Sights to Visit on a Walking Tour Around Penang’s George Town

Sights to Visit on a Walking Tour Around Penang’s George Town

Indulge in slow travel and walk around Penang the next time you’re in Malaysia!

Penang’s George Town has years of interesting history and heritage behind its growth as a tourism and business centre. A primary hub for trade even before the British influenced modern-day Malaysia, Penang is no stranger to a consistent influx of visitors eager to walk its bustling streets and experience its culture. Once you set foot in the city, you’ll begin to see its stories unfold.

A walking tour in George Town can go in a number of different directions — the possibilities endless and exciting. Depending on your interests, your appetite for adventure, and the kilometres your feet will willingly tread, George Town offers the most memorable walking tours in all of Malaysia. It all depends on where you want to start. Here are a few ideas.

Also read: Penang Nature Parks: A Local Guide to the Best Weekend Escapade

Did you know— you can now grab free seats on your flight to Penang! So, it’s time to make that George Town walking tour happen.

From now till 5 Jun 2022, AirAsia is offering free seats* on their flights to Penang! Book your flight and travel from today till 31 Oct 2022 for a trip that’s one for the books.

What’s more, you can book your hotel in Penang via the airasia Super App and use the code [PENANG10] to enjoy a 10% discount on all hotels on the platform!


* Terms and conditions apply.

The palette of Penang: George Town’s artistry

Children on a Swing

Image credit: Chung Kevin

Search for images of George Town on your browsers and chances are, you’ll be greeted by inspiring murals. Fact: George Town is wonderfully colourful, and your photos can definitely reflect this vibrancy. A thriving community of incredible artists keeps the tradition of mural painting alive and growing here, turning its blocks and alleyways into living canvases.

These efforts have earned George Town’s streets recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The declaration not only makes these murals a must-see for tourists; it also assures the community that future generations will still get to witness these works, and that the art form continues.

George Town walking tour: Where to see Penang’s famous murals and shophouses


Children on a Bicycle

Image credit: Jan on Flickr

Armenian Street is where these murals started almost a decade ago. The Penang Tourism Board commissioned Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic to create six murals on the buildings of this street in time for the 2012 Mirrors George Town. What followed after the project was an initiative by local street artists to continue the project in areas around the mural.

The most famous of these is the “Children on a Bicycle,” one of the few surviving murals made by Zacharevic. The work depicts two children on an actual bolted bicycle embedded on the mural wall. For this reason, locals and tourists alike form lines almost every day to be a part of the artwork by sitting on the bicycle. It undeniably does make for a great photo opportunity.

Take a look around, though, and you’re bound to see more: a blown-up orange tabby cat; a little girl strategically painted on a wall so she looks like she’s playing with the building’s windows; and other interactive pieces where tourists can be part of the dynamic scene.

George Town colonial shophouses

Penang Shophouses

Image credit: Nicolas Lannuzel

Another feature to keep your eyes peeled for? Penang’s traditional shophouses, which you’ll find on corner lots as you walk around George Town. These multifunctional structures provide a residential space above while commercial spaces run below. The facades of these shops are ornate to attract customers and tourists alike.

Shophouses are integral to Penang’s evolution as a business hub. Their architecture is pretty distinct; they range from the Chinese style and European art deco to traditional Penang style and even more modern aesthetics. Many of them make great backdrops for photos and also house some of the city’s best cafes and eateries! 

Bonus: Armenian Street Saturday Evening Market

The art scene in Penang’s George Town has also inspired artisans to feature their wares in the area. Every Saturday, artisans showcase their artistry and sell trinkets and other handmade items at the Armenian Street Saturday Evening Market. Here, you’re bound to find a souvenir that will catch your eye.

The palate of Penang: George Town’s cuisine

Penang prawn laksa

Penang prawn laksa | Image credit: melvinchia

Walking the streets of George Town in search of art will have your eyes full, but what about your belly? Fortunately, George Town is also known for its diverse cuisine. Your palate is bound to find its match, or maybe even develop a new preference, too!

George Town walking tour: Where to taste Penang’s best eats

Toh Soon

The best way to start your culinary adventure in Penang? Toh Soon’s egg and toast — the quintessential beginning to your mornings in George Town. It is simple to prepare, easy to eat, and balanced, nutritionally speaking, to help sustain your energy throughout the day. 

