Monday, November 10, 2014

Photos from an Evening Walk in the Historic Old Town of George Town in Penang, Malaysia

The bench at the bus stop was calling my name. It had been a few hours after all since I began wandering aimlessly around town. I reckoned the afternoon heat and the humidity were only bearable because my eyes were treated to the small town colonial charm present everywhere I went. As I sat on the bench by the road, I realized just then that the best treat was yet to come. The sky both suddenly and slowly turned from grey to yellow to gold to pink before turning blue. All these colors were reflected in the shop houses and grand colonial structures around me, too. The sun had just set and I was being mightily impressed by George Town in Penang, Malaysia.

George Town, Penang, Malaysia
As grand as the golden hour gets. George Town in Penang, Malaysia.

George Town in Penang, Malaysia was one of the cities that formed part of the Strait Settlements of Southeast Asia, British-ruled colonies where migrants from China, India, and the rest of the Malay world moved to and settled for good having been urged by the booming trade in the region. Today, the Strait Settlements have a distinct, very colorful culture all their own, seen in the traditions of second or third-generation families (the Peranakans, for example), their delicious, delicious food, and the charming two-storey shop houses typical of the old towns of this region.

No matter how many of them I see, I never seem to tire of historic old towns, not the least bit this one on Penang Island, Malaysia. Fortunately for me, of course, I live in a region of the world that has them in spades. China has the ancient old towns of Lijiang, Hongcun, and a few others. Vietnam has the undeniably charming Hoi An under its belt. Malaysia has the equally gorgeous Malacca, and this one, George Town.

Armed with my trusty camera, I decided to walk around here in the historic center of George Town, Penang. Needless to say, I was charmed off my feet. Here be photos: