Pete Seaward

George Town

Combine three distinct and ancient cultures with indigenous and colonial architecture, shake for a few centuries, and garnish with some of the best food in Southeast Asia, and you've got the irresistible urban cocktail that is George Town.

The timeworn shophouses of the Unesco World Heritage zone will likely spark a desire in some visitors to move straight to Pulau Pinang's most attractive city. Even more impressive is the movie-set-like mishmash of Chinese temples in Little India, mosques in Chinatown, and US-style skyscrapers and shopping complexes gleaming high above British Raj–era colonial architecture.

The eclectic jumble makes this a city that rewards explorers. Get lost in the maze of busy streets and narrow lanes, passing shrines decorated with strings of paper lanterns and fragrant shops selling Indian spices; or enjoy George Town's burgeoning street-art scene, its modern cafes and fun bars.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout George Town.