The Old Town and it isn't the coffee.

Penang Travel Blog

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Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower

GeorgeTown Penang - UNESCO World Heritage City, if it turns out that it isn't..... then blame it on the millions of printed brochures by the Tourism Department.

There has been efforts to preserve the historical part of the city for many years now. The verdict isn't quite that clear cut though. With the extension of the buffer zone which restricts demolition or marked change in the facade of buildings, many owners lacking the finances to refurbish have allowed the building to deteriorate. Just how badly ? Take a look at section on 'Stuff We Prefer Tourists Not To See', some of the fine specimens look more appropriate for the deep jungles of South America than something built in the last century.

One of the structures still in good shape & kept rather tidy is the Clock Tower built to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.

Colonial era buildings put to good use.
Financed by a local named Cheah Chen Eok, this structure is easily recognised and many a tourist will pass by it on their to other parts of town or the seaside. I guess it couldn't hurt to cosy up to the Britain while she was still Great.  Location : at the roundabout next to Fort Cornwallis

Also located next to the tower are the ticketing offices for ferries to Langkawi & Medan. I would mention the ground floor of the Penang Port Commission building but then you wouldn't know what on earth that would be.

* Watch your step when crossing the road between attractions or while lining up your shot, this is a very busy part of town where traffic consists of very pissed off people who have been going round the block several times looking for a parking spot.

King Street
They may not give a damn if you happen to get between them and a coveted vacant spot !

Fort Cornwallis : Built when Captain Francis Light landed here. To guard against the locals or the tax officers from London after him, I'm not sure. But history is written by the victors, not the conquered. It was more of a administrative centre than a real fortress (but at least it wasn't put to the test so it has the benefit of doubt). Quite unlike A Formosa in Malacca (Melaka) which was effectively blasted into bits during successive invasions (tug of wars between the colonial powers) and has just a bit of the facade left. Fort Cornwallis even played host to weddings during its heydays. Currently charges a token RM2 for entry which this cheapskate did not part with.

The Esplanade (at Fort Cornwallis) hosts events during the National Day (31 Aug) where you can enjoy the shockwaves of the cannons being fired out to sea. Just chose a spot to the +/-60 degree frontal arc and enjoy it. Oh, those with weak hearts or eardrums can give that a miss. Those cannons are not the 100+ year old relics at the fort but newer stuff the army brings out for such occasions. The other occasions where loud sounds are heard is when elections are coming and the open field here is used for rallies and fund raising dinners. Music is loud, food is edible, decor is garish, promises are generally empty but ticket prices are astronomical.

Another item on the tourist map located here is : Dewan Sri Pinang. Community hall that is supposed to house exhibitions and a public library.

Walls of the fort.
Have not personally seen the art exhibitions here yet - will try to do so another day. (when I can find *&%!$@! parking nearby) Point to note is that the condition of many of the library books rival the Dead Sea Scrolls. (but they sure ain't worth anywhere near them)

Lest you think Penang is not welcoming to tourists.... there is a FREE Shuttle Bus Service (CAT - Central Area Transit) which runs from KOMTAR to Downing Street.   No, it does not travel across the sea or fly like something from Harry Potter to London. There are many points along the way where one can get on/off, but I have not figured what constitutes a bus stop exactly. (please let me know if you find out)

More to follow in days to come -

 

 

Sweetski says:
"traffic consists of very pissed off people who have been going round the block several times looking for a parking spot" LOL, it is the same in all larger cities I've ever been to :D
Posted on: Aug 24, 2010
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Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower
Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower
Colonial era buildings put to good…
Colonial era buildings put to goo…
King Street
King Street
Walls of the fort.
Walls of the fort.
Fort Cornwallis
Fort Cornwallis
Picnic anyone ?
Picnic anyone ?
Notice any anomalies ?
Notice any anomalies ?
Surprised nobody managed to run of…
Surprised nobody managed to run o…
Area in town for Indian articles &…
Area in town for Indian articles …
King Street - Temples abound !
King Street - Temples abound !
Restoration works in progress. It…
Restoration works in progress. It…
Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Towe…
Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tow…
417 km (259 miles) traveled
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photo by: Aurora78