Of all the hotspot tourist destinations in Southeast Asia, there’s a reason why Penang is known as the Pearl of the Orient: and this happens to be for its intriguing architecture, natural beauty, historic traditions and melting pot of flavors, cultures, cuisines and folks who are considered to be one of the friendliest and most hospitable in the whole of Asia!
One of the intriguing points of interest within Penang that has to be on your tourism itinerary of places to visit in Malaysia or things to do in Penang is the Penang Chinatown! A bustling area filled with intriguing scents, sights and experiences, Chinatown is a must-see for visitors wondering what to do in Penang!
Dotted with historic clan houses, ornate temples, quaint shop-houses, coffee shops and myriad colorful stalls boasting a number of culinary delights and intriguing wares, Chinatown in Penang is more than just any other market: it’s a living, breathing piece of history, beauty, culture and tradition in this little corner of Malaysia!
Where it’s Located
Chinatown is set in the heritage center of Penang in the gorgeous Georgetown with its center being the Lebuh Chulia, Lebuh Keng Kwee and Lebuh Campbell! With Penang being predominantly Chinese in character, many visitors are quite amazed that there is actually a Chinatown in Penang, but there you go! There definitely is one, and it’s one of the best places to head to when you’re thinking of where to go in Penang or what to do in Penang!
What to Buy
When in Penang’s Chinatown, you’ll come across some things you never saw before! From colorful traditional Penang costumes to antique Chinese furniture, from traditional healing herbs to expensive jade figurines, from Chinese lanterns to soothsaying crystals: this is where it’s all at! Chinatown is like an intriguing maze where there’s something new and exciting at every corner so you’re bound to take something home with you!
This unique shopping district is also home to a large number of ancient trades that have disappeared from main-stream shopping, such as joss-stick making, lantern making and shoe-makers. At the Chinatown in Penang, you’ll come across these folks working in loving detail over their masterpieces. It’s definitely something to check out and gives you a chance to take some lovely snaps!
What to Eat and Drink
When in Chinatown, don’t pass up the chance to wander around and check out the large number of food stalls, coffee shops and quaint Chinese restaurants! A particular specialty in Penang’s China Town is the Kopitiam, the Chinese coffee shop, which offer a glimpse into Chinese taste, hospitality and culture. Kopitiams open early in the morning, and are the best place to sit and enjoy the wonderful ambiance and bustle of the early-morning markets! Chinatown is also the best place to get some of the best local delicacies such as the traditional Cendol, the Char kuay teow and the Pei Pa Duck.
Sights to Check Out in Chinatown
There are many points of interest within Chinatown, a few of which are a must-see for every traveler on the lookout for things to do in Penang! A few of these are the Khoo Kongsi Clan House, the Kuan Yin Teng Temple and the Cheong FattTze Mansion.
A luxury stroll through Chinatown as you soak up the atmosphere and enjoy visits to the different temples, take in the gorgeous sights, buy some souvenirs and try out the different culinary delights on display is going to make you feel like you’re in another world!
Chinatown is a heritage destination in Penang, with centuries of culture and tradition and very historic architecture. When heading to Chinatown, please ensure that you employ responsible travel principles and are aware of the culture and environment around you.