Category: George Town.

About George Town Penang

Penang (Pulau Pinang), affectionately known as the Pearl of the Orient, is one of the bestknown and most-visited corners of Malaysia, and is the only one of the country’s 13 states to have a Chinese majority population, giving the island a very distinct character all of its own. Its main centre, Georgetown, attracts the most tourists with its impressive stock of colonial architecture, temples and museums, lively Chinese culture, great shopping and even better food. But there are many attractions elsewhere on the island, including Malaysia’s newest, and smallest, national park on the northwest headland, beaches on the northern coast, charming

Penang Hill with its funicular and colonial hill station, and the amazing Kek Lok Si Temple – the largest Buddhist shrine in the country.

Circling the island, you’ll discover a varied landscape of jungle and coast, farmland, plantations and fishing villages, though you’ll need your own transport to do it justice. Sights further afield include the eerie Penang War Museum, the slithery Snake Temple and the inland town of Balik Pulau. Georgetown also has air and bus links to other towns in Malaysia and beyond.

Penang state also encompasses a narrow strip of mainland coast known as Seberang Perai (or Province Wellesley), although there’s little to see or do other than change buses or trains in the main town of Butterworth, a major transport hub with many more bus connections to other cities in Peninsular Malaysia, as well as trains running between Kuala Lumpur and Thailand.

George Town

George town is a bustling, colourful and largely Chinese city, full of tumbledown shophouses, impressive colonial architecture and countless trishaws ferrying tourists and locals alike around the maze of broad streets and narrow lanes. Ancient trades such as rattan weaving, joss-stick making, woodcarving and fortune-telling still go on, in scenes which probably haven’t changed in a century, while the soaring skyscrapers of modern Georgetown gleam blankly overhead.

Chinese and Indian temples, neoclassical reminders of the Raj and a plethora of old fashioned little shops sprinkled across the city make Georgetown a fascinating place to wander. Most visitors to the island stay in the city, which has countless hotels, restaurants and all the usual urban facilities.

Those looking for the beach (such as it is) head to Batu Ferringhi or the less developed Teluk Bahang, a little further west.

George Town Inscribed as A Historic City

The Historic City of George Town is located in the State of Penang (Negeri Pulau Pinang), 325 kilometers north of Kuala Lumpur. The State of Penang comprises of Penang Island and its mainland component of Seberang Perai (formerly known as Province Wellesley); and is situated off the coast of northern Peninsular Malaysia.

George Town, the State capital located on Penang Island, is the heart of the metropolitan area that is the second largest urban conurbation in Malaysia, served by a sea port, North-South highway, as well as an international airport.

Core Zone : 109.38 ha
The Historic City of George Town covers and area of 109.38 hectares bounded by the Straits of Melaka on the north-eastern cape of Penang Island, Lorong Love (Love Lane) to the North-West and Gat Lebuh Melayu and Jalan Dr Lim Chwee Leong to the South-West corner. There are more than 1700 historic buildings within this Core Zone align on four main streets of Pengkalan Weld, Lebuh Pantai, Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling and Lorong Love and several perpendicular streets of Jalan Tun Syed Sheh Barakbah, Lebuh Light, Lebuh Bishop, Lebuh Gereja, Lebuh China, Lebuh Pasar, Lebuh Chulia, Lebuh Armenian and Lebuh Aceh.

Buffer Zone : 150.04 ha
The Core Zone is being protected by 150.04 hectares of Buffer Zone bounded by stretch of sea area around the harbour, Jalan Perangin to the South-West corner and Jalan Transfer to the North-West corner.

Both Melaka and George Town are port towns located on the west of Peninsular Malaysia, by the Straits of Malaka (Malacca) which runs between Malaysia and the island of Sumatra. This has through the ages been one of the most strategic and important commercial waterways in the world. The distance between Melaka in the south and George Town in the north is 450 kilometres. Both function as State capitals; George Town is the heart of the second largest metropolitan area in Malaysia while Melaka is smaller. The nominated property in George Town has 9,376 inhabitants and the buffer zone 9,284 inhabitants. In Melaka the figures are 3,720 and 4,171 respectively.

In both cities, a traditional plot system with long and narrow plots has been preserved, which gives scale to the buildings and the character of the streets, and both cities show a great variety of architectural and cultural influences from many parts of Asia and Europe, which have been adapted to local conditions. There are areas for different ethnic groups and social layers and for various functions or types of trade. This multicultural identity is manifested in both the tangible and intangible heritage.

