I love how travelling, in this day and age, has become a lot more affordable. Gone were the days when only the upper class can hop on a plane to see different places & soak in new cultures.
Travelling has also become a lot easier & convenient with all the options available. Before I give you a run through & show you my photo diary of my walking tour in George Town in Penang, let me just tell you guys of this new website where booking for your future adventures is made a lot easier.
Traveloka is the largest flight & hotel online booking service in Southeast Asia. You can book your flights & hotels on their site (and save a great deal of money & time in the process) for your next holiday which could be anywhere in the world! 😉 They also have round-the-clock customer service to make sure you don’t encounter any bumps in your booking. Do check them out. I’m actually booking with them for my next holiday after our Europe trip this August! 😉
A few months ago, I found myself in Penang with my husband who was there for a conference. I tagged along & decided to explore the UNESCO World Heritage City on my own while he attended his meetings. 😉 Today, I’ll be sharing with you guys the attractions I saw & visited while doing a walking tour around George Town.
Traveloka actually has over 200 Penang hotels in their listing so if you want to visit some of the sites I will be listing down below, do book your hotel with them!
(READ: Travel+ Food + Photos: Getting to Penang, Penang Hill, and some Food Worship)
Tokong Han Jiang (Han Jiang Ancestral Temple)
A Teochew-style temple right in the middle of George Town. I got off the bus (from Batu Ferringhi) right in front of this temple and since it was still quite early (10am on a weekday), I decided to just wander inside. Especially since there weren’t a lot of people yet.
Kapitan Keling Mosque
Just a short walk from Han Jiang Ancestral Temple in Lebuh Chulia is the Kapitan Keling Mosque. Built in the 1800s, it was built to cater to the growing Indian-Muslim community at the time in Penang. The architecture of the mosque is quite interesting, incorporating Islamic & Indian elements in the design.
Choo Chay Keong (Yap) Temple
Penang has no shortage of Chinese temples. Choo Chay Keong is located at the junction of the well-known Armenian and Cannon Streets in George Town. This temple is quite small but it makes up for it with the beautiful and detailed decor not just at the facade but indoors as well.
A waterfront settlement built on stilts, the Chew jetty is built by one of the biggest Chinese migrant families in Penang. The Chews come from the Fujian province in China and migrated to Penang for work opportunities. This jetty started out with only 10 families and nowadays, it has 1,500 residents.
Here, you can have some refreshments and shop for trinkets and souvenirs. After a short walk into the complex, you will also be treated to a nice view of the sea.
Church Street Pier
Built in 1897, this pier used to be the island’s main gateway when it comes to trade. But now, it’s more of a tourist area where people take photos. Though recently renovated, the pier still has that vintage appeal that reminds people of the golden years.
Queen Victoria Memorial Clocktower
One of Penang’s most recognisable landmarks, this tower was built to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of England’s Queen Victoria. It’s 60 feet high – one foot is equal to a year of her reign. Unfortunately, the queen died before the tower was completed. She also never got to visit Penang which is quite a waste if you ask me.
Definitely better than what you will find in Malacca. Fort Cornwallis is bigger and actually feels like a park inside. The enclaves on the sides of the fort were converted into rooms where you can view displays and posters showing the history of the island.
This fort was built by the British East India Company in the 1700s. Though it’s the largest Fort in Malaysia, it never engaged in any battle. Nevertheless, I enjoyed walking inside as it was quite cool there due to the trees. Penang’s streets are HOT. So this is a great break from that.
Penang City Hall
It was under renovation during my visit. But you can still see the Baroque elements in the architecture which I came for!
Penang Town Hall
Right next door to the City Hall is Penang’s bright, yellow town hall. Completed in 1883, this building has its own ballroom & ibrary.
It used to be the hang out of the island’s elite where they held performances and had lavish parties. Nowadays, the town hall is used as a venue for exhibits and other important events to the community.
Penang War Memorial
In honour of those who died during the first World War, a cenotaph was erected by the British just a short walk from the main square. To be honest, Penang has very little to do with WWI. The only time the island was (remotely) involved was in 1914 – when a German Cruise Ship (Emden) sank a Russian (Zemschug) vessel nearby.
The Cenotaph was heavily damaged during WWII but was rebuilt and numbers of those who died during WWII were added to the epitaph.
St George’s Church
A beautiful, 19th century Anglican church. This is the oldest purpose-built Anglican Church in the Southeast Asian Region. I love the neo-classical architecture as well as the bits and bobs that are of Georgian and English-Palladian styles.
That dome in the front? So nice for photo ops. 😉
Penang State Museum
Ah, my favourite stop. No surprise there! 😉
Here, I got to know Penang a lot more. From the Chinese Nyonya and Peranakans to the British that occupied the island.
Side story: I felt a ‘presence’ in this building so try not to go alone. I was going down one of the stairs when I stopped to take a photo of traditional Malaysian kites (above). It felt like someone was behind me and he/she suddenly stopped as well. Like I actually felt somebody standing behind me! But when I looked around – there was no one there!
If you’re into ghost hunting, you might want to try this museum!
Church of the Assumption, Penang
A World Heritage Church, the Church of the Assumption was founded in 1786. This Church was also the seat of the Bishop of Penang from 1955-2003.
Malaysia has a significant Indian population. Most of them were brought in by the British during the Colonial period. And though they decided to stay, they maintained their own traditions and heritage. Something that I really like and which makes the country a lot more diverse.
Locals say that the street got its name from the 19th century – when this street was peppered with brothels and hotels for hanky panky. 😉
Nowadays, it’s famous among backpackers as this street is filled with hostels, guest houses, cafes, and a lot of quirky shops.
(READ: Travel + Food: Wheeler’s Coffee Penang)
(READ: Travel + Photos: Purrfect Cat Cafe Penang)
Armenian street got its name from an Armenian family that settled in the area in the 1800s. They arrived in Penang via India and were happily settled in the island. They even had a church built for them. However, they all left the island in the 1900s and their church was later demolished.
(READ: Travel: Sun Yat Sen Museum Penang)
And there you have it! A full-day itinerary in George Town!
My feet were aching after all the walking I did. And of course, I was sunburnt! So don’t forget to put on sunscreen, guys!
I did enjoy my day of solo-walking that I brought my husband with me the next day (his conference ended at noon) to some of the spots I visited. I couldn’t let him miss all the pretty things I saw – especially the cat cafe!
Check Out My Other Posts on Penang:
Travel+ Food + Photos: Getting to Penang, Penang Hill, and some Food Worship
Travel + Food: Wheeler’s Coffee Penang
Travel + Photos: Purrfect Cat Cafe Penang
Travel: Sun Yat Sen Museum Penang