Georgetown, the cute center of Penang
Georgetown, the capital of the island of Penang, is known, among other things, for its street art. The center has been included in the Unesco world list and after seeing hundreds of Instagram photos we now wanted to see with our own eyes what’s so special about this city.
First British settlement
Before we moved to Malaysia and even when we already lived there, I didn’t realize Georgetown was such a bustling city. Georgetown is named after the British King George lll. It became the first British settlement in Southeast Asia and blossomed into an important warehouse for the British. In 1957 Penang and the rest of Malaysia reached independence from the British Empire.
Despite its British name, Georgetown is mainly inhabited by Chinese Malaysians. The Chinese influences are visible in the cozy center with its narrow alleys, the colorful Chinatown and the innumerable lanterns that hang through the streets. The colonial-era is also clearly visible through the old large and white buildings that are still standing here.
Search for street art
In 2012 the Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic was commissioned to create six works of art in the streets of Georgetown. In no time this was world-famous and now tourists from all over the world come here to look for the works of art. And that search can be quite difficult. In most hotels and hostels you can get a map with a route that will take you past the paintings. If you like to stroll along the many streets yourself, you can of course. Some murals are quite well hidden or are unfortunately already partly faded.
Boy on motorbike
We saw postcards with the most famous works of art in a souvenir shop. The colors on the postcards are beautiful and when you have finally found a work of art yourself, it can be a bit disappointing. Some artworks are no longer visible and that’s a pity! Logical too, because everyone wants to be photographed with the ‘boy on a motorbike’ or ‘brother and sister on a swing’. Despite the fading of the murals, it is a very cute center to walk through for a couple of hours. In some streets, you are not even allowed to drive cars in the evening so you can walk around freely. Also, you’ll find plenty of nice eateries where you can enjoy the Malaysian and Chinese cuisine.