Things to Do in George Town, Malaysia: A Comprehensive Guide

George Town, located in Penang in Malaysia, is a vibrant city with a rich cultural heritage. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is known for its colonial architecture, street art, and delicious cuisine. Visitors to the city can enjoy various activities, from exploring historic sites and museums to taking in the region’s natural beauty.

One of the most popular things in George Town is to take a walking tour of the city’s street art. The city is home to numerous murals and installations by renowned artists such as Ernest Zacharevic, who has created some of the most iconic pieces in the city. Visitors can also explore the city’s historic sites, including the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion and the Kek Lok Si Temple. For those interested in learning more about the city’s history, the Penang State Museum and Art Gallery is a must-visit destination.

Foodies will also love George Town, known for its delicious cuisine. The city is home to various street food stalls and restaurants, serving everything from traditional Malaysian dishes to international cuisine. Some of the must-try dishes include char kway teow, laksa, and nasi kandar. Overall, George Town is a fascinating city with something to offer everyone, from history buffs to foodies to art lovers.

Top Attractions in George Town

George Town, the capital city of Penang Island, is a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its rich heritage, history, and culture. The city offers a range of attractions that cater to different interests, including historic sites, temples and pagodas, landmarks and monuments, and street art.

Historic Sites

George Town has many historic sites showcasing the city’s rich heritage and culture. The most popular historic sites include the Blue Mansion, Khoo Kongsi, and Clan Jetty. The Blue Mansion, also known as Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, is a 19th-century Chinese mansion with a unique blend of Eastern and Western architecture. Khoo Kongsi, on the other hand, is a clan house that showcases the traditional Peranakan decorative arts. Meanwhile, Clan Jetty is a floating village home to the descendants of Chinese immigrants who settled in the area in the 19th century.

Temples and Pagodas

George Town is also home to many temples and pagodas that showcase the city’s diverse religious and cultural heritage. Some of the most popular temples and pagodas include the Burmese, Buddhist areas, Sri Mahamariamman, and Kek Lok Si. The Burmese Temple, also known as Dhammikarama Burmese Temple, is the oldest Burmese temple in Malaysia and features a reclining Buddha statue. Sri Mahamariamman Temple, on the other hand, is a Hindu temple with intricate carvings and colorful decorations.

Landmarks and Monuments

George Town also has many landmarks and monuments that showcase the city’s rich history and culture. Fort Cornwallis, Penang Hill, and Gurney Drive are the most popular landmarks and monuments. Fort Cornwallis is a historic fort built by the British East India Company in the late 18th century. Penang Hill, on the other hand, is a popular tourist destination that offers stunning city views. Meanwhile, Gurney Drive is a popular waterfront promenade known for its hawker centers and local cuisine.

Street Art

George Town is also known for its vibrant street art scene, which features murals and installations that showcase the city’s culture and heritage. Some popular street art pieces include the Little Children on a Bicycle, the Boy on a Bike, and the Cats and Humans. Visitors can explore the city’s street art scene on foot or by bike, and many guided tours and interactive experiences are available.

George Town offers a range of attractions that cater to different interests and showcase the city’s rich heritage, history, and culture. Visitors can explore the city’s historic sites, temples and pagodas, landmarks and monuments, and street art and better understand the city’s diverse neighborhoods, local cuisine, and unique experiences.

Food and Drink

Local Cuisine

George Town is a food lover’s paradise, and one of the highlights of any visit is sampling the local cuisine. Penang is known for its diverse food culture, influenced by its history as a trading port. Some of the must-try dishes include:

  • Char kway teow: A stir-fried noodle dish with prawns, cockles, and bean sprouts.
  • Laksa: A spicy noodle soup with fish, tamarind, and coconut milk.
  • Nasi kandar: A dish of steamed rice with various curries and side dishes.
  • Rojak: A fruit and vegetable salad with a sweet and spicy sauce.

Food Markets and Hawker Centers

For a truly authentic experience, head to one of the many food markets and hawker centers in George Town. These bustling areas are filled with vendors selling a variety of local dishes. Some of the most popular food markets and hawker centers include:

  • Gurney Drive Hawker Center: A popular spot for seafood, with vendors selling everything from grilled stingray to oyster omelets.
  • New Lane Hawker Center: A smaller hawker center with various stalls serving local favorites like char kway teow and satay.
  • Chowrasta Market: A traditional market selling fresh produce, spices, and snacks.

