Travelled to 40 countries / regions

Written 58 briefs
Visited Penang in August 2018 for 3 days



Asia > Malaysia > Penang > Useful Info
Submitted on Aug 14, 2018 Useful Info

What language to use in Penang

  • Official language is Malay, but you can use English everywhere in Penang, which was how I got around with no issue whatsoever
  • In fact, English proficiency in Penang is very high from my experience. I had a pretty in-depth conversation with a taxi driver, who gave me an overview of the history and neighbourhoods of Penang in English. This is in contrast to other parts of Southeast Asia I've been to (aside from Philippines) where English comprehension is limited to basic greetings and directions
  • I suppose this is not surprising given that Penang used to be a British colony
  • Aside from English, you can also try Mandarin. Penang is majority Chinese-descent, and from what my taxi driver told me most of them understand a solid amount of Mandarin. In fact in many markets and shops I saw other tourists conversing with shop owners in Mandarin