I arrived at Penang at 4:30 in the morning and was still dark, at this time there’s no public transports so I took a taxi to the city center (30RM), it was an awesome experience to walk around the Old town when the city was empty, calm and quite and the sun started to rise.
I could feel the city coming alive and starting to pulse, and I realised that there were more wonderful and interesting places to visit than I expected. To start with, Georgetown is an architectural gem and a fantastic mix of Chinese, Indian and Malay people. And despite the differences all these ethnic groups have found a way to live and grow together. This cultural pot makes George town a richer place with an incredible exotic melange of old and new.
Georgetown is located on Penang island in the north-west of Peninsular Malaysia and it’s listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site like Melaka.
When walking around town you can explore Penang’s colonial architecture, and also seek for the street murals and wrought iron caricatures.
George Town is well know for the street art and I can’t recommend it enough. It is a great way to explore the city hunting for art across streets and alleys (more information and photos here ?)
The Blue Mansion built in the 1880s, is an impressive piece of architecture and was based on Feng Shui principles.
The bus 203 and 204 takes you to Kek Lok Si Temple, a Buddhist temple outside the city centre. This impressive temple is situated at Air Itam and its huge statue of Guan Yin can be seen from miles away in good weather conditions. The Temple is well maintained and a great place to visit, so reserve enough time to explore it properly, and climb its many levels, and you will be rewarded with a stunning view of Penang island.
The Kapitan Keling Mosque, it’s a monumental structure beautiful from the outside but quite simple inside.
Other temples are abundant around town, the oldest one is a Taoist and Buddhist temple the Kuan Yin Teng (Goddess of Mercy).
The Arulmigu Karumariamman Temple, it’s an Hindu temple set beside the Penang Bird Park. Curiously the temple is located at the Street of Harmony, called that because it’s home to various temples, including Anglican, Muslim, Hindu, and Chinese.
Little India is colourful and vibrant and is filled with multi-coloured shop houses, and has great places to eat.
Bus 10 takes you to the botanic gardens, a beautiful, clean and well maintained place, more frequented by locals then tourists. Just bare in mind that the garden is packed with monkeys. This immense garden is filled with all sorts of plants from hundreds of species, we also found turtles, snakes, many bird species and lizards.
The Jetties, Weld Quay Clan, found along Pengkalan Weld are home to many Chinese families, its nice to check out these humble, rickety wooden jetties to see how the houses along the jetties over the water are built.
George Town is probably my favourite place in Malaysia; Penang, is definitely worthy of a visit.. It’s colourful, quirky, multi-cultural and historic… you can’t really ask for more 🙂 I hope you have found this post useful, and let me know if you have been to George Town! thank you for reading ?
photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha