Tucked in on the eastern edge of the island of Penang in Malaysia, George Town is one of the most intriguing melting pots of culture to be found in Southeast Asia. The panoramic diversity can be seen in abundance in the colonial architecture and deep-rooted Asian history and traditions. Settled by the Britishers more than 200 years ago along with Singapore and Malacca, George Town has long lived in the shadows of its more glittery and famed counterparts scattered all over Asia.
8 Best Places To Visit In Georgetown
The places to visit in Georgetown listed below provide a unique insight into the delectable Chinese history that over time mingled with British colonial prowess, and then ultimately a warm-hearted Malaysian cultural embrace. After a small glance at the Georgetown tourist map, travelers can ascertain how this place made its journey from a humble fishing village to a UNESCO World Heritage site that is adored by locals and foreigners alike who take repeated vacations in this vivacious city.
1. Kek Lok Si Temple
Probably among the most revered places to visit in Georgetown, Kek Lok Si Temple holds the honor of being the largest Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia. Apart from being a temple with tremendous religious significance for the large population of Buddhists in Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong, this temple boasts of a marvelous seven-story pagoda along with its 10,000 Bronze statues of Buddha.
For travelers who love to be immersed in nature, the Kek Lok Si Temple complex is filled with intricate architecture and lush-green horticulture that spreads over 30 acres on the foot of the Air Itam Mountain.
Timings: 7 am to 5:30 pm daily
Entry Fee:INR 35 (for the Pagoda); INR 70 (incline lift to see the statue)
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2. Penang Hill
Penang Hill is the most ideal place for adventure seekers, and outdoorsy travelers for an enjoyable weekend of Georgetown sightseeing. With an altitude of 2733 feet above sea level, Penang or Flagstaff Hill is the highest point on the tropical island. The major attraction to this hill is the one-of-a-kind funicular railway in Malaysia that transports millions of people to this breathtaking vantage point.
Over the years, Penang Hill developed from being a British colonial retreat to a tourist attraction that now has a fabulous resort. Travelers who love adventure can choose to hike, bike, or drive to the scenic hilltop.
Ticket Price (for the Funicular): INR 175 (return ticket for adults); INR 85 (for senior citizens and children between age 4-12)
Timings (for the funicular):6:30 am to 11:00 pm (Train service every 15 minutes)
3. Khoo Kongsi
One of the best places in Georgetown Penang is Khoo Kongsi- a spectacular Chinese clan-house that is an architecture lover’s fantasy. Littered with ornaments, gold plated statues, and state-of-the-art Chinese construction work, Khoo Kongsi is an exclamation mark in a long line of decorated and influential Chinese presence in Penang.
The clan-house temple provides the perfect opportunity for all shutterbugs to prize away a few eye-catching images from this 19th century laid-back vacation house.
Timings: 9 am to 5 pm (all days)
Entry Fee: INR 175 per person
4. Gurney Plaza
One of the places to see in Georgetown is the swanky Gurney Plaza. Often while traveling people love to indulge in shopping, and Gurney Plaza is the perfect place for that. With a huge surplus of electronic exports, and its duty-free status, Penang is a great place to get good deals on electronics, clothes, and decoration items.
Gurney Plaza benefits from its prime location of Gurney Drive- a spot which is almost impossible to miss on your visit to the small island of Penang. Along with shopping, Gurney Plaza is home to 12 modern cineplexes, and a variety of international restaurants that will cater to all kinds of travelers looking for a blend of luxury and entertainment.
5. Street Art Locations In Georgetown
After it received a UNESCO World Heritage site status, the art scene in Georgetown took off like any other. The best part about the street art emergence in Georgetown is that it was initially promoted by government, and not as a form of protest as it has been used around the world.
Spread out all across Georgetown, street art in Penang has gained a lot of traction among tourists, and travel agencies have now started to organize walking tours to visit all of these elaborate masterpieces that add a different dimension to Penang.
Suggested Read: Top 7 Museums In Malaysia That Are Sure To Leave You Enchanted!
