What to See in Georgetown
Visiting Georgetown is like visiting a world where time stands still – a world where history, nature and traditions are weaved into a rich cultural tapestry. Containing the best of Penang’s sights, sounds, smells and tastes, it wouldn’t be too much to say that Georgetown is easily Penang in a nutshell. From heritage buildings to nature parks,
Penang’s capital city has a multitude of attractions to appease the curious visitor. This historic town is best enjoyed on foot or trishaw, enabling you to take in the sights and sounds better.
Other Attractions in Georgetown
Acheen St. Mosque (officially Masjid Lebuh Acheh) is noteworthy for its unusual Egyptian-style minaret: as most local mosques have Moorish-style minarets, this one stands out. Built in 1808 by a wealthy Arab trader who came from Acheh (Syed Sheriff Tengku Syed Hussain Aidid), locals call it Masjid Melayu. Read More...
- Location: Lebuh Acheh
Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, a boutique hotel that’s one of Penang’s best-known attractions in an ornate edifice built in the traditional Hakka – Teochew style. Located at 14 Leith Street, the structure was erected in the 1880s when Hakka merchant, Cheong Fatt Tze commissioned its construction. Read More...
- Address: 14, Leith Street, 10200 Penang
- Tel: +604 262 0006
Clan Jetties form part of the Penang Heritage Trail. There used to be seven jetties until one was demolished by fire and now six remain. Billed as one of the last bastions of old Chinese settlements on the island, this waterfront society is home to houses on stilts of various Chinese clans. Read More...
- Location: Weld Quay, Georgetown
Cathedral of the Assumption is the oldest church in Penang. Proudly preserved, the 160-year old cathedral is a world heritage church and was founded in 1786 by Captain Francis Light. Set close to the Penang State Museum & Art Gallery on Farquhar Street, the twin-spired church houses the only pipe-organ in Penang.
It was the first Roman Catholic church in Malaysia’s northern region and was also the first church in Malaysia built by the British. It is not as popular as the Church of St. Anne’s, which hosts the annual St. Anne’s Feast but it is still a well-known Penang sight. Read More...
- Location: Lebuh Farquhar, Georgetown
Cheah Kongsi is the first of Penang’s five great Hokkien clan houses. Set in the block beside Khoo Kongsi, it resembles the grand temples and palaces usually seen in China. The ornate building is the only clan house in Penang that fuses Malay, traditional Straits Chinese and European design. Read More...
- Location: Armenian Street, George Town
- Address: 14, Leith Street, 10200 Penang
- Tel: +604 262 0006
Dr. Sun Yat Sen’s Penang Base is an exhibition showcasing, through dioramas, the life’s work of Dr. Sun Yat Sen, a leading 20th-century Asian nationalist figure who led the Chinese Revolution in 1911. He attracted support from overseas Chinese and became China’s first provisional president.
Widely regarded as the father of modern China, he was born in 1866 in Guandong Province (near Macau) and first came to Penang in 1905. A physician turned nationalist, he moved the Southeast Asian headquarters of his political party (T’ung Meng Hui) from Singapore to Penang when he realized that his greatest backing came from the Penang party members. Read More...
- Location: 120, Armenian Street, Penang
- Tel: +604 228 5119
Hainanese Mariners’ Lodge was established in pre-WW II days when 49 roving Hainanese sailors pooled their resources to set up a common lodge and clubhouse they could stay in whenever they called at Penang’s port. Called Loon Gnee Hing, it eventually became an integral part of the Hainanese community.
- Address: 26A Stewart Lane
- Tel: +604 264 2631 (Penang Heritage Trust)
Han Jiang Ancestral Temple is the only Teochew-style temple in Georgetown. Awarded the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Award for Culture Heritage Conservation in 2006, it is run by the Penang Teochew Association. The temple is dedicated to the Taoist God of the North, a Teochew patron deity. Read More...
- Location: Chukia Street
Kapitan Keling Mosque is a Penang landmark. Built in 1801 by Penang’s first Indian Muslim settlers (East India Company troops), the Indo-Moorish structure is set at the junction of Lebuh Buckingham and Lebuh Pitt.
It is the largest mosque in Georgetown and looks sublime at sunset. It was named after the ‘kapitan’ of the Keling (a leader of the South Indian community similar to the leader of the Chinese community), Cauder Mydin Merican. The whitewashed mosque is topped with large golden-yellow Mughal-style domes, crescents and stars and features a single, typical Indian-Islamic minaret from which the sound of the azan (call to prayer) can be heard. Read More...
Standing on a hilltop at Air Itam, near Penang Hill, Kek Lok Si is the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia. The complex is divided into three zones while the temple grounds comprise the hill entrance, souvenir, food and drinks stalls and the turtle liberation pond. The mid section of the temple houses temples, gardens, the pagoda and the four heavenly kings pavilion; meanwhile the hilltop plays host to an enormous statue of the Goddess of Mercy, Kuan Yin as well as more gardens and temples. Read More...
