Penang RECOMMENDATIONS See all

Colonial Sites in Penang

By Viator, August 2018

4.5 147 Reviews | Add your review

Colonial Georgetown is a topsy-turvy collection of shophouses, trishaws, laneway shops and grand buildings. Portuguese traders from Goa in India first visited here in the 16th century, when Penang was part of the Malay sultanate of Kedah.

The British East India Company took control in 1786, when the island was handed over to colonial Penang’s founder, Captain Francis Light, as the first British possession in Southeast Asia. Georgetown was named for the British King George III. Declared a free port, Penang attracted Chinese traders and joined Britain’s Straits Settlements administered from India.

Inner-city Georgetown is so special, it’s been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its colonial-era warehouses and go-downs, wharfs and jetties, commercial center and banking precinct are considered unique, comparable only to Malacca. The focus of business was Beach Street, still lined with shophouses and the impressive straits architecture of buildings constructed for long-gone emporiums and trading firms.

One of the most visible remnants of the colonial period is Fort Cornwallis and its rusty cannons pointing out to sea to defend the island. Streets like Light Street and Pitt Street were first mapped in the early colonial days and they still remain today, along with street names with multicultural flavor like Burma Road and Armenian Street.

A cluster of ornate colonial-era municipal buildings lie near the fort, on the other side of the padang playing fields. Look for the Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower, and visit the cemetery where the movers and shakers of colonial Penang lie buried, including Captain Light who died of malaria in 1794.

For panoramic views of Georgetown, do as the colonial settlers did and visit the hill station atop Penang Hill, reached by funicular railway.

Tours & Tickets

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Half-Day George Town History Private Tour, Penang, null
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Half-Day George Town History Private Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 5 Reviews

Join this half-day tour and explore George Town well-known attractions with our professional English speaking guide. Learn about the city cultural and history ...  Read more

Location: George Town, Malaysia
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $25.00
Private Tour: Full Day Center Penang Island Tour, Penang, Half-day Tours
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Private Tour: Full Day Center Penang Island Tour

Enjoy the best of Penang on a private day tour with a local English speaking guide. Discovering its heritage buildings and temples and enjoy the fantastic ...  Read more

Location: George Town, Malaysia
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $37.50
Penang City Tour, Penang, Private Sightseeing Tours
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Penang City Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 39 Reviews

Penang has perhaps the largest and well preserved colonial-era old town, with excellent examples of Chinese clan houses, colonial homes, public buildings and ...  Read more

Location: Penang, Malaysia
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $30.66
Private Penang City Sightseeing Tour, Penang, Bus & Minivan Tours
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Private Penang City Sightseeing Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 3 Reviews

If you’d like to experience a bit of everything Penang has to offer, this grand tour of the island is for you! A private guide will accompany you by private ...  Read more

Location: Penang, Malaysia
Duration: 7 hours (approx.)

From USD $88.72
Private Tour: Full Day Penang Heritage Tour, Penang, Private Sightseeing Tours
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Private Tour: Full Day Penang Heritage Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 1 Review

Combine three distinct and ancient cultures, indigenous and colonial architecture, shake for a few centuries, and garnish with some of the best food in ...  Read more

Location: George Town, Malaysia
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $37.50
Penang Island Discovery Morning Tour, Penang, Private Sightseeing Tours
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Penang Island Discovery Morning Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 82 Reviews

Explore Penang the 'Pearl of the Orient' from its sandy shores to the quaint countryside. Visit a traditional Batik Factory, Snake Temple, International ...  Read more

Location: Penang, Malaysia
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $29.00
Private Georgetown Sightseeing Tour, Penang, Bus & Minivan Tours
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Private Georgetown Sightseeing Tour

4 star rating: Recommended 5 Reviews

Take a scenic drive by private car through historical Georgetown, the capital city of Penang, now protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On this private ...  Read more

Location: Penang, Malaysia
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $52.50
Private Tour: Penang the Pearl of the Orient, Penang, Historical & Heritage Tours
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Private Tour: Penang the Pearl of the Orient

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 2 Reviews

Penang is known as the pearl of the orient and you will get to see why during your private day tour. On every street corner of this beautiful city, you will ...  Read more

Location: George Town, Malaysia
Duration: 7 hours (approx.)

From USD $57.00
Private Tour: Penang City Highlights, Penang, Private Day Trips
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Private Tour: Penang City Highlights

View Fort Cornwallis, the largest standing fort in Malaysia. Visit Chew Jetty, the original early Chinese settlement with stilted homes. Admire the intricate ...  Read more

Location: George Town, Malaysia
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $44.00
Penang City & Temple Tour With Penang Hill Tickets, Penang, Private Sightseeing Tours
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Penang City & Temple Tour With Penang Hill Tickets

Explore the Penang city which is  rich in history as it is in culture, tradition and diversity by Penang City Tour . Visit Wat Chayamangkalaram Temple, ...  Read more

Location: George Town, Malaysia
Duration: 5 hours (approx.)

From USD $28.40

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