Tag Archives: backpackies penang

Batu Feringghi Night Market – Shopped and reviewed by Backpackies

There is just so much to do in Penang( and i mean the island of Penang), over the week end. It was a hard toss between heading out for some 24hour Nasi Kandar Line Clear at Penang Road and then to Upper Penang Road for drinks or head up to Batu Feringghi to check out the famed night market.
After much discussion, we decided to give our livers a break and opted for some wallet damage.  We took the Rapid Penang Bus 101 from the front of 7-11 on Chulia Street.
We were staying at Roommates Guesthouse Penang for this trip and the 7-11 was just like 2 minutes walk out from the guesthouse. Its a really nice guesthouse with extremely friendly staff.
The bus 101 was air conditioned and took about less than 25 minutes to get to Batu Feringghi. You can easily spot the night market which starts daily at 7pm and runs till around 11pm. If you are not sure, then just press the STOP bell at Golden Sands Resort. There is a new PETRONAS and McDONALDS just directly opposite the hotel. The night market starts from this point and stretches for another 2 kilometers.

Its the usual traffic jam along Batu Feringghi Road because it is all single laned

The market has changed a lot since i first been here about 5 years ago. That time, i used to remember that the stalls were sprawling till it overflowed out to the sides of the walk ways of the street. Nowadays with proper and stricter government enforcing, the stalls are pushed further back away from the road side.

You can also cycle up to the market, which will take you a good 45 minute – 1 hour journey

If you have your own scooter or bicycle, then you can always ride up to the market.

some of the converted stalls have air conditioning in them

there are plenty of clothes for you to shop for like batik and beach wear

Fresh fruits and juice are a hit among the tourists

Not so tacky souvenir shirts- these designs have existed some 10 years ago, when i was a kid. Man!! They should do something about these souvenir shirts!


I must admit that im a serious addict. A Watch Addict! I was literally drooling at the sight of all the colorful G-SHOCKs that were on sale. These are of course fake watches, but being water proof and for only RM 50 each. Man im sooo buying 5 ! Oh wait, i only got 2 hands!

Another must buy when you are here is the fake DVD’s. These are Blue Ray and DVD quality DVDs that you are getting for RM 4 each! Now who says, Penang’s shopping sucks?!!

A note to other bloggers: Please do not take pictures of the stall as they will beat you up. These pictures were taken illegally.

The latest addition to Batu Feringghi is the new Mc Donalds outlet and also the petrol station. Back about 1 year ago, you would need to make sure you had enough petrol to drive up and back from Batu Feringghi before you made the trip. But now its so convenient with the new petrol station up there.
Also with Mc Donalds added to the fast food option, eating up at Batu Feringghi is so much easier. (I just use the free wifi! )
There is of course the famous – RIDE THRU service



The night market is a great way to spend your evening. Head up here around 5 ish in the afternoon, head to the beach for a beer or to sun bath, then have dinner at the hawker center nearby, then shop at the market for souvenirs. Then take the last bus 101 back to the hostel. Voila! Mission Accomplished!


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Filed under backpacking, budget hotels penang, Penang, Penang Famous Hawker Food

Penang Ferry across the Penang Channel by backpackies

In this blog, we will be writing about taking the Ferry from Penang Island to Butterworth on the mainland.

What is in Butterworth you ask?
Well the Train Station is just 2 minutes walking distance from the Butterworth ferry terminal. Trains depart from the Butterworth Station for Hatyai, Thailand, and also to KL and Singapore. Here is what to expect of taking the train. Train from KL to Penang.

There is also a bus station on the mainland where you can hop on busses to take you up north to Kuala Perlis and Kuala Kedah where you can then take a ferry to Langkawi island.
There are also busses that travel to other states as well.

The ferry terminal on Penang Island is in Weld Quay. It is within walking distance from Fort Cornwallis in town. (The nearest landmark we can think off, if you are not local).
You can also take the Rapid Penang Bus Service to Weld Quay. There is a big bus terminal there where you can catch busses to get anywhere around the island easily. From there you will see a fly over, something like what you see in this picture.


Overhead bridge leading to the Ferry Terminal on the Island Side

Walk across the overhead bridge to get to the ferry terminal.


