Located on the northeast corner of Penang Island, George Town was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. It is the capital city of Penang and is known for its rich culture, is rumored to have some of the best food in Malaysia, and tourist-friendly attractions. In addition, the city houses modern skyscrapers, beaches, and is the main shopping hub for northern Malaysia.
Street art has become a popular sighting in George Town. Back in 2010, the government began commissioning artists to create steel art pieces to decorate the town. Then, in 2012, Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic was commissioned to create a series of public paintings throughout George Town. Zacharevic’s artwork was well-received by the locals, and his images are now seen all over the community. Many of his pieces are created around an already-present object, like a motorcycle or window frame, making for truly unique artwork.
Penang Heritage Trail plays host to clan jetties, which are some of the last Chinese settlements on the island. These century-old jetties form a waterfront society with homes on stilts housing various Chinese clans. Check out the Chew Jetty for the longest walkway, most stilt houses, and a temple you can stop by on the way.
From George Town, Butterworth is a short 10 to 15-minute ferry ride away. The Penang Bird Park is located here, just 7km east of the ferry terminal. Established in 1988, it is the first and largest bird park of its kind in Malaysia. The park has more than 300 different species of birds, boasts lush plant life, and has many natural ponds to walk around.
If you want to make a day of Butterworth before catching the ferry back to George Town, check out the Tow Boo Kong Temple. This majestic temple in one of the most distinctive Nine Emperor Gods Temples in Malaysia. Each year, the temple celebrates three deity birthdays with festivities and and events, and the celebrations can last many days.
To get to George Town, fly into Penang’s Bayan Lepas International Airport, a 30-minute taxi ride from George Town. The local bus, 401 E takes travelers to and from the airport, but the ride time is much longer at 1 hour and 40 minutes.
The taxi fares are fixed in most places around George Town. The local bus system begins a good amount of its routes at the Weld Quay Bus Terminal. Bikes can also be rented by the day for a nice cruise around the town.
For many travelers and locals, the food in George Town is some of the best in Malaysia. Indian and Chinese foods are among the different types available in the city. The Chulia Street Night Hawker Stalls are a popular spot for tourists. Curry Mee, Wanton Mee, and Ngo Hiang are famous here. Stalls open at 6 p.m., so bring an appetite!
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