Gourmets and gourmands rejoice! The ‘Pearl of the Orient’ is a thriving melting pot of a city where everyone is a certified foodie. Rich culture and traditions give rise to lingering scents of irresistible food from all corners of Malaysia, as the island’s heritage is proudly and fiercely preserved without resisting the flood of modernity. What do you need for your pilgrimage to this food mecca? Just comfortable shoes and a large pack of indigestion relief.
Step into George Town’s many quaint streets such as Armenian Street and Acheh Street, and you’ll find a place where time stands still. Here in this UNESCO World Heritage Site you’ll find well-preserved colonial-era structures, including temples, mosques and churches. Attractions such as the recently added street artworks by Ernest Zacharevic are also popular.
Tourists will love the colourful night market along Ferringhi Beach. In front of the stretch of bars and hotels is a night market that sells every tourist’s dream souvenirs – lanterns, key chains, novelty tees, floats, swimwear, accessories, bags and many others. Come over for some trinket shopping, get a foot massage across the street or just hop on to one of the many famous bars along the street.
Kek Lok Si Temple
There is no missing the Temple of Supreme Bliss, its many towers sprawled atop a hillside, and a giant 36.5 metre high statue of the Goddess of Mercy standing tall at the summit. The view is fantastic, but more so during festive periods such as Chinese New Year when you’ll find the entire place decorated with hundreds of lanterns – quite a sight for all visitors. If walking’s not your thing, there is a mini funicular train that takes you to the top.
Hike up or ride a Swiss-made funicular train to the former British hill station. The panoramic vistas and the cool breeze will make the trip worth it when the haze clears. You might even spot small mammals and bird species native to the island!
Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion
You’ll know it as “the blue mansion”, but the eye-catching indigo blue structure with detailed Feng Shui elements weaved into the Anglo-Indian architecture was named one of the ‘10 Greatest Mansions in the World’ by Lonely Planet. A tour will let you learn the rich history behind the mansion and find out more about the influential Cheong Fatt Tze himself, surrounded by the mansion’s historic splendour.
Shining brighter than the sun itself is the grand clan-house for the Khoo family. Intricate carvings bearing the mark of skilled craftsmen from China cover the temple’s exterior, whilst wood made from the finest quality make for sturdy beams. One of Penang’s finest, the temple is a hotspot for Chinese Opera performances during the 7th lunar month.