The Penang International Dragon Boat Racing Festival
Also known as the Pearl of the Orient, Penang is one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in the whole of Southeast Asia! With its rich heritage, magnificent architecture and quintessentially Southeast Asian charm, this Malaysian destination is the ultimate!
Now try merging the beauty of Penang with the adrenalin-pumping sport of dragon-boat racing: what do you get? An unbeatable combination: that’s what!
The History of the Penang International Dragon Boat Racing Festival
The story behind this festival has made many a traveler listen in disbelief. The myth is: the history of the dragon boat race is tied to the Chinese poet Qu Yuan who committed suicide by drowning in the Miluo River. His friends paddled across the river in a bid to get his body back, whilst throwing rice into the waters to prevent the fish from attacking the body. Thus, the first dragon boat race was begun: albeit against time, not other boats!
This is said to have happened on the fifth day of the fifth Chinese lunar month, and is still celebrated today as the Duanwu Jie Festival.
The Penang International Dragon Boat Racing Festival Today
The beating drums, the teeming crowds, the colorful dragon boats, the electric excitement: this is what the Penang International Dragon Boat Racing Festival is all about today! Held at the Teluk Bahang Dam, the symbolism of the race is vividly denoted by the Chinese dragon, which happens to be a massive amalgamation of the head of an ox, the antlers of a deer, the mane of a horse and the tail of a fish all put together to create a thrillingly colorful and intense symbol of the dragon-boat race!
The Penang dragon boat race was first held in 1956, although it was only open to teams from within Malaysia. Today, this race attracts the big names in the dragon boat racing world, from China to the United States! If your team is a member of the International Dragon Boat Federation, you can opt to take part in this intensely competitive competition!
Each race has a maximum of twenty two participants, all of whom need to have strength, endurance and synchronized movements to win the ultimate prize! The paddlers face the front of the boat, facing the drummer who gives the paddling signal. It’s an electrifying sight, which is why this race is so popular today!
How to Get to the Teluk Bahang Dam
You might want to stay close to the Teluk Bahang Dam if you’re in Penang for the Penang dragon boat festival 2012. The best area to be in is Batu Ferringhi, since all you’ve have to do is head to the Teluk Bahang Roundabout and take the left going toward the Teluk Bahang Recreational Forest. From here, you can follow the crowds, or drift towards the noise!
When is the Penang International Dragon Boat Racing Festival 2012?
The Penang International Dragon Boat Racing Festival will begin on the 30th of June and go on till the 1st of July, for a period of three days: That’s three days of fun, excitement, competition and, you guessed it: heart-pumping adrenalin!
If you’re planning to check out this festival, you might want to look into booking your accommodation in Penang immediately.
Where to Stay in Penang for the Dragon Boat Racing Festival
Here are a few popular accommodation choices for you in Batu Ferringhi, which is ideal if you’re in Penang for the festival!
- Hard Rock Hotel Penang – 4 stars
- Lone Pine Hotel – 5 stars
- Holiday Inn Penang Hotel – 4 stars
- Batu Ferringhi Homestay – 3 stars
Sightseeing in Penang
Penang is the ultimate destination for travelers to Southeast Asia. With its quietly picturesque charm, colonial-style buildings, glorious beaches and colorful heritage, Penang is the one of the destinations in Southeast Asia you’ll never quite get enough of! Some integral sightseeing spots include George Town, Penang Hill, Snake Temple and Chulia Street.
Even if you’re in Penang to check out the dragon boat festival, make sure you’ve some time left aside for sightseeing in Penang!
For more information on where to go sightseeing in Penang, visit our article: Places to See in Penang, Malaysia!