What You Don’t Know About Georgetown, Penang


Hello and ‘lu ho boh’- that’s ‘how are you?’ in Hokkien, the basic Chinese accent in Penang.

The acclaimed city-limits of George Town is a UNESCO Apple Ancestry Site. Afore we begin, let me acquaint you a little about Penang, or sometimes accepted as the Pearl of the Orient.

Penang acclimated to be allotment of Malay Sultanate of Kedah, beyond the sea in the mainland. But in 1786, Captain Francis Light managed to get Penang from the Sultan of Kedah for the British East India Company, calm with Singapore and Malacca. He again congenital what is accepted today as George Town.

Penang gets its name from the Malay chat Pinang which agency ‘betel nut’, and Pulau Pinang actually agency ‘betel nut island’. It was afterwards alleged Prince of Wales Island, commemorating King George IV. Georgetown was alleged afterwards King George III. Today Penang is the third better abridgement in the country, afterwards Selangor and Johor.

In the Apple Ancestry Committee Session in July 2008, Georgetown, forth with Malacca were listed as UNESCO Apple Ancestry Site.

Georgetown was voted alert as one of the best cities in Asia. It is aswell ranked as 10th a allotment of the top locations in Asia area Europeans adopt to plan and reside in, based on its weather, air quality, infrastructure, bloom services, housing, aegis and politics.


Georgetown has some of the best day-tripper places in Malaysia. Let’s get to apperceive a few of them.

Fort Cornwallis

On top of our beat is absolutely Acropolis Cornwallis. The better continuing acropolis in Malaysia, Acropolis Cornwallis is a star-shaped acropolis alleged afterwards the backward 18th aeon Governor- General of Bengal in India, Charles Cornwallis. It was congenital by Sir Francis Light afterwards it took control of Penang from the Sultan of Kedah in 1786. The aboriginal acropolis was congenital with nibong, or approach trunk. A few years later, the new acropolis was rebuilt with manpower of Indian convicts, and assuredly completed in 1810.

The acropolis is advised to avert the island adjoin the pirates and the French because of the Napoleonic Wars. There acclimated to be a abysmal and advanced moat surrounding the fort, but it is now abounding due to a malaria outbreak.

Even admitting the acropolis was congenital for defence, it was acclimated added for authoritative purposes. In fact, the funny affair is that the acropolis has never affianced in any battle.

There you will see abounding old cannons. The better one, alleged the Seri Rambai cannon, was a allowance from the Dutch to the Sultan of Johor. Later, the Potuguese took control of the cannon area it backward in Java until it was bedeviled by the British and placed actuality in Acropolis Cornwallis.

This acropolis was gazetted in 1977 as an Age-old Monument and Acclaimed website and today is one of Penang’s a lot of acclaimed day-tripper attractions.

Convent Light Steet

The next absorbing allure is the Abbey Light Street, or Abbey of the Holy Infant Jesus. It was founded aback in 1852 by 3 French nuns who took over the antecedent government abode to alpha their convent. It originally houses aural its walls the Francis Light bungalow, which was body in 1790. It was eventually busy out to the East India Company as a government house, afore assuredly clearing as a acquirements institution.

The architectonics was expanded, and eventually housed a chapel, cloisters for the Sisters, an orphanage, a boarding abode for acceptance and classrooms for the school. The Abbey continues to serve as a academy and has been agilely and consistently adequate in contempo years with funds aloft from the public.

St. George’s Church

Next is the St. George’s Anglican Abbey forth Farquhar Street. Founded by Reverend Robert Sparke Hutchings, it is the oldest Anglican Abbey in Southeast Asia, which goes aback all the way to 1818. It is advised in the Georgian Palladian style, a aggregate of the Georgian style, which is aspect to King George I and King George IV, and the Palladian style, which is attributed to the Grecian architectonics by a Roman alleged Palladius.

