Don’t Miss This 5 Places When You are in Georgetown.
When you arrive in Georgetown, you will immediately be taken over by the old-world charm. From fragrant spice shops, to narrow lanes, to busy hawker stalls and a flourishing street art scene, Georgetown has something for everyone.
It’s quite a pedestrian-friendly city with lots of random goodness at every corner. From colourful street art caricatures to centuries-old temples and clan houses, from arts and antiques to flavourful street food. You’ll love the town because although almost everything is within walking distance, you do not have to walk if you don’t want to – simply hire a brightly-coloured trishaw and be delivered to the entrance of each temple and art-filled street! No matter the length of your stay, every visit to George Town I believe should include the following 5 activities:
1.) Explore the Weld Quay Clan Jetties
This was one of my absolute favorite things to do in George Town because I love taking pictures of old boats, and there is no shortage of these colorful wooden structures docked along the pier. While George Town itself is a busy hub, stepping out onto the creaky platform of Weld Quay feels a bit like going back in time. As you make your way along the narrow passageways between the stilted houses, you will find a niche of affordable souvenir shops and an assortment of well-priced food stalls, perfect for a mid-afternoon snack.
2.) Eat dinner at a hawker stall
One of your first stops along the beaten track should be at one of Penang’s many hawker stalls. Serving up a variety of cuisine that is richly flavored and dirt cheap, these open-air centers, boasting cafeteria style eating, are very popular with locals and tourists alike. I visited two of George Town’s hawker stalls during my stay in the city: New Lane Hawker Centre, which occupies Lorong Baru street after 4:00 p.m. each day, and Gurney Drive, which is home to the largest variety of street food in Penang.
3.) Discover George Town’s Street Art Scene
Since there are many art murals in George Town, along with some cast-iron installations, it is easy to spend a whole day searching the streets for these creative creations. If you’re a planner, like me, you can print an online map showcasing the popular graffiti pit stops, and if all else fails, there are typically brochures outlining the most desirable route to follow at most of the hotels and hostels in the city. If you’re pressed for time, you can always rent a bicycle to get around the city, or jump on a trishaw for a wind-swept tour.
4.) Experience Nyonya cuisine at Penang Homecooking School
George Town seems to be a hub for foodies, and many travelers come to the island to experience the local food culture. The Penang Homecooking school is run by a local named Pearly, who specializes in traditional Nyonya cuisine. A day with Pearly starts out with a visit to the wet markets, where students learn about the various types of ingredients they’ll be using in their dishes, with a chance to taste-test many local snacks and fruit varieties. After the market, the group heads to the cooking school, which is run out of Pearly’s home, and students, working at covered outdoor cooking stations, learn how to cook dishes like Sambal Goreng, Curry Kapitan and Otak Otak. The dishes are easy to make and this class seems to receive rave reviews from all who partake.
5.) Take a traditional handicraft tour
When I was in George Town, I was interested in local artisanship, and was lucky enough to find a free brochure in the Tourist Information Office, which highlighted several traditional handicraft shops. These artisans make everything from incense, to Muslim hats, to rattan furniture to traditional noodles and sweets, and you can see firsthand how they make their wares. You can also do a Hop-on Hop-Off city bus tour, if you prefer to tour the artisan nooks from an air-conditioned section on the top deck of a two-story bus, with additional information about the history and culture of George Town provided in English.
Signing off for now!
Izz Idris 🙂
p/s If you think there are more interesting places to add, leave them in the comment section below!