Ferry terminal on the Penang Island Side

Just outside the terminal you can see alot of taxi’s waiting for customers.
Along the walkway to the ferry terminal are stalls that sell water, snack, fruits and news papers.
There is a counter just behind these stalls where you can buy your train ticket. You don’t have to go across to Butterworth to buy the tickets.
Just in front of this taxi stand is also the FREE PENANG BUS SERVICE, which is called CAT (Central Area Transit).This website gives a pretty good explaination on this service. PENANG CAT. It is a normal RAPID PENANG bus but has the words CAT written all over the side. (If you are not sure, there is an information counter at the bus terminal) The FREE bus route services the inner part of town and most of the attractions within Georgetown.
If you are arriving to Penang Island by ferry, and you are staying around Chulia Street or Upper Penang Road, then you can take the FREE BUS SERVICE there.

penang ferry terminal

walkway to the waiting area

penang ferry
Above: This is a picture of the Weld Quay Bus Terminal.
Below: This is the passenger walkway heading to the waiting area before boarding the ferry.

The bottom of the ferry is for vehicles and the top is for walking passengers.

Penang ferry terminal

Walking the long walkway to the waiting area

ferry from Penang to butterworth

Waiting area before boarding the ferry

Yes taking the ferry is FREE!! You only need to pay for a single journey from Butterworth to Penang Island. And even that is only RM 1.20!

Penang ferry terminal

You only need to pay when you take the ferry from Butterworth to the Island

Penang ferry terminal

The view of Butterworth Industrial Zone

The ride is very pleasant especially in the early mornings and evenings when the weather is cooler. Relax as the calming cool fresh breeze gently caresses your face. The view of the channel can be very rewarding as well, as you get to see ships and boats of many shapes and sizes sail pass the channel going about their own business, making Penang Port one of the bussiest ports in Malaysia.

ferry from penang to butterworth

Very breezy ride across the Penang channel

Penang Ferry

The bus terminal on the Butterworth side

From this bus terminal, you can board a local bus that takes you around Butterworth, or you can also catch an Interstate bus to any other state on the Peninsular.

penang ferry terminal

Old local bus still being used for short distances

penang ferry terminal

modern double-decker being used for long interstate runs

penang ferry terminal

ticket counters

penang ferry terminal
There is a temporary food court just behind the Bus Terminal. It’s convenient for grabbing a bite before the journey.

Penang Ferry Terminal

Temporary Food Center near the bus terminal

They sell mostly HALAL food (no pork).

Penang Ferry Terminal

food court near the ferry terminal

And something that caught our eye that is out of topic is, that they all use cheap cooking oil! o.O Our arteries are screaming again with cholesterol!

Penang Ferry Terminal

Most of the local stalls use cheap cooking oil to cook their food

We hope you guys found this blog informative. If you have a facebook account, please like us on facebook at backpackies is on facebook!

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Filed under backpacking, Penang

Ryokan Chic Hotels @ Muntri Street Penang reviewed by backpackies.com

Ryokan on Muntri Street, Penang just recently opened its doors to their first batch of guests about 1 month ago. (30th April 2011).
There was a promotion that for the one day only (which is the opening day) they invited 20 lucky facebook fans to have a free stay at the hotel.
Subsequently the remaining fans had a 50% discount of the rooms for the same day.
We unfortunately missed that special day. (To be honest, we missed the FREE STAY more!! :D). But after hearing so much hype about this place, we decided to review it. Of course again, there might be plenty of reviews already of this place online since its such a nice setup. But at backpackies, we try not to bullshit our fans, and of course, we try to take pictures that actually give you the whole feel of what to expect during your stay at Ryokan @ Muntri Street Penang.
So taking out our microscope and V800 “dont take any sh*t” xI3 Faultfinder- We begin to review Ryokan.

