Pulau Pinang is a vibrant epicentre of local heritage, garnished with a healthy infusion of foreign influences. Typically Malaysian yet uniquely Penang, these wondrous characteristics imbue the state with an identity that gives justice to its ‘Pearl of the Orient’ nickname. On top of the inherent intrigues found in everyday Penang life, December presents three additional and compelling reasons to visit the island – Penang Jazz Festival, Pesta Chingay Parade and the International Dragon Boat Race.
Penang Jazz Festival
It’s time to warm up your jazz hands and lose yourself to soulful and lively tunes as this annual music festival makes its appearance once again on the island. The two day itinerary is dripping with talent, featuring artistes both local and international including The James Boyle Trio featuring Liyana Fizi and Bihzhu, Kim Oki Band, Joshua Davis and Timo Vollbrecht – Fly Magic.
More than just a watch-and-listen concert, the event encourages crowd participation with a range of workshops, while also showcasing a mini Jazz Gallery and supporting activities such as Fringe Stages, ‘Jazz with a Heart’ Charity, Island Jazz Forum, Community Drum Circle and After Hours Jazz Jam.
WHERE Bayview Beach Resort
WHEN 1-4 December
ADMISSION RM85/day (free standing)
TEL 03 2011 4725
penangjazz.comPesta Chingay Parade
If previous iterations are anything to go by, the 2016 Chingay Parade is set to mesmerise with a spectrum of spectacles. Sporting roots in China, the procession has flourished in Penang, with a furore of excitement gripping the city on the much-awaited day.
Acrobatics is a Chingay mainstay. Towering flagpoles are balanced with impeccable dexterity on performers’ heads and upper bodies, a display augmented by a game of catch involving the same object and body parts. Adding to the eye candy and merriment are intricately decorated floats, stilt walkers, and troupes presenting lion and dragon dances.
WHERE Jalan Gurdwara to City Hall, Esplanade
WHEN 18 December
TEL 04 650 5136/04 261 9012
visitpenang.gov.my Penang International Dragon Boat Festival
Normally serene, Teluk Bahang Dam will struggle to contain the roars of fans cheering the teams of rowers furiously paddling away during the Penang International Dragon Boat Festival. Participants the world over regularly grace the annual race, showcasing their amazing teamwork and brute strength.
Thrills and spills are the order of the day, as each team moves to the beat of its own drum in hopes of coaxing its dragon figurehead across the finish line first – a dash in which months of preparations come to an exhilarating climax.
WHERE Teluk Bahang Dam
WHEN 10-11 December
TEL 04 261 9012