CNN gives nine reasons to visit Penang – but notice something…


No mention of theme parks, shoppping malls, sky walks, cable cars, 18-hole golf resorts – some of the things that the state government believes will draw more tourists to Penang.

Instead, the CNN write-up focuses on the arts, culture, underground music, an indigenous plant, artisans, unique religious festivals and Balik Pulau’s natural charm.

Indeed, it is mainly the intangible heritage that makes Penang such a compelling and fascinating place to visit. This is apart from the street food and heritage setting, which the report notes is being affected by gentrification.

And have we ever thought that a time will come when there are too many tourists crowding the island and making life difficult for local residents? We saw that in Penang over the recent festive season, when many Penangites chose to remain at home out of fear of congested roads. (In some streets around Komtar, in the evenings over the public holidays, traffic actually seemed lighter than usual; perhaps many locals were staying at home.)

Some European cities are already complaining of too many tourists. “Victims of their own success,” as they might say here. As the report in the New Zealand Listener says:

Our current tourist season should be a time for serious reflection for the industry, Government and residents. How many visitors are too many? To what extent are we prepared to shift from the tradition of free access to the outdoors to a regime of capped numbers and fees? Where might such limits be needed? Are our tourists paying the true price of the “freedom” and natural experience we invite them to enjoy, given the impact they have? And at what point might their freedom affect those of us for whom this country is a deeply loved home?

READ MORE:  Muhammad Ali's greatest fights were outside the ring

None of these questions is simple. And growth begets growth. As tourist numbers have risen, so too have the numbers of ­businesses reliant on that growth, which makes talk of new charges or limits challenging.

Tourism has the power to transform rundown regions and ­revitalise towns – that’s what it did to Kaikoura before the ­earthquake, and will surely do again. But, as Barcelona has found, it can also generate a backlash from those who feel their homes have been invaded.

Please help to support this blog if you can.

Read the commenting guidlelines for this blog.


  1. This year, the George Town Heritage Celebrations 2017 will be organising more oral communication activities with its theme “Walk the Talk: Oral Traditions and Expressions.”

    For more information, log on to .

      • One renowned developer that is creating world city vision in a Penang also deals with KTV business in Gurney according to blog report. ‘I Worry’ for his safety!

  2. 12,000 tourists from 4 cruise ships making port call at the Swettenham Pier on 12 March will provide good business to Penang traders. If you are entrepreneurial, you can set up makeshift roadside stall selling souvenirs and ‘I Love Penang’ (or ‘Save Penang’?) T-shirts to make quick money in one day.

    • Anil and tunglang collaborated t shirt design to promote justice on island, and also gain new fans to the blog ?

    • Good video photography. The food scenes bring back my desires for food binging, which I have ‘gave up’ since the advent of GST, petrol price hikes & unaffordable street food.
      The video scenes truly capture the quaint ambience of magical old world Penang & I hope nothing of the sort of slippery, plastic SingLand Gentrification ever change this magic.
      Cheers Kopi-O kau kau!

    • The couple in this video may not be big spenders, but I believe their enchanting videos will reach the globe-trotting tourists with the same mindset for adventures (makan-makan, visiting, authentic x-perience) in a leisurely pace & have fun.
      Not many big spenders would take the troubles to x-perience (like what the couple above did) in a hurried & measured tour package.

    • talk trash. without elect you will not be here. go back to belum and see how long you can last without big because you have elect

  3. CNN, a leading voice and apologist of capitalism, regrets gentrification?

    Penang – actually every state – has many attractions that do not need projects of hundreds of millions and billions of RM indebting the public further. This includes food, flora, trecks, ferries, trishaws, cultural sites, crafts, historical sites, homestays, and beaches. Many of these – even the food – are being undermined by corruption, incompetence and exploitation. The tuans want big projects and don’t want to deal with small operators. There was some hot air recently about regularising political contributions. What happened? The stupendous projects granted to contractors from China are ominous.

    • local wants cars. … tun lang wants 4wds and food trucks. when road jams complain. rakyat wants better roads. why pay road tax? road taxfor what?

