Travelogue – George Town on Penang Island from 12 to 16 January 2015

I visited this place three years ago and written a blog post on 18 October 2011. This time round, we went back there with my daughter joining us. The historic city of George Town was awarded the title of World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2008.

Street Art
In our second visit, we walked the streets in search of wall murals painted by famous Lithuania artist Ernest Zacarevic and other street artists.IMG_2397

We were also impressed by the wrought-iron sculptures that provide caricatures with anecdotal descriptions of the streets. Take time to admire and read the humourous descriptions of each heritage peculiar to the location. Instead of boring signboards marking the heritage of each place, the wrought-iron caricatures are refreshing and attention grabbing. It is an artist impression of the place and its heritage and culture.IMG_2396IMG_2333

Substantial time was spent walking the streets to find these street arts, much like a treasure hunt with a map showing spots where they appear. A recommendation I can offer is to start real early, like 7am. By 9 am, the sun is already bright and hot. There are hardly trees in George Town to shield us from the blazing sun rays. I do not have to mention that the afternoon is worst for walking.

Gentrification of George Town
George Town is a historic city of the Straits Settlements. Its 19th Century architecture was preserved till today. If you want to get away from a modern city like ours, George Town is a place to visit. We visited the Pinang Peranakan Mansion for a taste of the architecture and culture of the Straits Chinese. This place is worth a visit. Pay the entrance fee and get inside for a look-around. The Pinang Peranakan Mansion is the best I have seen for a taste of Perankan culture. It was used as a location shoot for MediaCorp’s Chinese drama serial titled “The Little Nyona”IMG_2355

Shophouses around famous streets of George Town were being bought over and slowly converted into cafes, inns, retail shops and residences. The facades of these properties were kept but the interiors were transformed. This gentrification is to attract tourists. Let’s hope that the city does not overdo this gentrification as to kill the history of the place.

Penang Street Food
Going to George Town also means eating their Penang Street Food. These hawkers cook out of carts along the streets and most gather around coffee shops serving drinks. You buy the food and bring it into the coffee shop to eat. You have to buy a drink, failing which you have to pay 50 Malaysian sen.

Penang cuisine is full of character. You can find them in Singapore but theirs taste better.IMG_2253

The sticker on the table tells patron to pay RM0.50 if you just wanted to sit at the table without buying a drink.

The sticker on the table tells patron to pay RM0.50 if you just wanted to sit at the table without buying a drink.

Public Buses – Rapid Penang
As a tourist, you can buy a RM30 for seven days unlimited travel on Rapid Penang buses. You do not have to worry that you have gotten onto a wrong bus and you do not have to worry about having small changes with you to board the buses. All I can say is that the roads are mostly one-way streets and one can get onto the wrong bus quite easily that moved in the opposite direction. There is no bus guide and no bus information at each bus stop. It can be challenging and frustrating as we found out.

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One Response to Travelogue – George Town on Penang Island from 12 to 16 January 2015

  1. Frustrated is their bus service website is not updated! I waited for more than an hour till no bus but later found out from the security guard at shopping mall that the service number is not available anymore.

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