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What to see in Penang + Georgetown (Malaysia)

Penang or Pulau Penang (its original name) is one of the largest islands in Malaysia near Kuala Lumpur and is a perfect example of the cultural mix that exists throughout the country. Here the Malay, Chinese, Hindu and Muslim origins are perfectly appreciated.

This cultural mix is ​​the main attraction of the island and makes it one of the most visited destinations by travelers.


Qué ver en Penang + Georgetown, Malasia

If you are thinking of doing an itinerary through Malaysia, you can spend two or three days getting to know Penang.

In this post you will find a complete guide on how to get to Penang and how to get around the island, what to see and do throughout the island and especially what to see in Georgetown. I also add some recommendations for accommodation in the best areas.


Qué ver en Penang + Georgetown, Malasia

WHAT TO SEE IN PENANG ISLAND, MALAYSIA


What to see in Georgetown


Although its culture is visibly westernized, due in large part to tourism, the truth is that a very significant multiculturalism continues to prevail in it. In its streets, Chinese, Indians and Malays coexist harmoniously, contributing harmoniously to a mixture of culture, religion and customs.

Penang stands out for its street art, its beaches, and its gastronomy. It's a beautiful city! And the best way to get to know it is by walking it.

The graffiti that decorates its streets are the work of well-known international artists such as Ernest Zacharevic (among others) and also local ones that have become another of Georgetown's hallmarks.

Qué ver en Penang + Georgetown, Malasia


Another of its great attractions are its beaches. There are ones for all tastes: urban, lonely, wild, remote...

In addition, its gastronomy is one of the most popular in the country. In fact they call it Food Paradise. And the truth is that it eats very well.

The dishes that make up his cuisine are the result of a fusion of Chinese, Malay, Thai, Indian and even European influences.

Qué ver en Penang, Malasia

George Town is located northwest of the island of Penang and if you are thinking of taking a tour of the country, it is undoubtedly an essential stop.

Georgetown became an important commercial enclave, since in the year 1700 some settlers from Sumatra arrived on the island with the aim of turning it into their port and trading with other navigators. It was in the year 1771 when the English officially founded the city.

Its privileged location was decisive for it to become a link between the great Asian kingdoms in the area and an important stop on trade routes from Europe and the Middle West.


This mixture of influences, powers and cultures left a very diverse architectural legacy scattered in the old part of the capital of Penang that has earned it the declaration of a World Heritage Site by Unesco.


Qué ver en Penang, Malasia


The cultural and architectural diversity is probably the most important reason to visit Georgetown. In its streets, temples of Chinese aesthetics coexist with colonial buildings and churches, Hindu temples and even mosques. This architectural influence can also be seen in residential buildings and some emblematic places in the city.


Much of the things to see in Penang are in or around the city of Georgetown.


Qué ver en Penang, Malasia


Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion (Blue Mansion)


The Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, also known as the Blue Mansion, is an unmistakable building due to its indigo blue color on its façade. It is one of the essential places to see in Georgetown.


This mansion was built in the year 1880 and was the home of a successful Chinese merchant and influential politician. It has an eclectic architecture that mixes traditional Chinese styles such as Hakka and Teochew, with architectural influences typical of the area of ​​the British colonial period and elements of Art Nouveau.

Inside, it has more than thirty rooms, five patios and up to 220 windows. Spaces converted today into a hotel-museum. It is one of the most visited buildings in the city, and has been the setting for numerous films such as Indochina, which won an Oscar in the 90s.


It can be visited inside, there are guided tours every day at 11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Its cost is 17 RM.


At present (apart from the guided tours) this mansion has become a hotel, and it is also possible to stay in it. Their cheapest room is usually around 110 euros per night/room. double. And if you are interested in staying here you can see availability and offers from here.


Qué ver en Penang Island, Malasia

Pinang Peranakan Mansion


This is another of Georgetown's notable mansions that once belonged to influential Peranakan merchants. Today the house recreates what it was like in its heyday in the 19th century and is more of a museum dedicated to Penang's Peranakan culture and heritage.

