Ahhhh Georgetown Penang, one of my favorite cities in Malaysia. A city filled with so much cultural heritage, history, art, amazing food and architecture, it is little wonder that Georgetown Penang is a UNESCO World Heritage City.

Located on the island of Penang in the north-east corner of the island, Georgetown was originally known as Tanjung. In 1786, British Captain Francis Light established the British settlement on Penang Island and the city was named Georgetown after King George III of England. Over the course of Georgetown’s rich history, people from different ethnical and religious backgrounds have come together to shape the multi-ethnic society Georgetown is today.

From old residential and commercial buildings, temples, churches, and mosques, there is so much to do and see in Georgetown Penang. There are numerous tourist maps showcasing so many points of interest, that sometimes it can be difficult to decipher which places you’ll have time to see and places you’ll have to give a miss to.

After having spent some time in Georgetown, and through speaking with locals, here is a list of things to do in Georgetown Penang if you only have a few days.

Local Attractions

Tour Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion (aka the Blue Mansion)

Cheong Tze Fatt Mansion | 12 Things to do in Georgetown Penang | Hello Raya Blog
The exterior of the Cheong Tze Fatt Mansion. You can see it is called ‘The Blue Mansion’ because of its stunning blue colour

If Indigo Blue is your favorite colour, then you will love the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion. The Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, also known as the “Blue Mansion” or in French “La Maison Bleu,” was built in 1888 by capitalist Cheong Fatt Tze.

Cheong Fatt Tze came from humble beginnings. He was born in China in 1849 into a family of teachers and farmers. At a young age of 16 years old, he sailed to Batavia (which is today known as Jakarta). Eventually Cheong Fatt Tze began trading in natural resources, which is where he started to generate much of his wealth. He would also go on to work with the Dutch government in Indonesia, and eventually the British, when he moved to Georgetown.

Cheong Tze Fatt Mansion | 12 Things to do in Georgetown Penang | Hello Raya Blog
The beautiful interior of the Cheong Tze Fatt Mansion

When Cheong Fatt Tze arrived to Georgetown, he set up his business headquarters at 14 Leith Street, which was known back then as Lotus Flower Lane. Today it is home to the Blue Mansion, which today has been beautifully restored into a boutique hotel.

To visit:

If you are not a staying guest, to visit the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, you will need to join one of the guided tours. The guided tours are held daily at 11am, 2pm and 3:30pm and costs Rm17 per adult (A$5.50 / U$4.10) and RM8.50 per child (A$2.70 / U$2.10). The mansion is located at 14 Leith Street in Georgetown.

Visit the Pinang Peranakan Museum

The Pinang Peranakan Museum | 12 Things to do in Georgetown Penang | Hello Raya Blog
The exterior of the Pinang Peranakan Museum

The Pinang Peranakan Museum depicts a typical home of a rich Baba- Nyonya family (also known as Peranakans). A visit to this museum is a great way to learn more about the cultural heritage of Georgetown, because it sheds light on the customs and traditions of the Babas and Nyonyas.

The terms ‘Peranakans,’ and ‘Baba and Nyonya’ refers to the community of Chinese immigrants who settled into British Malaya (today known as Malaysia and Singapore) and the Dutch East Indies (today known as Indonesia). Over time, the Peranakans in British adopted local Malay and British colonial customs, which influenced the rich cultural heritage of Georgetown Penang.

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The Pinang Peranakan Museum | 12 Things to do in Georgetown Penang | Hello Raya Blog
The interior of the Pinang Peranakan Museum

From floor tiles made by the English, artworks and furniture from China, iron-works from the Scottish, the Pinang Peranakan Museum highlights the fusion of cultures, customs and traditions of the Peranakans.

The museum itself was the previous residence of Kapitan China Chung Keng Kwee in the end of the 19th century. Today it has been restored into the Pinang Peranakan Museum.

To visit:

The museum is located on 29 Church Street in Georgetown Penang and costs RM20 per adult (A$6.40 / U$4.90) and RM10 per child (A$3.20 / U$2.40) to visit.