    • Big budget projects = big kang tau (corruption & cronyism).
      Since the early days of MadHatterism has no other classrooms of corruption led the way of political trading.
      To accomodate public cry for conservation of cultures & environment means no kang tau means no money.
      That is why we need to oppose these greedy political traders instead of being fooled or tango with these recalcitrants like knee-jerk jerks or blind worshippers.

      • your big karma. the small also eat the smaller. now you dont believe in karma. we pay macc for doing nothing snd tau pek kong part of circle?

  4. Johor got Legoland, Penang ought to have Pokemonland ! Keep the forest of Jerejak green, let the pokemon hunters pay entrance fee (half of which goes to heritage fund) seeking the liscenced monsters.

  5. Must target right segment of tourists that helps local economy. Those spend little but cycling for fun blocking traffic is a nuisance to local folks.

  6. Hope badly the opposition will rule the country better than UMNO but end of the days is written Organized Politician once came to power they are different,cheap sale for ownself, own legacy,own idea without voters concern, self pride and rubbing shoulder with rich and famous same like UMNO.

    rajraman.Both giving dedak and some … eats the dedak when both eyes closed partially.This kind … only see the straight part.Left or right they don’t see.There are many … in UMNO AND ALSO IN OPPOSITION.
    666 return but not sure as i am not sure to believe Organized Religion and Organized Politician Politics.
    If voters blindly support this dedak provider there is no hope for better Malaysia.

    • Return of R666 being inspired by the hot movie Return of xxx Xander Cage Now showing? We wonder if R666 is actually undercover agent like the movie DeepikaPadukone?
      Recommend Anil not to miss this movie!

      • No Puspa.I don’t know about the movie since i don’t watch movie.I return after not posting comment in Anil blog quite sometime.

        rajraman.Free from Organized Religion and Organized Political Traders.If possible i want my head can turn 360degree like ghost or devil like some people believed but i am just another mortal.I want to speak freely about abused of power by Organized Religion and Politician.

      • Welcome back, rajraman666.

        Let these blinded CAT trolls try harder…, the harder the issues for them to justify their Deity’s incalcitrants.
        Learn to relax, learn when to strike (very hard).
        Should give thanks to Anil for giving these CAT trolls + their Deity a hard time of continuous flowing of contentious articles!!!
        Btw, are you hard up for Money, which one commenter gau-gau advised readers & commenters to make More Money instead of commenting (for No Money)?

      • Thank you Tunglang.
        Most people hard up for $$$ but $$$ not everything.Balance of nature and happiness of the majority who voted the deity fails, but alots people blindly support him like the MO1.

        rajraman.I no longer slave of $$$ or desperate to sell my principle.I walk away last year from millions $$$ contract because i just hate another guy who call the shot and he want me to kow tow to him.He also from Penang based in Selangor.
        Currently jobless and for the record if dont do big job i will do small job but there is no spending power by people.UMNO gives job to themself and Deity gives job to whom he can likes.
        Anyway i never done any Political Traders job in my life.

      • In these days & age of commercialism (of lifestyle, environment, beliefs, state assets, relationships, even politics), we have to be careful of who we want to be.

        No point trying to covet what others have & ending up more frustrated than before.

        No point envying the Jonneses & ending up with more useless wants than real needs.

        No point selling one’s principles & becoming disharmony (inside) for life.

        And no point worshipping political idols believing they are 9-lives angelic entities but just immortals who surely can come & go (according to the winds of politics).

        And no point living a life without a sense of purpose except to fulfil others’ dreams (of lording over Penang) & ending up with no legacy in a one-life journey.

        We have to first get real with ourselves, not with the outside circumstances (which are not permanent) or being crowd pleasers with no self-confidence but self-deception.

        We have choices: downshift lifestyle, forego the urge to buy, being prudent with spending+saving & make work a pleasure of serving others. Then life will take on a new meaning of happiness & survival smart in Cosmopolitan Penang for the Rich + Famous.

      • We envy you can have a 4wd, macintosh computer and live in condo and not one of the heritage. Some have to take public transport, using Chinese Clone computer and live in pegeon hole housing.
        Of those earning big bucks always telling stories on their low income and daily survive but they are the real snake oil pasar malam seller

      • If zoro is so concerned for my lifestyle to stay in expensive George Town heritage house, he is very welcome to sponsor me.
        This will make my dream comes true.

