Penang Heritage

Georgetown was recognized for its Penang Heritage by UNESCO in 2008 when the island capital was designated as a World Heritage City. Visitors swarm to the island to see the many places to visit in Penang. Like walking through a living museum, Georgetown is a place where history seems to have stood still.

Penang Heritage Trail

Due to Penang’s rich, multicultural history, the island has a lot to offer to tourists. The heritage trail was a project of the local government council to qualify Georgetown for its UNESCO World Heritage Recognition. Several routes make up the heritage trail, which is a self-guided tour around Georgetown’s historical sites.

Penang World Heritage

Cheah Kongsi in Penang

Tour guides are available to lead tourists around Georgetown, but the trails are easy to follow and buildings are clearly marked explaining their cultural and historical significance to Penang heritage. Using a brochure map from the tourist information center, most tourists enjoy trail at their own pace.

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion

The historical Blue Mansion in Georgetown was named after the founder Mr. Cheong. Construction started on the two story Chinese style courtyard house in the late 19th century. One of only three of its kind left outside of China, the mansion beautifully embodies the Penang infusion of western and eastern culture.

Master craftsmen brought to Penang from China used materials imported from the west to build the classic pre-war design mixed with artistic Chinese tradition. In 2000, Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion recieved the UNESCO Most Excellent Project Asia Pacific Heritage Award.

The museum is open daily for tours, but can also be rented out for weddings, seminars, and other private events.

Fort Cornwallis

This historical landmark designates the site where Francis Light first set foot on Penang in 1786. He then took possession of the mainly uninhabited island from the Sultan of Kedah, establishing a free port for trade.

The Fort was built as a defense against pirates, Kedah forces, and the French, but served mainly for administrative purposes. Constructed in 1786, the star shaped structure spans 4490 square feet with walls about 10 feet high, making it the largest standing fort in Malaysia.

Fort Cornwallis is popular among tourists and offers knowledgeable tour guides dressed in colonial soldier outfits to give visitors a real glimpse of Penang heritage through the fort’s rich history.

Kek Lok Si Temple

The largest temple in Malaysia looks over Penang on the slopes of Air Itam. Also called the Temple of Supreme Bliss, is one of the most stunning sites in Penang. The temple’s seven story Pagoda houses 10,000 bronze Buddha statues. In the Hall of Devas, you can see the four heavenly kings, said to control the four points of the compass. At the temple’s highest point is a 36 meter statue of the Goddess of Mercy. From the top of the temple, visitors have a stunning view of Penang.

With so many places to visit in Penang, you may find yourself returning to experience Penang heritage a second or even third time! From its rich history to its incredible art and culture, the energetic city of Georgetown is definitely worth seeing.

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