JUST OFF THE COAST of the mainland, Penang was purchased from the Sultanate of Kedah in 1786 and has been a trading centre since. South and north Indians, various Chinese, Tamils and others have made this island, and Georgetown in particular, a AAA+ food destination, with a scattering of historical sights as well. There are OK beaches and some inland hills for motorcyling, making this one of the most visited places in Malaysia.