George Town demonstrates its development during the British era. It was founded by a British trader in 1786 and grew to a large and important city. The shophouses, townhouses and religious buildings give the main character, and the colonial architecture of the Victorian Age is prominent. In the north-east part is Fort Cornwallis and the government and administrative centre, with a number of public buildings. There is also a large harbour area, partly on reclaimed land, with piers and clan jetties, a unique form of settlement with timber houses on stilts clustered around a jetty.

The architecture of George Town is represented by an ensemble of Victorian buildings, mostly located in the Government and Administrative Centre and in the historic Commercial Centre. Asian influences are present in the Indian and Chinese temples and in the Malay Mosques. Typical features of George Town are the Chinese kongsi and the clan jetties. In the kongsi, the temples were set within an open space surrounded by shophouses. The clan jetties represent a unique form of “water villages” since each community comprises members of the same clan with the same surname. The residential neighbourhoods include a range of architectural types and styles, including terrace houses, Chinese kongsi and shophouses.


Georgetown is on the northeastern corner of the island, where the channel between island and mainland is narrowest.

A 16-hour vehicle- and passenger-ferry service operates across the 3km-wide channel between Georgetown and Butterworth on the mainland. South of the ferry crossing is the Penang Bridge, reputedly the longest in Southeast Asia, which links the island with Malaysia’s Lebuhraya (North–South Highway).

Georgetown is a compact city and most places can easily be reached on foot or by trishaw. The old colonial district centres on Fort Cornwallis. Lebuh Pantai is the main street of the ‘city’, a financial district crammed with banks and stately buildings that once housed the colonial administration. After dark, exercise caution as this area becomes eerily deserted.

You’ll find many of Georgetown’s budget hotels and hostels along Lebuh Chulia in Chinatown, where a cosmopolitan array of backpackers congregate in the cheap restaurants and bars. At the northern end of Lebuh Chulia, Jln Penang is a main thoroughfare and a popular shopping street. In this area are a number of midrange hotels and, at the waterfront end of the street, the venerable Eastern & Oriental (E&O) Hotel.

If you follow Jalan Penang south, you’ll pass the modern multipurpose Komtar shopping centre, and eventually leave town and continue towards the Bayan Lepas International Airport. If you turn west at the waterfront end of Jln Penang, you’ll follow the coastline and eventually come to the northern beaches, including Batu Ferringhi. This road runs right around the island back into town, via the airport.

Finding your way around Georgetown can be slightly complicated. Jln Penang may also be referred to as Jln Pinang or as Penang Rd – but there’s also a Penang St, which may also be called Lebuh Pinang! Similarly, Chulia St is Lebuh Chulia; Pitt St is sometimes Lebuh Pitt, but is shown on some maps and signposts as Jln Masjid Kapitan Keling. Many streets are still referred to locally by their English names; Lebuh Gereja, for example, is Church St, and Lebuh Pantai is Beach St.

Trishaws are the ideal way of getting around Georgetown, particularly at night when travelling this way takes on an almost magical quality.

Any attempt to pinpoint the most attractive selling point of Penang would, at best, lead to argument which cannot be settled. Could it be the beaches and the sun that pull in the tourists? Or the tasty food found at every nook and corner? Then there would be those who visit Penang just for the history – how it was ‘discovered”, and how this led to the evolution of a multi-racial, multi-religious populace which has contributed to the exciting festivals, impressive architecture and unique cultural practices. Even the wide variety of food is the result of this meting pot of peoples. Or the things uniquely Penang – the Snake Temple and Kek Lok Si Temple for example. Without a doubt, each and every attraction has helped to propel Penang to where it is in the tourism sector. But it is collectively that this State, despite its small size, has appealed to visitors. Beautiful Penang is the place to go a holiday simple because there is something for everyone. (NST Travel Times)

Penang or Pulau Pinang when translated into Malay, derives its name from the betel-nut palm (pokok pinang) which was found in great abundance on the island. Originally Penang was part of Kedah before Captain Francis Light successfully negotiated with the Sultan of Kedah to cede it to the British East India Company in the year 1786. The British were attracted to the natural harbour which could serve as an anchorage for their trading ships. The township was named Georgetown after King George III of Great Britain, Penang remained part of the British Straits Settlements until Malaya gained her independence on 31st August 1957.

With the establishment of Malaysia on 16th. September 1963, Penang became one of the thirteen states that make up the country. Today, Penang bustles with commercial life and is a melting pot of multi-racial communities settled harmoniously together accompanied by their colourful cultures, religions and traditions, There are lovely beaches with swaying palm trees and clear blue waters.

The many places of interest, beautiful sceneries, shopping centres, delicious food and friendly people make Penang an exceptionally interesting place. Visitors who have been enchanted by its natural scenic splendour have called the island ‘The Pearl of the Orient’.

Category: George Town