Paint-palette bright mansions. Intricately carved temples. Stately Raj era buildings. Proudly cosmopolitan from its founding days, UNESCO-listed George Town beckons you to explore. In one day you could walk from a seafront fringed by shimmering skyscrapers to art-filled backstreets lined with tumbledown shophouses. When evening comes around, you’ll find yourself in pride of place for sampling some of Southeast Asia’s best street food. 

Penang’s captivating capital is a bright, bold city steeped in cultural heritage.

Things to do


A luxury city break in George Town wouldn’t be complete without taking in the famed Blue Mansion. Commissioned in the 1800s by a wealthy Chinese trader, it’s a picture-perfect example of eastern/western fusion architecture. For an insight into George Town’s days as a thriving 18th century port, stroll the Chew Jetty. Here you can see the few surviving stilt houses built by early Chinese communities.


With countless stalls serving up regional delicacies, it’s not hard to see why George Town is a key pin in the food-lover’s map. From hearty Indian curries and crisp Chinese stir-fries to fragrant Malay dishes, it’s possible to globe hop with every plate. A local favourite is assam laksa – a hot, intense fish broth with noodles, seasoned with tamarind and cool sprigs of mint.


Leave room in your suitcase, as when it comes to retail therapy, George Town doesn’t disappoint. Head to gleaming, modern shopping malls or dive into frenetic souks where traditional spice stalls stand alongside hand-woven fabrics. Explore galleries that showcase the work of local, contemporary glass artists. Or search for traditional handicrafts in arts and crafts markets, from painted tiles to batiks.

Enjoy a taste of Malay-Chinese tradition. Take a seat in one of the authentic heritage shophouses and order up baskets of delicate Dim Sum.

Top tip from SLH

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