George Town Penang
Best of Malaysia Awards 2011
Best Authentic Malaysian Experience: Winner
Garnering more success for the illustrious island, George Town is a worthy winner despite not making it to the shortlist last year, proving that good things are happening in Penang at the moment.
Having undergone a major overhaul in image and appearance, the historical site was rescued from the threat of obscurity thanks to its recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. But instead of reinventing, authorities and residents have done well to preserve many of the original structures, décor and materials salvaged from derelict and torn down buildings.
Founded in 1786 by Captain Francis Light, as a base for the British East India Company, George Town thrived as a commercial and financial hub. Remnants of the past are found along the in-roads and waterfronts be it in architecture, customs or even the century old clans and communities of various origins that add an authentic layer to the social make-up of the city.
A stroll down the quaint streets is a journey into the past, as trishaws trundle through busy intersections, dying trades are kept alive by remaining descendants and hawkers stir up delectable fare passed down through generations.