Free tours are offered throughout the day at the museum, depending on the number of visitors to the museum. I recommend joining a tour to learn more about the Peranakan history and culture, which will make you better understand the heritage history of Georgetown.

Go hunting for Street Art

Street Art | 12 Things to do in Georgetown Penang | Hello Raya Blog
Getting up close & personal with the street art in Georgetown Penang

In late 2009, the State Government of Penang held an international competition inviting artists and designers from around the world to submit their ideas on how to brand Georgetown Penang as an official UNESCO World Heritage Site. “Scultureatwork” was selected, which resulted in 52 iron rod sculptures being designed and placed throughout the city. Basically each sculpture tells you the story of the street you find them one.

Then in 2012, the Government commissioned artist Ernest Zacharevic from Lithuania to paint murals around the city. This resulted in the famous street arts – ‘Boy on Motorcycle,’ ‘Kids on Bicycle,’ and ‘Reaching up.’

This marked the beginning of a whole array of street art now seen throughout the city of Georgetown. And what better way to explore this town then by hunting for all kinds of fun street art.

Visit the Clan Jetties

Street Art at the Clan Jetties | 12 Things to do in Georgetown Penang | Hello Raya Blog
Street Art at the Clan Jetties

Six jetties remain that make up the Clan Jetties found along Pengkalan Weld, where you’ll see stilt house built along the jetties over the water. Our guide explained that the homes were originally built to the seas in order to avoid paying tax.

Each jetty is named after a specific Chinese clan, who settled in houses built along the jetties. The Chew Jetty is the most popular one to visit, but it is worth taking the time to see the other jetties as well.

Explore Little India

Little India | 12 Things to do in Georgetown Penang | Hello Raya Blog
Little India is colourful and vibrant

Little India is colourful and vibrant, filled with multi-coloured shop houses selling fabrics, sarees, jewellery, flowers, and my favorite… food. The area of Little India is made up of 3 main streets, which includes Lebuh Chulia, Lebuh Queen and Jalan Pasar.

And if you are looking for some good Indian food, you’ve come to the right place. There are a number of places serving dishes including Briyani rice, Nasi Kandar, Tandoori, Roti Canai, you name it. You will also find numerous stalls selling Indian sweets.

Stroll down the Street of Harmony

Seri Maha Mariamman Temple | 12 Things to do in Georgetown Penang | Hello Raya Blog
Seri Maha Mariamman Temple

The Street of Harmony is also known as Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling and is about 1 kilometere long. It is called the Street of Harmoney because it is home several Religious buildings and temples, which are worth visiting. There are about 11 in total, but ones that are worth visit include:

  1. The St George Church is the oldest Anglican Church in South East Asia, built in 1818.
  2. The Masjid Kapitan Keling, a Muslim Mosque established in 1808
  3. Seri Maha Mariamman Temple is a Hindu Temple from 1833
  4. Khoo Kongsi is the largest Chinese Clan Temple
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Visit Padang Kota Lama

Town Hall at Padang Kota Lama | 12 Things to do in Georgetown Penang | Hello Raya Blog
The historic Town Hall building, which is located at Padang Kota Lama

Padang Kota Lama was previously the playing field for the British and was also used a parade ground. The park is located right near the waters edge, and is surrounded by beautiful architecture including Georgetown’s Town Hall and City Hall buildings. Here you will also find Fort Cornwallis, built in 1786, it is today the largest standing fort in Malaysia.

Food & Drinks

Do a Food Tour

Penang Food Tour | 12 Things to do in Georgetown Penang | Hello Raya Blog
Eating Cendol during my Penang Food Tour

Penang is well known for its food, and there simply is so many delicious treats that you must try. The best way to try the delicious food in Penang is by visiting the many street vendors. Your biggest dilemma will be… which are the best stalls? So save yourself the hassle and join a food tour.

