This town on the North West coast of peninsular Malaysia was established by the venerable British East India Company as it sought to establish a presence in the straits of Mallacca. This was largely to wind the Dutch up who had been busy running the port of Mallacca just down the coast since they pinched it from the Portugese a few hundred years previously....
It's a little bit like Hong Kong ( in that it's an oriential island port established by the Brits etc ), but lacks the trading clout of it's Chinese sibling. There are quite a few big business tower blocks, but there is also a liberal smattering of colonial edifices. It's not a bad place, but we're struggled a bit with the heat and humidity to be honest, so a couple of days was enough for us. Must admit that the ready availability of India food was a big help though.
Athena talked me into some sundown beers in the very posh bar of the Eastern and Oriental Hotel one evening. It was all very posh, with fellas in '50s shorts and pith helmets opening the doors, and waiters dressed in tuxes serving the booze. Nice, but I could dine for a week on the price of half a shandy here. Nice nuts though (bar snacks, not the waiters).
To escape the heat a bit, we took a funicular railway up to the top of the island's highest point, Penang Hill. The peak is eight hundred metres above sea level so it knocked a good five degress of the air temperature and the humidity didn't seem as fierce. The views were good, but a bit hazy. The best overview I can give is this bit of video taken as we approach the docks when arriving on the ferry.