George Town Introduction Walking Tour, George Town

George Town Introduction Walking Tour (Self Guided), George Town

Georgetown is the capital city of the island and state of Penang and was listed by UNESCO in 2008 as a 'World Heritage Site''. Touted as the food capital of Malaysia, Georgetown is a favorite spot for tourists. It has many attractive pre-Second World War houses and shophouses, as well as 19th century churches, temples and mosques. One of the top attractions of George Town is its beautiful colonial buildings. Mainly from the British colonial era, these wonderful buildings have been magnificently restored to display the proud heritage of the city. Check out the most interesting sites and areas with our George Town Orientation Walk.
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George Town Introduction Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: George Town Introduction Walking Tour
Guide Location: Malaysia » George Town (See other walking tours in George Town)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 Km or 2.1 Miles
Author: Caroline
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Town Hall
  • City Hall
  • Fort Cornwallis
  • Pinang Peranakan Mansion
  • Market Street (Little India)
  • Beach Street
  • Armenian Street
  • Khoo Kongsi Mansion
  • Kapitan Keling Mosque
  • Chulia Street
  • Cheong Fatt Tze - The Blue Mansion
1
Town Hall

1) Town Hall

The Town Hall Building is situated within a park. Completed in 1883, this sumptuous colonial building has a huge ballroom, assembly hall and a library. Its beautiful interior features wooden ceilings, great crystal chandeliers, white columns and stucco mouldings. It was featured in the famous movie "Anna and the King".
2
City Hall

2) City Hall

The City Hall of Penang is a recognized national monument of Malaysia. This two-story building at the Esplanade has a significant historical and architectural value. Built in 1903 in the typical British Palladian architectural style, the municipal building has been listed as a national monument since 1982. Its design resembles that of the nearby Town Hall.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
3
Fort Cornwallis

3) Fort Cornwallis

Fort Cornwallis is an old star-shaped fort located on the northeastern coast of Penang, which is the largest of its kind in the country that remains standing. It is named after Charles Cornwallis, who was Governor-General of Bengal, India in the late 18th Century. Captain Sir Francis Light took possession of the island from the Sultan of Kedah in 1786 and built the original basic fort, which extended to an area of no more than 400 feet. The Chapel at Fort Cornwallis, which was built in 1799 on the southwest bastion, is the earliest roofed structure still standing in Penang. The first recorded marriage took place here that same year, when John Timmers married Martina Rozells, the widow of Francis Light.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
4
Pinang Peranakan Mansion

4) Pinang Peranakan Mansion (must see)

This Straits Eclectic style mansion once served as a home for Capitan Chung Keng Kwee, who was one of the main figures in the Larut Wars of the second half of the 19th Century. It is richly decorated with outstanding coloration and craftsmanship. Today a house-museum, it has a range of carefully restored artifacts that show the tradition and culture of the Chinese community, including period furnishings, art and even a marital bed.

Operation Hours: Monday - Sunday: 9.30 am - 5 pm
5
Market Street (Little India)

5) Market Street (Little India)

Covering an area around Queen Street, Chulia Street and Market Street, Little India in the city of George Town is an ethnic Indian enclave. The oldest Hindu temple in Penang, Sri Mahamariamman Temple is located here. This area bears many similarities to market streets in Chennai, Mumbai or Delhi.

Its location at the centre of Penang Heritage Zone and nearby Penang's main finance centre, Beach Street make it one of the most famous and notable shopping spot in Penang among local and tourist. Little India is also famous for Malaysian Indian cuisine. It also serves as main commercial and cultural activities of Penang Indians. The place becomes more lively during festival times like Deepavali, Christmas and Thaipusam.

