George town is the capital city of the island and state of Penang, on the west coast of peninsular Malaysia. It is the second largest city in Malaysia and was listed by UNESCO in 2008 as a ‘World Heritage Site’. Georgetown, is a mix of Chinese, Malay and Indian influences besides being a British colonial bastion, as the name suggests. It is also considered the starting point of the Baba-Nyonya culture of Malacca and Penang.
The variety of cultures on display within the heritage area, such as Muslim, Chinese, Indian and European, is unique to Georgetown. With its combination of Chinese and Muslims, Georgetown takes its religious resting days seriously. Most of the town stops working for the latter half of Saturday, and all of Sunday.
The city has a relaxed pace of life, as restaurants, small shops, and mall shops don’t fully open until around noon. Georgetown offers an amazing array of street food, blending Malay, Chinese, Indian, Thai and European influences.
Interesting Facts about George Town
- Penang was part of the Malay sultanate of Kedah until 1786 when Captain Francis Light built a fort at the site of present-day George town and managed to get the island ceded to the British East India Company.
- George town which is Penang state’s capital city is one of only two cities in Malaysia to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One can have your fill of art and culture by just walking around.
- Penang is the birthplace of shoe designer Jimmy Choo, the co-founder of Jimmy Choo Ltd that is known for its handmade women’s shoes. Born into a family of shoemakers, Choo’s father taught him the art of shoe-making. Jimmy made his first shoe when he was 11 years old.
- Penang population currently stood at about 1.5 million. It’s the only state in Malaysia
where ethnic Chinese forms the majority.
- There is an abundance of 24-hour clinics because most folks in Penang go to these places to get checked up for common aches and pains. Hospitals, as it seems, are for more critical and sensitive sicknesses.
- The official state religion is Islam, but freedom of worship is observed. Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, Taoism and other religions are freely practiced.
- The city is known for being the “food paradise” of Malaysia with a wealth of street food or “hawker food” that emphasizes noodles, spices, and fresh seafood. Penang’s cuisine reflects the Chinese, Nyonya, Malay and Indian ethnic mix of Malaysia, as well as influences from Thailand.
- It is is the first state in Malaysia to launch the “No Plastic Bag Day” campaign.
- Weather in George town is all time hot and dry. With the temperature of about 30 Degree Celsius and occasionally raining. Monsoon season is the month of November to March. So, if you came from a snowy place, prepare yourself to have a natural sweat – All day long!