Penang is the main electronics and computer related exporting state in Malaysia. It has several big silicon manufacturing company like Intel, AMD and many others silicon manufacturing here also. Having a business trip in Penang is rather more vacation than compare to business travel. However, you can try to sneak out some times for self sight seeing around in downtown and heritage buildings areas.
Transportation When you land at the airport, go to the Taxi counter to purchase the ticket for the taxi queue outside. It costs RM38 to go to the Georgetown area (Evergreen, Traders and G hotels) – Taxis around Penang are pricey and they will not use the meter. It is pretty standard prices although some drivers may be open to negotiate if you agree to regular pick up. I usually take the hotel shuttle to office but have the same driver pick me up everyday from office at 5pm. It costs 30 ringgit to the Traders hotel from my office in Bayan Lepas industrial areal. One way from Georgetown hotels to Kulim industrial park is about 70 to 90 ringgit. If you are commuting to Kulim daily from a Georgetown hotel, you definitely want to make arrangements with a cabby rather than try to call a cab from office on the way home. – During rush hour, expect to spend 30 min to/from island and mainland. The ride over the bridge and Kulim may run an hour.
Accommodations All these hotels have shuttle service to offices in Bayan Lepas industrial park in the mornings. – Equatorial Hotel, most expensive and most isolated of the hotels. This is a very old hotel and I have chosen not to stay here because it seems to be such an inconvenient place to stay so I will leave it for someone else to chat about. – Trader’s Hotel, this use to be the old Shangri La hotel and although it is been remodeled, and still very much the same hotel. Plus: Good business hotel with a strong free internet connection, good variety for the free breakfast buffet, comfortable rooms with everything in working order, good grocery store located in the nearby Grand Plaza mall (basement). Minus: No decent restaurants nearby (good hawker stands on Lorong Baru, a 5-10 min walk from the hotel, closed on Wed.), there are some mediocre restaurants in the mall behind the hotel (there is a Starbucks in Prangin Mall behind the hotel) – G Hotel, this is a fairly new hotel but the paint is a already fading in some of the rooms. This is a really popular hotel so it books up quickly. The real draw of this hotel is location right next to the upscale Gurney Plaza. They have made some improvements like bolstering their internet. Plus: Free breakfast and internet, they will give you a ocean view room if available and you ask for it, very nice gym overlooking the ocean, very stylish pool area. Minus: Not enough electrical plugs in the room, no clock, there is no phone on the desk where the cable connection is but you just need to move it yourself, dim lighting in the bathroom, some of the rooms have major plumbing problems (my carpet was soaked because of leaky plumbing; more than one room I stayed in had this problem) basically it seems like this hotel was put up in a hurry with little attention to quality control. – Evergreen Hotel, Decent cheap hotel, 20 min walk (or 10 Ringitt taxi ride) from Gurney Plaza. Plus: free internet, good business rooms, nearby hotel has Starbucks and some decent restaurants (Nasi Kandar is very good). Minus: corporate rate would not get you an ocean view, breakfast is not free and was not very flavorful.
Restaurants Secret Recipe has great desserts but mediocre food, Sushi King has terrible Japanese food, Nasi Kandar has great flavorful curry, the Japanese restaurant at the G hotel is very authentic and tasty, the Food Loft in Gurney Plaza has a nice selection of international dishes (I recommend the salmon and snow fish in the American section), there is a Chili’s next to the G Hotel that has really good cheeseburgers (which is a treat after 3 weeks in Asia). There are alot of places that have all you can eat seafood; many of the hotels do and so does a restaurant called Tao’s (great butterfish). – My favorite hawker stand is located in downtown Georgetown on Lorong Baru. The best Char Koay Teow stand you can find in island. There are hawker stands everywhere in Georgetown, Bayan Lepas, Batu Ferringi, and almost every places you hang out in the island you can find any hawker food around. – The satay beef and chicken from the hawker stand, near McDonalds, on Gurney Drive is a good choice for trying PG street food. Satay is charcoal grilled, bite sized, skewered meat served with peanut sauce. A meal of 20 skewers will cost $3
Entertainment Langkawi Coral reef snorkling is the best daytrip under $100. The package includes hotel pickup and a 2 hour high speed boat ride to and from an unforgettable underwater experience. The shaded snorkeling platform is located in the pristine waters of Pulau Payar, a few feet above one of world’s most spectacular coral gardens. Groupers, Barracuda, and parrotfish are some of the 100s of fish that school around the platform. The sea platform includes an underwater observatory, snorkeling equipment and diving facilities.