Enjoy Sunset Drinks at the Three Sixty Rooftop Bar

Roof Top Bar | 12 Things to do in Georgetown Penang | Hello Raya Blog
We enjoyed sunset drinks and loved how the clouds turned a beautiful pink colour, over a beautiful view of Georgetown. You can also see the bridge that connects Penang Island to the mainland in the distance.

The view over Georgetown from here is beautiful and it’s a great way to get a sense of Penang. I will admit, the drinks here are not the cheapest, but if you go at happy hour (which is around sunset hour), then it’s 2 for 1. It’s worth visiting, even if it’s just to see the view.

Eat food at a Pasar Malam (aka a Night Market)

Eating street food | 12 Things to do in Georgetown Penang | Hello Raya Blog
There are so many great options for tasty street food in Georgetown Penang

The best place to find good street food is at a night market in Georgetown Penang. Most nights you’ll be able to find a night market somewhere. Here are a few to check out:

  • On Mondays, check out the Macallum Street Night Market
  • On Tuesdays, check out the Tanjung Bungah Night Market
  • On Wednesdays, check out the Farlim Night Market
  • Everyday, except Wednesdays, check out the night market at Lorong Baru (New Lane)
  • Everyday, check out the night market at Lebuh Kimberley

Getting Around

Ride a Rickshaw

A fun way to explore the streets of Georgetown Penang, and a good way to hunt for street is by riding a rickshaw. Some rickshaw drivers will even give you some commentary while riding along the streets.

Negotiate a price with the driver before hoping on, but it’s approximately RM40 (A$13 / U$10) per hour for up to 2 people on a rickshaw.

Planning Your Stay in Georgetown Penang

23 Love Lane | 12 Things to do in Georgetown Penang | Hello Raya Blog
The lobby area of 23 Love Lane boutique hotel

Forget modern style hotels. If you are going to be visiting Georgetown Penang, then I encourage you to experience its history and culture by staying at a heritage style boutique hotel.

If you are looking for accommodation, I recommend staying at 23 LoveLane, a lovely boutique hotel located at Love Lane in Georgetown.

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12 Things to do in Georgetown Penang | Hello Raya Blog

20 comments on “12 Awesome Things to do in Georgetown Penang (Malaysia)”

  1. It really is time I went to Georgetown again; I can’t remember any of these things. Then again I was only there for a short time. You have got some stunning photos; I particularly like the blue palace.
    I do love little India too.

  2. Georgetown seems like quite a vibrant town with some exciting food options.Would love to go on a food trail someday and explore the local flavors.Thanks for the travel tips.

  3. I have been to Georgetown and don’t think I visited any of these places!! Must go again I think and see more. I remember it was a beautiful place just to walk around 🙂

  4. Love the architecture there, so colorful! Little India looks like a really fun place to explore. So awesome that they have a night market pretty much every night, we loved the one we visited in Thailand!

  5. Another really fun post! I lived in D.C. last year, which has a neighborhood called Georgetown, so its interesting to read about a city on the other side of the world with the same name!!

    Every picture is more gorgeous than the last – the variance in color is just astounding. And once again I love your maxi dress.

    From the street art to the quirky hotels, Georgetown seems like it would be an incredible trip!

    • Don’t worry – when I told some friends I’m going to Georgetown, they were like…like Georgetown in the US? Georgetown in Penang is such a vibrant city with an interesting history. I hope you will get to visit it one day 🙂

  6. Such a comprehensive & interesting post! I’ve been to Georgetown a few times, this made me feel like I was rediscovering it again. Gorgeous photos too, it looks like a place that definitely agrees with you 🙂

  7. Ohh we need to hurry up with our trip to Malaysia! I would definitely go for a food tour (and cooking class also!) together with discovering street art around the city. Those kids on a swing are at the same time so cool and spooky.

  8. Beautiful photos Raya! I have been to Penang for a wedding and another time for a regular holiday but I don’t feel like I’ve even scratched the surface of all the things you can do in this city! Will definitely be saving this for my next trip there!

  9. I remember the drive through street of harmony… amazing how all places of worship are located in one street. I wish every city in this world had such a street!

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