In recent times, Penang has attracted plenty of press for being a foodie mecca and for possessing greater than its share of heritage buildings.
Working in Kuala Lumpur and trying to take a weekend off in a culturally wealthy journey vacation spot?
Need to reset your Thai visa in a spot with points of interest that may make the processing time go by quick?
Then give Penang a attempt.
This information will run down the most effective sights to see, issues to do, and locations to dine on this world-class vacation spot. Let’s get began under…
The place is Penang?
Sitting off the coast of the Malaysian mainland, Penang is an island state situated within the northern a part of Peninsular Malaysia.
As a premier vacationer vacation spot inside Southeast Asia, it’s straightforward to journey right here from inside the area and from overseas.
It has a world airport that receives flights from throughout Asia, making it straightforward to get there with a connecting flight by way of hubs like Hong Kong, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore.
A quick historical past of Penang and Georgetown
As scorching as this place is with overseas vacationers proper now, there was a time when it was simply one other wild, jungle-clad isle, residence solely to transient sea gypsies and betel nut timber (enjoyable reality: Penang was named for these wild groves by Chinese language explorer Zheng He).
This started to vary within the 15th century, as Europe’s starvation for spices and territory led them on a quest to stake out buying and selling posts throughout Asia.
Penang was a very engaging place to hang around, because it offered crusing ships of that period shelter from monsoons.
Ultimately, the British have been capable of persuade the Sultanate of Kedah to cede management of the isle of Penang in 1786 in return for defending them towards Burmese and Siamese aggression.
Shortly after, Captain Francis Mild based Georgetown, with Seashore Road, Mild Road, and Chulia Road being the primary thoroughfares constructed.
To hurry up the clearing of jungle brush within the quickly rising settlement, Captain Mild had cannons atop Fort Cornwallis hearth silver cash into untouched sections of the jungle.
It labored, because the land that made up the city website in Georgetown’s early days was picked clear by laborers in document time.
Designating Penang a free commerce zone was one other turning level for this colony, because it siphoned away a large chunk of the Dutch’s share of the market a number of brief years after its inception.
Penang’s profile was heightened additional within the 19th century, because the completion of the Suez Canal made it even simpler for European nations to conduct commerce in Asia.
Everybody from Armenians to the Portuguese established buying and selling communities right here, making this island colony a uniquely cosmopolitan state lengthy earlier than the age of globalization.
Penang Island at the moment
In contrast to a number of the different islands within the area, Penang is very urbanized, which means that the majority merchandise, providers, and conveniences could be simply acquired.
Malls, eating places boasting worldwide and native cuisines, and lodging starting from hostels to five-star luxurious are all out there right here.
Nevertheless, regardless of the prevalence of recent facilities, Georgetown has largely retained its colonial allure.
After being named as a UNESCO World Heritage Website in 2008, appreciable sums of cash have been invested, restoring many rundown buildings to their former superb state.
Work on dilapidated buildings continues to today, so if observing basic buildings in a half-decayed state is one thing that appeals to you, there are many specimens which have but to be restored by restoration crews.
Here’s what Georgetown, Penang seems to be like:
Prime issues to see and do round Georgetown, Penang
Now that you already know slightly bit about Penang’s place on the earth, let’s talk about a few of the greatest issues to do in Georgetown.
Discover the Road Artwork:
In all probability the good factor of all to do in Georgetown is to get misplaced within the colonial middle on the hunt for superb works of road artwork that play off the buildings that they’re creatively painted on. You gained’t see something prefer it anyplace else. It began when a younger Lithuanian artist painted the primary one throughout a 2012 pageant. Now there are tens of items everywhere in the metropolis. Here’s a brochure on the place to seek out road artwork in Georgetown full with a map.
The Clan Jetties
Jutting out into the shallow waters of the strait that separate Penang island from the mainland, the Clan Jetties are an in depth system of docks and stilt homes the place the descendants of Penang’s first Hokkien Chinese language immigrants initially lived.
Benefit from the views on supply from these platforms, however take care to not fall within the water, as there are not any guardrails.
Moreover, make sure you respect the individuals nonetheless dwelling right here by not wanting inside their houses until invited to take action by an area.
Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion
The streets of Georgetown are rife with wonderful examples of British colonial structure, however the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion stands out amongst them.
Named after the Chinese language businessman referred to by westerners because the Rockefeller of the East, it mixes Chinese language architectural parts with British types that have been all the craze in Georgetown when it was constructed within the 1880s.
Notable for the sensible blue paint that graces its exterior, Cheong Fatt Tze spared no expense in making his abode an inspiring place to reside.
Inside, you’ll discover Artwork Nouveau-style stained glass home windows, forged iron works made and shipped in from Glasgow, and beautiful flooring tiles created in Stoke-on-Trent, so take your time exploring its extravagant grounds.
Constructed by the British East India Firm to guard their newly acquired asset, Fort Cornwallis by no means suffered a single minute of fight in its historical past.
