Being very famous and well known for its delicious food and its heritage protected by UNESCO, George Town is a very busy hub for tourists and backpackers. Being on Penang Island makes George Town also very popular for its beaches; it looks like there is a little for everybody on this little corner of Malaysian paradise.
We were not disappointed on our visit to George Town, in fact based on our fantastic experience in Penang and in the city itself, there are few things that made our stay special and a little bit different in a way.
On top of the common reasons that make George Town famous, this fascinating city surprised us with some amazing and unique art and some nice design spots too. We couldn’t have asked for more.
Here are our picks:
Tip #1 – The Vibrant Street Art
With or without a map in hand, whilst walking around the inner city of George Town it will be inevitable to bump into some of the many street art pieces that decorate some corners here and there. No matter what your expectations are, if you know already about the existence of the street art or not, it is always amusing witnessing it with your own eyes.
No matter if you are more captured by one of Ernest Zacharevi’s murals, or if it is one of the many witty stories told on the steel-rod sculptures that will entertain you, we are pretty sure there will be art there that will have you in stitches.
View Street Art of George Town, Penang in a larger map
Tip #2 – Kapitan Keling Mosque
We accidentally entered this amazing Mosque and we are so glad we did. It’s a very notable structure that stands out of its neighborhood which is a bit run down and left to itself.
Kapitan Keling Mosque is very well maintained considering its age, it was in fact built around 1800, it was a great way for us to admire the Muslim architecture style which always fascinates me for its unique characteristics.
Sadly we didn’t see the Mosque during the night, but if you have the chance have a walk by after dusk, when it is lit up looks great too!
View Kapitan Keling Mosque, George Town, Penang in a larger map
Tip #3 – Penang National Park
Spending a day hiking through Penang National Park is the perfect escape from the hussle and bussle of the city life and traffic.
We loved walking in the forest enjoying the occasional shade from the hot sun, observing turtles and monkeys on the beautiful sandy beaches and being in direct contact with the peaceful and untouched nature of Penang Island. Don’t miss it, It’s definitely a must!
View Penang National Park in a larger map
Tip #4 – China House
Enjoy a coffee with a tasty piece of cake, eating a quick bite while sitting in an art space located in an heritage building is possible in George Town.
When we first heard of China House we couldn’t believe there was something that could function as a coffee shop, a theater, a shop, a restaurant, an art gallery and a place where bands perform live.
When we stepped in we simply loved everything about it, especially the presence of art and great design everywhere. If you like these kind of things like we do, don’t forget to stop by!
View ‘China House’ in a larger map
Tip #5 – Koay Teow Th’ng, Carnavon Street
One morning our Couchsurfing host took us to a very special place in George Town famous for its koay teow th’ng which literally means flat noodle soup.
At that point we weren’t vegetarian yet so we had the fish ball and chicken soup, but you must know that there are also some alternative options for non-meat and non-fish eaters like some homemade tarts, cakes or Hap Tou Sou (walnut cookies) which looked delicious to us.
We regret not trying the homemade Nutmeg Juice, but we were desperately in need of some morning caffeine, sorry! If you go and get it, let us know if it is as good as it looked!
View Koay Teow Th’ng, Carnavon Street in a larger map