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What You don’t Know about Georgetown, Penang

Hey and ‘lu ho boh’- that’s ‘how are you ‘ in Hokkien, the primary Chinese language dialect in Penang.
The historic metropolis of George Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Before we begin, let me tell you a little about Penang, or sometimes identified because the Pearl of the Orient.

Penang used to be part of Malay Sultanate of Kedah, across the sea in the mainland. But in 1786, Captain Francis Light managed to get Penang from the Sultan of Kedah for the British East India Firm, along with Singapore and Malacca. He then built what is understood right this moment as George Town.

Penang will get its identify from the Malay word Pinang which implies ‘betel nut’, and Pulau Pinang literally means ‘betel nut island’. It was later named Prince of Wales Island, commemorating King George IV. Georgetown was named after King George III. At this time Penang is the third largest economic system in the country, after Selangor and Johor.

On the earth Heritage Committee Session in July 2008, Georgetown, along with Malacca were listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Georgetown was voted twice as probably the greatest cities in Asia. Additionally it is ranked as 10th among the top locations in Asia where Europeans prefer to work and live in, based on its weather, air high quality, infrastructure, health companies, housing, security and politics.

Georgetown has some of one of the best tourist places in Malaysia. Let’s get to know a few of them.

Fort Cornwallis
On top of our itinerary is definitely Fort Cornwallis. The biggest standing fort in Malaysia, Fort Cornwallis is a star-formed fort named after the late 18th century Governor- Common of Bengal in India, Charles Cornwallis. It was constructed by Sir Francis Light after it took possession of Penang from the Sultan of Kedah in 1786. The original fort was built with nibong, or palm trunk. A couple of years later, the new fort was rebuilt with manpower of Indian convicts, and at last completed in 1810.

The fort is intended to defend the island against the pirates and the French because of the Napoleonic Wars. There used to be a deep and wide moat surrounding the fort, but it is now filled as a consequence of a malaria outbreak.

Although the fort was built for defence, it was used more for administrative purposes. Actually, the funny thing is that the fort has never engaged in any battle.

There you will see many old cannons. The biggest one, called the Seri Rambai cannon, was a gift from the Dutch to the Sultan of Johor. Later, the Potuguese took possession of the cannon where it stayed in Java until it was seized by the British and placed here in Fort Cornwallis.

This fort was gazetted in 1977 as an Ancient Monument and Historic site and today is considered one of Penang’s most famous tourist attractions.

Convent Light Steet
The next interesting attraction is the Convent Light Street, or Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus. It was founded back in 1852 by 3 French nuns who took over the previous government house to start their convent. It originally houses within its walls the Francis Mild bungalow, which was build in 1790. It was eventually leased out to the East India Company as a government home, earlier than finally settling as a learning institution.

The building was expanded, and finally housed a chapel, cloisters for the Sisters, an orphanage, a boarding house for college kids and classrooms for the varsity. The Convent continues to function a school and has been painstakingly and continuously restored in recent years with funds raised from the public.

St. George’s Church
Next is the St. George’s Anglican Church along Farquhar Avenue. Founded by Reverend Robert Sparke Hutchings, it is the oldest Anglican Church in Southeast Asia, which works back all of the way to 1818. It is designed in the Georgian Palladian fashion, a mix of the Georgian fashion, which is attribute to King George I and King George IV, and the Palladian fashion, which is attributed to the Grecian architecture by a Roman referred to as Palladius.

Look on the lengthy Roman columns and pillars and the white washed partitions. The unique roof was flat, but there was a tiny downside. The weather, or more precisely, the tropical rains made it unsuitable to have a flat roof and it was later made into the present shape. Look out also for the tall steeple that forms the apex of the roof.

There is a pavilion that sits opposite the church that houses a memorial to Francis Light. There is an inscription that reads: “In Memory of Francis Light, Esquire, who first established this island as an English Settlement and was many years Governor. Born in the county of Suffolk in England and died October 21st 1794. In his capacity as governor, the settlers and natives were greatly attached to him, and by his demise had to deplore the loss of one who watched over their interest and cares as a father.”

The church is declared one of the 50 National Treasures of Malaysia.
The Cathedral of the Assumption

Next is The Cathedral of the Assumption on Faquhar Street. It got its name from the Feast of the Assumption, which happened to be the day when the first group of Catholics arrived in Penang in 1786. It was in 1955 that the church grew to become a cathedral in accordance with a decree by the Vatican.

This majestic greyish white coloured building with horizontal bands is an example of fine colonial architecture.

Jap and Oriental Lodge
Next is the world renowned Jap and Oriental Lodge. Once known because the “Premier Resort East of Suez,” it is commonly called the E&O Resort or Eastern & Oriental Hotel.

