Penang: A Closer Look at the Pearl of The East

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PERHAPS, Penang is the nearest destination from Indonesia. It’s not too far from Medan, North Sumatera. Island that is known as the Pearl of the Orient is located at the entrance of Malaka Strait. According to the history, Penang Island was found by England as the entrance to do penetration to Malaka and other East Asia Countries.As the tourism object, Penang offers a lot of interesting heritages.

One of those is Fort Cornwallis that was built by Sir Francis Light, an England patrician, in 1786 after taking it from Kedah Kingdom. Fort Cornwallis was built to defend France’s attack and them who disturbed the area. The fort is built by brick, is still attractive for tourist. Inside, there are some war equipments that were used at 18-19 century. There is also a canon with VOC logo.

Next destination is George Town, the centre of Penang Island, which has a lot of heritages that was built in 19 century. All of the heritages are still in a good condition, eve some of them are used as office complex. After going around the old city, it’s time to visit religious places. As a city with multi ethnics, Penang is full of religious places such as mosque, Hindu and Buddha temple.

Kapitan Kehng Mosque is one of must visit place. This beautiful mosque was built by Keling, a leader from India in the early of 19 century. Another interesting mosque is Melayu Mosque that was built on the land that owns by Syed Sheriff Tengku Syed Hussain Aidid from Aceh, Sumatera. There is also St George Church that is built in 1818, one of the oldest church in town. This church is the oldest Anglican Church in South East Asia. There is also Sri Mariamman temple, built in 1883; Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram temple that has the longest Budha Statue in lay down position.

The Memoir of China
As the world heritage, Georgetown is not only full of European building, but also from China and Burma. For example, Khoo Kongsi, Wat Chayamangkalaram that located in Burma Alley. In front of Wat Chayamangkalaram, there is Dharmikarama Burmese Temple.

The ancient in Georgetown is getting interesting with Pinang Peranakan mansion or Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion. It is also called as Baba & Nyonya Museum. It was a house of the richest family in town. This house is contains of 38 bedrooms and 220 windows and was built in 1880. At the entrance gate, there are two Chinas pedicabs. The China culture is higher by the sculpture

Beside full of Chinaman sculpture, the house is also full of great things from China. Hundred unique things, gold accessories, and other things can be seen in this house. It’s an amazing place. You will very sorry not to come to the house.

Culinary Centre and the Sunset
Not only ancient building, Penang is also a culinary centre. A lot of ethnics who live in the city, make it known as a culinary paradise. Modern restaurants, cafes, canteens are everywhere. Start from high class restaurant to hawker center, are along the Penang Street. It is serving culinary from Malay, India, and China.

Hawker center is a food court that taken place at the open air area. The price in this place is cheap enough. There are a lot of rice menu, such as Fat Rice and fried peanut. Also try Kandar Rice from South India or Briyani Rice that served with Makhani Chicken.

Other interesting things are the natural objects and the beaches. Penang is located at the west side of Malay Peninsula. There are some exciting water activities. Just staring at the Penang Bridge, the longest bridge in Asia, is interesting enough. When the dark comes, Georgetown offers an exotic view, a beautiful sunset. The water is so blue. In Penang, tourist can find so many beautiful beaches such as Bungah cape and Bahang Bay. (Ladia Chaniago)

Jakarta Globe, April 15, 2009  

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