George Town, Penang, Malaysia

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Stroll through the colonial streets of George Town and you begin to imagine what it might have felt like in the past.  Many of the buildings have not changed a bit; albeit, some have been restored while others stand dilapidated from the wear and tear.  The city was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status on July 7, 2008.  Because of this designation, there are strict regulations on how buildings must be restored.  It is a living museum displayed in the elements. 


The city is a melting pot of Malays, Chinese, Indians, and many other smaller minority groups (Thais, Burmese, Europeans, and at least one Korean).  It is not uncommon to walk along a side street and discover a Buddhist temple, a mosque, a Hindu temple, and a church all in a stone’s throw from each other.  You wonder how this is possible. But that is the beauty of this city.  People are able to live in harmony in spite of their religious differences.  I just wish other places in the world could follow their cue.


There are many galleries and quaint shops to keep you busy all day long.  Just meander along any side street and you are bound to discover something that will pique your interest.  And of course, if your stomach starts to growl, you are never too far from a noodle cart.  The ever helpful, smiling Chinese man will whip up a bowl of your favorite noodles in a jiffy, and he will not drain your pocket either.  With a little pit stop to fill your belly, you are ready again to march on in the blistering heat and humidity.


If you have successfully conquered the historical part of the city, the rest of Penang state offers abundance of sights to keep you busy for a long time.  Go explorer the Penang National Park on foot and discover pristine, secluded beaches at the end of your trek.  Go hiking up the Penang Hill for the 360 view of the island.  Go see the butterfly and tropical fruit farm.  Go see the waterfalls, temples, mosques, and museums.  Yes, Dear Reader, the list goes on and on.  And of course, for you ladies, I would be remiss if I did not mention “shopping.” There are bargains to be had everywhere, so bring lots of cash and haggle hard.


Until next time,