Striking Coexistence of East and West: George Town

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George Town is an evidence of over 500 years of relationship between East and West at the Straits of Malacca. If you’re ever curious about the coexistence of the two entirely different parts of the world sitting on the opposite sides of the Globe, here is where you should be. George Town might have a major Chinese and Malay population, but this cosmopolitan is far more multi-cultural and multi-racial than most of the world.

Location:

George Town is located on the northeastern tip of Penang Island in the State of Penang.

Best time to visit:

George Town could be visited year-round, although it offers different charm with every different season. If you like festivity and would want to witness George Town at its loudest, visit during the months of November to January. If a quiet getaway is all you need, visit during the months of February to April. It “rains cats and dogs” almost throughout the next few months, so visit during this season only when rain is not an issue for you. It is the most off-season time of the year and you might be able to find accommodation and other facilities at its cheapest.

How to reach:

Almost all the modes of transport take people from KL to Penang. The most commonly used ones are the flights, trains, and buses. The Penang Airport is 18 km to the south of George Town. You can take a taxi or bus from there to different places in George Town. If you’re coming by train or bus, you’ll be stopping at Butterworth, where you can find several ferries running to George Town.

Places to explore:

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George Town has the history dating back to the 18th Century when it was occupied by the East India Trading Company. With so much to offer, here are a few must-visits:

  • Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion
  • Fort Cornwallis
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • KhooKongsi
  • Kuan Yin Temple
  • Penang Botanic Gardens
  • Penang Hill
  • Penang Islamic Museum
  • Penang Peranakan Mansion
  • Penang State Museum & Art Gallery
  • Sri Mariamman Temple
  • St George’s Church
  • The Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower
  • Kapitan Kling Mosque
  • Wat Chaiyamangalaram
  • Protestant Cemetery
  • Eastern & Oriental Hotel

Accommodation:

The accommodation in the city varies from the classic luxurious hotels to budget lodgings and homestays. One can choose a place to stay depending upon their budget. The fun fact is that a large part of the city’s population stays in rentals. A lot of them are retired workers who just want to experience the quiet and peaceful life at an entirely new place.

Where and what to eat:

Although there are lots of authentic places to eat and could be found via different sources like the internet, we would suggest, you try the street foods. Penang is the food paradise of the world with so many different cuisines to offer. However, the street foods sold by the hawkers have no completion at all. It gives a true feeling of being a local at George Town but at the same time gives the exotic experience to the first-timers.

Interesting fact:

George Town is a World Heritage Site, honored by UNESCO in 2008.

Things to keep in mind:

  • You will be able to find an ATM, cash changer and local SIM shops at the Penang Airport as well as at many other places in George Town. Just make sure you at least have enough cash in hand for basic purposes.
  • Although the city is extremely diverse with its culture and background, try maintaining the dress code accordingly, especially when you’re visiting ethnic places.

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