In its rooms and rooms you can appreciate the ostentatious furniture of the time, cutlery, works of art, tools and utensils of all kinds. It has a room where the current owner's art and jewelry collection is exhibited.

Next to the mansion is the Chung Keng Kwi temple, it was a temple for private use, of the family that resided in the mansion. Currently visiting the mansion you can also visit the temple.

It can be visited every day from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Its entry price is 20 RM.


Qué ver en Penang Island, Malasia

Colonial architecture in Penang


Georgetown preserves buildings from the British colonial era that are integrated into the heritage of other cultures. Notable colonial buildings include the Penang Town Hall and the Queen Victoria Tower.


The Penang Town Hall is one of the most representative British colonial buildings in the city. Located next to Fort Cornwallis. It was the seat of the town hall (the current one is attached to it) and is currently used for public events.


The Queen Victoria Clock Tower is located at the intersection of Lebuh Light and Lebuh Pantai streets. It was built to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. With its impressive Moorish-style dome it is unmistakable. It is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. If you look closely, you will see that it is slightly tilted. This is a consequence of the bombings perpetrated by the Japanese during World War II.

In addition to these buildings, which are the most representative and essential to visit, in the city you will find other buildings such as the Supreme Court, some churches and colonial houses scattered around the city.



Houses of Clans: Khoo Kongsi


The Chinese immigrants who arrived in the 19th and early 20th centuries founded the clan houses that were intended to be a social meeting point, help each other, look for work and also for their religious purposes. The community contributed to its aggrandizement and beautification.

The Khoo Kongsi is the most impressive of all, and is one of the essential places to see in Georgetown.

Its temple is impressive, it is one of the largest temples located in clan houses in Malaysia. In addition to the temple, the clan house includes a building for the association's necessities, a traditional theater, and various buildings for the use of clan members.

It can be visited from Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. And on Saturdays, only in the morning, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The entrance fee is 10 RM.


The houses of the Clan Jetties: The Chew Jetty


Also known as the clan jetties, they are located at the end of Armenian Street. These are ancient Chinese fishermen's settlements made up of floating houses, supported on stilts and arranged around their respective docks, each of which represents a clan.

The biggest of all and the most interesting is the Chew Jetty.

It is made up of a group of about 75 floating houses, still inhabited, linked by wooden walkways.

Walking through this area is very pleasant and curious. Do not miss it!


Fort Cornwallis


It is the largest fort in Malaysia. It was built during the 18th century commissioned by Francis Light. At present, only part of the enclosure is preserved, such as walls, some cells, a chapel, and little else.


It can be visited every day from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Its cost is 17 RM. If you are going to Penang for a couple of days, you can visit the fort from the outside and save yourself going inside. Inside, there is not much of interest.


Little India and the Sri Mahamariamman temple


It is the Indian neighborhood of the city. It is located in the heart of Georgetown. Here you will see women in saris, you will hear typical Bollywood music, you will smell the aroma of spices as soon as you arrive, and if you like Indian food, here you can enjoy its gastronomy.


In this neighborhood, apart from walking through its streets, don't forget to visit the Sri Mahamariamman temple. It is the oldest Hindu temple in the city and although it is not very big, it is impressive. It opens every day in the morning from 6:30 a.m. to 12:99 p.m. and in the afternoon from 4:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Your entry is free.



Qué ver en Penang Island, Malasia


Kapitan Keling Mosque


This mosque was built by the troops of the East India Company, which brought together the first Muslim settlers to arrive in George Town. It is the largest mosque in the city.

Its roof is crowned with huge domes decorated with golden Mughal crosses and it has a single minaret from where the Adhan or call to prayer is carried out. It can be visited from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., during the hours when there is no prayer. Of course, remember that you must enter without shoes and women must cover themselves with a tunic. Your entry is free.


Kuan Yin Temple


The first Chinese settlers built this Taoist temple in 1728, in honor of the Goddess of Mercy, whose name it shares with the temple. The temple is impressive! And it is reminiscent of the classical periods of Chinese architecture.

