When researching what Malaysia has to offer, there are two main contenders; food and art. These stereotypical Malaysian travel incentives can certainly be found in Penang, a small island off of North-Western Malaysia.
Penang’s capital city, Georgetown, is well-renowned for its immersive and creative street-art pieces scattered throughout its maze of streets. It even has tours dedicated to hunting these artworks down, although part of the fun is discovering them for yourself.
Chendul stall and street food
The abundance of tasty street food to keep you going along the art trail is also an art in itself. The famous Chendul drink stall in Georgetown is highlighted by dedicated graffiti depicting it above, epitomising the perfect combination of Malaysian culture.
Along with the physical street-art murals and delicious local dishes, Penang offers another form of art on the streets with its collection of unique architecture. Buildings express themselves with beautiful external decorations and detail, predominantly with a heavy Chinese influence and style. Their pastel colour palette and rustic tiles accentuate the beauty of Penang’s architecture, in which you could happily hunt for your favourite building in much the same way you would for the art on the walls of the city.
Penang’s artistic influence is not confined solely to Penang. The unique creativity of this island has begun to expand outwards to mainland Malaysia and the bigger cities; namely Kuala Lumpur.
Contrary to what I have previously heard about Malaysia’s manic capital city – for many just an inconvenient layover between connecting flights – I was pleasantly surprised by what I found here. Art infiltrates the city streets in Kuala Lumpur, from well decorated shop-fronts to secret street-art finds, you just have to look a little harder to see it. The street-art you can find is less exposed and more unexpected but equally as rewarding to find, if not more as it is more scarce and in a bigger playing field.
As like in Penang, the buildings in Kuala Lumpur are also something to behold – and not just the famous Petronas Towers – which are unquestionably impressive. Located around the backstreets are dainty townhouses, again with a heavy Chinese influence. These help to give a real insight into everyday life away from the hustle and bustle of the big city, providing plenty of visual delight and symbolising Malaysia’s multicultural integrated community.
Restricted on time, I felt I was missing the opportunity to discover so much more in Malaysia. It is a country I would love to go back and explore more thoroughly, allowing myself the time to stumble upon any more artistic prospects it may present; be it secret street-art, local cuisine or amazing architecture.