Bread is toasted over a charcoal grill, served with soft-boiled eggs on top with some kaya on the side. Kaya toast is a staple in Singapore, too, but Penang’s ambience turns the experience into something new altogether.

Nasi Kandar Deen Maju

For lunch, you might want to save some time by lining up early in Nasi Kandar Deen Maju. This famous local eatery serves nasi kandar and it is considered the best in Penang. If the never-ending queues don’t prove it, their crispy fried chicken and ensemble of curries and gravies certainly will! Basically, every mouthful is a harmonic convergence of flavours for your taste buds.

Penang Road Cendol

Penang Road offers the famous Teochew Cendol — a great way to cool yourself down as you walk around George Town. This luscious combination of coconut milk, kidney beans, and rice jelly can be quite filling and refreshing after a long walk, especially when served cold under the hot sun!

The past of Penang: George Town’s historical sites

Khoo Kongsi

Image credit: nimalan nims

It cannot be stressed enough how important George Town is to the development of Penang even before the British established its name. It is an integral part of the Straits of Malacca and has served as a central path for merchants that were interested in trading in the region. As a result, a myriad of influences is seen throughout the city.

George Town walking tour: Where to learn about Penang’s history

Kapitan Keling Mosque

Kapitan Keling Mosque

Image credit: Jordanlye on Canva Pro

Different temples founded across the city showcase not just the cultural diversity in Penang’s George Town, but also their beliefs. One of the first temples erected in George Town is Kapitan Keling Mosque, which dates back to the 19th century. The local Indian-Muslim community had the temple built and has become an iconic cultural landmark in Penang ever since. It is open to the public; visitors are required to wear cover up before entry.

St. George’s Cathedral

St. George’s Cathedral

Image credit: greenleaf123 on Canva Pro

Another religious landmark famous in George Town is St. George’s Cathedral, located along Harmony Street. It was built with the help of the British East India Company back in 1917. It sustained damage during the Japanese Occupation of Malaya during World War II, but was repaired right away after the war concluded. It is open to the public from Monday to Thursday; church services are held every Sunday.

Pinang Peranakan Mansion

Pinang Peranakan Mansion

Image credit: shakar s. on Flickr

We’ve mentioned how much of an economic and cultural hub George Town has been since its founding and you won’t find a better example of this than a visit to Pinang Peranakan Mansion.

This ornate mansion was owned by a wealthy Chinese merchant and has some of the best features in Peranakan architecture. It has since been restored by its current owners, furnishing its rooms with traditional wooden furniture and old photographs. There is also a museum within its grounds that features Peranakan jewelry and clothing set in life-sized exhibits made to look like rooms of an actual mansion. Stepping into Pinang Peranakan Mansion is like taking a peek into what life was like long ago in George Town.

Also read: Top 8 Hidden Bars & Speakeasies to Discover in Penang

It’s time to make that George Town walking tour happen.

From now till 5 Jun 2022, You can snap up free seats* on AirAsia flights to Penang! Book your flight and travel from today till 31 Oct 2022 for a trip that’s one for the books.

Don’t forget to also book your hotel via the airasia Super App! You can get 10% off your bookings by using the code [PENANG10]!


* Terms and conditions apply.

Where will your next George Town walking tour take you?

As you can see, there is a lot to explore in Penang’s George Town — so much so, that it could be impossible to tour the area in just one or two days. It holds its World Heritage Site status proudly and deservedly so, as the efforts to preserve its culture and history are laudable.

This city holds so many stories waiting to be told, from its rich past to its exciting present. Why don’t you, quite literally, take a walk down memory lane in George Town? Oh, and if you get tired of exploring on foot, you can always ride one of the famous Penang trishaws!

Brought to you by AirAsia.

About Author

Aldous Vince Cabildo
Aldous Vince Cabildo

Ever since growing up, Aldous learned how to look at things from an historical perspective. So whenever the opportunity to travel arises, he makes sure to go to places that contain local stories and memories. From there, he takes in the lessons from the past and picks out what to learn, or should it interest him, what to unlearn. At any chance he gets, he also makes sure to try out local cuisine. When not charting his next destination, Aldous likes to explore worlds found in video games, hip-hop, film, and professional wrestling. He is a proud resident of Tondo.