Georgetown, Penang: UNESCO World Heritage Site

 

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       Sometimes, you travel to a place not actually knowing what to expect. Or you have minimal expectations.  That was how we felt when we booked our trip to Penang in Malaysia last year. What we thought would be a rather dull vacation turned out to be one of the best (and cheapest – thanks to Air Asia) we had last year!

 

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      Getting to Georgetown from Manila, (Georgetown is the capital of the island and state of Penang located on the west coast of peninsular Malaysia), one has of course go to Kuala Lumpur first.  It was just a short plane ride away from Clark, the hub of Air Asia.

 

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      What really attracted us to Penang was because of GEORGETOWN which was only recently listed by UNESCO (in 2008) as a World Heritage Site, together with fellow former Straits Settlement, Melaka.

 

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      Founded in 1786 by British trader Francis Light, Georgetown was one of the three Straits Settlements along with Malacca and Singapore. Modern-day Georgetown is one of Malaysia’s largest cities with 600,000 inhabitants.

 

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     Today, the town is known for its well-preserved colonial core, with original shophouses dating from the 19th century to the 1930′s still surviving, together with their trades of old. Street markets and hawkers continue to be a part of daily life, and the atmosphere is often likened to that of Singapore back in the 1960′s and 1970′s.

 

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      Now we realized that our five days in Penang was too short … there were just too much to see, and too many food to try!  More about that later.

 

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