Ryokan is located on Muntri Street, just 5 minutes walk from Penang’s Clubbing Hotspot- Upper Penang Road and also Heritage attractions like Kapitan Kling Mosque, Kuan Yin Teng Temple, Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, State museum and many more. And the best thing about it is also, it is walkable some of the famous food stalls in Penang. Hameeds delicious roti canai and sup kambing, Red Garden food court with their daily chinese girl singers entertaining you while you dine, Chulia Lanes Curry Noodles, so please don’t get us started.
Verdict: Location A++

ryokan on muntri street

Ryokan Chic Hotels is the latest chic and fashionable "budget" hotel in Penang

The facade was pretty impressive, mainly because of the nice neon lights and decoration. Definitely chic! We love the combination of cement art and the usage of wood in their front door.
|There are some outdoor seating as well, which are only practical in the mornings and nights because during the day, it gets really hot. And not to mention they use Steel Chairs! Really? In the inside,usually during the day, the air conditioning will be on so it’s not that hot. The living area cum cafe is quite spacious and tastefully decorated we must say.We are impressed.
The bar counter wasnt really ready yet when we were there so there were only minimal drinks and food that you could order.
There was a stage in the cafe so presumably that is for the live band to perform sometime in the future. Well actually during their opening they did have someone sing!

ryokan on muntri street

Lounge and cafe area

The wifi is free but you can only pick up the signal at the very back near the stage. Towards the front, its a bit weak. Its good in a way because, it prevents people from the outside (previous guests) to steal wifi from the road side.

ryokan on muntri street

Nice bar counter made from cement- It was soooo smooth! 😀 ha ha ha

Accommodations are up top. You will need to take off your shoes, and there are some nice racks where you can put them. So this keeps the whole sleeping area clean.

ryokan on muntri street

no shoes inside the accommodation

Towards the back, there is another set of similar looking cabinets.

ryokan on muntri street

heading to the rooms

No its not for shoes and slipeprs! These are the free books and magazines for you to read. There are some bean bags, and lights that is meant to be a reading corner.

The flooring on this whole place is wood, so there is a nice texture when you walk around barefooted, you can feel mother natures grains…..massaging your feet. And of course, since its wood, you can hear people walking about the guesthouse. In olden times, this is a security feature, where the residents in the house could know if there were thieves entering their house through the noise from the wood planks.
The rooms and chillax corner, we will show later. The Loft was still renovating when we were there. So we might need to sneak in again for a free photoshoot next time. Damn the planks!

ryokan on muntri street

This is the chillax area, where there are fans only, and bean bags, lights and books for you to enjoy a good book. Maybe doable during the nights when its not so humidly hot.
All the rooms are on the left hand side of this walkway. And all of the rooms have air conditioning.

ryokan on muntri street
We took the 4 man dorm room which was about 100 ft2 in size. A comfortable size to sleep in. The furniture and bed linen were all white which we love, because with white is, you could actually see if the place was dirty or not by one look. But after we checked it, this place was very clean. (Mainly because it is brand new). The beds were singles (not super singles), but the mattress and pillow were abit on the hard side. At first it felt firm and bearable. But towards the end, it was abit too hard for us. There is a cabinet where you can store your personal items. You will need to bring your own padlock for this.
Also with the bunk bed, you have your own personal light, plug point and small tiny space where you can place small items next to you when you sleep. The reading light was bright and big enough, unlike some places where we have reviewed who uses cheap night lights as substitute. The air conditioning inside comes with the controller, so you can adjust accordingly. There is no fans in the room.
One thing we noticed is that the rooms did not have any dustbins for waste?!

Their room rates are
6 person dorm – RM 35
4 person dorm RM 38
4 Person Girls Only Dorm RM 40
Luxury private room – RM 138

Towel rental – RM 3
Blanket rental – RM 3
(Yes the room does not come with any of these)

ryokan on muntri street

4 pax dorm

ryokan on muntri street

private little space to charge your electricals and hide your valuables but just be careful because it doesnt come with any lock.

ryokan on muntri street

metal cabinet to store your own stuff- You need to bring your own lock

Although blanket and towels do not come with the room rate, they do provide a simple breakfast. The breakfast is still more impressive than some of the other guesthouses. But of course Ryokan’s rates are a little higher as well.

ryokan penang

Breakfast of the day

The coffee, tea and juice is free flow, but the breakfast menu keeps changing for variety. I could count how many baby hot dogs they gave me. The potato chips was a bit soggy. So if you can, its best to drag your lazy butt from the comfortable bed and have breakfast early. Breakfast is from 8-10.30.

