Known locally as Pulau Pinang, Penang is composed of a turtle-shaped island with an area of 285 square kilometers and a landstrip called Seberang Prai 48 kilometers wide.
Penang, an island and a state in northwestern Malaysia, is one of the most developed and urbanized parts of the country and is a popular tourist destination. With great beaches and a rich history and culture influenced by Chinese, European and Indian culture in addition to Malay culture and some of the best food to be found in Malaysia, Penang makes for an enjoyable visit.
Penang, which has a long history of trade with China, was leased to the English trader Captain Francis Light by the Malay Sultan of Kedah, in the 18th century. It soon became a British colonial possession and an important trading port. Penang was occupied by the Japanese, during World War II, only to be re-possessed by the British in 1945. Penang became independent in 1957, along with the rest of Malaysia.
In recent years, the historic centre of the capital George Town was redeveloped, with pre-war buildings giving way to modern high-rises. In 2008, George Town and Malacca were declared UNESCO World Heritage sites.