Georgetown on Penang Island is a must-see in Malaysia. Georgetown’s beautiful colonial alleys are a hub of culture, street art, and some of the greatest street cuisine in the country. The combination of Chinese dwellings and skyscrapers creates a distinct ambiance in this town.
If you plan to visit Georgetown in the near future, continue reading this article to learn more about travelling in Georgetown, Penang.
Where to Stay
1. Macalister Mansion
This exquisite mansion hotel only offers eight rooms, so book quickly! The rooms have wood-panelled flooring and cabinets, louvred window shutters, and a wrought-iron spiral staircase leading up to a modest private patio in the case of Room 4.
2. Tropics Eight Suites
This aparthotel is about 15 minutes by drive from Georgetown and is ideal for families and out-of-town visitors who prefer a peaceful environment free of tourist traps. You can request a view of the hills and wake up each morning facing the deep Penang rainforests.
3. 23 LoveLane
With five various architectural designs from the late 19th and early 20th century, your stay at 23 LoveLane will be as informative as it is enjoyable. Discover Anglo-Indian interiors, Tudor Revival style from the 1920s, and cosy duplexes with vintage furniture and modern paintings.
4. G Hotel Gurney
Step into this dynamic urban area with floating light elements and stylish button-back furnishings to take a breather from the myriad 19th-century landmarks that dot Georgetown. Your high-flying acquaintances will be impressed with the executive lounge, while couples and families will enjoy the deluxe room.
Things to Do
1. Spend the day in Malaysia’s smallest national park
The Penang National Park is located about 21 kilometres west of Georgetown. Despite being Malaysia’s smallest national park, it packs a powerful ecological punch. Within the dense rainforest, almost 400 plant species grow. Over 150 different kinds of birds flutter around in the canopy above. Hiking pathways lead visitors to viewing points and uninhabited beaches.
2. Fun photo-ops in the Upside-Down Museum
The Upside-Down Museum offers Instagram-worthy photographs as well as family-friendly entertainment. The rooms appear to be normal at first glance, with one exception: everything is upside down. Staff at the museum assist tourists in getting into position before taking their photographs. When you turn it the proper way up, it provides the impression that you’re posing on the ceiling.
3. Ride the ferry across the Straits of Melaka
Penang Island is separated from Peninsular Malaysia by the Straits of Melaka. During the day, ferries run every 30 minutes between George Town and Butterworth on the mainland. The top deck of the boat provides amazing views over Penang Island, the Straits of Melaka, and the Penang Bridge to the south.
4. Explore Georgetown’s Colonial Hill Station
Penang Hill, at 833 metres, is both Georgetown’s and Penang’s highest point. During colonial times, the British built a hill station (basically a resort) on its peak. If you’re short on time, take the Bukit Bendera Cable Car or hike along the 5-kilometer road from the Botanical Gardens’ Arched Moon Gate. At the summit, travellers are entertained by viewing platforms, English-style houses, and themed areas.
Food Hunting Spots
Perhaps the most Penang meal of all is nasi kandar, a spread of hearty, rich, often meaty, Muslim Indian-influenced curries served over rice. Hameediyah is said to be the city’s oldest purveyor of the dish, and it is surely its most popular. If rice isn’t your thing, try the murtabak, which is a seasoned, minced filling (egg plus meat or chicken) wrapped in a thin flatbread, griddled, and served with a sweet or sour dip.
2. Joo Hooi Café
This tiny, always-busy hawker centre serves two of Georgetown’s most famous dishes: asam laksa, udon-like rice noodles in a robust, herbaceous, fishy-in-a-good-way broth, and cendol, short, squiggly noodles in sweetened coconut milk and shaved ice.
3. Rojak Ho Wei Jeng (101 Rojak)
Rojak is a salad-like meal of crunchy, tart, and sweet fruits and vegetables covered with a thick dressing that combines sweet, salty, and spicy flavours, garnished with crushed peanuts and raw sugar. This stall at a beachside, semi-open-air hawker centre is one of the greatest places to buy it.
4. China House
These interconnected, rambling shophouses provide breakfast, coffee, burgers, vegetable dishes, and Malaysian-influenced foods. But, in the end, it’s all about the dessert. Just try not to be seduced by the massive table piled high with various cakes, pies, and pastries. You can’t say you’ve visited George Town unless you’ve tasted the ice cream made with salted gula Melaka, Malaysian palm-sugar syrup.