The Historic City of George Town
On 7th July 2008, George Town was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. Founded 200 years ago, the city has an impressive collection of historic buildings representing the cultural heritage of Penang’s various ethnicities: Chinese, Indians, Arabs, Malays, Achehnese, Siamese, Burmese and Europeans. – text from Penang Traveller’s Map.
Our first agenda for the day was to visit Pinang Peranakan Mansion. We rode the free CAT (Central Area Transit) shuttle that stops in front of 7/11 along Jalan Penang. The bus takes a specific route from KOMTAR to Jetty and it won’t pass any street near the mansion so we had to get off somewhere and just walk. We actually got lost trying to find it, which is a good thing because we had an INSTANT WALKING TOUR! 😀
They kind of look like Larry Alcala’s work, don’t you think?
We got off Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling and immediately saw one of many street arts in George Town. (1) Aside from beautifying the streets and doubling as street markers, these installations are also informative; giving a glimpse of life in Penang.
Here’s the text written on the installations:
(2) Parrot astrologers were Indian fortune tellers who used green parakeets to foretell a person’s future. – King Street
(3) Seck Chuan Lane was a distribution center for market produce. Many itinerant hawkers took advantage of the crowds by plying their food here. One of the favorite food sold is Ting Ting Thong or rock candy – a hardened mixture of sugar, ses (I’m guessing it’s sesame) seeds, and nuts loved by kids. It has to be “chi” and “hammered” to break it into smaller biteable pieces. – Seck Chuan Lane
(5) Tok-tok Mee is so called because hawkers would strike a ‘tok tok’ sound to signal their presence. – China Street
More street art can be found in Armenian Street featuring works of Ernest Zacharevic. And while you’re there, you can also visit clan temples Cheah Kongsi and Khoo Kongsi. Too bad all these are more than a couple of blocks away from where we were. We were also pressed for time because we need to go back to Hutton Lodge around noon to check out.
St. George’s Church
Just across Kapitan Keling Street is St. George’s Church. It was built between 1817 and 1818 making it the oldest Anglican church in Southeast Asia.
And just a few meters from St. George’s Church is the Goddess of Mercy Temple. This temple is dedicated to Kuan Yin. Also within the vicinity are the Cathedral of the Assumption and Penang State Museum. I imagine we could have covered most, if not all, of the attractions in the Core Zone if we had more time.
George Town is such a laid back place. People are friendly and helpful. I could probably spend hours just sitting at a quaint cafe sipping my Teh Tarik while marveling at the parade of colorful trishaws passing by.