Penang remains hot throughout the year and so care must be taken against sunburns and heat strokes. The heat and humidity can get quite unbearable for tourists coming from western countries as the island has an equatorial climate. It is important to drink lots of water because dehydration is a very common problem for tourists in Penang. The loss of salt through sweat is another problem. Keep yourself well replenished with water and fruit juices at all times. Pack clothes that are suitable for a hot climate.
Mosquitoes are common in Penang because of the climate. They are res0ponsible for diseases like Dengue Fever, Japanese B Encephalitis and Malaria. Make sure to buy an insect repellent containing DEET before getting into thee country for keeping away ticks, mosquitoes and other insects.
You need to carry your Yellow Fever Vaccination certificate if you are coming from countries in Sub-Saharan Africa or from South America.
The local food and water
The food available in Penang is usually high in hygienic and it is safe to consume food from roadside stalls and hawker stalls. However, caution must be exercised while eating or drinking anything while being on the island. Drink only boiled or bottled water. Avoid drinking water from ice cubes, fountain drinks and tap water. Bring a water purifier or iodine tablets with you for purifying the water before drinking.
Following are a few more things to remember while being in Penang
- Do not accept offers of rides from unlicensed taxis and passenger vehicles
- Do not carry any valuables with you if you hire a motorcycle for exploring Penang
- Do not leave behind your valuable things in the room of your hotel
- Do not carry valuables to restaurants and bars
- Do not attempt to walk alone in roads that are not well-lit.
Be careful of thieves who snatch your jewelry and run away. Avoid wearing expensive jewelry while you are out touring the island. Some of these thieves can also come in motorcycles and snatch away your handbag, so do not carry one if you do not really need it.
Be careful in the beaches of Batu Feringhi. There have been instances of tourists being harassed by unregulated boat ski, Jet Ski and other such water sports.
Handshakes are quite acceptable in the island but should only be initiated by a female. The traditional greeting of Penang is the “salaam” which signifies a handshake without any physical contact between two persons. If anybody greets you with a salaam, you should reciprocate it immediately.
Always remove your shoes before entering any temple or mosque. There are some mosques, which do not let you enter without wearing a scarf or a robe. Both the clothing items are offered by the mosques so wear them if you want to enter their premises. Taking photos at religious places is usually permissible but always ask the authority before doing so. The rule of removal of shoes is also applicable to Malaysian homes and you must remove yours before entering any.