… a travel photography blog

Malaysia

Penang Snapshots: Historic George Town Facades

Historic George Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the island of Penang in Malaysia, is a photographer’s dream: crumbling facades and peeling paint; exquisite temples and mosques; painted Chinese shophouses and jetty homes; elaborate doors, colorful shutters and ornate wall tiles.

This post takes a closer look at some of George Town’s facades focusing on the decorative variety of doors and windows.

Check out my earlier posts Penang Snapshots: Historic George Town Scenes and Penang Snapshots: George Town’s Clan Jetties.

Old building, Little India, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Painted shutters and palm tree in Little India

Crumbling old building, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Crumbling old building

Painted Shuttered Windows and Balcony, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Painted shutters and balcony

Painted Chinese Shophouse, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Blue painted Chinese shophouse facade

Old Building, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Shuttered windows on an old building

Painted Chinese Shophouse, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Painted doors and windows of an old Chinese shophouse

Historic Building, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Battered old building with lovely muted colors

Painted Shuttered Windows, Islamic Museum, Syed Alatas Mansion, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Painted shuttered windows and decoration at the Islamic Museum in the Syed Alatas Mansion

Painted Chinese Shophouse, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Painted Chinese shophouse with decorative door and Chinese lanterns

Flower Pots Hanging in Window, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Flower pots hanging in the window of an old house

Historic Building, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Fallen letters

Decorative Door, Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi Chinese Temple, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Decorative door at Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi Chinese Temple

Historic Building, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Historic building and Chinese lanterns

Painted Door and Shuttered Windows, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Green painted door and shuttered windows

Painted Shuttered Window, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Blue shutters

Painted Windows, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Worn painted windows

Metal Tree Sculpture and Painted Shuttered Windows, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Metal tree sculpture outside painted shuttered windows

Painted Shuttered Windows, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Painted shutters

Sun Yat Sen Penang Base, Decorative Exterior, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Decorative exterior of Sun Yat Sen Penang Base

Painted Chinese Shophouse, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Old painted Chinese shophouse

Painted Shuttered Windows, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Painted shutters

Historic Building, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Crumbling building

Decorative Chinese Shophouse, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Chinese shophouse with gold decorative door and colored tiles


Penang Snapshots: George Town’s Clan Jetties

Traditional houses crammed together on a series of jetties linked by wooden walkways perch on stilts over the sea. These are George Town’s Clan Jetties.

Built in the 19th century, communities of fishermen, traders and dock workers still live with their families on these austere clan jetties along the shores of historic George Town in Penang, Malaysia.

A few hours exploring by foot along George Town’s clan jetties was one of the highlights of my short trip to Penang. I love waterside living and these simple homes appealed to me. Each clan jetty is unique in character, some more rustic and unkempt than others.

Here’s a series of some of my images captured that afternoon. Check out my earlier post Penang Snapshots: Historic George Town Scenes.

Chew Jetty

A gaudy Chinese temple dominates the entrance to the workmanlike Chew Jetty. Bathed in bright sunlight blue boats moored along the boardwalk, rock lazily on the tide.

Chinese lanterns, bamboo birdcages and handmade fish traps hang outside humble homes, cozy stores and simple eateries. Laundry hangs drying under eaves, bicycles lean against walls and motorbikes stand among the clutter of everyday living. Fragrant incense glows at the seaward tip of the jetty in a Chinese shrine with a sea view.

Jetty home and rocking chairs, Chew Jetty, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Jetty home and rocking chairs, Chew Jetty

Boats, Chew Jetty, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Boats at Chew Jetty

Jetty home with hanging bird cages and Chinese shrine, Chew Jetty, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Jetty home with hanging bird cages and Chinese shrine, Chew Jetty

Jetty home, Chew Jetty, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Chew Jetty home

View from Chinese temple at end of jetty, Chew Jetty, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

View from Chinese temple at end of Chew Jetty

Outside kitchen at end of jetty, Chew Jetty, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Outside kitchen at end of Chew Jetty

Fish traps hanging outside jetty home, Chew Jetty, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Fish traps hanging outside jetty home, Chew Jetty

Boats at end of jetty, Chew Jetty, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Boats at end of Chew Jetty

Boats, Chew Jetty, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Boats at Chew Jetty

Boats, Chew Jetty, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Boats at Chew Jetty

Nameless Jetty

The most basic jetty I walked along had no name at the entrance. I ended up staying a while, prisoner of a sudden storm.

