Georgetown, Penang – Art & History

Hey Traveller! Don’t forget to visit George Town, Penang to see the cool street art on your journey throughout Malaysia! This old colonial town is rich in history and overflowing with hip, fun and inspiring artwork.

Minion Street Art
Queen Victoria Memorial Monument & Minion Street Art

I arrived in George Town on March 18th from the Cameron Highlands. I heard through word of mouth that George Town is famous for street art and delicious food, perfect timing, I had yet to try classic Malaysian cuisine!

George town
Clay Pot Fried Rice, Cenotaph World War 1 Monument

Ask around town to pick up a map on all the popular street artwork, historic buildings and foodie hotspots! Quick tip, it‘s very hot from February to May so getting out on the town early in the morning is essential!

Street Art
Check out the amazing artwork created by Ernest Zacharevic, Louis Gan and other artists

Night Life

George Town is a hip and artistic town, the days are hot so the cooler evening is the perfect time to eat and explore. Take an evening stroll through little India, or down Lebuh Victoria to see some live music at ‘The Canteen’.

George town
The Pandavas Fusion Band at The Canteen

On march 19th, I met two new travel companions, Alex and Nina, at the Canteen for a drink. We had the great pleasure of listening to the Pandavas Fusion Band, visiting from KL.

Nina & Alex from Germany Enjoying the music at the Canteen
Nina & Alex from Germany Enjoying the music at the Canteen

These smooth sounding guys played three sets of English Cover band and Malay Music. They played covers from Pink Floyd, The Beetles & other Classics all night!

Later, the after party went next door for a little dancing, a few more drinks and many a laugh! A true night to remember!

Street Food & Kopi Tiam (Coffee) 

The backpacker district of George Town is located between Lebuh Chulia and Lorong Stewart. The street food stalls are conveniently open for business after 6:30pm on Lebuh Chulia. The prices are a little higher than normal non-tourist stalls but still very reasonable. The busy atmosphere and fading sunlight add to the evening ambiance.

George town
Lebuh Chulia, Pay by the color of the stick

The best comfort in all of George Town is the abundance of Kopi Tiam: Western quality coffee shops! Try the Rose Latté at ‘Wheeler’s Coffee’! (67, Lorong Love) It’s delicious, try it!

The Daily Dose Café on Lorong Stewart
The Daily Dose Café on Lorong Stewart
Kopi Tiam and Traditional Sweets
History of Kopi Tiam and Traditional Sweets

Chinese Malaysian Bakery – Ming Xiang Tai

George town
Ming Xiang Tai Bakery

While on a desperate pursuit to find the famous Nasi Lemak street food, I wandered into a very stylish Chinese bakery. George Town is well known for the diversity of ethnic groups, so naturally the variety of sweets must follow!

Famous Egg Tart
Famous Egg Tart

Penang State Museum

For museum lovers, this is a must! Take two hours to escape from the midday heat and spend the 1MR ($0.25USD) to learn about the rich history of Penang!

State Museum of Penang
State Museum of Penang
George town
Beach Street, George Town
The Spice Trade, !music Box and Old George Town
The Spice Trade, !music Box and Old George Town

Did you know the island was leased by the East India Trading Company, founding the British Colony in South Asia? Or that it was later occupied by the Japanese in WW2? I stumbled upon this museum by chance one early morning after visiting the old Fort Cornwallis.

George Town
Fort Cornwallis, George Towm

Under British Rule, the Island became a free port and very multicultural. Free land attracted settlers from afar! The three major communities; Indian, Chinese and Malay along with countless others including Armenians and Jews, prospered in relative harmony.

Classic Malay Clothing, Opium Bed, Wedding Bed and Euro Fashion
Classic Malay Clothing, Opium Bed, Wedding Bed and Euro Fashion

Although, an presence of organised secret societies and poor governance made George Town a hotspots for social unrest and protests. The present day George Town still possesses much of it’s historic charm and remnants of the cultures that made it unique in South East Asia.

DreamCatcher’s Hostel

George town
Dream Catcher’s Hostel, George Town

I took the time prior to my arrival to carefully select my hostel as there are many to choose from. I selected Dream Catcher’s Hostel for it’s relaxing atmosphere and excellent reviews.

Inside Dream Catcher Hostel
Inside Dream Catcher Hostel

The staff were super friendly, I was allowed to shower after I checked out and lounge around until it was near time I departed to catch my night bus. The free coffee and tea plus breakfast with fresh fruit is an added touch I greatly appreciated.

*Fair Warning* there are some awful hostels with terrible service in Penang so believe the bad ratings and unhappy reviews when you see them.

 

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