Next weeeee will be checking out the toilets and showers. There is a long sink just outside the showers. They provide gel soap which smells nice.

ryokan on muntri street

public washing area - brushing teeth, and washing face

Since this is the only washing area, i guess you can also wash your small laundry items here as well. You just need to bring your own soap powder. You can get them at the minimarts along Chulia Street. The showers were very spacious and well ventilated.
The water pressure was excellent and it came with hot water and cold water. Not that you really need the hot water unless you were doing some sort of private spa session in the showers.  But then again, its nice to have it.

The good thing is, the showers had free fragrant smelling shower gels and shampoo. When i was in the bathroom, i could hear an australian guest comment ” Oh MY GOD, the shower gel smells so nice”. So that actually proves that my nose is still working.
Toilet paper on the other hand was a bit different. They were giving us paper towels to wipe our ass. We find that abit different but at least it wasnt newspapers like they use in China.

ryokan on muntri street
The tv lounge was a great concept. There is a nice mural of Ryokan on the wall, and they had bean bags for seating in front of a huge LCD screen., (Im sorry we didnt manage to check the size) But its sufficient. The sound system from the tv was good enough. But i do wonder how loud and till when can you watch tv at night? Since next to the tv area is actually rooms. Do let us know if you have tried it.

ryokan on muntri street

beanie bags at the lounge

Yups, if there is no one there, you can just lift your legs up (even if you wearing a mini skirt), just relax and enjoy the show.
The tv comes with ASTRO (malaysias only cable service)

ryokan on muntri street
This was the impressive mural of Ryokan we were talking about. This is a close up on the mural. Looks almost exactly like it, dont you think?

ryokan on muntri street
Finally after watching people lift their legs and enjoy a movie, i decided to lift mine up as well and call it a day.

ryokan on muntri street

Till our next review. Ryokan Chic Hotels has certainly raised the standard of guesthouses/ budget hotels in Penang. 5 thumbs up!

If you guys are going to stay in Penang, Ryokan is a good bet.Its clean, its tastefully done up, nicely designed for comfort and look, so there fore
Quality and Comfortability – A+

backpacking penang

Just like the painting on the wall i guess, after you leave Ryokan, you become a monkey (because of the other crap services from the other guesthouses around Penang)?
-Ryokan didnt pay us to say this if you are wondering.

For more information – Visit their Website – Ryokan Chic Hotels Penang
But whatever it is, please do join our travel group on facebook- Backpackies is on facebook!

Dont tell us you dont have facebook har!! Till then have a safe trip and have fun traveling!


Filed under Air Asia, backpacking, budget hotels penang, Guesthouses Penang, Penang hostels

Moon Tree at Muntri Street review by backpackies.com

It has been quite a while since we travelled up state, so last week-end we decided to pack our bags and have a road trip up to Penang. We arrived in Georgetown somewhere around 3pm.And it was hot as hell i tell you!
We were pretty impressed with the number of heritage cafes, guesthouses and boutique hotels that have mushroomed in the recent 1 year. Most of them have the same kind of concept :  buy old shoplot, restore it to original look, slap a new bucket of paint, throw some non workable antique furniture and there you have it “HERITAGE CAFE” and “HERITAGE BOUTIQUE HOTEL“. Something like that- you get our point.

Anyways, we were staying at this chic new hotel – Ryokan on Muntri Street. Very nice place. The review on Ryokan will be up next.

Moon Tree Cafe was just opposite our guesthouse. So we decided to do a review on it. One word of advice, try going in the evenings or at night when its not that hot. Like most “heritage cafes” the seating areas are not air-conditioned. The tiny antique fans inside wont do you much good you know. Bloody hot!
And with the kind of food and drink prices at Moon Tree ($$$$$), the hell with our usual saying “You AINT EATING if you AINT SWEATING” !!
If you search on the internet, there are actually limited pictures on how Moon Tree looks like (and we also get people asking us-“What is a moon tree”?? Here i mean REAL pictures that actually show you how the cafe really looks like inside. Not some artsy fartsy edited shots of the tv, half broken flower pots or the 1970’s wobbly wooden stools. For gods sake, we know how these furniture look like! We wanna know what the place inside looks like okkk??!

