Events, Festivals and Exhibitions

George Town Heritage Celebrations 2019

6 July 2019 - 8 July 2019

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When on 7 July 2008 UNESCO granted World Heritage status to Penang’s capital George Town, the local government marked the event by declaring it a public holiday and the July George Town Heritage Celebrations have kept on growing ever since.

To honour UNESCO’s recognition, a community-centred festival is held each year around the old streets of the city to celebrate its buildings, culture and history. Since 2014 events are centred around a cultural theme and this year’s is ‘Let’s Celebrate: Rituals and Festive Events’. The theme focuses on commemorations of significant and historical events; birth, wedding and funeral ceremonies; and important celebrations to honour deities. Despite their ethnic and cultural diversity, George Town’s residents pride themselves on their understanding of multicultural traditions that have been handed down through different generations, resulting in a harmonious coexistence and a sense of belonging and togetherness.

What to expect during the George Town Heritage Celebrations

The two major events that will feature at the celebrations this year are called Street Festival and Site Excursions. The Street Festival will focus on rituals and festive events, with communal activities including classes and workshops, performances, demonstrations and games. The Site Excursions will allow visitors to discover and learn about the variety of cultures and traditions related to the historical religious sites. This being Malaysia, expect a lot of exquisite traditional food.

As the only state in Malaysia to have a Chinese majority population, Penang’s culture is in many ways a reflection of Asia itself. The oldest of the British Straits settlements, George Town exemplifies Malaysia’s colonial past and mixed-heritage.

When you wander through the city you’ll encounter quirky Chinese shops, narrow roads, colonial-era mansions, lots of temples and the ‘little India’ quarters – venture outwards and a landscape of tropical beaches, rain forests and lakes awaits you.

If you pass through the capital, check out these Things to Do in Kuala Lumpur without the Twin Towers.

Some of the city’s highlights include the award-winning Cheong Fatt Ze Mansion with its successfully restored 18th and 19th century Chinese architecture; the historical Fort Cornwallis, the largest standing fort in Malaysia and one of Penang’s best known landmarks; the Kek Lok Si Temple, arguably the largest Buddhist temple complex in Southeast Asia and housing a stunning collection of Buddha statues; the 19th century Kapitan Keling Mosque with its Moghul-style copper domes; St. George’s Church, dating from 1816 and often described as Penang’s most beautiful heritage landmark; and plenty of other highlights to get your fill.

When are the George Town Heritage Celebrations 2019

They will take place from 6 to 8 July. On the fhe first day, 6 July, the Street Festival will start at 6pm and lasts till 11pm in the George Town UNESCO World Heritage Site. This day also marks the start of the Site Excursions with thematic walks and trails, until 8 July.

Accommodation during the George Town Heritage Celebrations

Make sure you book your accommodation well in advance. Please search via our hotel booking portal which scans and compares all major booking sites to find you the best deals in Penang. It doesn’t cost you a penny extra and the small commission we earn will help with the running of this website:

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For the latest updates on the George Town Heritage Celebrations:

Follow the festivities on Facebook (George Town Heritage Celebrations) and Instagram (@heritagecelebrations), or check out their website.

Image: The Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion on Leith Street within the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Photo: Mahen Bala.


6 July 2019
8 July 2019


George Town World Heritage Site
George Town,PenangMalaysia+ Google Map
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Johan Smits

Freelance writer, translator, web content developer, author of the novel Phnom Penh Express and Tommy, a short story. Johan has travelled extensively since leaving his native Antwerp. He has lived in Taiwan, West Africa, Central Asia, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Thailand, where he now lives. Loves trying out local brews but tends to avoids noise. Chronically indecisive about where to lay down his hat.

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