Penang has a large Chinese population so sometimes, visitors are surprised there is a Chinatown. But yes, there is a Chinatown in Penang.
A Chinatown was born
Penang Chinatown was born in China Street, the original area designated for Chinese migrants. From China Street, the community grew, expanded and today; Penang Chinatown is bordered by Lebuh King, Lebuh Stewart, Lebuh Muntri, and Lebuh Campbell.
Not far from China Street is Kuan Yin Teng, 观音亭, one of the most important temples in Penang. This temple was originally dedicated to Mazu, 妈祖 the sea goddess and where new migrants thank the goddess for a safe journey and prayed for help when the faced difficulties in their new home land.
Other important Chinese institutions in this area include the Khoo Kongsi clan association, Cheong Fatt Tze, Hainan Temple, the Loo Pun Hong Temple, Sun Yat Sun’s Penang base and even the Leong Fee’s mansion where the Qing Vice-Consul once lived.
Focus of Chinese activities
Although the Chinese population had expanded from Penang Chinatown to all over the island, the important institutions in Chinatown continue to be one of the major focuses of Chinese cultural life and site for celebrations.
Throughout the year, there are festive celebrations, temples events and various celebrations and commemorations going on.
UNSECO World Heritage Site
Penangites are proud of their heritage and history and happy to share it with the world. You can imagine how happy they were, when George Town where Penang Chinatown is located became a UNSECO World Heritage Site on 7 July 2008.
This status makes Penang Chinatown one of the very few Chinatowns in the world to be located in a UNSECO World Heritage Site. The other is Malacca Chinatown also in Malaysia and the Luang Prabang Chinatown in Laos.
Creating a unique experience for travelers is the sense of pride among Penangites. A sense of pride that is not imposed upon or created from above but radiating from a personal level fanned by their love for Penang and happiness to share with visitors.
This makes Penang Chinatown special.