The E & O Resort was one of the few inns in the region that was managed by the Sarkies Brothers. The Sarkies also operated the Raffles in Singapore, the Strand in Rangoon and the Crag Hotel on Penang Hill. The truth is, they’re still in existence as we speak and are considered high-notch accommodations, apart from the one on Penang Hill, which is not functioning anymore.

In 1884, the E & O began its operations and by the Roaring 20s had gained much worldwide recognition for being an opulent institution through the generosity of Arshak Sarkies, the most flamboyant of the brothers. He would waive off associates’ bills and allow some planters to stay free of charge, which led to individuals calling the E & O ‘Eat and Owe’. Sarkies ran the hotel out of pleasure greater than for profit and it ultimately showed, when the hotel came close to bankruptcy. However, at present the enterprise has been revitalized and the E&O continues to retain its charm.

The E & O has had many well-known patrons, and they embrace Sir Noel Coward, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Rudyard Kipling, Somerset Maugham, Hermann Hesse, Sun Yat Sen and Charlie Chaplin. Despite having gone by periods of uncertainty and sometimes teetering on the brink of obscurity, the E & O nonetheless runs and features as top-of-the-line resorts in Penang. Weddings, dinners and special occasions are still celebrated here.

If you cannot afford to stay there, you may nonetheless go to the bar or restaurant and unwind like Charlie Chaplin and Rudyard Kipling did!

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion
Subsequent is the Cheong Fatt Tze mansion. Cheong Fatt Tze was a rag to riches story. Coming to Malaya in 1856 to work in the tin mines at 16, he worked his way and made a fortune trading tea, pepper, coffee and tobacco with the British Empire.

Cheong Fatt Tze had a status of a wise businessman and ultimately turned Consult General for China, and had the place of ‘Mandarin of the highest Order’. He also became the director of China’s railway and first modern bank and was nicknamed the “Rockefeller of the East” by the brand new York Occasions, who additionally dubbed him as “China’s final Mandarin and first capitalist.”

Regardless of having homes throughout Asia, and specifically Indonesia and China due to his business and personal interests, Cheong Fatt Tze still favoured this mansion in Penang the most, and consulted feng shui masters in building it. When Cheong Fatt Tze finally passed away in 1916, the Dutch and the British honoured this extraordinary man by flying flags at half-mast.

The mansion is open everyday from 11.00am and 3.00pm with tours conducted at these times. The tour is effectively worth your time and you can marvel at the art of feng shui that went into Cheong Fatt stone island fur parka jacket Tze’s mansion. Apart from the architecture, the mansion is also dedicated to the memory of the man himself.

Apart from the architecture, the Cheong Fatt Tze mansion also has many antiques and old images that gives you a glimpse of the lives of genteel Chinese businessmen then. An interesting fact is that Cheong Fatt Tze’s seventh wife was awarded the privilege of living in the mansion with him. The mansion has also been used for filming as well, one of the more famous films filmed here was ‘Indochine’ starring Catherine Deneuve.

The Cheong Fatt Tze mansion used to also encompass the row of terrace houses across the road, which you’ll be able to see while you go to. This specific row was where the kitchen, storage rooms and servants’ quarters used to dwell. Maids carrying their ordinary white shirts and black pants would hurriedly prepare meals for his or her mistress and master.

Christian Cemetery
Next is the Protestant Cemetery. Although it may seem a bit sombre and morbid, strolling by the old Protestant Cemetery is a great idea if you are in Georgetown. It provides you with a sense of the hardships that have been faced by those that had chosen to make their residence right here. Among the tombstones have been restored by the heritage trust, though many inscriptions can no longer be read. Reading the epitaphs on the stones brings a melancholic, romantic feel especially when reading about the lives of the early settlers. Many died from tropical ailments similar to malaria and one stone even mentions that the deceased died from jungle fever.

Most of these people were laid to rest here because it was too far to take their bodies again, and doing that would take many weeks, additional deteriorating the bodies. So the Christian Cemetery is the final resting place of many pioneers together with Sir Francis Light, Sir Stamford Raffles’ brother-in-law and a young officer named Thomas Leonowens. You could be accustomed to the story of his spouse, Anna Leonowens, who moved to Singapore after Thomas died of apoplexy. Here, she obtained an invitation to show English to the children of the Siamese King. A romanticised account of her life in Siam inspired the film called ‘Anna and the King’ starring Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner, and the musical ‘The King And i’. The remake of this film in 1999 starred Jodie Foster and Chow Yuen Fatt, and part of it was shot in right here in Georgetown.

Suffolk House
Next is the Suffolk Home, or what was once Sir Francis Light’s Residency. Francis Light built his dwelling, where he landscaped and constructed the interior to resemble that of a country dwelling of his birthplace of Suffolk, England.

