Georgetown is the capital of Penang. It is located in the island part of the northern state which is where the main commercial, administration and business centers are located. Over at the mainland, Penang governs the town of Butterworth which is connected by a ferry service and the Penang Bridge.
Important Facts about Georgetown
Georgetown adheres to the following facts:
- Currency: MYR (Malaysian Ringgit)
- Dialling code: Calling fixed lines in Georgetown will require you to use the prefix of +604 while you need to use the respective mobile line prefixes respectively
- Airport: Georgetown has its own airport which is the Penang International Airport located in Bayan Lepas not far from the city center
- Airport Tax: Applicable for both domestic and international flights
- Distance from airport to city centre: The airport is located about 19km from the city center
- Temperature: averaging between 26 and 35 degress Celcius
- Climate and Weather: Tropical with high humidity all year long
- Common languages: Hokkien is among the most spoken language with English, Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin and Tamil
Transportation and estimated cost
Georgetown has a very convenient public bus service operated by RapidPenang. From the airport, you can easily reach the Georgetown city center from RM40 per ride. Uber and Grab services are easily available too.
Highlights in Georgetown
As one of the top tourist destinations in Malaysia, Georgetown has many attractions and landmarks to visit. Among them are:
- The Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion – This is among the oldest buildings in the country which has been awarded by UNESCO previously. Known as the ‘Rockefeller of the East’, it is a large mansion with more htan 200 windows
- Fort Cornwallis – the spot where Penang founder Captain Francis Light set foot here first back in 1786, it was named after Charles Cornwallis.
- Little India – A great place to experience the Indian culture and community of Penang within Georgetown
- Queen Victoria Clock Tower – A prominent structure here located around Light Street enacted to celebrate the then Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria of England
- Dhammikarama Burmese Buddhist Temple – one of the prominent Buddhist temples in Georgetown
- Penang State Museum – To learn more about the history of Penang, this is the best place to start where you get to see the items and historical artefacts on display
- Gurney Drive – located in the heart of the city, this is the place every visitor to Georgetown must go if you want to try the infamous hawker foods of Penang
Foods in Georgetown
Typically, you can find foods around Georgetown quite easily. Check out the likes of:
- Char Koay Teow – Signature dish from Georgetown, you will surely like this fried noodles with egg, prawns and sometimes crab meat.
- Assam Laksa – Try to find this at the foot of Kek Lok Si temple, in the market. You wont’ regret it!
- Penang Rojak
Georgetown top backpackers’ destination
Most backpackers would head out to Chulia Street, Muntri Street and Love Lane where many budget accommodations can be found. This area in Georgetown is commonly known as the backpacker’s street located very close by to the main centres of the state capital. However, you could also head out to Batu Feringghi which typically is the coastal line of the island where there are many lodges, cabins and homestay choices.
Budget stays in Georgetown
In the city center along Jalan Macalister, you could stay at the YMCA which is internationally known to offer budget accommodation for those who travel light and simple. The De Garden Hotel is located in Lorong Cempa where there are 123 air-conditioned rooms that start from RM125.
Heritage hotels in Penang
For those who would like to enjoy the more heritage style of living in Georgetown, the Penang Old House at No.12, Jalan Phuah HinLeong is an ideal choice as it is developed on a heritage guest house concept. The Hotel Mingood in Argvil Road provides rooms that start from RM85 per night while you can also stay at the Old Budget Hotel with rooms starting from RM70. Other budget accommodation here include:
- The 75 Travellers’ Lodge
- the 100 Cintra Street
- the Broadway Budget Hotel
- Cathay Hotel
- Goodhope Inn in Gurney Drive
Upscale areas with hotels & apartments
Georgetown is predominantly made up of upscale properties by virtue of the fact that it is an island, which means that land is very limited. Georgetown is located towards the southeastern side of the island and that is where the most expensive properties would be.
The most upscale areas are located around the beachfront places of Gurney Drive like the Silverton while several expensive serviced apartments are located within the town center like the Northam All Suite Hotel. Meanwhile, the Gurney Resort hotel and Residences are among the costlier ones while the more affordable areas include Bayan Lepas and further up to Air Itam like the Krystal Suites Penang.
Commercial and Education Centers Georgetown
As with most capitals and major cities, you would find that property for rental around commercial and education areas are usually very popular. Along Jalan Anson is KDU College Penang which is where other colleges like The One Academy Penang are situated. Hence, the areas around here like Jalan Anson, Jalan Burma and Jalan Logan can be quite in demand.
Commercial centers are located all around Georgetown. From Pulau Tikus to the Komtar areas, there are many shopping malls and offices, including the state government offices as well.
Entertainment Spots you can’t miss
The main entertainment area in Georgetown is along Upper Penang Road. This is where there are many pubs and clubs lined up on both sides as well as hotels like Cititel Penang and the City Bayview Hotels are located. It must be noted that the locations around here can be quite rowdy especially during the night and on weekends where there are many revelers and clubbers on the streets.
Transportation Guide in Georgetown
Bus services are widely available around Georgetown. It is exceptionally easy to find a taxi around the island especially at Gurney Drive and in front of hotels which are located around the town center. Bus transportation is free in Georgetown.
Ideal destination for expatriates
Georgetown is a popular destination among expatriates largely due to the industrial areas around Bayan Lepas. As such, you can find many international schools here like the Prince of Wales Island International School and the Datal International which is located in Tanjung Bungah.
Penang Government Offices
The Komtar building is located along Magazine Road which houses the Chief Minister’s Office. Surrounding the building are markets, eateries, shops and many places of attractions while the main bus terminal is located here as well.
Architecture Design influenced from Portuguese Occupation
Generally, the architecture of Georgetown is a mixture of modern and historical. There are buildings which date back to the pre-war years when the British Settlement was here and some which have already been refurbished to reflect modern living structures. Meanwhile, there are new developments like the Quayside areas with upscale residential areas like the Quayside Seafront Resort Condominiums and the Penang Marina Bay Condo which offers great views and convenience as they are located very near to the city center.
Beware of Mat Rempit
The main road in Georgetown is around Jalan MacAlister. It starts from the heart of the city and leads up to towards Gurney Drive and many other suburbs along the way. On weekend nights, you is advised to be careful when driving as the Mat Rempits would usually be racing along these roads. Another common road that the Mat Rempits are usually seen is along the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Highway which is located along the coastal areas of the island leading to the bridge that heads up to the mainland.