More beautiful destinations in George Town, Malaysia.
Hin Bus Depot Art Centre
The elegant remains of this former bus station have become a vibrant hub for George Town's burgeoning contemporary art scene. Half a dozen artist studios and a gallery host exhibitions (ranging from sculpture to photography), an arts-and-crafts market every Sunday (11 am to 5 pm), and art-house movies and documentaries on Tuesdays. The open-air areas are bedecked with street art.
Within the grounds, you'll also find several cafes and the Run Amok gallery and shop.
Under a canopy of magnolia trees you’ll find the graves of Captain Francis Light and many others, including governors, merchants, sailors and Chinese Christians who fled the Boxer Rebellion in China (a movement opposing Western imperialism and evangelism), only to die of fever in Penang. Also here is the tomb of Thomas Leonowens, the young officer who married Anna – the schoolmistress to the King of Siam, made famous by The King and I.
For the stories behind the gravestones, pick up the informative brochure George Town's Northam Road Protestant Cemetery, available at the Penang Heritage Trust or George Town World Heritage Incorportated.
Although this street is named for Penang's Armenian population (such as the famous Sarkies who established the Eastern & Oriental Hotel), there's no evidence that any Armenians actually ever lived here. In the early 1800s the street was known as Malay Lane from a kampung (village) settlement here, and later the Chinese named it pak thang-ah kay (copper worker's street) because this is where brass- and copperware were sold.
It later became a centre for Chinese secret societies and was one of the main fighting stages of the 1867 Penang riots.
The Top at KOMTAR
There are all kinds of attractions promised in this major revamp of part of George Town's iconic KOMTAR tower, which was well under way during our latest research visit. Likely to have the widest appeal is the Rainbow Skywalk on the 68th-floor rooftop of the building along with an observation deck below. Also promised are various indoor theme-park rides and areas at lower levels and the Penang State Gallery focusing on local history.
Check the website for admission fees and opening hours.
The largest and most intact of the clan jetties, Chew Jetty consists of 75 elevated houses, several Chinese temples, a community hall and lots of tourist facilities, all linked by elevated wooden walkways. It’s a fun place to wander around admiring docked fishing boats while the scent of frying fish wafts across the walkways. There are numerous places to browse souvenirs and nibble snack food.
Arrive towards sunset to take 'golden-hour' photos from the end of the jetty (you'll be in good company).
Kuan Yin Teng
This temple dedicated to Kuan Yin – the goddess of mercy, good fortune, peace, and fertility – is a captivating place to observe Taoist ritual. Rebuilt in the early 19th century by the first Hokkien and Cantonese settlers in Penang, the temple stands on the site of an earlier shrine. This popular temple seems to be forever swathed in smoke from the outside furnaces where worshippers burn paper money, and from the incense sticks waved around inside.
Hope you enjoy your stay in Malaysia!
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