The island paradise island of Penang has long been famous for the ancient George Town, lively wall painting, etc. Therefore, you surely “grasp” one – of – all – kind pictures right you set foot in this amazing island.
With a long and illustrious history under its belt, Penang’s capital city is earned the title of Malaysia’s favorite and colorful city. Named after King George III, walking down the streets of Georgetown is like walking through paths of history due to the presence of unique wall paintings and ancient buildings.
As an acknowledgment of its well-preserved cultural and historical heritage, the city was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on July, 7th 2008.
After having a full stomach in the morning, you should take advantage of your time sauntering along the streets of the stunning George Town to discover the most famous wall paintings in East Asia. Bear in mind, you should get there early because of the hot weather.
Street paintings are of two types, namely 3D paintings aiming to deceiving our vision and steel bending paintings representing the traditional culture of local people. Moreover, you are definitely overwhelmed by weird and artistic paintings which are not illustrated on the map you are bringing with.
Strolling along the corner of the streets, rows of ancient houses with unique windows in which travelers might stay away from the bustle and hustle of the city life, you might probably think of the charming ancient Hoi An. Occasionally, you see flocks of birds swooping down the street and flocks of crows perching on the trees, rooftops or streets.
Having been a British colonial bastion and strictly controlled, Penang is currently preserving and conserving valuable architectures. To capture « one-of-all-kind » pictures of your journey, you should visit the ancient house named Pinang Peranakan Mansion (29 Church Street), a typical Peranakan house of the Peranakan (generation of people who were half Chinese and Malaysian). This house was served as Hai Kee Chan restaurant which features Chinese architecture with four rows of self-contained house forming a square.
When the sun goes down, Penang becomes bustling. Noticeably, shopping centers open until 10 p.m, so you can freely see, choose and buy souvenirs for friends and family.
Due to its importance in the past as a trading port, particularly with India, China, and Thailand, Penang is a melting pot of cultures and religions from right across Southeast Asia. It is the reason why you should spend the third day of your journey visiting famous ancient temples of Penang.
From George Town, you should definitely make a visit to the sacred "Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling", which has four ancient worshipping places in Southeast Asia, including St George's Church, Bodhisattva Kwan – yin Temple, India's Sri Mah Mariamman Temple, and the Kapitan Keling Mosque.
Then, you walk along Lorong Burma Street to explore the sacred Dhammikarama Burmese Temple. Being built in the early 19th century by the Burmese community, this worshipping place is the oldest Buddhist temple in Penang. It features the gilding roof and giant Buddha statue which fascinates visitors and pilgrims right they enter the temple.
The other « worthy-visiting » Buddhist Temple that you should set foot in is Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram Temple which features the third largest reclining Buddha statue in the world of 33 meters. Built in 1845, the temple is considered as the « heart » of Penang’s Buddhism. Although its name is quite long and hard to remember, most visitors are interested in the « special » name that the local residents named this status, « Sleep » Buddha.
From the entrance gate, you see two impressive statues of Naga Snake, winding to the front of the main hall with the meaning of connecting the earth to heaven. Standing next to them are two « guardian » deities featuring a « fierce » look of the typical Thai architecture.
When worshiping in these sacred temples, pilgrims have to put off their footwear neatly in front of the yard before entering the main hall. After sauntering around the pagoda, both locals and visitors often offer glass candles to the Buddha to pray for peace and luck.
Additionally, you might take a bus to get to Kek Lok Si Temple (Cuc Lac Pagoda, address 1000L Tingkat Lembah Ria 1, 11500 Aher Itam, opens from 7 a.m to 21 p.m. This temple is entitled the largest temple in Penang, and the largest Buddhist work in Southeast Asia, playing an essential part in the religious life of the Chinese community in Malaysia.
From the bus station, you walk 15 minutes reach the pagoda located on the top of the mountain and facing the sea. This temple features 10,000 delicately sculptured statues, 7- floor tower and vivid flower garden all year round. It is interesting that the pagoda offers colorful ribbons priced at 1 RM so that visitors could write down their blessing for themselves and their families.
The most famous tourist attraction on the island must be Penang Hill, 3 km from Kek Lok Si Temple. At the height of 800 meters above sea level, you can enjoy panorama of the charming Penang at sunset and nightlife from the observatory at the hilltop. Additionally, you might visit the botanical garden, old train station, The Guard House, love bridge, etc.