36 Hours: Penang, Malaysia

By ROBYN ECKHARDT  Published: February 9, 2012; New York Times

PENANG is on a roll. Thanks to an influx of private and public investment and creative energy — precipitated in part by Unesco’s 2008 listing of Penang’s capital city, George Town, as a World Heritage site — the Malaysian island is padding out its list of attractions. To the region’s best street food add smart restaurants and bars. And a lively street culture anchored in religious festivals has now been joined by shows at the recently opened Performing Arts Center, and events like the Penang World Music Festival (March 30 to April 1; penangworldmusic.com), as well as the annual George Town Festival (June 15 to July 15; georgetownfestival.com), a month of exhibitions, performances and readings by local and international artists and writers.
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