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Penang Heritage Trail

Penang Heritage Trail consists mainly of physical routes that a tourist can take to explore historical areas in the city on foot. The trail is divided into several routes and they are given descriptive names such as Food Trail, Heritage Building Trail, Chinese Kongsi Trail, Old Trades Trail, The Clan Jetties and Muslim Heritage Trail.

Heritage Trail signboards were sponsored by AMEX
The signboard describes each building. In Malay language, the trail is called "Jejak Warisan"

Even for first time visitors, I would recommend a self-guided tour. Penang heritage trail is very easy to follow. Pick up a brochure from the tourist information center.

Simply follow and explore the routes. Take your own sweet time. The heritage trail was the pilot project created by the local council in order to qualify Penang as one of UNESCO's world heritage cities. The trail is clearly marked and there are enough signboards to explain the significance of the buildings on the route.

Most people would start at Penang Heritage Center headquarters which is housed at the corner of Carnarvon Street and Acheen Street. Behind this building you will be greeted by Syed Al-Atas' mansion which is now Penang Islamic Museum.

From there, you can either follow the curve of Armenian Street or choose the straight Acheen Street.

This trail can be covered within several hours, just spend as much time as you want at any point. Most buildings admit visitors for free but some charge nominal entrance fees. Do not forget to bring your camera!

		Al-Atas' Mansion at Armenian Street
The majestic Syed Al-Atas' Mansion

If the heat of Penang gets too much, you can try the tour by hiring a trishaw. A trishaw is always available for hire at the special tourist bus stop after the corner at Pitt Street. Or, at almost any touristy corner in the city for that matter.

Do not be surprised that your trishaw man has as much knowledge as a fully certified tour guide. In fact people in Penang are so proud of the fact that each trishaw man and taxi driver here is a walking dictionary of the island's famous places.

You can combine your educational heritage building trail with the Food Trail! What a great way to explore a city. At almost every corner, you would find restaurants and hawkers selling super delicious food.

Food sellers in Penang are so competitive, there is almost no way you could find bad food here.

Low quality and mediocre food stalls would be dead by the sheer weight of the numbers of competitors. Penangites are surely fussy eaters.

Base of Dr Sun Yat Sen in Penang
This shop house was once the headquarters of a man who transformed China. Who was he?

You may also discover some quaint shops selling antiques along the route. There are also art galleries and souvenir shops.

Since it is encouraged that the shop houses are used for practical business rather than just becoming museum pieces, the shops become art galleries, antique shops, restaurants or tea houses.

A few have been transformed into swanky theme bars. So, they are only open at night. To follow the trail at nighttime would be quite an experience.

I would say the heritage trail is one of the easier and cheaper ways to discover George Town. The essence of the city is captured within these few city blocks.

Penang Heritage Trail is, of course, just a start. There is so much more to discover in Penang Heritage City.

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