Cafes and Restaurants

In addition to the street food scene, George Town has a thriving cafe and restaurant culture. Plenty of options exist for those looking for a sit-down meal or coffee. Some of the best cafes and restaurants in George Town include:

  • China House: A popular cafe and bakery with many cakes and pastries.
  • Tek Sen Restaurant: A family-run restaurant serving traditional Chinese dishes.
  • The Daily Dose Cafe: A cozy cafe with various brunch options and specialty coffee drinks.

Food is an integral part of the culture in George Town, and visitors should take advantage of the many opportunities to sample the local cuisine.

Tours and Experiences

Walking Tours

George Town is a city best explored on foot, and plenty of walking tours are available. Visitors can choose from heritage walks, street art tours, and food tours. The George Town Heritage Walks are a great way to learn about the city’s rich history and architecture. The street art tours take you through the city’s colorful murals and graffiti. And the food tours allow you to sample some of the city’s best street food.

Temple Tours

George Town is home to several beautiful temples, and temple tours are a great way to learn about the city’s religious and cultural heritage. The Kek Lok Si Temple is one of the largest Buddhist temples in Southeast Asia and is a must-visit. The Snake Temple is another popular attraction, known for its resident pit vipers.

Nature Tours

Nature lovers will enjoy the many nature tours available in George Town. Visitors can take a hike through the Penang National Park, home to various wildlife and beautiful beaches. The Penang Hill Funicular Ride is also popular, offering stunning views of the city and the surrounding landscape.

Footbridge at Penang national park

Funicular Ride

The Penang Hill Funicular Ride is a must-do experience in George Town. Visitors can ride up the hill and enjoy stunning city views and landscapes. At the top are several restaurants and cafes where visitors can relax and take in the view.

Bike Tours

Bike tours are a fun and eco-friendly way to explore George Town. Visitors can rent a bike and ride leisurely through the city’s historic streets and neighborhoods. The Half-Day Penang Countryside Cycling Tour is popular, taking visitors through the city’s rural areas and rice paddies.

Overall, George Town has plenty of tours and experiences to choose from, catering to various interests. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, nature, or food, there’s something for everyone.


George Town has various shopping options, from department stores and luxury brands to souvenir shops and local markets. Whether you’re looking for high-end fashion or unique souvenirs to take home, there is something for everyone in George Town.

Department Stores and Luxury Brands

For those looking for high-end fashion and luxury brands, George Town has several department stores and shopping centers. Gurney Plaza is a popular shopping destination, featuring many retail shops and international brands. Another popular option is the Queensbay Mall, which boasts over 400 retail outlets and a wide selection of luxury brands.

Souvenir Shops

George Town has plenty of options if you’re looking for unique souvenirs to take home. Kinohiro by Kazimi is popular, offering excellent quality and affordable souvenirs. You can also visit the David ST Loh Gallery, which features a wide selection of artwork and unique souvenirs. The Penang Batik Factory offers a wide selection of batik clothing and souvenirs for those looking for something more traditional.

Local Markets

For a more authentic shopping experience, visit one of George Town’s many local markets. The most popular is the weekend market, where you can find a wide range of goods, including roasted chestnuts, tropical fruits, and bubble tea. The Chowrasta Market is another popular option, offering a wide selection of local produce and traditional snacks.

Overall, George Town has something for everyone when it comes to shopping. So whether you’re looking for high-end fashion or unique souvenirs, there are plenty of options.


George Town, Malaysia is a vibrant city that offers visitors a wide range of activities. From exploring the colonial architecture to indulging in the local cuisine and admiring the street art, there is something for everyone in this charming city.

One of the highlights of George Town is the street art. The city is known for its murals, which add color and character to the otherwise bland walls. Visitors can take a walking tour to see some of the most famous pieces, or wander the streets and stumble upon them. The art constantly evolves, so even repeat visitors can discover something new.

Another must-do activity in George Town is exploring the colonial architecture. The city has a rich history, reflected in the buildings. Visitors can stroll through the historic district to see the buildings up close, or take a guided tour to learn more about the history and significance of each one.

Food is another highlight of George Town. The city is known for its diverse and delicious cuisine, which blends Chinese, Malay, and Indian influences. Visitors can sample everything from street food to fine dining; there is something to suit every taste and budget.