Penang is an island in northern Malaysia that pays homage to all three cultures of Malay, Indian and Chinese. When we arrived at this oldest British settlement state, I already noticed the culture influence built by the these three different nationalities. We mainly visited the city of Georgetown, a UNESCO World heritage site. The city is brimming with old colonial style buildings, ancient temples and mosques. We went on a short tour to Penang’s museum, not the best exhibition but a great way to spend time looking at the preserved heritage of the state and of course, to cool down as the place is air-conditioned. 😛
We had rickshaws lined up waiting outside the bus to take us for a city tour. It was a bit scary since they were driving right through the lanes of cars. We were taken through the streets of Chinatown down to Little India. I have not gone to India yet, but surely I think this is what it must be when I finally go- loud Bollywood music, colorful sights and crowded streets!
Next stop was the batik factory and showroom. There wasn’t much to see on this shop.They just showed us how to make stamped batik cotton and hand painted batik on silk . Afterwards we visited a Buddhist temple that housed a long reclining Buddha. One of the temples had compartments in the walls that contained people’s ashes, basically like a cemetery in a wall.
Our last stop was the Clan Jetties. It was interesting to observe how the people lived many years ago and are still living in stilt houses over the sea. I was not actually surprised to see the poverty of the place since slums area in Manila is far worse. The jetty was quite small though more like a street but built with wood planks. They said that this village was built this way because of the opportunity to avoid paying property tax on structures built over the water.
One thing that I like best about Penang were the street arts and, in particular, the wall murals. Finding them was just as exciting as their food- really interesting!