Luckily I found a broken plastic chair to sit on under an open-sided shelter full of fishing nets, my view misted by stinging rain; a ramshackle jetty village perched on stilts over a low tide stream clogged with tangles of broken logs, like skeletal remains emerging from the dark, stinking mud.

Jetty home, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Jetty home

View of next jetty at low tide during storm, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

View of next jetty at low tide during a storm

View of next jetty at low tide during storm with fishing nets hanging in foreground, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

View of next jetty at low tide during a storm with fishing nets hanging in foreground

Sunken boat at end of jetty, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Sunken boat at end of jetty

View of next jetty during storm, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

View of next jetty during a storm

View of next jetty with boat in foreground, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

View of next jetty

Lee Jetty

As the rain subsided, I continued to the neater, homier Lee Jetty. A small Chinese shrine protects the entrance leading to an avenue of crimson Chinese lanterns, green wheelie bins, street lights and gaudily painted door and window frames with matching metal fences outside.

A muddle of antennas, cables and satellite dishes hang overhead. Offerings lay at simple Chinese shrines guarding each house. Bundles of incense glow in sacred pots placed on the boardwalk end, facing seaward towards the city skyline and a yellow jetty temple across the water.

Jetty homes with hanging Chinese lanterns, Lee Jetty, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Jetty homes with hanging Chinese lanterns

Jetty home with hanging Chinese lantern and view of water, boats and city skyline, Lee Jetty, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Jetty home with hanging Chinese lantern and view of water, boats and city skyline

Chinese offerings and flag at end of jetty with view of Chinese temple on next jetty, Lee Jetty, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Chinese offerings and flag at end of jetty with view of Chinese temple on next jetty

Jetty homes with hanging Chinese lanterns, Lee Jetty, Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Jetty homes with hanging Chinese lanterns

More exploring at George Town’s Clan Jetties awaits me next time I visit Penang!


Penang Snapshots: Historic George Town Scenes

A UNESCO World Heritage Site and a cultural mosaic of food, arts and architecture, language and religion, I immediately fell in love with historic George Town on the island of Penang in Malaysia on my second visit after many years.

These photos taken on my meanderings by foot one full day and a few hours early the next morning just touch the surface. I’ll be posting more and I’ll definitely be returning for a longer visit!

Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi Chinese temple

Hok Teik Cheng Sin, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Chinese temple courtyard and lanterns, Hok Teik Cheng Sin Temple

Hok Teik Cheng Sin, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Close-up of Chinese lanterns, Hok Teik Cheng Sin Temple

Alleyway, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Alleyway

Alleyway, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Alleyway with hanging laundry

Mahamariamman Temple, Little India, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Mahamariamman Temple, a Hindu temple in Little India

Flower sellers, Little India, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Flower sellers in Little India

Lam Yeong Tong Yap Kongsi, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Lam Yeong Tong Yap Kongsi Chinese temple

Bicycle shop, Armenian Street, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Bicycle shop in Armenian Street

Loo Pun Hong, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Loo Pun Hong Chinese temple

Old building with washing line in the street, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Old building with washing line in the street

View from inside noodle shop, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

View from inside noodle shop of food cart vendor selling sweets

Festival fire in street outside Kong Hock Keong or Goddess of Mercy Temple, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Festival fire in the street outside Kong Hock Keong or Goddess of Mercy Temple celebrating Por Tor or Hungry Ghost Festival

Incense burning at Kong Hock Keong or Goddess of Mercy Temple, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Giant, colorful incense burning at Kong Hock Keong or Goddess of Mercy Temple celebrating Por Tor or Hungry Ghost Festival

Temple goods store seller, Kong Hock Keong or Goddess of Mercy Temple, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Temple goods store seller outside Kong Hock Keong or Goddess of Mercy Temple during Por Tor or Hungry Ghost Festival celebrations

Qaryah Masjid Jamek Benggali Mosque, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Qaryah Masjid Jamek Benggali Mosque against a stormy sky

Tokong NG Fook Thong Temple, Cantonese Districts Association, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

The Cantonese Districts Association Tokong NG Fook Thong Chinese temple

Rickshaw, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Colorful rickshaw with driver taking a break on the pavement reading a newspaper

Kapitan Keling Mosque, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Kapitan Keling Mosque against a stormy, late afternoon sky

Crumbling old building, Love Lane, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Crumbling old building in Love Lane

Rickshaw taxi stand, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Rickshaw taxi stand with motorcyclist riding on pavement

Cycling past old building and metal street art, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Lady cycling past old building with metal street art on the walls

Street food cart, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Street food cart in the early morning sunshine

Flower stalls, Little India, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Flower stalls in Little India bathed in early morning sunshine