Penang, often referred to as the Pearl of the Orient, is one of the most picturesque and romantic islands in all of Asia. Justly renowned for its fine beaches Penang is also known for its colonial heritage as well as ancient temples. Established as the first British trading post in the Far East in 1776, Penang today is a bustling metropolis reflecting a unique exotic blend of East and West. This tropical island, linked to the mainland by one of Asia’s longest bridges, lies in the Indian Ocean, just off the north-west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Penang received its name from the Pinang, or Betel Nut tree, once commonly found on the island. The island also boasts some of the best food in the region, ranging from fabulous Chinese, Malay and Nyonya cuisines to food stall favourites like nasi kandar, char kway teow and penang laksa, all of which are cooked with a uniquely 'Penang' style. The island was granted UNESCO World Heritage status in mid 2008.