Georgetown, Penang with it’s quaint colonial age buildings.
It sometimes feels as though there’s a drive, not to mention unspoken competition, between the larger cities of the world to create iconic architecture and flaunt this as a symbol of local pride. Some older historic towns of the world have always had options available for this. Rome for example has the Coliseum, Barcellona has the Sagrada Familia, Paris perhaps the Eiffel Tower and Moscow always shows off St. Basil’s’ Cathedral when it can.
In recent years some extraordinary feats of engineering have been completed in the Middle and Far East and there are currently some very stunning modern icons of architecture to be added to the list above. The Burg Khalifa in Dubai, the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, the Taipei 101 building in Taiwan and the Shard (a real abomination) in London are just some examples of the latest arrivals. They all seem to add a touch of extra glamour to the cities they belong to, and certainly promote tourism greatly. It remains to be seen though if they will withstand the test of time.
Children a bike, another captivating piece of work from.
In it’s own small way, colonial Georgetown, on the island of Penang in Malaysia, has found a clever (and certainly less costly) way to promote itself and attract masses of younger tourists. Steering away from colossal works of architecture, Georgetown has placed itself firmly on the tourist trail by embracing stylish street art as a way of embellishing its narrow alleys and fading building facades. For this it employed several talented street artists and encouraged them to use the town as their very own personal canvas. The results are fascinating.
Some interesting wall art here with “The Oarsman”.
One young artist in particular, Ernest Zacharevic from Lithuania, set the standards very high when working on the Penang street art project back in 2012. I personally I found his work clever and entertaining. Ernest’s “Kids on a Bicycle” and “Boy on a Chair” murals are definitely eye catching and good examples the artist’s creative style. There was always a small crowd of admirers around the town in front of his creations with cameras and words of apreciation.
“Boy o a Chair”. This scene looks so realistic it’s hard not to stop and stare.
Within the space of a few years the murals in Georgetown have proven to be a huge success. Teams of young backpackers from all over the world fill the town’s many guest houses and spend days roaming the narrow streets seeking out bigger than life paintings to take a selfie with. There are mapped itineraries to follow, with or without a guide and a walk around Georgetown admiring the many murals on display can take several hours. It’s definitely worth the effort.
Night life, in the Georgetown area of Penang.
Of course there’s night life in Georgetown as well especially around the Love Lane area. There are plenty of bars and clubs with live bands, music and cheap beer.
Georgetown and it’s street art has a friendly and relaxed atmosphere which is precisely what’s needed to get away from the busy Malaysian roads. Penang is also the link to Indonesia for the overland motorcycle traveller.
My favourite! Always help a biker in need…
It’s not far from Georgetown that Lucy (my motorbike) was ferried across the Malacca Strait on a two day voyage aboard the Setia Jaya to Medan in Sumatra.
At the harbour in Penang waiting to load Lucy (my bike) on the Setia Jaya, her chariot to Sumatra.
The amazing Setia Jaya, an old wooden cargo freighter that has has been used by hundreds of overland bikers to ferry their precious machines from Malaysia to Sumatra in Indonesia.
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