Friday, April 27, 2012

Georgetown, Penang - Part 1

7th - 10 Mar 2012

Penang’s much bigger and more populated than I thought it would be. The airport was, and no doubt still is, undergoing some major renovations…but we eventually found the exit to catch a public bus into Georgetown. 
A 45 minute ride, stopping at various locations, along the way. I was ssooo hungry, as soon as we entered a huge shopping complex I voted to disembark. It so happened that we were at Komtar mall, where for buses, all roads lead…well, most of them. It makes a good landmark, being home to Penang's tallest building.

After sating the stomach demons, we hailed a taxi to our hotel. Turns out we were only a kilometre, or less, away.

The Old Penang Guesthouse (review) is located on Love Lane, which is in the Georgetown Heritage walk area.
Although, not greatly impressed with our temporary lodgings, it is however in an ideal location. Just around the corner from the Goddess of Mercy Temple, which is just around the corner from the famous blue Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion. And, a great place for dinner, the Red Garden.  A huge array of individual food outlets surrounding a dining area, with live entertainment which can be a quite good, if not entertaining for all the wrong reasons.
For a photographer, or someone with a half decent camera, there’s plenty of old buildings to snap. The architecture is a melting pot of British, Indian, Islamic, and Chinese. One aspect stood out for me and that was the inclusion of small decorative tiles on many of the old terrace house entrances.
I loved these quirky sculptured signs on some of the walls, explaining where you are. The result of a competition, a series of them have been made and gradually installed since 2009.
Along another path of the walk, it feels more English  (for very good reason), passing the Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower, Fort Cornwallis and City Hall.
 Wiki says ‘Penang has one of the largest collections of pre-war buildings in Southeast Asia. This is for the most part due to the Rent Control Act which froze house rental prices for decades, making redevelopment unprofitable.’ 
This apparently is the reason for many of the buildings being in a state of disrepair, but, Georgetown definitely has a certain charm about it. The Act was repealed in 2000, so fingers crossed many of the buildings will be restored and not bulldozed.

Snap's other blog Chiang Mai Thai


biervoormij said... Best Blogger Tips

Did you do the tour of the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion? I found it really interesting and well worth the time. I wish I would have at the red garden it look like it would have been fun.

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

No...we didn't :( Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion looked closed every time we walked past. And, we only had one drizzly day free to wander around and another day to visit Penang Hill (the next post).

There were also 'Hop on, hop off' tourist buses servicing the area which would have been very useful had we had more time.

DanPloy said... Best Blogger Tips

I liked Penang a lot. I have been twice and would like to go back, especially as I haven't explored Georgetown. I still fancy taking the train from Bangkok to Singapore, stopping over at Georgetown. One day.

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

Dan think I (probably not Stray) could spend a couple of weeks exploring Georgetown and's very pretty and appeared to be easy to get around using the public bus system.

I'm not even going to talk about trains! ;)

Mihnea said... Best Blogger Tips

I remember visiting Penang back in the days when digital cameras were not the norm (2002) and the photos I developed from the film are of poor quality. But still, they're memories.

It's a place I'd like to revisit sometimes in the near future.

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

Penang does seem to be an 'I'll have to go back there one day' kind of place.

My camera has had many a mention on this blog. There is a saying 'a good tradesman never blames his/her tools' but, in the case of digital cameras, I think they've come a long way since Stray bought mine.

I do have a larger, more cumbersome camera, but I think it's time for a serious slim line upgrade...perhaps around Xmas time...Stray!!!!!

Thanks for dropping by Mihnea :)

DanPloy said... Best Blogger Tips

Why wait. It is Labour Day here on the 1st and Coronation day on the 5th when traditionally articles of royal use were given to the King. Like cameras.

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

@DanPloy I've presently misplaced my no new camera coming my way soon.

I was thinking about your train trip from BKK to Singapore. Wouldn't you be worried about travelling through Hat Yai and surrounding areas?

DanPloy said... Best Blogger Tips

Yes. I haven't read of any attacks on the train but it seems inviting trouble so I don't think we will be doing it anytime soon.

Catherine said... Best Blogger Tips

Snap, I somehow missed your entire Penang series. I've been traveling, sure, but I'm signed up for your email bits so I'm not sure what's up with that.

That's a GREAT shot outside the window of your plane. On my last trip I tried to take some with my iPhone but they are just so so.

I'm headed to Penang in August so off I go to read Penang number 2!

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

@Catherine That shot out of the plane window was the only glimpse of the floating Mosque I got. If you squint you can see it.

I would love to revisit and take my time looking around.

And, your excused for missing my entire 2 posts on Penang, lol.