Look at the continued Roman columns and pillars and the white done walls. The aboriginal roof was flat, but there was a tiny problem. The weather, or added precisely, the abutting rains fabricated it clashing to accept a collapsed roof and it was afterwards fabricated into the present shape. Look out aswell for the alpine steeple that forms the acme of the roof.

There is a pavilion that sits adverse the abbey that houses a canonizing to Francis Light. There is an inscription that reads: “In Anamnesis of Francis Light, Esquire, who aboriginal accustomed this island as an English Settlement and was abounding years Governor. Born in the canton of Suffolk in England and died October 21st 1794. In his accommodation as governor, the settlers and citizenry were abundantly absorbed to him, and by his afterlife had to abhor the accident of one who watched over their absorption and cares as a father.”

The abbey is declared one of the 50 National Treasures of Malaysia.

The Basilica of the Assumption

Next is The Basilica of the Assumption on Faquhar Street. It got its name from the Feast of the Assumption, which happened to be the day if the aboriginal accumulation of Catholics accustomed in Penang in 1786. It was in 1955 that the abbey became a basilica according to a decree by the Vatican.

This majestic ashen white coloured architectonics with accumbent bands is an archetype of accomplished colonial architecture.

Eastern and Oriental Hotel

Next is the apple acclaimed Eastern and Oriental Hotel. Already accepted as the “Premier Auberge East of Suez,” it is frequently alleged the E&O Auberge or Eastern & Oriental Hotel.

The E & O Auberge was one of the few hotels in the arena that was managed by the Sarkies Brothers. The Sarkies aswell operated the Raffles in Singapore, the Strand in Rangoon and the Crag Auberge on Penang Hill. In fact, they are still in actuality today and are advised best hotels, except for the one on Penang Hill, which is not activity anymore.

In 1884, the E & O began its operations and by the Roaring 20s had acquired abundant all-embracing acceptance for accepting an abundant enactment through the generosity of Arshak Sarkies, the a lot of baroque of the brothers. He would abandon off friends’ bills and acquiesce some planters to break for free, which led to humans calling the E & O ‘Eat and Owe’. Sarkies ran the auberge out of amusement added than for accumulation and it eventually showed, if the auberge came abutting to bankruptcy. However, today the business has been revitalized and the E&O continues to absorb its charm.

The E & O has had abounding acclaimed patrons, and they cover Sir Noel Coward, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Rudyard Kipling, Somerset Maugham, Hermann Hesse, Sun Yat Sen and Charlie Chaplin. Despite accepting gone through periods of ambiguity and sometimes ambiguous on the border of obscurity, the E & O still runs and functions as one of the best hotels in Penang. Weddings, dinners and appropriate occasions are still acclaimed here.

If you cannot allow to break there, you can still go to the bar or restaurant and disentangle like Charlie Chaplin and Rudyard Kipling did!

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion

Next is the Cheong Fatt Tze mansion. Cheong Fatt Tze was a rag to abundance story. Coming to Malaya in 1856 to plan in the tin mines at 16, he formed his way and fabricated a affluence trading tea, pepper, coffee and tobacco with the British Empire.

Cheong Fatt Tze had a acceptability of a acute agent and eventually became Consult General for China, and had the position of ‘Mandarin of the Accomplished Order’. He aswell became the administrator of China’s railway and aboriginal avant-garde coffer and was nicknamed the “Rockefeller of the East” by the New York Times, who aswell dubbed him as “China’s endure Mandarin and aboriginal capitalist.”

Despite accepting houses all over Asia, and in accurate Indonesia and China due to his business and claimed interests, Cheong Fatt Tze still favoured this abode in Penang the most, and consulted feng shui masters in architectonics it. If Cheong Fatt Tze assuredly anesthetized abroad in 1916, the Dutch and the British honoured this amazing man by aerial flags at half-mast.

The abode is accessible accustomed from 11.00am and 3.00pm with tours conducted at these times. The bout is able-bodied annual your time and you can curiosity at the art of feng shui that went into Cheong Fatt Tze’s mansion. Besides the architecture, the abode is aswell committed to the anamnesis of the man himself.

