Penang Journals

The Chinese side of Penang

Best of IgoUgo

An August 2002 trip to Penang by phileasfogg

Khoo Kongsi Photo, Penang, Malaysia More Photos
Quote: Quieter, greener and much more interesting than KL can ever hope to be, Penang fascinated me from the moment I stepped off the ferry. What’s really striking is the wonderfully Chinese flavour of the entire island- you almost feel you aren’t in Malaysia any more.

The Chinese side of Penang

Best Of IgoUgo

Overview

The Temple of Kwan Yin Photo, Penang, Malaysia
Quote:
Penang was claimed by the Brits and became part of the English colonies during the 1780s. In the next two centuries, it was flooded by immigrants- Indians and Armenians, Javanese, Japanese, Malays- and Chinese. Of all these communities, it was the Chinese who contributed most prominently in making Penang what it is today, and there’s evidence of it all around- in the intensely colourful Chinatown, where little red altars, complete with joss-sticks and red candles, stand before each house; in the old `kongsis’ or clanhouses across town, and in the heavily ornamented, incense-befogged temples to sundry deities which stand tall on every road. Among the must-sees are the spectacular Khoo ...Read More

Khoo Kongsi

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Khoo Kongsi Photo, Penang, Malaysia
Quote:
Among Penang’s most prominent communities were- and still are- the Chinese, many of whom came to this island in the late 1800s as merchants. The Penang Chinese traditionally followed a combination of Taoist, Confucianist and Buddhist beliefs, and built, as religious-cum-community structures, what were known as `kongsi’- the traditional `clanhouses’ of the Chinese. The kongsi usually took the form of temples where ancestor-worship was the focal point, and tablets carved with the names of the ancestors took pride of place. Of all of Penang’s clanhouses, the stunning Khoo Kongsi is one of those you just can’t afford to miss- it’s splendid. The clanhouse of the prosperous Khoo clan, the...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 19, 2002

Khoo Kongsi
18 Cannon Square
Pulau, Penang, Malaysia 10200
+60 4 261 4609

Trishaw Ride around Georgetown

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Trishaw Ride around Georgetown Photo, Penang, Malaysia
Quote:
We'd intended to tour Chinatown on foot, but while we were hanging around outside KOMTAR trying to figure out where to start, we were approached by a trishaw-puller who said he’d take us on a one-hour tour for RM30. It sounded like value for money, so we took him up on his offer- and ended up having a great ride- past many of Chinatown’s most interesting sights. Going past the distinctive copper-coloured domes of the Masjid Kapitan Keling, we entered Chinatown- starting with a stop at the gaily decorated twin temples of Yap Kongsi. The Yap Kongsi is one of Penang’s many kongsi- or clanhouses- and is both a tribute to the clan’s ancestors (who are worshipped here) and the former base of a...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 19, 2002

Trishaw Ride around Georgetown
Trishaw-pullers
Penang, Malaysia

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion Photo, Penang, Malaysia
Quote:
The `Rockefeller of the East’, Cheong Fatt Tze (1840-1916) was a Hakka tycoon and mandarin born to a poor farmer family; he came to Batavia (now Jakarta) when he was 16 and became a water-carrier. Over the years, Cheong Fatt Tze made his fortune and built an empire encompassing everything from coconut and rubber plantations to tin mining, silk weaving, stone carving, shipping, trade and banking- across China, Indonesia and Malaysia. Designated a mandarin and a minister by the Chinese government, Cheong Fatt Tze built his mansion in his favourite place- Penang- in 1880. The indigo-tinted mansion, a delightful combination of Oriental and Western influences, is an embodiment of the man himself-...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 19, 2002

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion
14 Leith Street
Penang, Malaysia 10200
+60 4 262 5289

Quote:
Penang must surely rank as one of South East Asia’s most interesting- and most vividly diverse- places. Wandering through the island, you find a new side of it at every turn- the almost European look of the villas on Lebuh Light, complete with wrought iron gates, conifers and gravel driveways; the very Indian colour of Little India- and of course, the deliciously Oriental feel of Chinatown, all red lanterns and stone temples, incense burners and clanhouses. It is the Chinese, largely, who have contributed to making Penang what it is today. Along with the Indians, Armenians, Eurasians, Javanese, Malays, Japanese (everybody, it seems, who happened to be in the vicinity washed up on the shores of Pena...Read More