Georgetown, Penang: Heritage Walk at the Street of Harmony in Penang
Georgetown is heaven for those who want to explore heritage sites as it has a bunch of them. Most of the heritage sites in this beautiful Malaysian city are concentrated in a road billed “Street of Harmony,” in reference to the many different religions that have set up places of worship along it.
We had our first stop at St. George’s Church in Georgetown. Built in the 19th century, this Anglican church is the oldest Anglican architecture in Southeast Asia and stands as one of the most evident legacies of Penang’s past as a British territory along with other Malayan states. It is currently administered as part of the Upper North Archdeaconry of the Anglican Diocese of West Malaysia. This place is now deemed as among the most stunning heritage sites in Penang.
We then next visited Kuan Yin Temple, regarded as the oldest Buddhist temple in the state. Named after Kuan Yin (others call her Kannon), the structure’s ornate design is inspired by the goddess’ story of being transformed from a male to a female figure with an emphasis on her sympathy for the plight of women. It is located on Pitt Street (now known as Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling), just a few blocks from Chinatown.
You would also find that garland making is a very thriving business in this part of the Malay Peninsula. At the Flower Garland Makers, fragrant blooms from the Penang Hill and Cameron Highlands like jasmine, roses and marigolds undergo the traditional treatment in making garlands the way Indian immigrants did it when it was first brought to the area.
We also paid a visit at Kapitan Keling Mosque at the intersection of Lebuh Pitt and Lebuh Buckingham. Built in the early 19th century by Muslim settlers from India, it is the largest mosque in Georgetown and is considered a well-renowned landmark in Penang.
Kapitan Keling Mosque is characterized by its imposing Taj Mahal-like domes and white walls that recall similar Islamic structures in India.
Khoo Kongsi is also a must-visit landmark in Penang. Considered as a symbol of the Chinese presence in Malaysia, Khoo Kongsi Clan House has a row of houses for clan members and a traditional theater stage. This site is located in Cannon Square, within Georgetown’s oldest part.
On the way to Penang Peranakan Mansion, we also visited some art galleries along the streets of Penang. Georgetown is becoming a major force in the art scene with thousands of tourists internationally making a trip there for the street crafts that make the place an open air gallery. These masterpieces were made by some international and local artists.
Before we headed to Penang Pernakan Mansion, we had our lunch at a popular Indian restaurant in the place named Gem Restaurant. Here, we were lucky to eat one-of-a-kind dishes, including Kadai Chicken, Mutton, Buttered Naan and Chicken Tika Masala. We also had Mango Lasi.
The Penang Peranakan Mansion, meanwhile, is full of English, Scottish, Chinese and European art, furniture and ironworks. It is a recreated version of the 19th century Baba house and now acts as a museum to Penang’s culture. In this place, one will be stunned to more than 1,000 pieces of collectibles and antiques that show off the historical Peranakan culture to its visitors.
We also brought ourselves to the Clan Jetties, a collection of water villages at Pengkalan Weld (Weld Quay) owned by traditionally Chinese clans in the area. It is worth mentioning that these water villages are more than a century old and is home to houses on stilts of different Chinese clans. Among the most popular is the Chew Clan Jetty, in which tourists can find a wide array of places for those selfie moments, such as the longest walkway, souvenir shops, the stilt houses and more.
The last place we visited before we headed back to the hotel was at Penang Road. For the uninitiated, Penang Road is a home to the famous traditional local dessert called Cendol. What makes this dessert a favorite are its ingredients, such as kidney beans, gula Melaka and green jelly noodles. The noodles are dipped in shaved ice with coconut milk. Some also add in nuts, sweet corns and more to make it tastier.
After that, we went back to our hotel to have a little rest and to freshen up as well. We then headed to New Lane Hawker Street for our dinner. This place, which is famous for foodies, is just a few stones away from our hotel. What’s more interesting is that the foods are not that expensive. What also makes the food in this place unique and really so good is that they are prepared using the traditional way of cooking and that the people use old family recipes.
If you happen to be in this place in the near future, you must give these dishes a shot: Laksa, Char kway teow, roast pork and roast chicken. You will then sit on roadside tables and chair that come in different colors – making the place even more attention-grabbing.
Overall, the experience was great. Georgetown, Penang is, without a doubt, a home to quite a few interesting, stunning sceneries that will make you visit this part of the globe over and over again.
How to get to Penang Malaysia
Philippines AirAsia do not have a direct flight to Penang yet but with AirAsia’s massive network, they are offering Fly-Thru service which enables travellers to fly from Manila to Penang, Bali, New Zealand, Maldives and many more via seamless convenience of paying for only one fare and hassle-free transfers from KLIA2. Your check-in baggage will be collected in Penang or at the final destination.