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CNN Best Destinations of 2022: Penang
11 January 2022 | Written by Chris Alexander

As international tourism comes back online following the disruption caused by Covid-19, the Malaysian island of Penang continues to distinguish itself as a destination of choice for returning travellers. Most recently, it appeared on CNN Travel’s list of 22 Best Destinations to Visit in 2022. 

The list, which featured locations from South Africa to the Netherlands and from Canada to Japan, provides CNN readers with inspiration for their holidays in the year ahead, by showcasing some of the best bits from the world’s most appealing travel destinations. 

In Penang, CNN focused on the mix of heritage, natural attractions and cuisine. As the list remarks, “the pandemic has left many of us longing for epic culinary-focused journeys, and Penang ranks up there with Asia’s best.” CNN goes on to highlight the mix of traditional Malay, Chinese and Indian dishes that make Penang’s foodie scene such a multicultural melting pot.  

The capital George Town was singled out for special praise and promotion by the CNN Travel, with its range of traditional shop houses, historic buildings and multi-faith monuments providing visitors with a trip back in time.  

According to CNN, “there’s so much more than just food and architecture to sustain wanderlust appetites on this 295-square-mile island.” Indeed, as recently as September 2021, Penang Hill was awarded UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status in recognition of its unique natural heritage, along with the island’s commitment to developing sustainable solutions. 

The Penang Hill Biosphere Reserve is home to around 2,500 species of flora and fauna – including more than 200 species of orchids – along with the historic Penang Botanical Gardens, Penang National Park, and various coastal and marine ecosystems that link the island’s hilly interior with its tropical coastline.  

Visitors to Penang’s UNESCO Bioreserve can reconnect with nature through a range of facilities and installations designed to facilitate wildlife exploration, while also showcasing the island’s cultural wonders. CNN Travel describes The Habitat Penang Hill as “a world-class rainforest discovery centre that offers guided walks and zipline tours.” 

With recognition from UNESCO and CNN adding to its growing reputation, Penang continues to shine as the jewel in the crown of Peninsula Malaysia’s tourism landscape. In 2022, the destination is sure to be a gem for many travellers returning to Malaysia. 

To find out more about Penang, and to see some of the many delights on offer, check out our Travel With Us blog, which features a range of highlights and travel inspiration from the Pearl of the Orient.