        As I have said before, I don’t own a 4WD now, so what is your purpose of confusion, zoro. Want to see my collected PgRapid tickets over the years?

        As for my trusted iMac, it is hard-savings (of many years) to acquire one for my graphic works which you only assume Mac is for luxury, so ignorant of a non-Mac user & idiot!

      • Sindhu,
        There are too many dark site of Politics expeciallly when comes to $$$ and Power.

        rajraman.If anyone don’t agree to Political Traders decision they are outcast.
        There is another darksite of Politics like Religion was used for benefits of their Political gains.You can ask HADI FROM PAS.
        I don’t know which site i am since both Organised Religion Mullah don’t like me and Political Traders hate me when i speak my mind.
        I don’t eat their dedak or believed in their free Saliva talk.My yearly dedak paid to them as income tax to UMNO and yearly quit rent and assesment to state led by ex Pakatan feeding some of their hardcore followers.
        My spices to spicy even to Anil.

      • what flow of comments? anil what river of justice. a big joke cutting off my comments on irrelevant points brought up but you allow them to proceed.

      • Not bad Puspha,
        You got 5 votes for recommending a movie and also out of topic comment but Anil said i am out of topic.
        rajraman.Its very rude for me if someone ask me a question and i don’t reply but since you are the moderator of this blog you approved question posted to me.Who to blame? Blame me?
        To spicy the spices from my words?Take a ice cube and left the ice cube melt away in your tonque.Coooool.
        Anyway my icon stolen or your wordpress haywire again?

      • Keep it the way you want Anil.It’s your blog but as long you approve any question directed to me when it’s out off topic i sure anwser.
        The …. i don’t understand what you mean? Is the icon you mean? (my original icon hourglass pinkish red)
        rajraman.Thank you Anil.Take it cool.I am cool as ice cube although i am losing my sense occasionally.Are you going to watch the movie recommended by Pushpa? ( This is out topic ).

      • The solution is simple but must have the guts by your deity.

        A.Don’t allow developer promised by saying increasing high density but still selling at higher price.

        B. Don’t allow flipping for 5 years minimum.

        C.Charge the Developer who Lies and ban them.

        rajraman.The solution is as easy as ABC but you asking me.Open the eyes widely and also the brain.More solution ….. you can start with D to Z and tell your deity.The housing price will come down to reasonable price.House for shelter not for the rich to speculate beyond affordable by current market salary.Don’t make the next generation homeless just because your Deity want to scratch his back for discount.

      • your deity make man to be a robot? diety force you to buy? or like mule just follow instructions. if you dont like dont buy and yet give complicated reply. your deity gives you job? you buy things without asking for discounts? even in tender jobs one can give discount. go and ask tony of air asia whether how much discount he gets.
        still no solution as the practice is also time of gilakan gomen, unless you step out and change. we vote for you or just another NATO!

      • Something wrong with you.I never buy or follows your deity instruction to buy.I don’t use my position in my own company to ask my staff to sell whatever they sell for their extra income at discounted price.
        I never ask discount since i dont buy things in Pasar Malam.
        I don’t buy properties at inflated price for my own or flipping.
        rajraman.Only Politicals traders and Business tycoon work together gains.The greedy peoples who believe their words got caught.
        If Tony want to sell cheap that his problem and consumer gains.
        I am Nato for sure since i am not selling saliva like your deity or MO1.
        Even Anil stand for election not under DAP OR UMNO FOR SURE HE WILL LOOSE HIS DEPOSIT since Organized Political Party can sell their saliva although its a lies.

      • Pasar mlm is not the only place one get discount. Even ang Mohs may not bargin, they ask for discount. In this case you are lucky and can afford. If you feel there are troddened ones, you are in better position, become a samaritan developer. As tua pek Kong says, you will get good karma for building non profit cheap houses. Of course best is to stand for election. We vote for you. action is doing and not saying. We used to hear and complain. You love your staff to complain about the work or to solve and handle the problems. Further every worker and boss wants pay rise and even goods are getting expensive. ChIna is losing its edges.

      • Something is wrong for sure with that guy!
        I would just reply him in simplicity: “Pls try harder!”
        My sympathy for his Dedak Master.

