Guide to Penang's most popular streets

To make your stroll through George Town a little easier, Su Aziz has come up with a mini guide on a few of its popular streets and what you can expect to see

Photo: Su Aziz
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Lebuh Armenian

This street is very possibly the most coveted in terms of heritage. It seems to house eccentric individuals as well as businesses comfortably. At the very end of this street is the infamous thieves’ market contained within a small patch of grass while on the other end of this narrow street is the famous mural of two kids enjoying a ride on an old bicycle by Ernest Zacharevic.

Street smart tip: Try either the mamak mee goreng from the mobile stall on the left of the photograph or a bowl of prawn mee from the coffee shop across from it.

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George Town
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Lebuh Carnarvon

It is considered as a very wide road due to its four-lane width and hemmed on both sides by practical businesses such as bicycle shops but it’s a street more renowned for its myriad Chinese coffee shops serving in particular a popular local favourite, the Hokkien noodles. There are at least four coffee shops here offering this delicious and mild noodle dish. And it gets even better after your second bowl!

Street smart tip: From the point in this photograph, keep following the road till you hit a set of traffic lights and you’ll see Prangin and 1st Avenue shopping malls with KOMTAR, George Town’s tallest building, right behind them.

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George Town
Photo: Su Aziz
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Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling

Also known as Penang’s ‘Street of Harmony’, the four worship houses within a stone’s throw away from one another on this street signify the harmonious diversity of culture and beliefs in Penang. Between the Kuan Yin Temple, Kapitan Keling Mosque, Sri Mahamariamman Temple and St. George’s Church, the street is dotted with vendors of flowers, prayer paraphernalia and incense sticks. Needless to say, it is a rather fragrant walk down this road.

Street smart tip: From this cross junction of the street, you can already see the tips of the mosque’s minaret peeking through tops of the trees. Another 30 steps and you’ll be standing right in front of this lovely building.

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George Town
Photo: Su Aziz
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Lebuh Chulia

Cutting across the heart of Penang's heritage zone, this street is packed to the brim with hotels and eateries. In between them, there are antique stores, old businesses such as the rattan furniture weaver and machinery repairs. What’s charming is, with every step you take on this road, there always seems to be a Kodak moment your camera will love. For a terrific bowl of beef noodles, try the coffee shop on the corner of Chulia and Lebuh Pantai. It’ll make the long trek along this road well worth the calorie burn.

Street smart tip: This point in the photograph marks the start of this long street. Walk to almost halfway point and you’ll see Lee Soo Kee Rotan where the uncle hand weaves the rattan furniture.

Photo: Su Aziz
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Lebuh Pantai

This is a long street that widens to where the Whiteaways Building is. On the narrower part of the street it’s filled with more ‘industrial’ businesses housed in old shop houses. If it seems as if these businesses have been there for decades to you, well, they have! As the road widens towards Fort Cornwallis, it gets a little more polished with refurbished old buildings housing banks and such. There are a few cafes and restaurants along this part that are good for a latte or lunch.

Street smart tip: You can already see the clock tower in this photograph. Take a few steps behind it and you’ll arrive at Fort Cornwallis, the largest standing fort in the country.

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George Town
Photo: Su Aziz
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Lorong Love

Honestly, no one ever calls it anything else but Love Lane. With a lightly salacious history linked to its name, this narrow lane is now dotted with budget and a luxury accommodation. There’s also a charming curios shop within what used to be a goldsmithing business premises. During late afternoons when the sun is at its scorching peak, you’d very possibly catch a trishaw rider taking a nap on his vehicle, a respite from the heat and hard work.

Street smart tip: Along this short lane is a little souvenir shop, 41 Living Story, where you’ll find curious things that might tempt you.

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Lebuh Muntri

Although the whole of George Town is filled with refurbished shop houses, here’s where you can examine them more closely. Work in progress in terms of refurbishment of old shop houses is constantly happening here, side by side with those already renovated and those that aren’t – which gives you a chance to compare between the new, old and in-between. Just be ready to step aside for cars, fearless motorcyclists and crawling trishaws. Yes, the road is quite narrow.

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George Town
Photo: Adrian Cheah
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Lebuh King

One of the main streets of Penang’s Little India, during Deepavali this street along with all the others encompassing Little India is even more alive with vivid colours, eardrum-bursting Indian pop songs and extended shop fronts.

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Jalan Burma

A main artery that leads you out of George Town and into areas such as Gurney and Pulau Tikus, this is a very long road, where it’s the most colourful stretch and the most congested as well. Along this part of the road are numerous popular eateries offering local and international fare. Basically, you’ll not go hungry while strolling along this part.

Street smart tip: Cross the street from the Balai Polis seen in this photograph into a small lane across from it and it will lead you to the famous Pulau Tikus market to experience a Penang wet market and a smorgasbord of hawker favourites.

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