If you visit Malaysia, Penang (Pearl or Garden of the Orient), is a priority. Penang Hill (Bukit Bendera or Flagstall Hill as it is originally called), is the peak of the pearl. The island’s name is actually pinang probably due to the areca nut palms grown there.
The Hill boasts to have one of the world’s oldest funicular (cable-pulleys).It was first built in 1923, upgraded in 1977 and again in 2011 with air-conditioned Swiss-made coaches. It peaks at a height of more than 833 m above sea level and has a panoramic view of the surroundings. The rail track is about 2 km, the longest and steepest in Asia, and takes about 10 – 15 min to reach; the journey is pleasant, exciting and safe. I paid Rm 4 as a local senior, foreigners paid Rm 30 in both ascending and descending, as both vehicles counterbalance each other. During holidays, you will face long queue, but service is fast, as the coach accommodates about 100 passengers per journey. At the top, get a buggy ride for Rm 30, to learn colonial and local history from the tour guide, or walk on your own. There are many interesting places to explore, suchas spice gardle, restaurant and hotel, aviary and plants.
In Penang, food, hawkers and restaurants, are craze even among locals.