You cannot and must not visit Penang without passing by Georgetown. It is Penang’s capital and easily the most beautiful and captivating destination in Penang and most parts in Asia. Penang can boast of many attractions, but Georgetown is clearly the best; a definite must-see.
Georgetown (or spelled as two words, George Town) was named by the British after King George III. It is until today the heart of Penang’s commerce, finance, religious activities, social functions, art, culture and tourism. It is a modern city and historic landmark at the same time. Cited by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, Georgetown boasts of preserving 19th century cathedrals, temples, and mosques as well as old houses and shophouses. Very charming bazaars, shops and cafes are very near each other since Georgetown is quite compact. There are narrow lanes and alleyways that make strolling and biking a very pleasurable sightseeing experience. A ride on a traditional trishaw is also fun and very cultural.
Some of the must-see attractions within this historic city are Fort Cornwallis, Penang Islamic Museum, Pinang Peranakan Mansion, Queen Victoria Clock Tower, the Protestant Cemetery, Chew Thean Yeang, Clan Jetties, and Komtar Scenic View.
Fort Cornwallis is a historic spot within Georgetown because it is supposedly the spot where Captain Francis Light landed in 1786. It was originally a humble wooden fort but was rebuilt and improved between 1808 and 1810. The fort was protected by Charles Marquis Cornwallis against possible attacks from the French army. He was also a distinguished Governor-General of India, and the fort was named after him for his services. The fort’s old cannons, said to have been built in 1613, remain today for people to see. In those times, the locals believed that childless women can bear children by offering special prayers and placing flowers into the cannon’s barrels. Although still very historic, the fort now has a modern park and an open air theater.
Fort Cornwallis is found on Padang Kota Lama. It is open every day from 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. for an admission of only RM1.
Another leading attraction is the Penang Islamic Museum that is housed inside the Syed Al-Attas Mansion, which was built in 1860. The museum is open every day from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., except Tuesdays. It is found on Armenian Street. Admission is only RM3 for adults and RM1 for children below 12.
Meanwhile, another mansion located on Church Street in Georgetown is the Pinang Peranakan Mansion. What used to be the home of Kapitan Chung Keng Kwee was converted into a museum whose primary goal was to showcase the lifestyle, customs and traditions of the Peranakan people. Hundreds of Peranakan antique items and collectibles are available for viewing from Monday to Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is RM10 for adults while children are for free.
The Komtar scenic view is located on the 55th floor of the 65-storey KOMTAR Complex. KOMTAR is a major structure that houses government departments, private offices, department stores, shopping malls, restaurants, movie theaters, and more. KOMTAR stands for Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak.
These are just a few of the many one-of-a-kind attractions in Georgetown Penang. There may be many other cities in the world named Georgetown, but this one in Penang, Malaysia is definitely one of the most scenic in the world.