My intention was to go on a hunting spree for those famous Penang street art like the murals and steel rod sculptures. But along the way, I also saw a lot of interesting buildings and landmarks in this charming capital city of Penang.
Starting from Hotel Sentral where I stayed, I walked along Kinta Lane and turned left to Macalister Road. I passed by this grey coloured church along Macalister Road.
St. Paul's Church is a Chinese language Anglican church. It has a 5-storey annex on its right.
Directly opposite this church is another church, known as Church Of Our Lady Sorrow.
Situated just next to a national Chinese primary school, this church is a Roman Catholic church for Chinese speaking parishioners. Beside the church is a tall bell tower.
Walking further I reached the junction of Macalister Road, Dato Kramat Road and Penang Road. Here, I saw the GAMA Supermarket and Departmental Store.
I did not go in as it was definitely not opened yet (it's only about 8.30am) but who would want to go shopping inside a building in the early hours of the morning? Interestingly, GAMA is said to be the first supermarket cum departmental store in Penang, starting its business way back in 1980. I wonder how many renovations they did since then?
Across Macalister Road from GAMA is the famous Komtar building but I did not take any photos. This photo below is the one I took the evening before when I was passing by on my way to Prangin Mall to try out the Fooyo fried ice yogurt.
Did you know that this 65-storey building was once (very briefly) the tallest building in Asia?
But that was only during the height of its construction. By the time it was completed, the title was taken over by Korean Life Insurance Building in Seoul, Korea. But Komtar was still taller than any building in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, at that time. I guess Penangnites must be pretty proud back then. LOL!
After passing Komtar, I continued to walk along Magazine Road (what a funny name for a road, don't you think?) and reached First Avenue Mall.
I had on the evening before, went up to the eighth floor of this mall to visit the open air balcony for a panoramic view of George Town, but to my disappointment, the doors to the balcony were locked. Any Penangnite reading this knows why were visitors not allowed to go to the open air balcony?
From First Avenue Mall, I turned left into McNair Street and continued straight to Carnarvon Street before seeing this interesting building on my right. It houses the office of George Town World Heritage Inc., a company that was set up to manage, monitor and promote George Town as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Located at Acheen Street (or Lebuh Acheh), which is within the World Heritage Site core zone, this nice looking building was previously known as Penang Heritage Centre.
One of the oldest mosques in Penang can be found at Acheen Street. This mosque is called the Acheen Street Mosque or more popularly known as Masjid Lebuh Acheh. Built by an Acehnese clan leader, the mosque is also known by the name of Mesjid Jamek and Masjid Melayu Lebuh Acheh.
Next to the mosque is Ben's Vintage Toy Museum.
I wanted to enter the museum but it only opens at 10am so it was way too early! Oh well, I guess I had to be contented just looking from the outside.
I could see some of the toys on display at the opened windows on the first floor.
Maybe I will visit this museum on my next visit to Penang.
As I turned into Cannon Square, I saw a row of charming looking shophouses.
In between, I saw the entrance gate to the Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi, one of the most amazing Chinese clan temples in Penang. Unfortunately, it was not opening hours yet, so again I had to be contented just looking from outside.
However, I managed to visit this clan temple the next day so I will blog about it in a separate post.
This is the road where I spotted the famous 'boy standing on a chair and reaching up' mural by Ernest Zacharevic. Can you see it?
The road is called Cannon Street and I will always remember it because of that landmark minaret that belongs to the Acheen Street Mosque in the background. It was said that a cannon was fired during the Penang riots in 1867 and passed right through the minaret!
Read More > Discovering The Murals Of George Town
There were more interesting looking shophouses along Cannon Street.
I was attracted to two dragon carvings atop the roof of a building.
A closer shot of the dragons.
I was quite sure that the building must be a temple of some sort and I was right! It was the Yap Kongsi Temple.
Located at the corner of Cannon Street and Armenian Street, this green coloured temple has some very exquisitely carved dragon pillars.
A close shot of the dragons from the front.
I did not enter the temple though. My main priority that morning was to hunt for murals before the sun gets too hot, so temples would have to wait. Haha!
Is Penang the only state in Malaysia that juices the nutmeg fruit? I had come to Penang to try their nutmeg juice, so when I saw this sign outside a shop advertising their home-cooked nutmeg juice, I was excited. But of course, it was not opened yet at that hour!
No worries though as I got the chance to try Penang's nutmeg juice during my trip and even bought some home! : )
Walking along Armenian Street, I saw this very beautiful arch leading to a narrow passageway.
It was the entrance to the Cheah Kongsi Temple or the Cheah Si Sek Tek Tong.
I love the intricate and ornamented carvings of this arch!
But I soon discovered that the front part of the temple is actually facing Beach Street. There seemed to be some kind of renovation going on.
This is the beautiful and grand front gate of the Cheah Kongsi facing Beach Street, with two lion guardians at the sides.
Soon I found myself at Victoria Street (Lebuh Victoria) and saw this Ming Xiang Tai pastry shop. Almost wanted to go in and get myself some cakes and egg tarts but I did not. Why I did not I could not remember. Maybe too busy searching for murals to bother about food? LOL!
Hunting for the murals soon led me to Queen Street and it was here that I stumbled upon the Sri Mahamariamman Temple, one of the oldest Hindu temples in Penang.
Look at those intricate carvings on the gopuram - the tower above the front entrance. How many deity statues can you see on the gopuram?
The front entrance was also flanked by two guardians. What animals do you think they are?
This temple is located at what is known as Penang's Little India.
I did not have time to enter the temple as there were still so many places I needed to visit. And don't forget I was still on my mural-hunting spree so everything else would have to take a backseat that morning.
But isn't it amazing that on that very morning alone, I visited two churches, a mosque, two Chinese temples and a Hindu temple?
Do not miss Part 2 as I continue to explore the charming streets of George Town!