Penang often mistaken for George Town. Penang is a state on the west coast of Malaysia, which includes the island of Pulau Pinang. But what attracts most visitors to this site is the city of George Town (or Georgetown) the capital and largest city of this state, whose name is due to the British presence that settled here in the eighteenth century, making this site one of the important posts trade in the region, is the quiet atmosphere in a colonial well preserved heritage.
From this presence resulted a vast architectural heritage ranging from official buildings, churches and shophouses, which are buildings of two or three floors where the ground floor is intended for commerce and the top floors for residence, continuing today to have these functions.
As an important trading post, George Town attracted many merchants from several neighboring countries such as Thai, Burmese, Tamils from south India and many Chinese, which resulted in a great cultural and religious diversity which is revealed in the diversity of temples: Buddhist temples, Hindu temples and mosques, as also the Christian, Catholic and Anglican churches.
From this mixture that learn how to live together taking advantage of their differences, born a very unique identity which joined the Malay culture, resulting in a country that today is an example of religious, ethnic and cultural tolerance. Also resulted in a great culinary diversity for which Penang is famous, finding restaurants and street food stall, a bit all over the old town, each zone with is own type of food, serving during the day, but obeying to a specific schedule according to the food…. you can not find chendul in the evening or Steam Rice Cake during the day.
The old town is considered World Heritage Site by Unesco, where much of the buildings are ancient, with many of the shophouses to maintain the traditional architecture, some converted into trendy cafes, restaurants and accommodation as a result of the large number of tourists.
Another of the architectural features of the city are called five foot ways, which are a kind of sidewalks formed by the buildings where the ground floor is set back from the facade, creating a passage in the form of arcades, which protects the inhabitants of the sole of rain. The name comes from the width with which they were built that were originally built (approximately 1.5 meters), but there five foot ways of varying sizes by adjusting the width of the streets.
Georgetown is famous for street art, which somehow has become institutional, with many artistic interventions in a planned and organised manner, which removes the subversive and intervention that is one of the street-art facets. And from the many murals which can be found in the old town, only a few works stand out of the homogeneous, simple and innocent set of murals.
Despite the exposed art on the walls is worth a closer look to what is happening under our feet, where the floors of many five foot ways are coated tiles, with elaborate geometric patterns and attractive colors.
Georgetown smells old and at the same time has a modern character in a quiet environment, only interrupted by the bustle of the bars at weekends become part of Lebuh Chulia and Love Lane a messy and noisy area, clashing with the quietness of rest of the city.
Where to stay in Georgetown
A building full of personality and style, friendly and helpful staff makes the 100 Cintra a special place with an atmosphere that invites you to stay for a long term.
Address: 100, Lebuh Cintra, George Town, Pulau Pinang 10200, Malaysia
Where to eat in Georgetown
Penang is the capital of Malaysian food, resulting from the variety of ethnic and religious diversity present here; George Town is also famous for street food that is here more easily to find than in other Malaysian cities; so it is best to wander around the streets and following intuition… and the nose.
Popular areas for street food:
- Lebuh Kimberley, near the intersection with Lebuh Cintra (predominantly in the morning, but with some vendors to stay up at night);
- Penang Jalang between Jalang Campbell and Jalan Dr Lim Leong Chewee where along the small cross streets several street stalls prepare and sell their products: meals, snacks, sweets, ice cream, drinks, etc …
- Lebuh Chulia between the junction with Love Lane and Jalan Kapitan Masijd Keiling (after dark)
Food not to be missed in George Town:
- NG Kee Cake Shop, Plant and cake shop in Lebuh Cintra, with coconut tarts.
- Veg thali served in banana leaf, the many restaurants in Little India, especially along the Lebuh Penang
- Steam Rice Cake in Lebuh Cintra in front of a Chinese restaurant Dim Sum, but that only emerges after dark.
- Lebuh Keng Kwee in chendul
How to get from Kuala Lumpur to George Town:
Kuala Lumpur TBS Terminal (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan) there are buses throughout the day from the 6:00 am to 12:00 am.
The trip to Penang lasts about five hours, but can be 6 hours or more depending on traffic outside of Kuala Lumpur.
There are two options to get to George Town:
- Bus from Kuala Lumpur (TBS Terminal) to Butterworth, and then ferry boat to George Town. The ferry takes 10-15 minutes and costs 2 RM. The distance being the Butterwoth Bus Terminal and the ferry is short but takes about 10 minutes to walk. This bus option to Butterworth may have the drawback of making Sungai Nibong Express stop at the Bus Terminal in Penang, which means cross the bridge to the island and then return back to the terminal service in Butterworth Bus Terminal.
- Bus from Kuala Lumpur (TBS Terminal) to Sungai Nibong Express Bus Terminal in Penang. Here you need to catch a local bus to George Town (12 km).
Tickets KL – Butterworth: 35 RM
The ferry is the most pleasant option, especially if the trip coincides with the end of the day.
Check more information:
How to get from George Town to Kuala Lumpur:
One option is to go to the pier (on foot or by local bus) and take the ferry to Butterworth, walk until the Butterworth Bus Terminal and from their take a bus to Kuala Lumpur. No reservation needed because many companies do this service so there is a great offer in terms of timetables.
Alternatively you can catch a bus directly from George Town to Kuala Lumpur.
- Buses leave from Sungai Nibong Express Bus Terminal, located 12 km from George Town.
- Tickets can be purchased on the same day, and even at the time, one of the many agencies located in Jalan Ria near KOMTAR. The agencies have a shuttle service from the office to the terminal (3 RM)
Bus Tickets George Town (Penang) – Kuala Lumpur: 38 RM + 3 RM (shuttle to the Sungai Nibong Express terminal)