About George Town
The city of George Town is the capital city of its mother State, Penang. It is the second largest city in Malaysia by population, having over 700,000 inhabitants. Most of the population in George Town is dominated by the Chinese. In 2010, reports found that over 53% of the cosmopolitan city's population are of Chinese descent. Malays, on the other hand, form only roughly 32% of the population. Because of this huge Chinese population, the lingua franca, or common language in George Town is Penang Hokkien. Strong conservatism on the part of the locals of the city make them strive to maintain Penang Hokkien as a commonly spoken language despite the modernization of the city. George Town is one of the top contributors in Malaysia's GDP, mainly because of its strong foreign relations. It has been hailed as Malaysia's most attractive destination for commercial property investment, making it popular among foreign investors.
1. Malaysia's Gastronomic Capital George Town is a city of many great tasting and unique street food. Because of this, it has been considered as Malaysia's Gastronomic Capital and the Food Capital of Malaysia. There are many famous and really delicious dishes served just around every corner of the streets of George Town. These dishes incorporate Malay, Chinese, European, Peranakan, and Thai influences, making the taste very distinct and unique. Some of the popular dishes are fried oyster omelette or "oh chien," stir fried rice cake strips called "char kway teow," and the famous spicy noodle soup "asam laksa." "Asam Laksa" is Penang's most famous hawker dish, and has been ranked 7th in CNN's list of World's Best Food. Overall, the dishes in George Town are very renowned for their unique and distinct taste, and has bagged a lot of recognition. The city has been hailed by CNN as Asia's Top Street Food Cities, one the World's Top Culinary Destinations by Lonely Planet, and acclaimed as having the best street food in Asia by Time Maganize.
2. Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone In George Town is located the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone. This is a high-tech manufacturing area created in 1972. This industrial zone was the first free-trade zone in Malaysia, and is now regarded as the Silicon Valley of the East as many internationally acclaimed brands and companies have set up their offices in this area. Examples of these multi-national corporations are the German engineering and technology corporation named Bosch, the American telecommunications company, Motorola, Inc., information technology company, Hewlett-Packard, and US computer technology company Dell. The Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone is the financial center of Northern Malaysia and is the country's most vital medical tourism hub.
3. Hailed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site George Town is a city filled with history and culture, and because of this it has been hailed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008. It was recognized for its "unique architectural and cultural townscape without parallel anywhere in East and Southeast Asia." Many of George Town's history and heritage is still prevalent and present up to today. One interesting historical significance of George Town was in the 19th century, when it was the center of spice production within the entire South East Asia, importing numerous spices such as clove, nutmeg, and pepper that were produced in spice farms throughout Penang. Housed in George Town is the biggest collection of pre-war buildings in South East Asia, contributing greatly to the tourism industry of the city. History plays a part of the identity of the people in George Town as well, who reflect strong conservatism even up to this day.
George Town Tourist Spots
1. Cathedral of the Assumption The Cathedral of Assumption was built in 1786 by Captain Francis Light to accommodate the growing Catholic population in the city. As the population grew, the church expanded in size. It is over 160 years old, and stands today as the oldest church in Penang. Although it has been around for many years, the church has been greatly preserved and remains as one of the most prominent tourist spots up to this day. The church was named after the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Mary. It houses the only pipe-organ in Penang, and also has a choir that sings hymns in both English and Latin.
2. Cheah Kongsi Penang has five great Hokkien clan houses, and Cheah Kongsi is the first of them. The design and architecture of the building incorporates Malay, Chinese and European styles, that has made Cheah Kongsi resemble a Chinese palace with a great fusion of foreign design. The clan house was established in 1873 by an immigrant coming from China, named Cheah Yam. Tourists who visit Cheah Kongsi will really stand in awe of the intricate design and the stunning build of this clan house. More than that, it's also a very informative tourist destination as it doubles as a museum. Cheah Kongsi now exhibits its 183 years of history, displaying artifacts, furniture, and other ornaments that date back from many years ago.
3. Komtar Penang At the center of George Town is Komtar Penang, a 65 storey high rise tower, and one of the most prominent tourists destinations in the city. It is a commercial building, with the lower floors used as retail spaces, while higher floors are offices. It is famous to tourists because the Komtar Penang is Penang's tallest cylindrical shaped structure, and it is also the sixth tallest building in Malaysia. On the 58th floor is a viewing deck where tourists can get a panoramic, birds eye view of the island of Penang. Surrounding Komtar are several clan houses called "kongsis," giving the recognition of the area as Penang's unofficial Chinatown.