The capital of the Malaysian island state of Penang, George Town, once an important British colonial trading hub in Southeast Asia, is now a lively destination that will appeal to travellers who love history, architecture and delicious Southeast Asian food.
The second largest city in Malaysia after Kuala Lumpur, George Town’s interesting colonial British, Chinese, Indian and Malay architecture and well-preserved historical streets earned it the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008.
One landmark building that’s worth visiting is Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, better known as the Blue Mansion. The former home of a wealthy and influential local merchant, the Mansion – now a museum, restaurant and boutique hotel – is a splendid example of Straits Eclectic architecture – a unique and ornate architectural style that’s found in former Southeast AsianBritish colonies Malacca, Singapore and Penang.
Another interesting attraction is Kek Lok Si Temple, a massive Buddhist temple near Penang Hill. The largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia, Kek Lok Si is an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists from Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore and other Southeast Asian countries.
Besides it’s colourful, Instagrammable buildings, George Town is also a destination for food lovers. You can find cheap and good hawker dishes such as Assam laksa – a piquant tamarind paste and mackerel noodle soup and char kway teow –– wok fried rice noodles along Kimberly Street, Chulia Street and Gurney Drive, as well as excellent restaurants that serve local Peranakan cuisine.