槟城这名字，乃取自当年遍布在该岛上的槟榔树而来的。槟城于1786年时被英国殖民政府开发为远东最早的商业中心，今日的槟城，已经是一个反映东西方独特情怀的熙熙攘攘之大都会。。槟城是由槟榔屿和北海组成的。而将这块土地相接起来的就是闻名遐迩的槟威大桥。槟威大桥是亚洲最长以及全世界第三长的大桥。槟城的首府是乔治市（Goerge Town）， 那是一个风景迷人而具有独特风格的城市。槟城的名胜地、迷人的海滩，令人流连忘返的美食佳肴，富有情趣的风土人情以及独树一格的当地色彩，使到槟城州远近驰名，有“东方花园”的美誉。
With its eclectic cuisine and diverse population Penang seems more like a cultural prism than a "Pearl of the Orient" - a microcosm of Malaysia that rewards exploration after a challenging getting-to-know-you process.
Originally, Penang was an overgrown malarial swamp that nobody cared to inhabit. Enter multilingual maverick, Captain Francis Light of the invade-and-trade British colonial firm, the East India Company.
The Sir Francis Drake of his day, Captain Light founded Penang in 1786, envisaging it as a harbor for China-bound ships in pursuit of tea and opium.
According to one story, he ended up bombarding it with silver dollars unleashed from cannons, in the hope that Malays would clear the forest to retrieve them. The island was also given duty-free status and new arrivals were allowed to claim as much land as they could clear.
* How to Get to Penang - How to Get Around Penang
Penang's Capital George Town
Today, the 115-square mile (300-square-kilometer) island has plenty to see, more than Malaysia' capital Kuala Lumpur, even. Much of the action happens at the island’s colonial capital, George Town.
Named after the crazed English king who lost America, Georgetown boasts Southeast Asia’s finest collection of 19th century and early 20th century buildings. In fact, George Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008, in recognition of its unique architectural and cultural gifts.
George Town's grid makes it easy to navigate the streets that teem with the bazaars and bucket seat restaurants that underpin the city’s gourmet reputation. The diverse menu runs from lime juice spiked with sour plum to duck-meat noodle soup. One is tempted to hang around downtown and eat and eat. (The more fastidious might complain that the streets are often shabby and populated by vicious dogs, but the dedicated foodie can look beyond these with little effort.)
Beyond George Town’s hedonistic sphere, Penang has some engrossing natural attractions, not least the bird sanctuary. Flycatchers, kingfishers, fairy bluebirds, pheasants and flower peckers are just some of the birds on parade at the sanctuary, which is threaded with waterfalls.
The sanctuary’s sister, the butterfly park, houses over 4,000 tropical butterflies encompassing 150 species and is touted as a "live museum". At time of writing, plans are underway to add a night zoo stocked with nocturnal creatures and tropical insects.