Established by Francis Light in 1786 as a trading post for the East India Company, Georgetown was one of the three Straits Settlements along with Malacca and Singapore. As the new settlement attracted 10,000 settlers of all creeds and nations, Light proposed that ‘each race has a right to preserve its civil and religious peculiarities.’
Modern-day Georgetown is one of Malaysia’s largest cities with nearly 600,000 inhabitants and is blessed with more than 100 spiritual sites built by consecutive waves of migrants and sojourners. Here, houses of worship representing various world religions are lined up along an axis. The place illustrates a history of peaceful religious co-existence and cultural exchange among the followers of the great faiths of Islam (Kapitan Keling Mosque, Acheen Street Mosque, Nagore Shrine), Buddhism (Kuan Yin Temple, Wat Chayamangkalaram), Hinduism (Durga Shrine, Sri Maha Mariamman Temple), Christianity (Cathedral of the Assumption, St Georgeâ€™s Church), as well as the Chinese religion (Cheah Kongsi, Yap Kongsi, Khoo Kongsi), which combines Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism.
George Town is very compact â€“ the older part of the city is a labyrinth of narrow lanes and alleyways, which makes it a pleasure to walk and sight-see:
- Penang State Museum
- Penang Islamic Museum
- Penang Heritage Center
- Penang Clock Tower
- Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion
- City Hall, Esplanade
- Fort Cornwallis
- Clan Jetties – Weld Quay
Georgetown is also a shopping haven with its abundance of shopping malls and street markets, be sure to hone your bargaining skills before venturing into the market!
Thereâ€™s a wide range of accommodations available in Georgetown that suits your budget, some of these are only steps from the major sights.