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George Town

City Guide

Meet George Town

Welcome to George Town! This beautiful city is the capital of the Malaysian state of Penang, and is one of the most eclectic and culturally rich cities in Southeast Asia!

For 650 years, the area now known as George Town was the territory of the Kedah Sultanate, a Muslim dynasty native to Malaysia. The George Town that we know now was founded in 1786 by Francis Light, a captain in the British Royal Navy working for the British East India Company. For about 80 years, Malaysia was a British territory and became a major center of spice production, trade, and finance. During this time, George Town first became the diverse, multiethnic metropolis that it is today, with indigenous Malay and Peranakan residents, but also Chinese, Indian, Thai, and British immigrants and expats. During WWII, George Town was invaded and overtaken by the Imperial Japanese Army, but was returned to British control after the war. George Town (and the rest of Malaysia) has been independent from the British since 1957, and in contemporary times, the city has become an economic powerhouse, with huge presences in the tech, medical tourism, and cruise ship industries, as well as one of the most renowned food cities in the world!

Where to live in George Town

George Town is home to over 700,000 people, making it the third-most populous city in Malaysia. The city is located on an island, and the city’s center has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008 because of its unique, historical architectural landscape. Over the past couple of years, several suburbs have popped up around George Town, including the affluent northwest suburbs, the industrialized southern suburbs, the agricultural western suburbs, and the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone, which is located to the south of George Town, and which is known as the “Silicon Valley of the East.”

Best Neighborhoods in George Town

Due to architectural restrictions on the kind of buildings that can be constructed in George Town’s historic city center, it can be difficult to find long-term lodging in the city proper. However, George Town is surrounded on three sides by suburbs, which are generally located very close to the city, and many of which are accessible via public transportation. Here are some of the best neighborhoods in and around George Town:

Amazing Apartments, Coliving Spaces and More

We've been rounded up the best housing options in George Town. All are available on flexible terms, so you can stay one month or as long as you want

Forward School Co-living

George Town

Quick Facts About George Town

George Town is one of the most fascinating, diverse, and exciting cities in all of Southeast Asia. Before you visit this incredible city, here are some important things you need to know:
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Work in George Town

George Town is one of the financial centers of Malaysia, and is a major presence in the manufacturing, finance, tourism, medical tourism, and retail industries. Additionally, the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone, which is located just over 9 miles to the south of the city, is one of the most significant tech manufacturing centers in the world.

How good is George Town for Digital Nomads or Remote Work

Remote work is changing how the global workspace operates. In a trend that is showing no signs of slowing down, remote work is rapidly on the increase all around the world—especially in a place like George Town. And about 25% of remote workers describe themselves as digital nomads—those who like to travel or stay in cities around the world while they work. So, how good is George Town for both of these growing movements?

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Food and Drink in George Town

George Town’s culinary scene is unparalleled. The local cuisine is known as Penang cuisine, which combines elements of many different cultures, from Chinese and Indian to Peranakan and Malay. The best Penang cuisine can be found in George Town’s many street markets, including Gurney Drive, Pulau Tikus, Kimberley Street, New Lane, New World Park, Penang Road, and Air Itam. Some of the most iconic Penang dishes include asam laksa, a soup made from fish and sour tamarind, char kway teow, a stir-fried rice noodle dish served with prawns and clams, curry mee, a spicy curry noodle dish, Hokkien mee, or rice vermicelli noodles served in spicy prawn broth, nasi kandar, a fragrant rice dish often served with fried chicken, beef offal, lamb, and/or squid, rojak, an Indonesian fruit, and vegetable salad, and cendol, a cold dessert made from green rice flour jelly, coconut milk, and palm sugar syrup. There is so much incredible food to try in George Town, you’ll never run out of new dishes to sample!

Restaurants

Bars

Top 6 Things To Do in George Town

George Town’s complex colonial history makes it one of the most fascinating cities in Southeast Asia. One of the most popular activities in George Town is touring the city’s historic buildings, including Fort Cornwallis, the largest fort in Malaysia, St. George’s, the oldest Anglican church in Southeast Asia, Penang State Museum, which used to be a British colonial school, and George Town’s City Hall, which boasts a magnificent neo-Baroque architectural style. George Town’s incredible diversity means that there are also a ton of beautiful temples in the city, including Wat Chaiyamangkalaram, Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Snake Temple, Kek Lok Si, Goddess of Mercy Temple, and Masjid Kapitan Keling. Of course, remember to be respectful at these temples, as all of them are still active places of worship to this day. On the last weekend of each month, be sure to swing by Penang Street for the Penang Road Market, where you can buy anything from delicious street foods to groceries to clothes to souvenirs. Finally, be sure to check out some of George Town’s many malls and shopping centers, which sell wares ranging from dirt-cheap bargain prices to luxury goods. Some of the most popular shopping centers include Penang Plaza, Straits Quay Marina Mall, and Gurney Plaza Shopping Mall. With so much to see, do, eat, and experience, you’ll never be bored in George Town!

Hin Bus Depot

31A, Jalan Gurdwara, George Town

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St. George's Anglican Church

1, Lebuh Farquhar, George Town

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Penang House of Music

KOMTAR, L4-02, Level 4, Jalan Penang, George Town

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Kek Lok Si Temple

Air Itam

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Chew Jetty

Chew Jetty, Weld Quay, George Town

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Fort Cornwallis

Jalan Tun Syed Sheh Barakbah, George Town

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