Apart from the architecture, the Cheong Fatt Tze abode aswell has abounding antiques and old photographs that will accord you a glimpse of the lives of genteel Chinese businessmen then. An absorbing actuality is that Cheong Fatt Tze’s seventh wife was awarded the advantage of active in the abode with him. The abode has aswell been acclimated for filming as well, one of the added acclaimed movies filmed actuality was ‘Indochine’ starring Catherine Deneuve.

The Cheong Fatt Tze abode acclimated to aswell abide of the row of terrace houses beyond the street, which you can see if you visit. This accurate row was area the kitchen, accumulator apartment and servants’ abode acclimated to live. Maids cutting their accepted white shirts and atramentous pants would agilely adapt aliment for their bedmate and master.

Christian Cemetery

Next is the Protestant Cemetery. Admitting it may assume a bit atramentous and morbid, walking through the old Protestant Cemetery is a abundant abstraction while you are in Georgetown. It provides you with a faculty of the hardships that were faced by those who had alleged to accomplish their home here. Some of the tombstones accept been adequate by the ancestry trust, admitting abounding inscriptions can no best be read. Annual the epitaphs on the stones brings a melancholic, adventurous feel abnormally if annual about the lives of the aboriginal settlers. Abounding died from abutting ailments such as malaria and one rock even mentions that the asleep died from boscage fever.

Most of these humans were laid to blow actuality because it was too far to yield their bodies back, and accomplishing that would yield abounding weeks, added breakable the bodies. So the Christian Cemetery is the final comatose abode of abounding antecedents including Sir Francis Light, Sir Stamford Raffles’ brother-in-law and a adolescent administrator alleged Thomas Leonowens. You ability be accustomed with the adventure of his wife, Anna Leonowens, who confused to Singapore afterwards Thomas died of apoplexy. Here, she accustomed an allurement to advise English to the accouchement of the Siamese King. A romanticised annual of her activity in Siam aggressive the blur alleged ‘Anna and the King’ starring Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner, and the agreeable ‘The King And I’. The accommodate of this blur in 1999 starred Jodie Foster and Chow Yuen Fatt, and allotment of it was attempt in appropriate actuality in Georgetown.

Suffolk House

Next is the Suffolk House, or what was already Sir Francis Light’s Residency. Francis Light congenital his home, area he landscaped and complete the autogenous to resemble that of a country home of his birthplace of Suffolk, England.

He lived in Suffolk Abode as it was named, with his activity continued companion, Martina Rozells and his 5 children. The Suffolk Abode served as the governor’s address for the aboriginal 100 years and was afterwards bought over by a planter, and the abode and acreage became allotment of the Methodist Boys’ School, endure acclimated as a canteen for the students.

The Suffolk Abode won the 2008 UNESCO Accolade of Distinction. It is one of the two cultural ancestry attention projects in Malaysia to win the UNESCO accolade in 2008 and this Accolade of Distinction is the additional accomplished accolade accustomed by UNESCO Asia Pacific for Cultural Ancestry Conservation.

Kuan Yin Teng

Next is Kuan Yin Teng, one of the oldest Chinese temples in Malaysia. It was congenital in 1801 by aboriginal Chinese immigrants. The architectonics is busy with intricately crafted dragons and two rock lions bouncer the door. This temple is committed to Kuan Yin, the Chinese Goddess of Mercy. It is one of the a lot of visited day-tripper sites in Penang.

The Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi

The Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi is a affiliation association, one of the abounding in Malaysia. Congenital in 1850 by the antecedents of the Khoo ancestors who emigrated from South China, it functions as a clan-house for anyone who has the surname Khoo. A temple was congenital but a blaze razed the absolute board structure. The bounded Chinese believed that the gods had austere it down because the anatomy resembled the Heavenly Emperor’s palace. The adaptation you see today was completed in 1906. All around, you can see abundantly bizarre carvings of the roofs, walls and pillars that reflect the art and architectonics of age-old China. At the end of the tour, apprehend to accept a annealed neck.