Nevertheless, the sense of safety it offered allowed a thriving metropolis to stand up behind its protecting ramparts, making a traditionally essential attraction to see on a go to to Georgetown.
The cannons that line the partitions are of specific curiosity, probably the most notable of them being Seri Rambai. Claimed in a raid on Kuala Sengalor in 1871, it’s the centerpiece of all of the weapons discovered on prime of Fort Cornwallis.
Whereas Islam is the dominant faith in Penang, there are many Buddhists that decision Penang residence as nicely.
Whereas many subscribe to the Mahayana faculty of Buddhism, some right here belong to the Theravada faculty.
For these worshippers, Wat Chayamangkalaram is probably the most vital temple on the island of Penang. Its largest declare to fame is its Reclining Buddha, which is the third longest statue of its type on the earth at 108 ft lengthy.
Whereas it’s technically not in Georgetown, taking the funicular up Penang Hill offers you superb views over the previous a part of the town.
There are extra there than simply viewing platforms right here, although, as there’s a mosque, Hindu temple, climbing trails, and even an owl museum located alongside its summit.
Located 2,700 ft above sea degree, temperatures right here may be as a lot as 10 levels Fahrenheit cooler than within the metropolis middle of Georgetown, making Penang Hill an incredible place to go on a damp day.
Can’t-miss culinary experiences
When you ought to make an effort to go to at the least one of many above-mentioned points of interest, many individuals come to Penang for exactly one purpose: to eat.
Whereas there are many wonderful eating places to select from, the sheer quantity of them makes it troublesome to choose a single one.
Contemplating the temporary nature of your go to to Georgetown, focusing your efforts on the next eateries is one of the simplest ways to get a quick however satisfying style of considered one of Asia’s prime meals locations.
Situated a brief distance away from the port of Penang in Weld Quay, sitting down for a meal at Hainantown Restaurant is a good way to start exploring the culinary variety on show in Georgetown.
Specializing in Hainanese and Peranakan dishes which are 100% halal (no pork is served at this institution), Muslim vacationers may have the chance to pattern this facet of Penang’s meals panorama with out having to compromise their religion.
With a menu that varies from Hainanese Mutton Stew to Beef Rendang (it’s essential to do this right here, it’s DELICIOUS), there are many decisions out there to fulfill vacationers with totally different tastes.
Tek Sen Restaurant
One other Chinese language restaurant in Georgetown that has a faithful following, Tek Sen has turn into so well-liked in recent times that reservations are beneficial even for these sitting down for lunch.
In any other case, you’ll have to attend in line for an open desk throughout its tight hours of operation (12 midday to three pm for lunch, and 6 pm to 9 pm for dinner), so plan forward to keep away from disappointment.
As soon as inside, although, you’ll have the ability to order one in every of quite a lot of their trademark dishes. We advocate making an attempt the Double Roasted Pork, as the best way it’s cooked and its honey chili sauce makes consuming it a gastronomic expertise you gained’t quickly overlook.
In case you are vegetarian/vegan, the stewed candy potato leaves and the tofu clay pot are two wonderful choices that may make this restaurant a spotlight of your go to right here.
Restoran El Capitan
Penang additionally has a big inhabitants of Indians, who first got here to the island as each retailers and farm laborers.
In doing so, they introduced their meals with them, which means you’ll find many excellent wonderful eateries right here specializing in each Northern and Southern Indian delicacies.
Of them, Restoran El Capitan is definitely the preferred. Sitting on Chulia Road, Georgetown’s hottest thoroughfare, this eatery does get plenty of foot visitors, however have a seat and be affected person: the wait might be value it.
From tangy tandoori hen roasted expertly in clay ovens to creamy butter hen that pairs completely with fluffy naan bread, you’ll be in heaven from the second your meals arrives.
Line Clear Nasi Kandar
As vital as Chinese language and Indian meals is relating to culinary choices in Georgetown, there’s no denying that Malay delicacies is probably the most dominant providing on its streets.
Comprising nearly all of residents in Penang and Malaysia, Malays have a various meals scene which is greatest exemplified by Nasi Kandar.
Referring to a time when hawkers carried containers full of rice and curry, this dish is a staple for Georgetown locals, lots of whom get it from a humble eatery generally known as Line Clear.
Whereas this place can appear a bit chaotic to Westerners, its fragrant curries (one of the best of which is its fish head providing), juicy fried hen, and attractive vegetable choices will make up for this establishment’s hardscrabble look.
The restaurant’s proprietors have been dedicated to relieving the starvation of its clients since 1930 – when a joint lasts this lengthy, it’s often a dependable indicator of high quality, so be sure you drop in for dinner earlier than heading residence.
Penang: an unmissable vacation spot in Southeast Asia
As you’ll be able to see, there’s extra to Penang than simply being a handy spot to reboot your multi-entry Thai visa.
Have you ever ever been to Georgetown? Any spots we missed? Tell us within the feedback under!
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