The Penang Old City Hall and Town Hall are located next to each other at the Esplanade. The two buildings, also located at the World Heritage Site, are fine examples of British colonial buildings and architecture.
The Old City Hall was built in 1903 with a typical design of the British Palladian architecture during the British colonial era. The design of the Old City Hall is almost similar to the nearby Old Town Hall, which features the balcony as a main element overlooking the esplanade. The Old City Hall is currently houses the offices of the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP).
The Old Town Hall (as shown below) was once a premier site for social gathering and activities in George Town for the town’s European community and is also the oldest Municipal Building in Penang. The building’s foundation was first laid on 1st January 1879 by Lt. Governor Sir Archibald Edward Harbord Anson. The building was built over a land area of 70,711 square feet facing the famous Esplanade. Upon completion in 1880, the building was officiated by Frederick Weld, the then Governor of the Straits Settlements.
The Cenotaph located at the Esplanade is a historical and heritage war memorial erected by the British empire. The cenotaph was unveiled by the Prince of Wales on 31 March 1922, at the Esplanade seafront to remember the losses during World War I battles.
The Penang Veterans Association also built another small monument besides the cenotaph to remember those killed in World War II, Siam-Burma Death Railway, Malayan Emergency, Indonesian Confrontation and the Reinsurgency period.
The Esplanade area is a popular tourist location at George Town as it houses the Fort Cornwallis, the City Halls as well as an old lighthouse which overlooks the Penang Harbour. The large Esplanade field is also the venue of major festivals held at the island (such as New Year celebration, cultural show, and the Bon Odori festival). The seafront of the Esplanade is a popular place to fish day or night while during the night, there is a foodcourt nearby selling local delicacies.
Location at Google Map.
The Dhammikarama Burmese Temple is a buddhist temple located at the heart of George Town with its presence that lasted on the Penang island for more than 200 years since its foundation back in 1803. Often regarded as the earliest Burmese Buddhist temple in Malaysia, the temple is located directly opposite of the Wat Chaiyamangalaram Thai Buddhist temple.
The temple complex is consisted of a main shrine hall, the Sime Hall which houses a giant standing Buddha statue, a pagoda, a 200 years old well built during the early settlement of monks. The roof of the Sime Hall is also clad in golden paint with unique Burmese architecture. Statues of mythical creatures as well as deities can also be found scattered around the temple complex’s courtyard and garden.
Location: Google Map
Located in the heart of George Town and the heritage zone, St. George’s Church is the oldest Anglican church in Southeast Asia. Built in 1816 and completed in 1818 on the initiative of the Penang Colonial Chaplain, Rev. Robert Sparke Hutchings (who was also the founder of Penang Free School), the building of the church was done with the help of The East India Company.
The Georgian Palladium architecture of the church was designed by Captain Robert N. Smith of Madras Engineers, a renowned designer and artist at that time. On the lawn of the St George’s Church is the Francis Light Memorial, which was built in 1886 to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the founding of Penang by Captain Francis Light.
In 2007, the church was declared one the 50 National Treasures of Malaysia by the Malaysian government.
The church is on the corner of Lebuh Farquhar and Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling at George Town. The church underwent renovation in 2010 and was reopened in early 2011.
Services in English are held on Sundays at 8.30am and 10.30am. The church is also lit up every night from 7:30pm to 10pm for a beautiful night view.
1, Lebuh Farquhar, 10200 Penang, Malaysia.
Telephone: 604 261 2739
Fax: 604 264 2292
The Francis Light Memorial, with a marble plaque honoring Francis Light underneath the dome.
A stroll through the various streets in George Town brings one back into historical times.
Pre-war houses and heritage buildings can be easily seen in most parts of George Town.
As the the resting place of Penang’s European pioneers, the Christian Cemetery at Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah road in George Town is the oldest of such cemetery in the island. The cemetery (also referred to as Protestant Cemetery) is the resting place of Captain Francis Light (the Founder of Penang), the early British governors of Penang, the husband of Anna Leonowens (“Anna & The King”), and also the founder of Penang Free School. The cemetery is mostly shaded by trees with tombs as well as gravestones inhabiting the area since 1789.
The Queen Victoria Memorial Clocktower located nearby the Betel Nut roundabout in George Town (King Edward’s Place) is one of the famous landmarks in the island. The 60-feet high tower was built by Penang millionaire Cheah Chen Eok to commemorate Queen Victoria’s 1897 Jubilee at that time.
The Betel Nut roundabout structure is made up of a fountain with a 4.8m-high metal structure re-sembling giant pinang fruits is erected at the roundabout next to the clock tower.
Penang Hill (or Bukit Bendera in Malay) is a hilltop area comprising a group of peaks and is located approximately 6 kilometres from the city centre of George Town. It stands out prominently from the lowlands as a hilly and forested area.
The most convenient way up to Penang Hill is by means of the Penang Hill Railway, a funicular railway from Ayer Itam district to the top of hill. Construction of the railway took place between 1906 to 1923, at a cost of 1.5 million Straits dollars. The railway was opened to the public on October 21, 1923. The 2,007 m (1 mile 435 yard) journey takes about half an hour and the train may stop at intermediate stations upon request.
In 2010, the hill railway service was upgraded and the old funicular trains were replaced by newer ones, which are air-conditioned as well as carrying heavier load. The new train is faster and does not stop halfway at the middle station of the hill (unlike the old one). The ride up to the top of the hill will take around 15 minutes.
For Malaysians, the fare for a return (round trip) ticket is RM8 per adult and RM4 per child aged between three and 12. For foreign tourists, the return fare would be RM30 for adults and RM15 for children aged seven to 12.
The old funicular train
The new train as shown above