Day 2 in Malaysia (Penang): Discovering George Town's historical sites and sensational street art

When Rubel and I were still planning our trip to Malaysia, we initially included 3 places for us to visit: Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Malacca. Unfortunately, the latter had to be dropped due to time constraints. But we were glad that we pushed through in visiting KL, and most especially Penang. The Guardian actually listed it as part of the "World's Top 10 Best City to visit in 2014". And according to Yahoo, Penang is also part of the "Top 10 Islands to explore before you die".

I fell in love with Penang, as the UNESCO World Heritage Site was just beautiful and exquisite. But what I loved the most about it was how diverse the cultures and races were in the state. And basing it from our observations, a multiracial community existed in harmony despite having different cultures, languages and religions (there are Malays, Indians, Chinese, Arabs just to name a few)


We've heard so much about Penang's delectable food offerings, which got us all the more excited to try. So after checking in our bags at our lodging by Pedal Inn, we hurried off with our food map in tow. Yes, we were provided with a free copy, courtesy of Mr. Steven, the owner of Pedal Inn.

Rubel and I arrived in Penang around lunch time, and were already starving at the time. So on our way to Pedal Inn, we bought some expensive gelato scoops from Maxim Cake House, which didn't quite satisfy us. But it was a good thing that we found Kafe Penang Road Famous TEOCHEW Chendul later on, as it was just a few minutes away from our inn. Anyway, there were a variety of cuisines to choose from. But we wanted to try a few famous dishes first. So we ordered some Asam Laksa, Nasi Lemak with Chicken and Original Chendul.

OUR VERDICT? Well, I didn't enjoy my Nasi Lemak rich dish (cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf), as it was a bit salty for my taste. Plus, the chicken was dry. Rubel also didn't enjoy his bowl of Asam Laksa. He just realized that the taste of the sour fish noodle soup wasn't something that he truly fancied. But he did however enjoy his bowl of Chendul, as it resembled our local version of it (Halo-Halo in the Philippines). The original Chendul had a nice mix of ingredients. It had some green jelly noodles, beans, coconut milk, palm sugar and shaved ice.


We didn't have enough time to study the maps that Steven gave to us. So we weren't able to plot the places that we wanted to see in sequence. But on our first day in Penang, we were able to see a lot of scenic sites just in George Town alone.  

It's a must to explore George Town when you're in Penang. As for me, I particularly loved the island's capital state as it showed us so many historical structures and remarkable street art. The street art project (also known as Mirrors George Town) started during the 2012 George Town Festival. 

You'll be able to see some of these art pieces around, as several of these are painted on walls. Some of these artworks were also created by Lithuanian artist, Ernest Zacharevic (i.e. Kids on Bicycle, Old Motorcycle, Boy on Chair, Bruce Lee, Trishaw Man).

There are also other artworks that can be spotted around the capital state in the form of wrought-iron caricatures (comes with anecdotal portrayals).


There were 9 significant sites in George Town that we got to see on foot. But there were several more that I had a hard time identifying, so I no longer included those in the list. But amongst these time-honored locations and structures, we were able to recognize:

TOP L-R: Sites 1 to 3 / MIDDLE L-R: Sites 4 - 6 / BOTTOM L-R: Sites 7- 9

1) The CATHEDRAL OF THE ASSUMPTION is a World Heritage Church that is said to be as old as Penang. Its development dates back to 1786.
2) LITTLE INDIA hosts a profusion of interesting goods such as Indian spices, food, music, merchandise, music and more. This is where the early Indian settlers came to live.
3) The CHEAH SI SEK TEK TONG (built in the 1870's), which showcases an old yet exquisite Chinese architecture, is a clan temple, which was named after the Cheah clan (the oldest Hokkien families in Penang). 
4) CAMPBELL STREET hosts a variety of establishments, which ranges from old Chinese medicine emporiums to Indian stores.
5) The ST. GEORGE’S CHURCH (declared as one of Malaysia's 50 National treasures) is considered the oldest Anglican Church in the whole of Southeast Asia. It was built around 1817-1818.
6) The KAPITAN KELING MOSQUE (the largest and oldest mosque in George Town) was a strikingly beautiful mosque. Its grand structure was esteemed in 1801. 
7) You'll know you're near the CLAN JETTIES, when you finally see several houses on stilts lined up by a wooden boardwalk. The site by Weld Quay was built during the 19th century.
8) Although we didn't get to see the interiors of the PENANG STATE MUSEUM, we were still able to admire its grand edifice up-close. The gallery also houses several of the state capital's historical articles.
9) The TEOCHEW TEMPLE was another interesting structure that was built in 1855. It's also referred to as the Han Jiang Teochew Ancestral Temple. 


You won't be able to go around George Town in just under a day (allot 2 weeks or more). I mean, we were already going around, and we still haven't seen much of the beautiful state. And as we grew tired from all the walking, we luckily found ourselves in a big food market filled with Asian eats: CF Food Court. We were just coming from the Clan Jetties when we saw this across the street. And since Rubel and I were already hungry, we stopped over at CF's for something to eat. We were able to buy 10 RM worth of food, which consisted of some fried chicken lollipops, and 2 orders of this delish 4-layered milk tea. 


Rubel and I came from a tiring DIY walking tour around George Town. So we felt completely wiped out. But we still had to eat dinner. That's when we decided to look for the open food market nearby. Thankfully, it was only a few minutes away from Pedal Inn, as it was just located at New Lane, Jalan Macalister.

Plenty of 'hawkers' set up shop by the street, selling and cooking savory meals on the spot. We actually had a hard time choosing which food to order. But we ended up buying the following:

-Fried oysters (didn't enjoy its slimy taste and feel)
-Pork satay (loved this a lot!)
-Char Koay Teow, which are stir-fried rice cake strips (loved this a lot too!)
-Fried rice (loved this a lot as well!)

Dining out in the open was a great nightcap for a tiring exploration around Penang. It was one of those moments that got us all the more excited to see the island further. And that's what we did the next day in Penang Hill and Kek Lok Si Temple!

Explore & Be Free!

Read More About My Malaysia Trip Here:

Day 5 in Malaysia (KL): A great end to a 6-day journey!

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  1. Your blog is very informative for the readers especially south tour. You have a great experience there. South tour with the rock formation area is really giving a
    spectacular view to the visitors .I have been there a year ago before my new york day trip . Its really attracts all the visitors and draw the attention to it. Now, I am my planning north tour with my family and I must visit there in the summer vacation.

  2. First time to see your BB's new look. Nothing much has altered in your lay out but I'm pretty glad to see you again with your AMORE. Pagudpud is an enchanting place to explore and you just showcased its wonders via your photographs.

  3. I didn't know visiting those tourist spots would take only that amount of time. A return trip to Pagudpud is on my radar.

  4. Such a lovely place to visit and explore.. Will surely visit this place next month upon my vacation home... :D


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