Perfectly Photogenic Penang

There is something mildly off-putting about watching a zombie movie in the cabin of a ferry with rain and gray skies outside. But, I made it from Langkawi to Penang in one piece. Penang is another island off the coast of peninsular Malaysia. It’s probably most well-known for Georgetown, a UNESCO World Heritage Site town.


I met up with my friend Nina in Penang, who I’ll be adventuring with until we fly back to New York in June.




As a UNESCO World Heritage site, Georgetown is like a living museum of tangible (buildings) and intangible (culture) history. Penang was an important port in Malaysia and a significant part of the spice trade in the 19th century. Like Kuala Lumpur, Penang is a melting pot of cultures, traditions, and foods. The Street of Harmony displays this perfectly. On one street you will find an Anglican church, a Chinese temple, a Hindu temple, and a Mosque, all less than a 5 minute walk from each other. Signs are in Malay, English, Chinese, and Arabic.


Walking through Georgetown you’ll find a blend of local and colonial architecture. Chinese temples and community centers sit next to British colonial houses and shops. Many of the old buildings are now guesthouses, bars, gift shops, and cafes. You’ll also discover the street art that has become an attraction of its own.


Discovering all of the street art is like a treasure hunt. The art is one of the things that has made Georgetown such a popular place to visit. Some of the art is so well known that lines form of people wanting to take pictures. And, as I’ve come to expect in Asia, there was a couple in fancy dress having a photo shoot next one particularly well-known spot. A girl and her brother are riding a bicycle. The children are a painting, but the bicycle is real.

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