- Location: Air Itam, Georgetown
- Tel: +604 828 3317
- Price Range: Entrance: Pagoda - RM2; Incline lift - RM2
KOMTAR is located in central Georgetown, along the north-south Jalan Penang and east-west Jalan Magazine. The 65-storey high-rise and mall is one of the most prominent landmarks in Penang with a viewing deck on the 58th floor offering views of the island and across the straits to Penang’s mainland. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 10:30 – 22:30
- Location: South Georgetown (Next to Traders Hotel)
- Price Range: RM5
Kuan Yin Temple is Penang’s oldest temple. Built in 1728, it is set on Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling (previously known as Pitt Street) and was constructed by early immigrant settlers from China. Upon completion, the temple was one of the most magnificent Chinese-style structures in northern Malaysia. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Early morning to late evening.
- Location: Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling
- Tel: +604 261 6663
Millionaire’s Row is a seafront neighbourhood housing Penang’s elite. Located along Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah (Northam Road) it used to be a whimsical European enclave in Penang’s early days, with stately Straits-style bungalows best described as unabashed exhibits of wealth. Read More...
- Location: Northam Road
Nattukotai Chettiar Temple is the largest Hindu temple in Penang and perhaps the most famous. Dedicated to Lord Thandayuthapani, it is located on Jalan Kebun Bunga and was built in 1854 by Penang’s Chettiar community (immigrants from the Sivagangai and Pudukottai districts of Tamil Nadu, India). Read More...
- Location: Jalan Kebun Bunga
A fascinating fusion of eastern and western influences, Penang is Malaysia’s most tourist-visited destination. The island manages to embrace modernity while retaining its colonial traditions; due to its well-preserved heritage buildings Penang’s capital, Georgetown, has been accorded a listing as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Varies on location
Penang Batik Factory is one of the pioneers of batik manufacturing on the island. Established in 1973 by Craft Batik Sdn Bhd, it is set in Teluk Bahang, a short walk away from the Penang Botanic Gardens. The complex is divided into three sections: an art gallery, boutique and workshop.
Surrounded by lots of tropical greenery, it is one of Penang’s well known sightseeing spots and offers a wide variety of quality batik, from block prints batiks to hand-drawn pieces. At the Penang Batik Factory, unlike the usual one-sided print, each piece features patterns and colours on both sides of the fabric: the complex provides free, guided daily tours. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 09:00 – 17:30
- Address: 669m, Mk. 2, Teluk Bahang 11050 Penang
- Tel: +604 885 1284 or +604 885 1858 0r +604 885 1302
- Opening Hours: Daily, 05:00 – 20:00
- Address: Waterfall Road
- Tel: +604 227 0428
- How to get there: It is possible to walk to Penang Botanic Gardens from Pengkalan Weld, if your feet could carry you far. Cross Pengkalan Weld by the pedestrian bridge, turn left and walk until you reach the junction with Gat Lebuh Chulia. Turn right and walk the distance until you arrive at Penang Botanic Gardens. Alternatively, you can also take the transit link bus No. 7 from KOMTAR.
Fort Cornwallis is the largest standing fort in Malaysia. Set close to the Esplanade and Penang Clocktower, the star-shaped bastion is one of the oldest structures in Penang. Named after Marquis Charles Cornwallis, only a set of ten-foot high outer walls remain, with an enclosed park within. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 09:00 – 18:30 Daily
- Location: Lebuh Light
- Tel: +602 61 0262
The Penang Islamic Museum houses an exhibition detailing the role and contribution of Malay leaders in the growth and spread of Islam in Penang and Malaysia. Set on Armenian Street, the gallery also provides details on key 19th and early 20th-century public figures and their cultural influence on Penang. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 09:30 – 18:00 Wednesday – Monday
- Address: 128 Lebuh Armenian, 10200 Penang
- Tel: +604 262 0172
Penang Jewish Cemetery is billed as the oldest single Jewish cemetery in Malaysia. Spread across more than 38,000sqft, this cleaver-shaped plot of land was established in 1805. Set on Jalan Zainal Abidin (formerly known as Yahudi Road) it used to be a green ‘lung’ but much of it has now been cemented over.
The Penang Jewish Cemetery houses over 107 graves, most of which resemble traditional ossuaries (triangular vaulted-lid caskets) such as those found in Israel. The oldest Jewish tombstone, dating back to 1835, belongs to that of Mrs. Shoshan Levi, the benefactor who donated the land on which the cemetery was set up. Read More...
