Penang among 10 must-visit islands: Yahoo!

GEORGE TOWN (Feb 17, 2011): Penang island has been listed among the world’s "10 Islands to Explore Before You Die" by internet company Yahoo! on its travel portal.

The Malaysian island was ranked eighth, ahead of Galapagos and Palm Islands Dubai. Bali, the only other Asian island, tops the list.

Penang Tourism committee deputy chairman Jagdeep Singh lauded the recognition as a tribute to the spirit and efforts of the communities in Penang who have helped to develop the island to its current stature today.

"This is also a tremendous morale booster to our tourism sector," he said. "It is certainly a welcome recognition, especially after George Town has been bestowed World Heritage Site status by Unesco."

The portal cited the "fusion of cultures"  evident in Penang’s local architecture, which ranges from modern high-rises to buildings built by 19th-century British colonialists, and the mix of beach resorts, preserved mangroves, small fishing villages and a share of temples, mosques and churches, as key factors for selecting the island.

It also commented on the "food crawl" at stalls that crowd the streets of George Town.

"The delectable fare on offer memorably mingles Malaysian, Chinese, Indian and European flavours," it said.

The accolade comes on the heels of ECA International having selected Penang as the 8th most liveable city in Asia last year.

According to Yahoo!, the 10 islands belong on a "must" list.

"Each of these places offers something that you can’t find anywhere else, from the largest man-made archipelago to hot springs so therapeutic they’ve been popular since Roman times," it said.

The island of Vieques in Puerto Rico was ranked second followed by Easter Island in the Pacific ocean, Ischia in southern Italy, Chiloé in Chile, Bora Bora in the French Polynesia, and Key West in the US.