Exploring The Famous Streets Of Georgetown

Streets of Georgetown - A Walk Down Memory Lane

The charm that Penang has today lies in its' diversity and the influences of its' multi-culture society. One of the most visible influence that you can see in Penang will be for its' proud architecture that stood over for centuries.

As for me, whenever I got the chance to visit Penang, I'll set aside some time for a leisurely walk around the old streets of Georgetown that will always be a memorable experience.

A good tip is that whenever you walk in town, it is best to use Komtar as a navigation point. Although the building do not have much architecture merit and its' legacy as the iconic structure of Penang starts to decline, but it do serves a great viewing point from which to provides you with a good direction before setting-out. Shuttle buses from major hotels along Batu Ferringhi also use Komtar as their strategic pick-up base.

There is a tourist information desk in the main foyer for you to get a free copy of the Penang Island and City map and then, do take the elevator to the observation deck for a 360 degree view of Georgetown. You wouldn’t want to miss the breathtaking view of Georgetown.

Georgetown oldest section lies to the east of Penang Road which is closest to the water. With the old warehouses and trade shops of yesteryears, it is the birthplace of Geogetown and the area that
you should visit. At the tip of the island, there is another famous street of Georgetown called Lebuh Pantai (Beach Street) that you
shouldn't miss. You can take a trishaw, bus or taxi or even walk if you have the stamina. The trishaw riders will besiege you for some guided tours on their vehicle. Take one if you wish but negotiate first for the price. The famous Fort Cornwallis which marks the first British Settlement in Penang is located nearby.

Armenian Street (Lebuh Armenian) is another interesting historical streets of Georgetown which stand some of the famous Penang Oldest Heritage buildings such
as Khoo Kongsi, Yap Kongsi and Tua Pek Kong Temple. According to a map found in the early 1800s, Armenian Streets was formerly called Malay Street.

There is a book called "The Streets of Georgetown" written by Khoo Su Nin, one of Georgetown's leading authorities on the architectural and social history of the town. Not only the book is informative book but enthrall reading as it recalls the vibrant and chaotic history of Georgetown founding families. I would recommend that you get one yourself at any of the popular bookstore in Penang so that you can know more about the commercial city of Georgetown that has been involved in trade for hundreds of years.

I wouldn’t be surprise that some of the buildings that you walk pass today is previously a shophouses or godowns, a mysterious dark warehouse of the past. Through their curved arched doorways you can catch a glimpse of bales, boxes, palm and bamboo woven parcels and smells those pungent spice odors that pervade these storehouses of Oriental exotica.

The Campbell Street Market is a wet market in the streets of Georgetown that specializing in chicken and sea food. As the only market that flourishes in the area, it is a worthwhile place to visit. The best time to visit is in the early morning while it is still cool and with sun shades forming out from the shophouses to shield the product on sale.

And if you feel hungry or thirsty after shopping and walking, do take some time off to visit some of the coffee shop or restaurant along the streets of Georgetown that caters for all taste. You might find that some restaurant has flashy advertising and uses expensive furniture but don't be put of by this, as the modest establishment offers superb food with very low price. My favorite drinks will be the superb Penang“Kopi-O peng” (or ice black coffee). It is an excellent thirst quencher during the hot weather. Try it out!

One restaurant that I highly recommended is the Loke Thye restaurant. Located just besides Komtar (by the pedestrian overpass on Penang road), it is the oldest restaurant in Penang. Sitting on its cast iron balcony overlooking the busy streets of Georgetown is a great way watch the street life of Penang folk. Not only that, this restaurant over the past years was the popular meeting place for the matchmakers in which weeding dinner took place.

A walk in the streets of Georgetown is an experience that should not be missed. All you need to do is to give a little patience, preparation and perspiration and you'll be rewarded with a multitude of encounters with the history and culture of a vibrant and culturally diverse city.