So backpackies is going to show you in our own way..
This is Moon Tree Cafe located on Muntri Street Penang. It’s a few doors down from the high-end cafe/boutique hotel- Muntri Mews.

heritage cafe penang

Moon Tree Cafe on Muntri Street Penang

moon tree cafe penang

Their hot latte's are served with a cookie

The first half of the cafe is not very big and is now filled with alot of antique furniture and broken chairs (May 2011). We figured the extra damaged furniture are for the extension plans beside the cafe. We heard its going to be a gallery. So they are in the process of repairing the chairs. (The round olden day coffee shop chairs are very hard to come by nowadays)

“The latte is pretty good” according to our own coffee specialist. Yes we brought our specialist all the way to Penang to taste coffee so our blogs are accurate ;). Pretty good pretty good. We paid RM 10. (now its not that good) 😀 I guess the fact that its ILLY coffee, it does have some justice on the price?

When we asked the boss-“If you had one thing that you would recommend here, what would you say is good and to die for”?
You have to try the
Kofte Burger
Minced pork marinated with turkish spices and herbs
Served with tzatziki sauce and lettuce

From their drinks list
Tea from RM 6
Coffee from RM 10
Heineikken RM 12

moon tree cafe penang

Inside the cafe

The furnitures are all recycled, most of which are all rickety and rackety. So please be gentle.

moon tree cafe penang

A beautiful lady jealous of another beautiful lady- What irony

Because the cafe was empty when we were there and the only friends were the mosquitoes, we sacrifice our own model for the photoshoot. (Not the mosquito)

moon tree cafe penang

preparation counter

This small preparation counter will be extended to the back once their back renovation is done. Apparently they will have a cook and serve more food when its ready. Anybody knows why the name “Tian Chin Hiang” is on the signboard? You can also see it on the picture album they have.

Like olden days, they dont have a cash register. So their cash is actually in the empty milk tin hanging from the ceiling . Easy to steal dont you think?

moon tree cafe penang

moon tree cafe penang

The place is littered with old antiques

moon tree cafe penang
moon tree cafe penang As you walk in, on the right is a wall complete with antique paraphernalia. Tiffin carriers, brass switches, photos, kerosene lamps. We know the brass switches are for sale. RM 1xx each if you are interested.

moon tree cafe penang

hanging walls of penang

Out back, we managed to find the MOZZIE HQ. At night, Moon Tree has plenty of mosquitoes. There are plenty of plants and water containers with stagnant water. Probably there is just too much potted plants here. Get rid of some? Or if they still insist on keeping the plants, then get the poison to kill the larvae please.

moon tree cafe penang

the antique metal basins being converted to sinks

When you are here, check out the transformation process of Moon Tree on the folder. Titled “Tian Chin Hiang”

moon tree cafe penang

Exploring Moon Trees past

moon tree cafe penang

Moon tree before its restoration

The sequence of its renovation work is being captured in the book. And there is another book there that guests can comment on the place beside it as well. From the looks of it, most of the comments seem to be good ones.

moon tree cafe penang

comments and appreciation

For what its worth, this place is an OK cafe to hang out at. Price wise, they could do with a little discount from the original price.
The place is too hot during the day, and at night, there are plenty of mosquitoes. If they had lighted up some mosquito coils, this place would be nice at night.
With so many other cafes with similar concepts coming up, they should really look in to making their service into something different to survive. But that just our modest opinion.
Good luck Moon Tree, we wish you all the best.

For more wacky free travel advice, do join our group on Facebook. Backpackies.

We hope you have Facebook! 😉
Till then travel safe and happy travelling!

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Filed under Air Asia, backpacking, being happy while backpacking, Guesthouses Penang, Penang, Penang hostels

Backpacking Penang, Mini Van from Penang to Hadyai

There isn’t a direct flight connecting Hat Yai Thailand and Penang Malaysia. There is a train service that takes at least 8 hours.
The fastest and convenient way to travel between these two locations is by minivan. Mini vans leave Hat Yai for Penang and other states in Malaysia very regularly. There are plenty of mini vans from Hat Yai to other provinces in Thailand as well. So if you are travelling for example from the South e.g Singapore, Melaka, KL, Penang to Koh Samui, Trang or Bangkok, it will easily take you more than a total of 6 hours. Sitting on the mini van for that long non stop can be a “pain in the ass”, literally!
Thats why we suggest to stop half way, at Hat Yai where most of the mini vans swap vehicles. (If you have time) 🙂
Here is how to take a Mini Van from Penang to Hat Yai.

