Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia in Photographs


The entire town of Georgetown, located in the northeast corner of Penang, an island in the Strait of Malaka off the coast of mainland Malaysia is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Here, the influences of British colonialism, Indians both Muslim and Hindu, Chinese, Arabs, Achehnese, Siamese, Burmese and Malays have coexisted for 200 years.

The architecture reflects this diversity of cultural development.  Additionally, the food is diverse and superb with many dishes uniquely developed in Penang.  These are best cheaply and amply sampled from the many street carts and stalls found here.

Coming for a visa run, I spent three nights and two full days in this vibrant city, staying in the heart of the historical district.  My home, the Red Inn Heritage House, as its name suggests, is one of the hundreds of heritage buildings here.  Many have been restored.  More are in the process, while many in disrepair await the loving touch of their owners present or future.  All is protected by UNESCO status.

My first day was spent walking to over 25 places of interest.  It was a very hot day with humidity hovering close to 100%.  I started early and spent about eight hours.  Along the way, I stopped periodically to sample some of the cities fine food.  Here are some of the highlights.

Cathedral of the Assumption–dates back to the original landing of Francis Light in 1786


Chinese Wedding Bed–Penang State Museum–admission RM 1.00 (33 cents US)


St. George Church–Built 1817-1818. Oldest Anglican Church in SE Asia.


Town Hall-1880. Yellow and white classic colonial elegance.
Used as a backdrop in Anna and the King.


Fort Cornwallis-Adm. RM 2.00. Not much to see inside. Pretty touristy with a few old cannons facing out to sea.


Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower–60 feet tall built in 1897 to commemorate her Diamond Jubilee–each foot represents a year of her reign.


Food break! Mee Goreng a signature Penang Indian Muslim OMG dish. The yellow noodles are fried in a thick tomato gravy. Added are spicy stewed squid, boiled cubed potatoes, fried tofu, crispy flour and chive fritters. Served with a garnish of finely sliced lettuce, crunchy fried shallots and a slice of lime. The lime balances out the heat. Price about one US dollar.


Awaiting future preservation.


Clan Jetties-built for homes of sea traders and dock workers out over
the water in the 19th century. Connected by wooden planks.


Mahamariamman Temple–1883–oldest Hindu temple in Georgetown showcasing 38 exquisitely carved Hindu deities.


Entry, Teochew Temple


Altar detail–Teochew Temple–Prime example of Teochew architecture. Built 1855 and moved to present site in 1870.
Received UNESCO Award of Merit for Culture Heritage Preservation.



Food break! Nasi Kandar is synonymous with Penang as this is where the famous meal originated. It is basically rice served with a host of curries (I had seven kinds), meat or fish or chicken, and vegetables. Tip: order ‘kari campur’ which means means a combination of all the curries on their menu.


Seh Tek Tong Cheah Kongsi–Completed in 1870, this is the oldest Chinese clan temple in Penang. It features classic Chinese architecture with the addition of British lions heads, a nod of loyalty to the colonial power.



Khoo Kongsi clan temple, 1906. This temple was receiving some renovations.
After ‘innocently’ climbing over a waist-high concrete barricade, I was told I could go in and photograph.


Masjid Melayu Lebuh Acheh–founded in 1808, this mosque served the early Arab settlers and was a stopover during pilgrimage to Mecca. Today, the descendants of those settlers live in these 19th century bungalows that surround the mosque.


Jaya rocks! Incredible food, cheap prices and open 24 hours. I ate here twice!


And let’s not forget all the unique street tiles. No extra charge for my toes, hee hee.


Kapitan Keling Mosque–The largest historic mosque in Georgetown was founded in 1801 and features Moghul architecture.


Art imitates life imitates art in historic Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia


It has been really hard deciding which photos to include in this essay.  You can see these and several more here.  For my second day in Penang, I walked a little, mostly back and forth between the Red Inn and the food stalls.  Here’s one last photo detail of incredible carving in one of the Chinese Clan Houses.





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  1. Judie June 11, 2013 at 6:58 pm #

    How much fun you are having! Thanks for the photo journey thru these sites in Georgetown. Such beautiful pieces of art and architecture you are seeing firsthand….not to mention the food! I so appreciate being able to experience these things thru you.

    • Philip June 12, 2013 at 12:01 am #

      Thanks so much Judie!

  2. Scott June 12, 2013 at 9:20 pm #

    Again, Thanks for sharing your adventures with us.

    I especially like the inclusion of all the different religious aspects, which are such a part of the daily life of people today and yesteryore too.

    • Philip June 12, 2013 at 10:21 pm #

      Yes, I found it surprising to learn that Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Catholics and Anglicans have been peacefully coexisting anywhere for the last 200+ years. There was even a small Jewish community at one point but all that is left is the cemetery. A great model for what could be perhaps?

  3. Dan @ A Cruising Couple June 19, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

    Great photos! I love it when cultures collide and create some magnificent architecture and super delicious food. There is a UNESCO site in Macau we wandered through that has an impressive mix of Chinese and Portuguese influence. Thanks so much for sharing.
    Dan @ A Cruising Couple recently posted..Spectacular Sand Sculptures: A Photo Essay from Fulong Beach

    • Philip June 19, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

      You’re welcome Dan. I look forward to getting to Macau. If all these cultures and religions could get along as well elsewhere as they do in Penang then the world would certainly be a better and more tolerant place.

  4. Stephanie - The Travel Chica June 23, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

    Love all of the ornate details.
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..One year ago

    • Philip June 23, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

      Thanks Stephanie. Georgetown Penang is definitely over-the-top eye (and taste) candy.

  5. Frank Kuhr August 29, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

    The architecture is great. I hope I don’t sound like a gluton but give me all that tasty food and so enexpensive I would gain 20lbs or more in know time.

    • Philip September 11, 2013 at 7:02 am #

      Thanks Frank. Actually, I ate more and lost a few pounds overall. The food is so good but overall not as rich as a lot of the Western food we are used to eating.

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