Market Street is a street in the city of George Town in Penang. Located within the city's UNESCO World Heritage Site, this street was named after a market which was established by Indian emigrants to Penang. The street is known in Tamil as Kadai Teru, meaning "street of shops". The market continued to function even after the full reclamation that created Victoria Street. The area has been settled by south Indians, whose presence is still conspicuous till today. This part of town is now regarded as part of the Little India enclave in George Town. The street bears many similarities to market streets in Chennai, Mumbai or Delhi. It is a notable shopping spot among locals and tourists. This street is also famous for Malaysian Indian cuisine.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
6
Beach Street

6) Beach Street

Beach Street is a major thoroughfare and part of the central business district in George Town, Penang, Malaysia. It is also one of the oldest streets in Penang, having been created soon after the founding of Penang by Captain Francis Light in 1786. The concentration of Malaysian and international banks around Beach Street has made George Town the financial hub within northern Malaysia. In addition, Beach Street is within the UNESCO World Heritage Site, thanks to the colonial architecture of the bank headquarters and other commercial buildings along the street. Administrative buildings built by the British also once stood along Beach Street; however, these buildings were destroyed during World War II.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
7
Armenian Street

7) Armenian Street (must see)

Armenian Street is a narrow street. Located within the city's UNESCO World Heritage Site, the road has gained popularity in recent years for its rich cultural offerings and street art.

One of the handful of places in the world that was named after the nation-state of Armenia, Armenian Street was originally part of a Malay settlement. The subsequent influx of Armenians and Chinese helped to shape the street's multicultural character. Notably, Armenian Street was also the site of Sun Yat-sen's Penang conference, which ultimately contributed to the downfall of the Qing Empire in 1911.

Today, Armenian Street is home to the famous 'Children on a Bicycle' mural by Ernest Zacharevic and various other forms of street art, as well as Chinese clan houses, museums, and shophouses that sell antiques and souvenirs.

Originally, Armenian Street was called Malay Lane, after a Malay settlement that used to exist around the area. The Malay influences can still be seen to this day, particularly along the westernmost section of Armenian Street, where the Penang Islamic Museum is located.

By 1808, the street was renamed as Armenian Street due to the influx of Armenian traders who resided along the road. The Armenians went on to establish St. Gregory's Church within George Town in 1822, while the Sarkies Brothers founded the Eastern & Oriental Hotel in the 1880s. The Armenian presence was short-lived, however, as most of the Armenians had already left by the time the church was demolished in 1937.

The Chinese gradually took over most of Armenian Street around the mid 19th century and built clan houses, such as the Khoo Kongsi, within the vicinity of the road. Concurrently, Armenian Street became notorious for Chinese triad activities, with the Hokkien-dominated Khian Teik Society establishing itself along the road. As a result, Armenian Street witnessed heavy fighting during the 1867 Penang Riots, where the British authorities, reinforced with sepoys, built blockades and used force to quell the turf war between rival Chinese and Malay secret societies.

In 1910, Sun Yat-sen chaired the Penang conference within a townhouse at Armenian Street, during which he managed to raise $8,000 for revolutionary activities in China against the ruling Qing dynasty. The townhouse has since been converted into the Sun Yat-sen Museum, which became one of the filming locations for the Chinese movie, Road to Dawn.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
8
Khoo Kongsi Mansion

8) Khoo Kongsi Mansion (must see)

This mansion has a fascinating and unusual history. Built in 1850 by the Khoo family of South China, it burned to the ground in 1894, apparently from a lightning strike. The Chinese believed its downfall was due to its resemblance to the Emperor’s Palace, and so a much scaled down version was erected in its place in 1906. Nonetheless, today you can still admire the richly ornamented wood carvings of the roof, walls and pillars that reflect the art and architecture of ancient China.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
9
Kapitan Keling Mosque

9) Kapitan Keling Mosque

The Kapitan Keling Mosque, which dates from the early 19th Century, was named after Indian Muslim merchant Caudeer Mohudeen, who was also known as Kapitan Keling (headman). It is the most prominent historic mosque in Penang, with a dome-shaped minaret that reflects a Moorish Islamic influence. It has been a place of worship for the Indian Muslim community here for more than two centuries. Unlike modern mosques which are mainly frequented on Fridays, the Kapitan Keling Mosque is used by worshippers five times a day, seven days a week. Visitors should be ready to take their shoes off, and female visitors must wear a robe provided by staff.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
10
Chulia Street

10) Chulia Street

Chulia Street is one of the oldest roads in the city. Created soon after the founding of George Town in 1786, it forms a part of the city's Little India enclave ever since, whilst also boasting a multicultural character due to Indian Muslim and Chinese influences.

In addition, Chulia Street has a large concentration of budget accommodation for tourists, as several shophouses along the road have been converted into hostels and guesthouses. With the inscription of George Town as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, more upmarket hotels have also been opened along Chulia Street.

Chulia Street is also well-known as a food paradise within Penang, due to the numerous hawker stalls and restaurants along the street that serve local cuisine.

Originally, the street was named Malabar Street, after the Indians from Malabar who moved to George Town.

The term 'Chulia' is a corruption of 'Chulier', which was once used to refer to the Indians who originated from the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu in India. That particular region was formerly part of the Chola Kingdom, hence the term 'Chulier'.

Malabar Street was laid out soon after the founding of Penang in 1786 by Captain Francis Light. The road marked the original southern limits of the new settlement of George Town.

Due to the influx of ethnic Indians along Chulia Street, the road has become part of George Town's Little India enclave. However, while the population of Indian Muslims along Chulia Street began to decline in the late 19th century, ethnic Chinese were simultaneously moving into the road, thus contributing to Chulia Street's multicultural character.

Since the early 20th century, Chulia Street has gained its reputation as the destination for budget touristsю Budget hostels and guesthouses, along with businesses such as laundries, restaurants, bars and travel agencies, now operate out of the rows of shophouses lining the road. In recent years, upmarket hotels have also been established along Chulia Street.

The street was renamed Chulia Street in 1798, as the British recognised that most of the Indians who moved to the street were, in fact, from Tamil Nadu. The early inhabitants were Muslims, and they subsequently built a number of religious buildings along Chulia Street, such as the Nagore Durgha Shrine and the Noordin Family Tomb.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
11
Cheong Fatt Tze - The Blue Mansion

11) Cheong Fatt Tze - The Blue Mansion (must see)

The Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion was built by the merchant of the same name at the end of the 19th Century. There is much for the visitor to see and admire at this magnificent home. It boasts 38 rooms, five granite-paved courtyards, seven staircases and 220 vernacular timber louvre windows. Other notable architectural features include Gothic louvered windows, Chinese porcelain work, Stoke-on-Trent floor tiles, Glasgow cast iron pillars and Art Nouveau stained glass. Interestingly, the mansion was built with careful attention to the principles of Feng Shui. For example, it faces the sea with Penang Hill behind, has water running through the complex and is built with a step in the middle to create a slope, a feature known as riding on the dragon’s back.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.

Walking Tours in George Town, Malaysia

Create Your Own Walk in George Town

Create Your Own Walk in George Town

Creating your own self-guided walk in George Town is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
George Town's Historical Religious Buildings

George Town's Historical Religious Buildings

George Town has much to be proud of when it comes to religious heritage, as the city has a host of wonderful churches, temples, mosques and other religious centers. Each is beautifully decorated and has its own unique story to tell. Check out the most interesting historical religious edifices in the city with this self-guided walking tour.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles
Farquhar Street Walking Tour

Farquhar Street Walking Tour

The Farquhar Street is home to a number of interesting historic buildings and other heritage sites. In fact, it has been listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site since 2008. Here you can see the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, the St. Xavier school and the Protestant Cemetery, where Francis Light's tomb is located. While you’re here, take this self-guided walking tour to admire the beautiful...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles
Penang Hill Walking Tour

Penang Hill Walking Tour

The Penang Hill area is a wonderful place to visit if you are seeking to enjoy the benefits of the outdoors. You can go hiking in the beautiful fresh air, see the amazing plant and animal life or ride the funicular railway. Every visitor will want to see the spectacular waterfall too. Take our Penang Hill Tour to see the top sights of the area.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.5 Km or 0.3 Miles