George Town, the capital of Penang Island, is a must-visit travel destination in Malaysia.
Located on the northeastern coast of Penang, the city was founded by the British East India Company in the late 18th century and served as a major trading port for the region.
Today, George Town is a vibrant cultural hub with a mix of historical and modern architecture.
For example, you can enjoy the combination of traditional Chinese houses and skyscrapers that gives this city a unique atmosphere.
Visitors can also explore the city on foot, participate in street art tours or visit local restaurants and street food stalls to try out classic Malaysian cuisine.
Continue reading to discover 10 popular attractions and activities you can do in George Town.
10 Fun Things You Can Do in George Town, Penang
1. Take in the Arts at the Hin Bus Depot
Originally established as a bus depot in the 1920s, Hin Bus Depot has since been converted into a creative space for artists and local communities.
It provides visitors with a unique and dynamic experience, blending heritage and contemporary culture in the heart of George Town’s UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The depot features a collection of colonial-style buildings and workshops, showcasing a mix of traditional and modern architecture. It regularly features exhibitions, concerts, film screenings, and other cultural events.
Hin Bus Depot is also home to several small cafes, galleries, and boutique shops, making it a popular hot spot for both tourists and locals.
2. Indulge in Delicious Street Food
With a unique combination of Peranakan, Hokkien Chinese, Indian, Malay, and British flavours, foodies can enjoy interesting dishes and be exposed to new cultures all over George Town.
Popular street food options in George Town include:
- Char Koay Teow
- Mee Goreng
- Nasi Kandar
- Assam Laksa
- Teochew Chendol
- Hokkien Mee
- And many more!
3. Learn About Penang’s History at City Hall
George Town’s City Hall was built in 1903 and served as the administrative centre for the British colonial government until Malaysia gained independence in 1957.
It is an excellent example of Edwardian Baroque architecture, featuring intricate details and impressive stone facades.
Today, the building serves as a cultural and community centre, hosting exhibitions, performances, and events.
It is open to the public and provides a glimpse into the city’s rich history, as well as its role in shaping the cultural and architectural landscape of Penang.
There’s also lots to see and do around City Hall, as it is surrounded by lush green parks, charming colonial buildings, and a bustling street market.
4. Explore the Penang Jewish Cemetery
The Jewish Cemetery in George Town is a historic burial ground located on Jalan Zainal Abidin.
The cemetery serves as a reminder of the once-thriving Jewish community in George Town, which played a significant role in the city’s development and cultural heritage.
The graves are adorned with intricate headstones and symbols, reflecting the unique customs and traditions of the Jewish community.
Some of the headstones are also written in Hebrew, adding to the cemetery’s historical significance.
Today, the Jewish Cemetery is a protected heritage site, and visitors are welcome to explore its grounds and pay their respects to the departed.
5. Visit ChinaHouse
ChinaHouse is a traditional compound of three heritage buildings linked by an open-air courtyard. It is home to 14 outlets, including a bakery, cafes, restaurants, galleries, and more.
The compound also has the longest cafe in Penang, where one can be spoilt for choice with its many cakes and pastries.
6. Tour George Town’s Colonial Architecture
George Town is also famous for its well-preserved colonial architecture, which is a testament to its rich cultural heritage and history.
The city has many buildings and monuments that reflect the influence of British colonial rule, as well as the architectural styles of the Dutch and Portuguese.
Some of the most notable examples of colonial architecture in George Town include:
- The Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower
- The Penang State Museum
- The Georgetown Dispensary
- Suffolk House
- Anglican St George’s Church
7. Spend A Day Learning About Dinosaurs
Located in the heart of the George Town Heritage City Centre is Malaysia’s largest dinosaur park. The Jurassic Research Centre features over 200 dinosaurs for kids to explore.
It also has many exciting activities for adults, including the Rainbow Skywalk, where visitors can enjoy a 360-degree panoramic view of George Town.
8. Have Fun After Dark
George Town is also known for its vibrant nightlife, offering a wide range of entertainment options for visitors and locals alike.
From bustling street food markets to clubs and live music venues, there is something for everyone.
One of the most popular nightlife hotspots in George Town is Chulia Street, a bustling street lined with bars, cafes, and street food stalls.
9. Explore Little India
Little India in George Town is a vibrant neighbourhood that reflects the rich cultural heritage of the Indian community in Malaysia.
The streets of Little India are lined with colourful shops and stalls selling various goods, from traditional Indian spices and textiles to modern electronics and clothing.
Visitors can also try out a plethora of delicious Indian dishes, from savoury curries and biryanis to sweet desserts and drinks.
10. Snap Fun Photos at the Upside-Down Museum
The Upside-Down Museum offers a visually stunning and disorienting experience that is sure to captivate visitors of all ages.
It is a popular destination for families, tourists, and anyone looking for a fun and interactive experience in George Town.
The museum features various rooms and settings, including a living room, bedroom, and kitchen, all of which are hung upside down from the ceiling.
The museum also features a range of photo opportunities, including a famous upside-down car, allowing visitors to capture stunning photos and create fond memories with friends and family.
Read More: Places to Go and Best Food to Try in TTDI
George Town, Penang: A Traditional Yet Modern City
A bustling and picturesque city, George Town’s beautiful historic streets are home to Malaysia’s culture and traditions, along with a variety of the country’s delicious street food.
You can also visit our main blog to learn more about the different states in Malaysia and where you can move or travel to next!