Penang Peranakan Mansion is Penang’s way of introducing people to the historical Peranakan culture. A recreation of a typical rich 19th century Baba home, the elegantly restored museum is a testament to the Baba-Nyonya cultural revival and displays over 1,000 pieces of antiques and collectibles. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 09:30 – 17:00 Monday – Saturday
- Address: 29 Lebuh Gereja, Georgetown
- Tel: +604 264 2929
Penang Road is the island’s version of Hollywood’s Rodeo Drive and is arguably the most important street in Penang. It runs the from Lebuh Farquhar in the north, to Jalan Gurdwara in the south, near the Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak (KOMTAR) tower, at the junction of Macalister Road.
A mixture of nouveau-riche and quaint heritage, it is brightly lit and divided into four main sections. Thoroughly tourist friendly with wide walkways and plenty of greenery, Penang Road’s most popular section is Upper Penang Road. Read More...
- Location: Georgetown
Penang State Museum & Art Gallery
Penang Museum & Art Gallery is set on the junction of Lebuh Farquhar and Lebuh Light in Georgetown. Established in 1821, it houses national and state treasures that include a collection of Baba Nyonya porcelain, furniture, jewellery and costumes as well as eight oil paintings by Captain Robert Smith.
- Opening Hours: 09:00 – 23:00
- Location: Lebuh Farquhar & Lebuh Light
- Tel: +604 261 3144
Making strolling through Georgetown’s streets just a little bit more exciting, in 2012 Penang’s municipal council hired London-trained Lithuanian artist, Ernest Zacharevic and charged him with breathing new life into some of the atmospheric Chinese shop-houses around the inner city. An effort to spawn awareness of the rich history of the streets, the project was a success with Zacharevic turning certain areas into thriving tourist destinations that also became the much-talked about object of attention among locals. Read More...
- Location: around Georgetown (namely Jalan Penang, Muntri Street, Weld Quay, Lebuh Leith, Armenian Street, Ah Quee Street and more)
P. Ramlee House is the former home of iconic Malaysian actor, director, singer, songwriter, composer and movie producer, Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr. P. Ramlee. Now a museum that celebrates his illustrious career in the Malayan film and music industry, it is set on Jalan P. Ramlee (previously Counterhall Road). Read More...
- Opening Hours: 10:00 – 17:00 Tuesday – Sunday; 10:00 – 12:00 and 15:00 – 17:00 Friday
- Address: 4 Jalan P. Ramlee, Georgetown
- Tel: +604 262 0202
Protestant Cemetery is the oldest Christian cemetery in Penang. Not far from the Eastern & Oriental Hotel, it is also called Northam Road Cemetery and was set up in the 18th-century for British colonial administrators, traders and missionaries that arrived after Penang’s establishment in 1786. Read More...
- Location: Northam Road (Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah), Georgetown
SIM Leisure Escape is a newly-opened theme park in Penang. Designed primarily as a tourist attraction, this ecologically-friendly venture integrates beautifully with the natural landscape surrounding it and the park has gained popularity within the international leisure industry audience. Read More...
- Address: Penang Butterfly Farm, Jalan Teluk Bahang
- Tel: +604 229 2299
Sri Mariamman Temple is a Hindu temple set on Lebuh Queen and Lebuh Chulia in Georgetown’s compact Little India district: a vibrant community whose outer face is of saris, incense shops and banana leaf curry houses. Built in 1833, the temple is dedicated to the Hindu god, Lord Subramaniam.
Also known as the Arulmigu Sri Mahamariamman Temple or Queen Street Indian Temple, it is the oldest Hindu temple on the island. Shining diamonds and precious stones are part of its façade and it is a typical example of Hindu architecture, built in the south Indian Dravidian style. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 06:30 – 12:00; 16:30 – 23:00
- Location: between Lebuh Pasar and Lebuh Chulia
- Remarks: if you wish to enter the temple, ask for permission first from any of the temple’s priests, and do remove your shoes before entering the temple grounds
- Address: Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling (Lebuh Pitt)
St. George’s Church is set next door to the Penang State Museum & Art Gallery. Built in 1817 by the East India Company using convict labour, it is Southeast Asia’s oldest Anglican church and one of the oldest buildings in Penang. The architecture and design is largely Greek and relatively unpretentious. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 08:30 – 12:30 and 13:30 – 16:30 Tuesday – Saturday; open all day Sunday
- Location: Jalan Lebuh Farquhar
- Address: 1, Jalan Lebuh Farquhar, George Town.
- Tel: +604 261 2739
The Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower is a testament to Penang’s royal connections. Commissioned in 1897 by a local millionaire, Cheah Chen Eok, to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, it stands 60ft-high, with each foot representing a year of the Queen’s 60-year reign. Read More...
- Location: At the intersection of Light Street, Beach Street (Lebuh Pantai) and King Edward’s Place (Persiaran King Edward).