You can get mini van tickets from Prangin Mall (featured below) and any of the many travel shops @ Chulia Street, down town Penang.

Hat Yai mini vans

travel agents that offer a variety of services, arrange bus and vans to Cameron Highlands, Genting Highlands, KL, Ipoh, Melaka, Hat Yai from Penang

backpacking thailand

Travel agencies just outside Prangin Mall Penang

express bus to kl

list of places that the agents cover

backpacking thailand

Ag express services, run quite a reliable minivan service from Penang to Hat Yai, Thailand and vice versa.

budget hotels penang

the older vans can get a little cramp if its full. Love the newer bigger vans with bigger seats and space

hatyai mini van

Minivans stop for petrol and a short break during their trip from penang to hat yai

Backpacking thailand

Great service from the hotels as they have a bell boy to get you from the van if its raining

Things the travel agent don’t tell you!
1) That if the pick up time you bought is 8am, it will pick you up at 8am, but don’t expect it to leave your current destination (Penang in this case) at 8am. They still need to go around and pick people up!
So you might be looking at leaving Penang maybe around 9-10am depending on how many people they are picking up.
This is important because we know a lot of people who intend to make a day trip to Hat Yai. Thinking if they leave at 8am and coming back at 4pm (Thai Time), they will have a lot of time to shop around. THEY ARE WRONG!
2) The entire trip takes about 4-5 hours (Penang to Hat Yai- and vice versa). Depending on how long the immigration procedures take. Expect longer queues during week ends and public holidays.
3) The mini van usually stops once- at the Malaysian Thai border. So make sure you have gone to the toilet first.
4) At the border, going to Thailand from Malaysia, the customs are not that strict. So you don’t have to worry about having your bags checked.
5) If you are smuggling something, beware!! They have scanners at the Malaysian side checking all your bags- when you are exiting Thailand and entering Malaysia.
6) The current ticket price for Hat Yai to Penang Malaysia is THB 30
From Penang to Hat Yai is RM 28.

Have a safe trip and just comment or feel free to ask us anything. From how to smuggle stuff to travel questions. visit www.backpackies.com for more information! Happy backpacking in Thailand or backpacking in Penang! 😀


Filed under backpacking, being happy while backpacking, Penang, Thailand

Budget hotel Penang, Star Lodge Guesthouse Penang with Backpackies

Backpacking in Penang on a tight budget? Planning to stay in Georgetown(town center) but not sure which budget hotel or guest house in Penang?

Here is one to help you decide. Check out Star Lodge on Muntri Street, Penang.

Star Lodge is about 5 minutes walk to Chulia Street( backpacking central of Penang) and Penang Road (Main busy road with plenty of activity). Location wise, it is very strategic as it is within minutes to 24 hour mini marts, local coffee shops and restaurants, internet cafes, bus stations, attractions and entertainment spots.
To get to this guesthouse, first find Muntri Street, you can click on map >> MAP as it is inter connected to Love Lane, Chulia Street and Penang Road. Look out for the Golden Wooden Plaque or  its plastic sign outside the building.

You can easily find Star Lodge with its Golden Chinese name plaque

The common area has rattan chairs and tables. They sell drinks and beer here. Cable TV is also available.

Lounge at the second floor of Star Lodge is airy, spacious and the walls are painted with calming scenery of flowing waterfalls and green hills - Painted by the same Guinness Book of Records holder for the longest mural painted.

The rooms are simple as seen below

Single bed @ Star Lodge Penang for RM 30-RM 35

Triple room at Star Lodge Penang @ RM 45- RM 60

Triple bed at RM45 - RM60

Double room for RM 35-RM 45

The staff of Star Lodge is very friendly and helpful.  They also will help you in your visa arrangements, and travel queries.

You can contact them at

39, Muntri Street
10200 Georgetown
Penang, Malaysia.
Tel: 604-2626378
Fax: 604-2633378

Email: 75lodge@gmail.com

Check out their website for more information :http://www.starlodge.net
We hope this information helps you in finding a decent place to sleep in.  Visit www.backpackies.com for more free budget information. Happy backpacking! 🙂


Filed under backpacking, being happy while backpacking, budget hotels penang, Guesthouses Penang, Penang