Briefings Magazine

Virtual Visit: Penang, Malaysia

This tropical island is a kaleidoscope of sensory experience and economic potential.

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Perhaps not a destination for those sensitive to stimulus overload, this small white-sand island, which Lonely Planet has called a “thrilling cocktail of Asian cultures,” is a mélange of influences: not only does it boast what many consider the best cuisine in Southeast Asia, Penang is also known for its vibrant art, eclectic architecture, and growing music scene. Less than four hours from Hong Kong, it also serves as a link between Asia and Europe. Long regarded as a retirement mecca, with its low cost of living, robust healthcare, and welcoming immigration laws, this palm-frond paradise is now attracting the corporate establishment.

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George Town, the island’s main city, is a bustling, colorful UNESCO World Heritage Site, with Chinese and Indian temples alongside British colonial architecture. It’s known for its street art, food trucks, and coffee shops.

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Penang National Park features trails that weave through mountainous jungle teeming with wildlife on the way to white-sand beaches. Keep an eye out for monkeys, lemurs, leopards, lizards, and giant sea turtles.

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Every year, the island hosts jazz and world-music festivals and an international film festival. There’s also an abundance of local carnivals and, of course, Komik Asia, the Asian comic-book museum.

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The government is aiming to attract corporations to relocate by setting up what are known as Global Business Services: spaces that provide companies all the amenities they need in a centralized location.


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