|Khoo Kongsi Clan House|
|Pinang Peranakan Mansion|
The fresh sea air, a waft of something delicious and the incoherent shouting of local hawkers made for the perfect South-East Asian setting to undertake a historical tour of the city of Georgetown, Penang in Malaysia.
I’d been privileged to encounter trishaw’s in Vietnam some years ago and was pleased to learn that these sturdy old bikes, accompanied by local peddlers, would be our transportation for the day as we set off to explore the heritage-listed town.
Georgetown, the capital city of Penang, is located on the north-east coast of the Malaysian island.
Discovery Overland Tours were the company charged with detailing the historical and cultural significance of this beautiful harbour city.
Georgetown’s architectural, culinary and religious past is laden with a variety of international influences, from the visually potent Chinese, Indian and English, to the less obvious Armenian and Sumatran.
Although the decorative and colourful fans attached to the trishaws provided little relief from the warmth of the afternoon sun, the cool breeze and bottled water made sure we were kept cool and hydrated throughout our journey.
We visited Fort Cornwallis and learnt about the disastrous floods of 200? and the reason the Penang governments introduced new mangrove plantations off the coast of the island (their deep, entangled roots slow the surge of approaching tsunamis).
We made our way to the adjacent field, known as Padang, and enjoyed great views of the Georgetown town and city halls.
We were then cycled to the Khoo Kongsi clan house, a Chinese temple, rejuvenated and brimming with fascinating fresco paintings, stone and wood carvings and religious artefacts, located in a discreet paved square.
Up next was the Pinang Peranakan Mansion; a typical home of a well-to-do Chinese family, re-created into a walk-through museum, adorned with more than a thousand antiquities and a very special ancestral temple accessed via a hidden passage between buildings.
We lazily drifted on and made our next stop at the ever-popular Chew Jetty.
Penang has been listed as a UNESCO world-heritage site since July 2008 and after visiting Chew Jetty it’s easy to understand why. The floating village is wonderfully vibrant and is said to come alive during Chinese New Year. It’s even possible to rent a homestay during certain parts of the year.
After almost three hours of sightseeing, our hunger was catching up with us and we wrapped up the tour devouring traditional seafood laksa and bah kut teh, watching the locals and the rest of the world ride by.
Don’t miss out on Discovery Overland’s holiday packages and informative tours when planning your next visit to Malaysia.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T