If you ever wanted to get lost in an urban environment, then Penang is the perfect place to do it. I was nestled right in the heart of George Town, where you can wander the streets aimlessly, and be rewarded by colourful, colonial charm and spontaneous street art. In this quirky little neighbourhood, the two conflicting influences of Asian architecture and colonial times have blended harmoniously, resulting in a little gem, which is both diverse and unique.
George Town was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008 and this made a huge impact on the street art scene. Suprisingly, this artistic flair was kick-started by a commission from the government. They commissioned 52 ironwork pieces, depicting George Town's history and offering insight into local characters and customs. Since then, artists took to the streets, avid on creating pieces on crumbling walls of derelict buildings. Wandering around the charismatic back-streets and finding a few of these gems randomly, was one of my highlights from my all too brief trip to Penang. But, if you prefer to plan it more thoroughly, there are tours, maps and apps readily available.
The streets of George Town are rife with street food vendors, where you can fill your boots for a few bucks, as I did. I chose to eat as often as possible in the area of "Little India" which lies within George Town. Here, you can find some of the tastiest Indian food around and your dinner will cost you the equivalence of a packet of sweets back home. I loved everything about this part of town; from the old run-down video store blasting Bollywood music out the front, to the rows of family-run tailors selling their bright, vivacious clothing for a fraction of the western world prices.
For me, this little segment of Penang offered me everything that I needed. An artistic, multi-cultural environment with an enormous selection of extremely delicious cuisine, fantastic shopping both for the budget and high-end shopper as well as a dash of history, all for a super cheap cost.