Before I came to Georgetown, Penang, I had images of the colorful colonial houses, the street art, and the hawker foods in my mind.
Actually walking through its streets, I discovered a lot more about Penang’s character.
From its multicultural influences and history to the everyday happenings along its streets, join me on a photowalk through this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There are a lot of ways of exploring Georgetown. There’s the Central Area Transit (CAT) bus route going around town which you can catch for free. If you’re in for a little throwback feel, you can take the rickshaw.
Going around by bicycle is also an option. But for me, walking is without a doubt the best way to explore this colourful town, especially if you’re on the lookout for the cool street arts.
At first, I was only focused on finding these burgeoning street art installations. However, the more I walked through Georgetown’s main streets and narrow alleys, the more I found myself enjoying small slices of history and life in Georgetown.
Apart from street art and hawker foods, here are a few snaps from photowalking the streets of Georgetown, Penang.
Georgetown, Penang’s Shophouses
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The shophouses also have their own unique architectural features revealing the influence of Chinese and European styles. This door, for example, is a representative of most shophouse styles in Georgetown.
The carved timber door, butterfly-shaped air vents and small shrine at the right of the five-foot way are all from Chinese influence. The tiles below the windows are touches of Europe. Some shops, however, are now converted into roll-up shutter doors.
What I loved about strolling along the row of shophouses is peeking through the array of goods they sell, from ceramics, metals and food to religious items, and what have you.
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One thing I found strange though is some bathroom sinks located along the five-foot walkway.
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I’ve never been to India, so walking through an Indian bazaar is something cool. The area covers three streets – Lebuh Queen, Lebuh Chulia and Jalan Pasar.
I let my senses feast on the traditional costumes, jewelry items, spices on sale and the Indian music playing in the air. The literally bloody Bollywood movie posters definitely caught my attention.
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Places of Worship
Georgetown represents a fusion of cultures from Malaysia, India and China, as well as British influence.
In fact, there’s a single street in Georgetown called the Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling Street, where different places of worship are harmoniously co-existing. Hence, it is also known as the Harmony Street.
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Street markets define the character that is Asia. I came upon one along the area of Jalan Chowrasta and Penang Road. This is the place for cheap bargains, souvenirs and local products, the most famous of which is buah pala or nutmeg.
The Nature Side
Georgetown may not be the part of Penang to enjoy nature but there are a few corners of the city where you can see greens and the sea.
The Little Things
While walking the streets of Georgetown, I clicked on anything that captured my attention, even the little things mundane. Here are some snaps.
To sum it up, the long photowalks were all worth it. I extremely enjoyed walking down the streets of Georgetown, Penang despite the heat of the sun. I hope you enjoyed the walk with me.
Jing Calonge is an environmental consultant from the Philippines who happens to love travel and photography. She considers traveling the best way to discover not just the world outside but to learn of oneself. She writes about her travel experiences at www.findingjing.com. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.