Sunday, April 04, 2010

Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia - streets and shophouses

Hello and welcome to the island of Penang! Daniela and I went there last week on a short 4 night break. We had a really memorable time there. We stayed in George Town and explored the hot city streets on foot. This posting shows photos of the lovely shophouses and streets.

The next few issues of my blog will feature the people, the temples, and the beautiful Blue Mansion where we stayed for two nights. But come with me now for a walk around George Town, an old, often run down, but charming and fascinating Malaysian city.

After just an hour's flight from Singapore
we felt we had stepped back in time by about
50 years. The pace of life is seductively

George Town, like Malacca, is a UNESCO
World Heritage
site which recognises it's
unparalleled architectural and cultural
townscape in East and Southeast Asia

There was an Armenian
community in Penang before
World War 2. Armenian Street
was perhaps our favourite.
It felt like this was one of the
oldest parts of the city

There's a lot of Green Beer in this shop in
Armenian Street. I'm not sure what else it

These Straits Collection Heritage Chinese
Shophouses can be found in Stewart Lane
and there is a row of 4 houses in Armenian

I wonder how much the Chicks are?

Classic Georgetown

While many buildings are showing the signs
of poor maintenance others have clearly had
some proper attention paid to them.
Fantastic colours!

A Wan Tun Mee street stall that wil come alive
in the evening. Mee is noodles, Wan Tun Mee
(or Wanton) noodles are thin Chinese egg
noodles. The noodles are often served with
red barbequed pork (Char siu). Penang is
famous for the quality of its local food

The city including suburbs has
a population of 400,000

The city was founded in 1786 by Captain
Francis Light, a trader for the
British East India Company,
as a base for the company in the Malay States.
By all accounts the way the British took
control of Penang was pretty dodgy with
a list of broken promises

Some of the most run down buildings

Its hard to take a photo without
a moped!

A small front space with

Great corner building on Carnarvon Street

Just charming

Charming and restored!

A lick of paint needed here!

Love Lane backpackers Inn.
There is accommodation to suit
budgets and tastes

Most of George Town's population is of
Chinese origin. The ethnic mix is quite
similar to Singapore. George Town has
its Little India and Chinatown. The Malaysian
Government has always favoured Malays
by giving them special advantages. This has led
to accusations of treating the other Malaysians
as second class citizens in their own country.
The Government is now considering changes
to promote economic growth as the
entrepreneurial Chinese have been

Lovely shop with a beautiful staircase

Daniela dressed in the perfect colours for this

A detail that attracted my attention

Street scene. Traffic can be quite bad on the
roads leading in and out of the centre, but
in the heart of George Town it is often

I couldn't resist this moped with its durian
carrier. Hated by most non-asians this very
smelly fruit is a delicacy in Southeast Asia.
In most hotels you are banned from taking
it into the lifts, the smell is so awful!

"I've got you in my sights!"

The rickshaw adds much local colour to the
streets of George Town

This final shot is taken in Little India, a
vibrant part of town.

Thanks for visiting George Town with me.
Do come back if you can. Next week a
stunningly beautiful Chinese Heritage House
you can stay in when you go.

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