      • That’s about housing.
        Now about commercial project.
        A.Ask your Deity what the occupancy rates of hotels.Is it full house?
        B. Ask the Deity why we need to many shopping centre few hundreds meter apart.
        C. Ask your Deity why Penang need more Golfing land when most tourist like the culture of Penang.

        rajraman.Talk to you i am tired.

      • I am tired too. You might yourself ask why so many mamak shops, kopitiams,why so many roti prata sellers,why so many smart phone selling shops, why so many pasar Malam traders, why so many cars even the roads are jammed and why so many private universities and colleges wanted to call universities. Are they full too and overcharGE customers and raise prices under gilakan federal gomen.
        you can bark like tua pek Kong and sing all night long unless you come out and stand for coming election. We will vote you and see you can solve the above three issues and many more. Otherwise just another blowing water and bull.

      • Early morning i woke up and my email flooded with your tired?
        I work up everyday hoping the opposition Deity will do better job than UMNO.UMNO is dead for me with your gilakan Party.They are dead in Penang 2 terms ago.
        Here we talk about Deity Admin not UMNo Ruling .If at state level the Deity ruling like this ,i dont know how when comes to federal level.

        rajraman.Next election i going to sleep with extra dose of valium.No votes for UMNO for sure and given up the Errogant Opposition.

      • You are tired when you unashamedly troll everywhere???
        You must be sick!
        Pls try harder instead of borrowing other’s opinion (of you) & spin like a fool!

      • In the end, we hear no alternative solutions and hope. Just complains and distrust of organised religion, political parties and this include organised NGOs? How can you said we are closed our eyes and eyes when we are willing to vote for you? But in the end, it is easy for you to give excuses rather than to take action. You do not believe and trust in your deity tua pek Kong who said that 20% will only vote tokong. It will be a sweet victory to make him lose his seat.

      • rajraman666, I love your comments, straight to the point & incisive.

        With existence of public service blogs such as, we have the public rights to comment & praise (as & when) what the state gomen has been doing.

        There is no such thing as “you cannot write unfavourably about CAT gomen”. (Unless one is a DAP member who has to toe the line of CAT or a paid troll).

        And there are articles favourable to Penang which the CAT gomen will not hesitate to sing out loud (like Ko Tai) which we have no objections nor do we cry foul like … knee-jerk Jerks.

        Some commenters just have to ‘grow-up’ to engage the public convincingly sans daily 3-joss sticks for Komtar Deity.

  7. CNN needs to give us just one reason why it’s jet-flying Richard Quest has yet to come to Penang himself to promote the story.

  8. Penang should think of natural parks that benefit both local people and tourists alike. Beachfront parks for walks, sports, playgrounds and green jungle-like places that benefit the young and the old, instead of high-rise luxury apartments where only a few rich foreigners get to appreciate nature at its best. Our hills and beaches belong to all; let’s not destroy them with concrete buildings and ugly cablecar wires and stations.

    • tell us where are the tourists going to stay? rumah tumpangan? wong fri hoong inn? forced drink black tea? if you are a business man and there is a potential you will built hotels and eating shops. tell gomendont expand airport or rosd to airport and make them miss flights or a day with road jams

  9. Should organise more international level conferences and trade shows at the new SPICE – the visitors to such events are usually company-sponsored and could spend more on F&B and sight-seeing on companies’ expenses. Local hotels will benefit and Penangites will benefit based on multiplier effect.

  10. ‘In house’ tourism promoters never seem to be instep with what really makes a place interesting – its the same in loads of places, this report just caps it.

    • Gwynn
      Many Caucasians like to roam the heritage area in downtown Penang on foot but the hot weather without shelter shades deter them. They need ice cold beer BUT they find hard to get easily.

      • “ice cold beer BUT they find hard to get easily”
        Have you been to Chulia Street, Love Lane, Leith Street, Jalan Muntri?
        Don’t imagine!

      • Earn part time income guiding Caucasians to beer fountains in heritage area to cover high daily expenses caused by barang naik, otherwise they end up wrong places crazier pricing affecting pulo pinang image.

  11. Theme parks and shopping malls don’t appeal to Caucasians BUT a must for domestic and south east Asia tourists. Need to have a right balance.

  12. Penang should target PRC tourists who could spend big.
    Not sure how many westerners will be influenced by CNN to visit Penang.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here