First-time traveller to Penang? Make sure you read up on these notes before packing your bags.
Weather - With a stubborn hot and humid climate that lingers around 28 degrees celsius all year round, there is little respite from the heat. Temperatures soar even higher in February and early March, which makes shorts and light, cotton t-shirts or tank tops your best friend when wandering the city.
December and January are the most ideal times to visit, with milder temperatures but still enough sun to enjoy walking outdoors.
When to go - The end and start of the year are Penang’s highest season, with crowds flocking to the sunlit state in droves to soak in the good weather (East Malaysia usually experiences a torrential rainfall during this period). If you are opposed to crowds, and don’t mind taking a wager on the rainy season, go between May and October.
Getting in to Penang - The Penang Bayan Lepas International Airport is located about 30 minutes away from George Town. The Rapid Penang Bus No. 401E (RM 2.70) brings you straight into the city and takes approximately 90 minutes. If you’re headed for the northern beaches, take Bus No. 102 that will bring you to Teluk Bahang in the north-west of the island.
Language - Penang’s diversity is made known via two litmus tests - food and language. Just walking around George Town will expose you to a range of different languages and dialects. The main language is Malay, and is spoken by almost all of the locals. However, English is used at hotels and tourist attractions, and most locals under the age of 50 are able to communicate, albeit with varying levels of fluency.