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UNESCO World Heritage Site in Malaysia: Visit These 7 Places Within the Historical City of George Town, Penang

12 May 2023
Image Credit: @akinoyuutsu, @kalsonchuah @zippyzipeng

Did you know that George Town has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008? In conjunction with the George Town World Heritage City Day, let’s visit these 7 places within the historical city of George Town, Penang.


Beach Street

A lady posing in front of old building at Beach Street Penanglxchennnn

This street is also known as Lebuh Pantai in Bahasa Malaysia. It was established in 1786 by Captain Francis Light. This street is like Penang's version of Wall Street which serves as a commercial and 🤑financial hub in George Town. Until today, it remains the primary Central Business District of George Town.


Mini library at Beach Street Penang



Beach Street is populated with 🏦bank buildings mainly built in Art Deco, Victorian and Neoclassical architectures from the 1800s to 1900s. Some of the international banks still using these buildings include Standard Chartered, HSBC, OCBC and more. Also located in the street is the surviving wing of the U-shaped old Government Offices, which houses the Penang State Islamic Council today.


A Cafe at Beach Street Penang



In addition to the old buildings, Beach Street is also a popular tourist attraction due to the gastronomy scene with multiple cafes and restaurants serving different types of ?mouth-watering foods.


Goddess of Mercy Temple

Goddess of Mercy Temple Penangzippyzipeng

Goddess of Mercy Temple Penang



Originally built for the worship of Mazu, this temple then transitioned to worship the Goddess of Mercy, more commonly known as Guan Yin in 1800. As one of the most popular Chinese temples in Penang, the Goddess of Mercy temple can get very busy on festive days such as the Jade Emperor's Birthday and Guan Yin’s birthday.


Goddess of Mercy Temple Penang



Goddess of Mercy Temple Penang



Also known as Guan Yin Teng, this temple has impressive Chinese architecture to start by. It has sweeping roofs, which can be seen typically in Chinese temples. Dragon carvings and motifs can also be found all over the temple, such as on the pillars and on both sides of the roof ridges. According to an urban legend, the water from the hidden well under the main altar of Guan Yin has healing properties.


⏰Hours: 8 am-6 pm

📞Phone: 04-261 4137

📍Address: 30, Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, George Town, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang


St. George's Church

Francis Light Memorial St. George's Church penangpanicha_tho

St. George's Church Penang



A 19th-century Anglican church, St. George's Church is the oldest purpose-built Anglican church in Southeast Asia. Unfortunately, the building was damaged during the Japanese occupation of Malaya, and many interior fittings were greedily looted. Within the church's compound is the Francis Light Memorial, erected in 1886 in memory of Captain Francis Light.


St. George's Church Penang



This white-washed church was built under the influence of Georgian, English Palladian and Neo-Classical architectures. The church also has a hint of Greece elements. This can be seen from the Doric columns in front of the building. The gable roof was originally just a flat roof, but it was later found out that such a structure was unsuitable in a tropical climate. Hence the gable roof was built in 1864.


⏰Hours: 10 am-12 am (Mon, Wed & Sat only)

📞Phone: 04-226 0708

📍Address: 1, Lebuh Farquhar, George Town, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang


Kapitan Keling Mosque

Kapitan Keling Mosqueooowenong

Kapitan Keling Mosque



Built by the Indian Muslim traders in the 19th century, Kapitan Keling Mosque was named after Caudeer Mohideen Merican, who was an Indian Kapitan known as Kapitan Keling. This mosque is located at the corner of Pitt Street and Buckingham Street and is the largest mosque in George Town. Designed by a German architect, Henry Alfred Neubronner, this mosque combines Indian-Mughal architecture with Roman Renaissance, Gothic and Moorish elements.


Interior of Kapitan Keling Mosque



Kapitan Keling Mosque Mihrabrieko_roemer


Originally built on an 18 acres site, it was reduced to 8 acres by 1903. It underwent renovation work in 1930, which resulted in its current appearance. The mosque was painted in yellow ochre, and the domes were given black coatings, covering up the yellow ochre-coloured that used to adorn all the domes. However, the original form of the mihrab remains unchanged.


⏰Hours: 5am-10pm

📞Phone: 04-261 4215

📍Address: 14, Jalan Buckingham, George Town, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang


Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansioncarmenhoyw

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion



At the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, you can see a mix of traditional Chinese architecture, Art Nouveau, Gothic and other influences. It was also built according to the principles of Feng shui at the end of the 19th century. This building is merely one of the many residences that Cheong Fatt Tze owned. 


Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion



Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion Room



Many people would probably recognise this blue eclectic style building from the internationally acclaimed movie; Crazy Rich Asian which also stared Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh and Henry Golding. Today, this mansion is owned by a group of local Penang individuals who bought the building from the descendants of the man himself, Cheong Fatt Tze in 1989. It is currently an 18-room hotel cum museum with day tours available if you don’t want to stay in the hotel.


📞Phone: 04-262 0006

📍Address: 14, Lebuh Leith, George Town, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang


Fort Cornwallis

Fort Cornwallismonk3yseendo

Fort Cornwallis Skeletal Steel lighthouse



Fort Cornwallis is a bastion fort built in the 18th century by the British East India Company. What is a bastion fort? Go read up-lah, don’t be lazy ok! This writer even attached the link. Built by Captain Francis Light in 1786, it was named after the then Lieutenant-General, The 2nd Earl Cornwallis. Originally, there was a 9m wide moat with 2m depth surrounding the fort. However, it was filled up to combat a malaria outbreak in the 1920s.


Francis Light Statue Fort Cornwallis



Seri Rambai Cannon at Fort Cornwallis



Lying inside the fort is the biggest bronze gun in Malaysia, Seri Rambai. Besides that, there is also a skeletal steel lighthouse. On top of that, a bronze statue of Francis Light was later added to the fort. Surprise, surprise! It was modelled after his son because there weren’t any portraits of the man himself for reference. This means that you'll be looking at Francis Light's statue that actually isn't Francis Light.


Admission Fees:


MyKad & MyKid

Adults (RM10)

Children (RM5)


Non-MyKad & MyKid

Adults (RM20)

Children (RM10)


*According to Google reviews, more than 1 person reported paying RM5 for adult admission while children can enter for free, but that could be due to the renovation that is going on.


⏰Hours: 9am-10pm

📞Phone: 04-263 9855

📍Address: Jalan Tun Syed Sheh Barakbah, George Town, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang


City Hall, Penang

City Hall, Penangschutters.anita

City Hall, Penang



Currently serving as the headquarters for Penang Island City Council, it used to be used as Municipal Offices upon its completion in 1903. The two-storey building has Edwardian Baroque and Palladian architectural influences. 2004-2005 was the last time this building was renovated. This building pretty much still has its original form except for the arcades (we are talking about the covered passage with arches, not game) on the ground floor. It is now enclosed with ?windows.


City Hall, Penang at night



Tourists are not allowed to enter the building, but there is an exhibition room where tourists can learn about the history of George Town. This place is a must-stop-by for ?Instagram frenzy people out there.


📍Address: Georgetown, 10200 George Town, Penang



Actually, there are more historical places within the UNESCO World Heritage Site of George Town not stated in this blog post. These 7 places are just the tip of the iceberg. If you want more, let us know on our Facebook or Instagram!


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