We all know that Malaysia is a melting pot. A fusion of culture, nationality and tradition but somehow beautifully remains united and distinctly the same in some aspects. And even if I have been to Malaysia a good number of times already, there’s still a lot to discover and places to explore. One of these amazing places in Malaysia is Penang.
I was able to explore Penang with my usual co-travel buddies via Philippines AirAsia just recently. Penang is not only a “food paradise” but also home to a diverse and rich history. It is truly a destination that will not disappoint.
Penang is an island off the northwestern coast of Peninsular Malaysia with George Town as the capital that was founded by the British in 1786. In fact, George Town has been declared by the UNESCO as World Heritage Site in 2008.
The streets of George Town have been a favorite to visitors because of its clean surroundings with near-endless picture possibilities like the shophouses that George Town is known for.
Here are some of the wonderful places to visit in Penang
1. St. George’s Church
This is this oldest Anglican Church in Southeast Asia that was built in 1818 and consecrated in 1819.
Today, St. George Church is included as one of the most beautiful heritage landmarks in Penang. In fact when we were there, several groups of tourists were also visiting the church.
English Sunday services are held at 8:30AM and 10:30AM.
1, Lebuh Farquhar, 10200
T: 604 261 2739
F: 604 264 2292
2. Goddess of Mercy Temple
When going around finding other places to visit in Penang, check out the temples. Since Penang is predominantly occupied by Chinese and Muslims, you’ll hear Muslim prayers and see Chinese locals visit temples to burn incense and worship, even in sidewalks. And they do this religiously even if they have to close down their stores.
The Goddess of Mercy Temple is the oldest Chinese Temple in George Town. During the 1800s, it was among the most magnificent Chinese structures in northern Malaya.
You’ll see three wells: right side of the main shrine, outside the temple and hidden under the main altar of the Goddess of Mercy. The water from the wells is believed to be able to cure illnesses.
Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling
(formerly Pitt St.), George Town
George Town has the largest number of shophouses in Southeast Asia. These shophouses are mostly 2 or 3 stories high – 1st floor is a shop and the 2nd floor is the house. You’ll immediately see a shophouse and notice it right away because of its long, narrow shape, brick walls, terracotta floors and louvered shutters. While checking out places to visit in Penang, drop by these establishments.
A large Chinese clan house with elaborate and highly ornamented architecture, the Khoo KongSi Clan House is a large Chinese clan house and the grandest clan temple in the country. It can be found behind the alleys and pre-war houses of Cannon, Beach and Armenian Streets where the colorful and artsy walls are.
While inside, you’ll see murals and carvings, each with an interesting story to tell.
TRIVIA: This was where “Anna and the King” of Jodie Foster and Chow Yun Fat was filmed. Because the Thai government prohibited the filming in Thailand, some scenes were shot here at this clan house.
Armenian St., George Town
5. Cannon and Armenian Streets
This should definitely be on your places to visit in Penang list.
6. Pinang Peranakan Mansion
This mansion was owned by a rich Chinese family, but today it is owned and maintained by an antique collector.
The Pinang Peranakan Mansion is a typical home of a rich Baba (man) about a century ago. You also get to relive the legacy and culture of the Baba (man) and Nyonya (woman) heritage.
You’ll see antiques and collectibles on display, carved-wood panels and ironworks. Going around the mansion will give you a glimpse of how they lived back in the day, including their customs and traditions.This is one of the beautiful ancient structures you will see in Penang! In fact, this place happens to be a popular destination for pre-nups.
7. Chew Jetty
The Chew Jetty is an ancient Chinese waterfront settlement built over a century old with wooden houses built on stilts and home to various Chinese clans.
The Chew Jetty is the largest, most lively and tourist-friendly jetty in Penang according to our tour guide. There are stores where you can buy souvenir items. And when you feel tired and hungry, there are food stalls as well.
59A Chew Jetty, Weld Quay,
10300 George Town
8. Penang Hill
Penang Hill was used as a retreat during the British colonial period and now a popular tourist destination.
Going to the top or down the hill, you must take the Penang Hill Railway (funicular railway) from its base station. It’s the 3rd generation cable car.
At 833 meters above sea level, Penang Hill probably has the best view of George Town and has a cooler climate compared to the lowlands. I am sure it is really pretty to see Georgetown at night from here.
The more time I spend in Penang, the more I realize why people visit this place. Given the chance to go back to Penang again, I would gladly do it and bring my kids along because there is just so much they can learn from all the places to visit in Penang.
The captivating multicultural history, stunning landmarks, great people and amazing food are just some of the reasons that made this trip wonderful. And by going on a road trip with a bunch of wackos most definitely doubled the fun and for me.
Penang has delightfully exceeded all my expectations! Oh… Speaking of food, I am almost done with my “where to eat in Penang” blog post. So, check back in a few days. Yes? Yes!
How To Reach Penang via Philippines AirAsia:
From Manila take Philippines AirAsia via Kuala Lumpur. From Kuala Lumpur use AirAsia’s Fly-Thru Service to Penang. This service is giving the travelers the convenience of hassle-free transfers from KLIA2 and collecting of check-in baggage at Penang already. Such an easy and effortless way to travel.
Keep updated with AirAsia’s latest promotion and activities via twitter (@AirAsiaPH), Facebook (facebook.com/AirAsiaPhilippines), Instagram (@AirAsiaPh), and on Viber public chat (@AirAsiaPh).
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