6. Penang Botanic Gardens
A list of places to visit in Georgetown would be incomplete without a tribute to the rich flora and fauna that is present on the island of Penang. The Botanic Gardens are a popular hotspot for local residents to go on a picnic, workout, and meditate.
Established by the Britishers near a granite quarry and a waterfall, the botanic gardens can act as a perfect retreat for eco-tourists and travelers who love to spend time surrounded by nature.
Timings: 5 am to 8 pm (all days)
Entry Fee: No charge
7. Batu Ferringhi Beach
The small town of Batu Ferringhi gets a lot of tourists that visit Penang Island due to its gorgeous white sand beach. A relatively unknown place of tourist interest has been a blessing in disguise for Batu Ferringhi Beach- which is still largely unspoilt and virgin.
Adventure sports enthusiasts might like to bookmark this place as water activities like jet skiing, water skiing, parasailing, and deep-sea fishing are conducted on a regular basis around the year. For travelers who would like to spend their nights close to serene and adventurous beach can also opt to stay at either Golden Sands Resort or Shangri-La’s Sayang Resort & Spa.
8. Street food outlets in Penang
Like so often in other countries around Asia, street food forms a big part of the gastronomical identity of Malaysia (and Penang in particular). The old and rustic streets of George Town is filled with small food vendors along the side of the street that either are run and operated from just outside their own house by people, or in a buzzing community market.
Mouth-watering delicacies like Assam Laksa (a sweet and sour Noodle soup), Popiah ( a vegetarian spring roll), and Nasi Kandar (steamed rice and curry) are worth a go for travelers who are always on the lookout for a truly authentic local treat.
Georgetown may be small, and relatively unknown, but with a plethora of activities, sightseeing places, and an incredible amalgamation of cultures, travelers are sure to be pleasantly surprised with their visit to the lovely island of Penang. Wait no more, and experience the magic of Penang first hand by booking a holiday in Malaysia at unbelievably attractive prices.
Frequently Asked Questions About Places To Visit In Georgetown
A. Georgetown is the official capital of the island of Penang in Malaysia and has been named after the British King George III. Tucked in the northeast side of the island, this suburban city got its name after the sultan of Kedah handed over Penang to the English, and Sir Francis Light founded the city Georgetown, naming it thus.
A. There are plenty of things to do in Georgetown, Penang. You can tour the Tropical Spice Gardens, get an insight into Malaysia’s history at Fort Cornwallis, visit Kek Lok Si Temple, go sunbathing on Batu Ferringhi Beach, have tea at Suffolk House, explore Khoo Kongsi, enjoy a trishaw ride, and take a trip to the Penang Peranakan Museum.
A. Georgetown in Penang was the first-ever British settlement in Southeast Asia and it was developed as an entrepôt by Francis Light of the British East India Company in 1786. Other than this, the historical Georgetown has been awarded the title of a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008.
A. Some of the best things you can do in Georgetown at night include going on a shopping spree in Batu Ferringhi, cruising to Monkey Island or Turtle Sanctuary, touring the Kek Lok Si Temple, gorging on street food at Gurney Drive, dining at Ferringhi Garden, or just chilling at Three Sixty Revolving Restaurant and Rooftop Bar. There are various other places where you can enjoy the thrilling nightlife of Malaysia.
A. Some of the most picture-perfect and photo-worthy spots in Georgetown include the Kek Lok Si Temple, Penang Hill, Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi, and Gurney Drive.
A. Tau Sar Piah, Jeruk Madu Pak Ali, Rojak Hitam Putih Paste, Penang Batik cloth, Meera Sahib Spices, Nutmeg from the famed Ghee Hup Nutmeg Factory, Roti Jari, and Penang White Coffee are some of the best things to buy in the markets of Penang that would make great souvenirs and gift items for friends and family.
A. Malay, Chinese, and English are widely spoken in Penang in Malaysia. You will easily be able to communicate in Malaysia as more than half the population understands and speaks English.
A. The Malaysian state of Penang is located on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia alongside the Malacca Strait. So, technically, Penang falls on the west side of Malaysia.
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