Queen Victoria Alarm Tower

Next is the Queen Victoria Alarm Tower. This 60-foot-high alarm belfry was presented to Penang by bounded millionaire, Cheah Chen Eok, in 1897 to admire the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.

Wat Chaiyamangalaram

Next is the Wat Chaiyamangalaram temple, founded in 1845. This Thai Buddhist Temple is acclaimed for its 33 beat continued collapsed Buddha, one of the world’s longest. The temple was congenital on a section of acreage accustomed by Queen Victoria to four women advisers as a action of amicableness to addition trading relations with Thailand. Look out for the guardian dragons at the entrance.

Kapitan Keling Mosque

Next is the Kapitan Keling Mosque, was congenital in the aboriginal 19th century, by the Kapitan Keling Caudeer Mohudeen. It is the a lot of arresting acclaimed abbey in Penang and appearance a dome-shaped minaret absorption Moorish Islamic influence. The Kapitan Keling Abbey is the abode of adoration of the Indian Muslim association who accept lived and formed about the abbey for over two hundred years. Unlike avant-garde mosques that are mainly frequented on Fridays, the Kapitan Keling Abbey is acclimated by worshippers 5 times a day, seven canicule a week. If you’d like to visit, you accept to be abundantly dressed and women would accept to abrasion a bathrobe that you can get from the abbey staff.


Every Malaysian claims his or her hometown is the aliment basic of Malaysia. The humans of Penang would affirmation Penang aliment is the best in Malaysia, and it is not simple to disagree.

Some of the have to trys in Penang is the Penang Kuay Teow, or absurd brainstorm bowl with eggs, cockles and vegetables. Ask for it to be adapted beneath ambrosial if you cannot yield ambrosial food.

Other Chinese dishes you have to try are: beef brainstorm and ‘chee cheong fun’ or aflame collapsed brainstorm topped with shrimp and chilli sauce. You can aswell try the absurd oyster, a accepted seafood dish. ‘Hokkien mee’ is a brainstorm bowl in ambrosial prawn based soup. You have to aswell try Penang laksa, which is aswell a brainstorm bowl but this time with angle based soup.

For something sweet, some awful recommended artery aliment are the ‘tau sah pneah’ which is biscuit with blooming adhesive inside, ‘muah chee’ which are peanut coated adhering rice balls; and ‘bee koh moy’ which is a atramentous adhering rice borsch usually taken as an afternoon dessert.

For Indian Muslim food, the Penang nasi kandar is absolute acclaimed in Malaysia. It is a rice meal with abounding types of dishes fabricated application abounding types of spices. Also, try the rojak pasembur which is a vegetable bloom with candied and ambrosial sauce.

Other different delicacies cover ‘otak-otak’ or aflame angle block captivated in assistant leaves and ‘Or Koay’ or aflame yam cakes topped with broiled shrimp, absurd shallots, bounce onion and broken red chilli.

I achievement I didn’t accomplish your abdomen growl. Penang is absolutely a aliment haven, and you have to try at atomic a few bounded delicacies afore leaving.


Getting about in Georgetown is easy. You can yield the bus or taxi. One alluring approach of busline is the trishaw, a blazon of bike vehicle, but the trishaw is accepting added and added rare. Trishaws were absolute modes of busline in the antiquarian times but today- they baby to tourists and can go up to 30 Ringgit per hour.

Well, this is the end of the adviser for Georgetown. I achievement you will adore yourself visiting the oldest continuing acropolis in Malaysia, marvelling at some 17th aeon churches, unwinding in a apple acclaimed hotel, touring some Muslim mosques, Buddhist temples, and old colonial barrio and not forgetting, savouring aliment in Malaysia’s aliment capital.

Until the next time, Selamat Tinggal and goodbye!