Penang is known as UNESCO World Heritage Site of Malaysia other than Malacca (Melaka), due to its title, tourists flock to Penang to explore the historical city of Penang.

(Kapitan Keling Mosque)

I admit, I am not a historical buff which is I think why I did not enjoy Penang much.  The city tells a lot of historical stories by just looking at every walls of their historic buildings around the famous George Town.  Reminiscing a funny conversation I had with a friend Regin, he said “I would love to visit all the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, like Great Wall of China”.  I replied, “Really?  That tells how different travelers are, like I will probably go there if I passed by the location going to somewhere I really want to go.  I am more of nature/sporty adventurer and would not travel to a place like Great Wall of China just to stare at an endless wall!”, we laughed.  Regin said, “I love history!  In my head, when I’m there, I imagine what happened back in the time it was built for”.  Make sense, but not for me.  The only thing that it will make sense to me is that I know we are all different and ‘each to its own’.

(St. George’s Church)

Anyway, much of talking about it but since I was in Penang for a visa run, I did try to see places people go there to see.  What I noticed about Penang is that, not only cultural but also religious diversity is present there.  The first historic religious place I saw on the list was the mosque.


As said on the map’s caption, it was founded 1801 and the largest historic mosque in George Town, designed in Moghul architecture.  They aren’t that strict visiting the area except going in, you have to be properly dressed and no taking of photos when somebody is praying.  Reminds me of Brunei’s mosques.


Said to be the oldest Anglican Church in Southeast Asia according to the map, it was simple yet neatly elegant.  The building glows under the bright tropical sunlight.

(Mahamariamman Hindu Temple)


Oldest Hindu Temple in George Town built in 1800’s.  It was said to be originally built as a shrine dedicated to Sri Muthu Mariamman.  The temple is carved with wonderfully crafted 38 deities on its gopuram.  Gopuram is an entrance tower of a temple that is most common in Southern India.  This temple reminds me of Singapore as I lived few steps away from a Hindu Temple that looks exactly the same, only Singapore’s is bigger.


I saw the Goddess of Mercy Temple but did not took any photo of it since it is closed for renovation.  It was covered outside which makes it unwelcoming for people while under construction.  Although, I have photos of Teocheow Temple, awardee of the Merit UNESCO Asia-Pacific for Culture Heritage Conservation.

(Teocheow Temple)

It is noticeable how the culture here is diverse, Chinese, Indians, Malays are happily inhabiting Penang.  With it comes the religious diversity as well making their city a remarkable unique one, now I understand why its in UNESCO, it deserves to be there.


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3 thoughts on “Religious Diversity in Penang

  1. I noticed in South Korea especially, people seem to be interested in visiting historical sites if a TV show was filmed there, not because of the history itself. Like you said, everyone has their own reasons, and if something makes you excited to visit a place, it doesn’t matter what that reason is.

    (Though many temples and palaces were partly destroyed by the Japanese, so a lot of the ‘heritage’ was really built in the 1970s-90s. But it’s the thought that counts!)

  2. I love Penang (specifically George Town). So many things to see in such a small city. But you’re right, different people have different interests. 🙂

  3. True to that, I love history stuffs while my partner loves gardens and nature. Every traveler had it’s flip and flops.

    We had enjoy Melaka so much and hope we’ll with it as well in Penang, when we have time to visit the place.

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