Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia, World Heritage Site Video Tour

Georgetown, Penang, Old Town Hall from Esplanade park.
Georgetown, Penang, Old Town Hall from Esplanade park.

The island of Penang off the Northwest coast of Malaysia has plenty to offer visitors, including beaches, a National Park with forest trekking, a hilltop park accessed by a funicular railway and some of the best food in the world.

I am a regular visitor and always find something new to do.

This page takes a look at the area in Georgetown (capital of Penang State) that has been designated a World Heritage Site. Renovation work is a long way from complete but there are plenty of architectural gems and historical oddities to make a very worthwhile tour.

Location of Georgetown, Penang Island, Malaysia.
Location of Georgetown, Penang Island, Malaysia.

Chinese Buildings

The Chinese started arriving soon after the British East India Company founded a trading post on Penang Island in 1786. Sometimes, whole clans or villages would arrive, building their own temples and preserving their own histories.

The clan temple below bears the name of the village in China where the clan originated from.

Cheah Kongsi Clan Temple

Clan Temple Entrance
Clan Temple Entrance

The Cheah Kongsi Clan moved en masse from China in the 18th Century after a narrow escape. An army was besieging their town and all seemed lost. Quite by chance another army under the direction of another warlord just happened to pass by.

With a little encouragement and considerable wealth exchanging hands, the new army defeated the besiegers.

The clan left for Penang shortly afterwards and eventually became rich traders.

There are many clan temples in Georgetown. The Cheah Kongsi Temple on Armenian Street is my favorite.
There are many clan temples in Georgetown. The Cheah Kongsi Temple on Armenian Street is my favorite.

Thean Hou Temple

Renovated in the late 1990's after falling into ruin, the Thean Hu temple is remarkable for the its carved stone panels, figures and pillars.

Chinese Merchant Shops and Homes

Renovated shop in Georgetown, Malaysia
Renovated shop in Georgetown, Malaysia
Renovations involve painstaking attention to detail
Renovations involve painstaking attention to detail

European-era Buildings

The British left in 1957 after realizing there was no more money to be made from Empire. Independent Malaysia is now well on the way to being a first world economy and can afford to preserve some of the charming relics that the Europeans left behind.

An interesting museum near the Catholic cathedral covers the occupation of the Island by the Japanese in World War 2, as well as illustrating life in the colonial periods.

Japanese tourists pass the walls of Fort Cornwallis while a Muslim Malay women inspects an ancient British cannon.
Japanese tourists pass the walls of Fort Cornwallis while a Muslim Malay women inspects an ancient British cannon.
A typical British-era building in Georgetown, with date.
A typical British-era building in Georgetown, with date.
St George's Church, Georgetown. First Anglican Church in SE Asia.
St George's Church, Georgetown. First Anglican Church in SE Asia.
Catholic, Cathedral of the Assumption
Catholic, Cathedral of the Assumption
Light Street Convent School, still teaching after 150 years
Light Street Convent School, still teaching after 150 years

Kapitan Keeling Mosque

Malay Muslims make up around 40 per cent of the population of Penang Island- roughly equal to the Chinese in terms of numbers.

The earliest mosque (pictured directly below) dates from around 1800. The very grand, Kapitan Keeling Mosque was designed by a German. Which I have always found to be strange.

Kapitan Keeling Mosque
Kapitan Keeling Mosque
Minaret
Minaret | Source

Indian Restaurant in Little India

Beads and saris, naan bread and tandoori chicken. The occasional holy man. It is impossible not to like Little India.

Little India is also a good place to find an inexpensive tailor.

Love Lane in Georgetown

Love Lane suggests that illicit activity of a sordid kind was popular here in the past -- which is strange, since it is right next to the Catholic Cathedral and Convent School. But then maybe this is no coincidence.

In the sixties and seventies it attracted hippies looking for somewhere cheap to stay.

Nowadays, it is still backpacker central but the hostels are certainly getting more expensive as they are given a face-lift.

You can still get an air-con room for under twenty dollars a night and a decent room with fan for about ten dollars.

A room with en suite shower and hot water will start at around thirty dollars a night.

Love Lane Plaque
Love Lane Plaque
Entrance to Boutique Hotel
Entrance to Boutique Hotel
Hostel at the North End of Love Lane
Hostel at the North End of Love Lane
Local street art
Local street art

Interactive Map Showing Places Mentioned

show route and directions
A markerkapitan keling mosque penang -
Kapitan Keling Mosque, Jalan Kapitan Keling, Pulau Pinang, 10200 George Town, Penang, Malaysia
[get directions]

B markerTown Hall George Town Penang -
Penang City Hall, Lebuh Duke, Pulau Pinang, 10200 Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia
[get directions]

C markerEsplanade, Georgetown, Penang -
Padang Esplanade, Jalan Tun Syed Sheh Barakbah, Pulau Pinang, 10200 George Town, Penang, Malaysia
[get directions]

D markerFort Cornwallis Penang -
Fort Cornwallis, Jalan Tun Syed Sheh Barakbah, Pulau Pinang, 10200 George Town, Penang, Malaysia
[get directions]

E markerConvent Light Street Penang -
Convent Light Street School, Lebuh Light, Pulau Pinang, 10200 George Town, Penang, Malaysia
[get directions]

F markercatherdral of the assumption penang -
Cathedral of the Assumption, Jalan Love Lane, Pulau Pinang, 10200 George Town, Penang, Malaysia
[get directions]

G markerlebuh armenian street penang -
Lebuh Armenian, Georgetown, 10300 George Town, Penang, Malaysia
[get directions]

Cheah Kongsi Clan Temple on Armenian Street.

H markerlebuh king penang -
Lebuh King, Georgetown, 10200 George Town, Penang, Malaysia
[get directions]

Little India

I markerlove lane penang -
Lorong Love, Georgetown, 10200 George Town, Penang, Malaysia
[get directions]

Love Lane, backpacker and boutique hotels

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Comments 2 comments

tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 4 years ago from California

This is a part of the world I am totally unfamiliar with. That saying, where there is good food I am always interested.


Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

Beautiful! I love the video and the photos. It is fascinating how I can travel to other places by just reading in front of my computer. Thanks for sharing this very informative video hub.

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