The Old Town and it isn't the coffee.
Penang Travel Blog› entry 13 of 13 › view all entries
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.
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.
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.
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 -