Inside, classic elements prevail, such as the red lanterns in the prayer room, the sculptures with ceramic dragons or the statue of the goddess with 18 arms.

There are no fixed visiting hours, they open at dawn and close at dusk. Admission is free.



Street art


George Town stands out for the art that decorates its streets, turning them into a true open-air museum. The most famous works are the work of Ernest Zacharevic. Although there are many artistic works, including local ones.

This particular artist has known how to capture scenes of everyday life like no one else. Some of which you can participate as a real element, such as swings, motorcycles, bikes or chairs...

It is one of the coolest things to do in Georgetown, getting lost in its streets in search of more graffiti.



WHAT TO SEE IN PENANG, MALAYSIA


Once you know the city of Georgetown, you can dedicate a day to see the surroundings. The most essential places to visit are:


Kek Lok Si Temple


It is the largest Buddhist temple of worship in Malaysia. It is located on top of Air Itam Hill on the outskirts of the city of Georgetown, and its visit is one of the essential things to see in Penang.


Qué ver en Penang Island, Malasia

The Kek Lok Si is made up of various buildings at different levels of height up the hill. Its main attractions are its huge pagoda, the pavilion of the Heavenly Kings and the statue of the goddess of Mercy. From here the views of the city and surroundings are impressive.

It can be visited every day from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. The entrance fee to the pagoda is 2 RM and if you want to use the elevator it is another 2 RM.


Qué ver en Penang Island, Malasia

Penang Hill


Penang Hill is one of the most touristic places on the island. So there are usually a lot of people. The area has some points of interest such as the Hindu temple, the mosque, gardens and green spaces, and a botanical garden.


To go up here, from the entrance you will take a funicular. The views from here are impressive.

The entrance to visit the temples, gardens… is free. You only have to pay for the funicular to go up, and it costs 30 RM. They open every day from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Many go up in the afternoon to enjoy the sunset. So it is the busiest time of people. Although if you have time, take the opportunity to enjoy its gardens and trails. It is in a beautiful natural environment and is ideal for disconnecting from so many visits and places full of people.


Penang national park


The Penang National Park is one of the most essential places to visit. Although to visit it, perhaps you should add one more day to your tour of Malaysia and dedicate it to this National Park.

This large green space, located about 20 km from the city center of Georgetown, was the first to be protected under the Malaysian Natural Parks Act. It is made up of mangrove forests and other trees native to the area, such as the meranti or the shorea, and are home to more than forty bird species, among which the kingfisher or the white-breasted bramble stand out.

It is protected by jungle hills, there are impressive beaches, some of them truly secluded and paradisiacal, and you can also go to the lake.


The park has numerous signposted and easy-to-follow hiking trails that allow you to discover the beautiful corners of this natural space. Many of these routes take you to hanging bridges, crossing rivers and deserted beaches.


Admission to the park is free, although registration is required at the entrance. There, in addition, they will give you a map of the area and they accept donations for its maintenance (although at no time do they tell you or force you, you simply have the information, in case you are interested).


Here are the most spectacular beaches in Penang. Since you have to walk to get to most of them, they are not usually crowded, and sometimes you can even enjoy them by yourself. It is a beautiful place that all those nature lovers cannot miss.


Qué ver en Penang Island, Malasia

Personally, the Penang National Park together with the city of Georgetown are the two most essential places to visit. So if you only have two days, I recommend that you dedicate one to each place.


TIME IS NEEDED TO KNOW PENANG


The ideal would be two days. On the first day you can visit Georgetown and on the second the ideal is to rent a car/motorbike and tour the island, visit the places (which I will talk about later), rest on a beach...

Penang has many landscapes full of nature, and it is perfect to disconnect and take a parenthesis on your trip to Malaysia. Here you can take a calmer pace and enjoy what surrounds you.


PENANG ISLAND ARTICLES THAT MAY INTEREST YOU



PLAN YOUR TRIP STEP BY STEP



I hope you enjoy your trip to Malaysia a lot and that this article has been useful to you. You can continue reading many more related articles on the blog.


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A hug and see you soon!

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