Penang has the highest Gross Domestic Product per capita among all Malaysian states and is considered a high-income economy. In addition, Penang recorded the nation's second highest Human Development Index, after Kuala Lumpur. Correspondingly, the state has a relatively well-educated population. Its heterogeneous population is highly diverse in ethnicity, culture, language and religion. Aside from the three main races, the Chinese, Malays and Indians, Penang is home to significant Eurasian, Siamese and expatriate communities.
Thaipusam signifies the victory of good over evil. During this celebration, a pilgrimage procession takes place to bring the statue of Lord Muruga on a golden chariot worth RM3 million led by more than 60 kavadis from Little India to the Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani hilltop temple at Wterfall Road. On Thaipusam day, devotees go through a physical endurance of being skewered and pierced on the back and front of their bodies as act of penance.
The state has practised religious tolerance from then until now with its diverse places of worship, some of which are built very close to each other. The perfect example is Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, also known as the Street of Harmony where the Kapitan Keling Mosque, Kuan Yin Temple, St. George's Church and Sri Mahamariamman Temple all sit within walking distance.
The George Town UNESCO World Heritage Site features Malaysia’s best restored and readaptive traditional architecture as well as a multitude of heritage trades and arts. The world-renowned “Street of Harmony” reflects the influence of the diverse communities that have made Penang their home. At only 2.5 sq km, the George Town WHS is compact enough to be explored on foot, bicycle or trishaw. According to UNESCO, the city represents an exceptional example of a multicultural trading town in Southeast Asia forged from the mercantile and civilisation exchanges of Malay, Chinese, Indian and European influences.
Life in Penang is a rich blend of Malay, Chinese, Indian, Peranakan and European influences. Heritage isn’t confined to museums and can be found thriving along the city’s five-foot ways – thus providing a vibrant living celebration of George Town’s UNESCO World Heritage status. You’ll experience a spirit of authenticity and joy in its traditional festivals, stunning architecture, spontaneous street art and old world charm. Penang’s quirky murals and street art have made international headlines. Around every street corner is a work of art waiting to be discovered!