The old town of Georgetown, Penang, is one of these place where you feel culture and history is everywhere. And it’s not surprising when you think of all the regional and colonial influences that left their marks on Penang over the centuries. It is a city to discover by foot, marveling at its colorful historical houses, its lavish mosques and facinating Chinese temples.
Walking in Penang did not fail to remind me the special atmosphere that can be found in other old towns like Malacca, still in Malaysia, or Hoi An in Vietnam. In 2008, the old towns of Goergetown and Malacca were both declared World Heritage Sites by the UNESCO.
The Kuan Yin Temple is the oldest temple in Penang and even one of the oldest in Malaysia. It was built for Kuan Yin, a Chinese goddess, in 1723 by Chinese immigrants. As for the Kapitan Keling Mosque, is was built in 1801 by early Indian Muslim settlers. Keling was a way to call people of Indian origin and Kapitan could be translated by “community”. It is one of the most important Monuments of Georgetown.
Other important landmarks not shown in the panorama include the Fort Cornwallis, built in 1786 as a defense structure. I didn’t go inside but it is interesting to walk along its walls. Next to the fort, the Queen Victoria Clock Tower is another well known landmark.
Penang is a wonderful island and totally deserves a few days in your trip. Outside of the city, a bus ride away, beautiful beaches like Batu Ferringhi and untouched rainforests in Penang National Park are awaiting you.