He lived in Suffolk House as it was named, together with his life lengthy companion, Martina Rozells and his 5 children. The Suffolk House served as the governor’s residency for the first 100 years and was later bought over by a planter, and the house and land became a part of the Methodist Boys’ Faculty, final used as a canteen for the scholars.

The Suffolk Home received the 2008 UNESCO Award of Distinction. It’s one in all the two cultural heritage conservation projects in Malaysia to win the UNESCO award in 2008 and this Award of Distinction is the second highest award given by UNESCO Asia Pacific for Cultural Heritage Conservation.

Kuan Yin Teng
Subsequent is Kuan Yin Teng, one of many oldest Chinese language temples in Malaysia. It was inbuilt 1801 by early Chinese language immigrants. The building is decorated with intricately crafted dragons and two stone lions guard the door. This temple is dedicated to Kuan Yin, the Chinese Goddess of Mercy. It is one of the most visited vacationer websites in Penang.

The Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi
The Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi is a clan affiliation, one in every of the many in Malaysia. Built in 1850 by the forefathers of the Khoo family who emigrated from South China, it functions as a clan-home for anybody who has the surname Khoo. A temple was constructed however a hearth razed your entire wood structure. The local Chinese believed that the gods had burned it down because the structure resembled the Heavenly Emperor’s palace. The version you see at present was completed in 1906. All around, you can see richly ornamented carvings of the roofs, walls and pillars that mirror the art and architecture of historic China. At the end of the tour, anticipate to have a stiff neck.

Queen Victoria Clock Tower
Next is the Queen Victoria Clock Tower. This 60-foot-high clock tower was presented to Penang by local millionaire, Cheah Chen Eok, in 1897 to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.

Wat Chaiyamangalaram
Next is the Wat Chaiyamangalaram temple, founded in 1845. This Thai Buddhist Temple is famous for its 33 meter long reclining Buddha, one of the world’s longest. The temple was built on a piece of land given by Queen Victoria to four women trustees as a gesture of goodwill to boost trading relations with Thailand. Look out for the guardian dragons at the entrance.

Kapitan Keling Mosque
Next is the Kapitan Keling Mosque, was built in the early 19th century, by the Kapitan Keling Caudeer Mohudeen. It is the most prominent historic mosque in Penang and features a dome-shaped minaret reflecting Moorish Islamic influence. The Kapitan Keling Mosque is the place of worship of the Indian Muslim neighborhood who’ve lived and labored across the mosque for over 200 years. Not like trendy mosques which might be primarily frequented on Fridays, the Kapitan Keling Mosque is used by worshippers 5 times a day, seven days per week. If you would like to go to, you need to be decently dressed and ladies must put on a gown that you will get from the mosque staff.

Every Malaysian claims his or her hometown is the food capital of Malaysia. The people of Penang would claim Penang meals is the perfect in Malaysia, and it’s not straightforward to disagree.

A number of the should trys in Penang is the Penang Kuay Teow, or fried noodle dish with eggs, cockles and vegetables. Ask for it to be cooked much less spicy if you cannot take spicy food.

Other Chinese dishes you must strive are: beef noodle and ‘chee cheong enjoyable’ or steamed flat noodle topped with shrimp and chilli sauce. You too can strive the fried oyster, a popular seafood dish. ‘Hokkien mee’ is a noodle dish in spicy prawn based soup. You will need to additionally strive Penang laksa, which can be a noodle dish however this time with fish primarily based soup.

For something candy, some extremely recommended street food are the ‘tau sah pneah’ which is biscuit with green paste inside, ‘muah chee’ that are peanut coated glutinous rice balls; and ‘bee koh moy’ which is a black glutinous rice porridge often taken as an afternoon dessert.

For Indian Muslim meals, the Penang nasi kandar could be very well-known in Malaysia. It’s a rice meal with many types of dishes made using many varieties of spices. Also, attempt the rojak pasembur which is a vegetable salad with candy and spicy sauce.

Different distinctive delicacies embrace ‘otak-otak’ or steamed fish cake wrapped in banana leaves and ‘Or Koay’ or steamed yam cakes topped with dried shrimp, fried shallots, spring onion and sliced purple chilli.

I hope I did not make your stomach growl. Penang is mostly a meals haven, and you must attempt no less than just a few native delicacies earlier than leaving.

Getting round in Georgetown is easy. You’ll be able to take the bus or taxi. One fascinating mode of transportation is the trishaw, a sort of bicycle car, however the trishaw is getting increasingly more uncommon. Trishaws have been precise modes of transportation in the olden times but today- they cater to tourists and can go up to 30 Ringgit per hour.

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Properly, that is the top of the information for Georgetown. I hope you’ll take pleasure in your self visiting the oldest standing fort in Malaysia, marvelling at some 17th century churches, unwinding in a world well-known resort, touring some Muslim mosques, Buddhist temples, and previous colonial buildings and not forgetting, savouring meals in Malaysia’s meals capital.

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