orient’s New Attractions

May 19, 2014 Destination ASEAN No Comments Email Email

Conferred the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008, the city of Georgetown in the island of Penang has capitalised on multiple growth opportunities and transformed itself into a more thriving tourist destination with new attractions. island, popularly known as Pearl of the Orient, is easily accessible via land, sea or air. A new attraction is the second Penang Bridge linking the mainland and island. Known as the Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge, it was officially opened to the public on 1 March 2014 and spans 24km with 16.9km over water, making it the longest bridge in South East Asia.

A notable achievement is that the bridge is also the longest bridge in the world installed with High Damping Natural Rubber (HDNR) Bearing. HDNR offers an effective seismic isolation system, enabling the bridge to withstand up to 7.5 Richter scale in the event of earthquake.
Once across the bridge, visitors to the island will be immediately drawn to Penang’s old world charm and new world attractions.

Penang’s new attractions set to boost tourism

ESCAPE theme park

As a preferred travel hotspot for both locals and tourists, Penang has created new excitement for adrenaline-infused enthusiasts with the ESCAPE theme park. The ecologically-friendly park fuses into the natural landscape, making it a fun and green environment to be in, epitomising the best of outdoor lifestyle.

Step into the ESCAPE world of fun and entertainment and you will be spoilt for choice with almost 20 exhilarating attractions for the young and the young-at-heart. Bring back sweet old memories reminiscent of the olden days of active childhood experiences. Go back to the good old days with nostalgic childhood activities such as tree climbing, tunnel exploring and staying on the tree house.

Have fun on the Atan’s Leap, also called the Powerfan, where you can experience an exhilarating free fall with a featherbed landing from your choice of 13m and 30m towers. Try out the Flying Lemur, Monkey Business, Coco Climb and other fun attractions. For those who love a good splash, check out the Turby Racer and the Dunk Tank. Younger kids will also have loads of fun at the Serambi Learning House and Monkey School attractions.

Wet World Wild Adventure Park

The Wet World Wild Adventure Park is Asia’s first open sea water adventure park and showcases a loop of bouncy inflatables that mimic an obstacle-based challenge course incorporating rock climbing, running track, trampoline, swings, slides, ponds, walls and a human catapult – in the likes of the famous “Wipeout” TV show. Tickets are sold in blocks of 2 hours play time, so have loads of splashing fun here.

Hean Boo Thean Temple

Another upcoming new attraction in Penang is the Hean Boo Thean Temple, located at Weld Quay, the heritage jetty of Penang. Originally built in 1972, the temple underwent major refurbishment in 2012 with architectural inspirations from Southern Chinese elements. The uniqueness about this temple is its shrine on stilts, perched over the sea, where high tides may sometimes sweep over the temple.

The temple houses two decks. The Lower Deck features the prayer hall, called the Central Sanctuary where various statues of Chinese deities are placed for worship.

The Main Shrine on the Upper Deck is the Shrine of the Goddess of Mercy. The walkway towards the shrine is lined with figurines inspired from the 24 Tales of Filial Piety. The temple offers a breathtaking view of the sea with a glittering view of the jetty at night.

Made in Penang Interactive Museum

The Made in Penang Interactive Museum is the first 3D art museum in Penang. Located at Weld Quay, it features a variety of three-dimensional mural graphics that showcase various attractions and features depicting the history, arts, culture and touristy facets of Penang.

The 3D art also features famous personalities including P. Ramlee (Malay film legend), Nicol David (Malaysian female squash player), Lim Guan Eng (Chief Minister in the state of Penang). The gallery consists of five sections, mainly the Great Wall of Penang, Miniature Local Trades, Miniature Weld Quay, Trick Art Gallery and Interactive Theatre.

The entrance into the museum begins with a time tunnel, taking you on a journey across the “Great Wall of Penang” which portrays life around Weld Quay 120 years ago.

The Camera Museum & Asia Camera Museum

“Say cheese” and don’t forget to smile! For those who want to see how the world’s first camera looks like more closely, snap your way to Malaysia’s first Camera Museum in Penang. Priceless cameras are exhibited in a refurbished heritage shop-house situated at 49 Lebuh Muntri. Feast your eyes on exhibits that date back all the way to the past millennium up to the latest models.

Peek through the past technologies of film processing when once dark rooms prevailed. Check out the interactive camera Obscura, pin-hole camera rooms and visualise for yourself the tough working days when large format camera rooms existed.

Located nearby is the “Asia Camera Museum” at Jalan Burma. It is home to over 1,000 vintage cameras, accessories and camera equipment. The museum prides itself as a centre for photography education and resources, ranging from hobbyist to photography short courses. Among the highlights is a rare Magic Lantern Projector dating back to the early 1900s, comprising antique painted glass colour slides and a 35mm silent movie projector illuminated with an oil lamp.

Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Kovil (Temple)

The picturesque Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Temple is the largest Lord Murugan shrine outside India. It is the masterpiece of an architect from India, together with 19 temple builders and artisans. The team spent four years hand-sculpting the temple’s designs on site, taking inspiration from the era of Chola and Pallava Kingdoms of India. The outcome is an awe-inspiring prayer hall featuring intricate details and a magnificent 7-storey main tower, almost identical to ancient temples in South India.

To reach the temple, devotees and visitors need to climb over 500 steps, surrounded by breathtaking scenery. Once here, visitors will be welcomed by the magnificent 18 ft high teak wood door at the entrance, the 8 m tall statue of Lord Shiva and ceiling featuring 11 different flora sculptures.

Penang Museum

Located at Green Hall, the Penang Museum collates Penang’s rich historical past and evolution in chronological order, portraying the island state’s multiracial community and culture. Visitors will traverse through the annals of time through a dark passage, hearing voices echoing different stories from a long time ago. The Museum also houses state treasures, an archive, artifacts, and collections of Baba Nyonya porcelain, furniture, jewellery and costumes.

My Natural Crystal Gallery

Crystal lovers should make a visit to My Natural Crystal Gallery a must. The glittering showcase is one of the largest private natural crystal collections in Asia. Located in Penang Times Square, the gallery occupies a massive 13,871 sq ft on the third floor of the mall. Over 1,000 exquisite calcite crystals can be viewed here.

There are many one-of-a-kind pieces crafted by nature over thousands and possibly millions of years ago. They come in various shapes and sizes, and different geometric patterns. To understand the allure of crystals, to believers, crystals are said to have healing and protective powers.

The Pearl of the Orient Simply Dazzles

Besides the new attractions that have come up in recent years, the old world charms of Penang continues to captivate visitors. Visitors to Penang are often fascinated by Fort Cornwallis, Penang Hill, the Snake Temple, Gurney Drive, Butterfly Farm, Kek Lok Si Temple and the legendary P. Ramlee’s House.

From sightseeing to sumptuous food, there is always a reason to visit Penang. The island surroundings is clean and beautiful. Georgetown is a historical heritage city dotted with distinctive colonial buildings, shopping centres and most desirable of all, sumptuous variety of food and delicacies.

In fact, Penang has won coveted recognition as Lonely Planet’s top culinary spot for 2014 and was listed on CNN Travel in November 2013 as Asia’s best city for street food. Penang, Pearl of the Orient. Truly Malaysia.

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