Penang is often known as “The Pearl of the Orient”, “东方花园” (Garden of the East) and Pulau Pinang (Penang Island).  Penang is a city filled with a potpourri of variant cultures and ethnicities, as well as a lot of exciting attractions for you to explore. The island of pearl is a thriving modern city that still retains its traditions and customs with loads of arts and cultural activities.

With such a rich history and variant cultures, Penang is a great site for alternative Tourism. Participants would be able to explore and be involved in hands-on experiences during activity times and also interact with the local residences of Penang. You will find the locals here warm, friendly and welcoming especially towards guest of the island.

The heart of Penang, Georgetown is inscribed into the UNESCO Heritage List. The achievement of Penang was based on the certain sections of Penang has the most number of pre-war buildings in all of South East Asia which are still intact. That is why the island is known as Penang Heritage City.

                   Interaction and hands-on learning                                       Exploring the rich cultures, learning about various religious activities 

Also, Penang is especially known as the best place to enjoy wonderful local dishes; it is seen as the food capital of Malaysia. The hawker food is as delicious as the finest gourmet experience in any city. Penang will give you a glimpse into a world where nature, tradition, and history blend into a rich cultural experience. Besides not just visiting these places of interest, you will be able to work out your program and share your expectations with us.

If you come to Penang, you have opportunities to make activities with

Underprivileged Children
The YMCA Penang has been working with a group of underprivileged children at a low-income area. We found that the children here are mostly a child of single parents or some – even orphans. They are left to fend for themselves as parents or caretakers are busy trying to make a living. They are entrusted to a day center where they are taken care of with love and kindness. We are also working with a few orphanages and also children of spited refugees through the organizing of festive events such as Christmas.

Local villagers
Besides the awesome attractions in Penang, we are also working together with the local villagers to help boost their income via alternative tourism packages and the marketing of local products. Visitors would be presently surprised to encounter an authentic cultural experience in the villages who are authentic in their warmness and hospitality.

Local volunteers
We are also working with youth volunteers who are still studying. We are a platform to connect them to other like-minded youths who also aspire to engage in fun friendly communication with visitors from other nations and are also quick to make friends while exploring the island – which is the foundation of a good communal platform.


Breaking out from comfort zones                                                                  Interaction and voluntary work

These interactions and cultures help develop a deeper connection and meaning to the whole alternative tourism program. It helps participants to understand the realities of the local context of the community and also the livelihood of the locals here. Participants would be able to share and also take back what they have learned for their own betterment or an inspiration to serve their own community better.

With GATN, relationships and bonding create long-lasting impacts on individuals and that’s the aim of our Alternative Tourism experience. It is to connect people around the world while learning, growing and empowering each other for the betterment of all.

Come to see, learn and have an experience for a lifetime

–  Michael Cheong, Assistant General Secretary, YMCA of Penang

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