Why is Georgetown a UNESCO World Heritage Site?

georgetown temple

Georgetown, Penang

Penang is not just a food haven, but also an island filled with rich cultural and architectural history. In 2008, it was awarded the UNESCO World Heritage Site status, leading to a spike in tourism, and for good reason!

This gorgeous city plays host to a string of old colonial buildings and shophouses, hinting at meaningful events that have taken place in the past. So, what makes it worthy of its UNESCO Heritage status?

Fort Cornwallis

One of the oldest and more memorable forts in Penang, built by Sir Francis Light when he first arrived at the quaint little island. Within the fort also lies one of the island’s oldest lighthouse, chapel, and canon in all of the Peninsular.

Wat Chaiyamangalaram

A Thai-inspired Buddhist temple, evident from its name. The temple was erected in 1845, and is mostly famous for its reclining Buddha statue.

penang wat chaiyamangalaram

Kapitan Keling Mosque

Ever wondered where the word “keling” comes from? This mosque was built somewhere around the early 19th century by an Indian Muslim merchant named Caudeer Mohudeen. It was a point of gathering and a holy place of worship for all Muslim residents in the city for the past 200 years and still counting.

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion

There once lived a wealthy Chinese merchant named Cheong Fatt Tze who built an extravagant and opulent bright blue mansion for himself back in the day. He was a big believer of Feng Shui, and an ardent fan of oriental masons.

penang blue mansion

Protestant Cemetery

Arguably the oldest Christian cemetery in all of Malaysia. It provides for rich context of colonial times in Penang when the British still ruled. This tranquil vicinity also happens to be Sir Francis Light’s final resting place. If you take a walk about Northam Road Cemetery, you’ll find that living conditions were difficult and full of strife in the past, which is why most of the people buried here hardly made it past 50 years of age.

Check out this video for a snippet of what you can expect:


If you intend to visit this spectacular site, you’ll be looking for a strategic place to stay, in which case Holiday Inn Penang is a suitable choice, especially if you are bringing children with you. If you prefer to spend most of your time relaxing in the resort, you should take advantage of their special promotions at http://penang.holidayinnresorts.com/special-offers.