Headed up to Penang for a quick weekend getaway? Besides great food culture, you can’t miss the colourful alleyways of the famous George Town, with its many walls covered with murals and street art. I put together this detailed walking guide with some recommended routes to help you find all the Penang street art in George Town on your own.
Post updated: Dec 2017
Map and Recommended Routes
There has been quite a boom of street art in Penang since 2012 when I first created this post. To make things easier, I’ve plotted out the locations on this Google Map and recommended some routes in different colours that you can follow when exploring George Town on your own.
If you are feeling adventurous, I have another guide to help you venture outside of Georgetown Core and other parts of Penang for more street art!
Penang Street Art Projects
The street art in Penang has largely been a result of these street art projects or special events.
Ernest Zacharevic works
This Lithuanian artist is probably the reason why street art became such a big deal to Penang in the first place, after his commissioned work ‘Mirrors George Town’ for the George Town Festival back in 2012 became a big hit. His works are by far the most popular out of all the street art I saw, with queues forming to take pictures with these works and appearing on souvenirs quite prominently. He recently had a solo exhibition in early 2014 titled Art is Rubbish is Art, and now has works that can be found in various part of Malaysia, Singapore and Europe.
This collection of 12 cat-related street artworks is a project by Thai artist Natthapon Muangkliang and Malaysian artists Louise Low and Tang Yeok Khang aimed at creating awareness towards stray animals. Here’s a quite detailed blogpost about where you can find all the 101 Lost Kittens artworks.
Urban Exchange 2014 and 2015
Creative space Hin Bus Depot and Urban Nation organizes an annual urban arts festival that invites both local Malaysian and prominent overseas street arts to Penang to transform the buildings with murals and street art. Beyond murals, it also brings together contemporary art and outdoor art installations to the streets of Penang.
These 52 iron structures can be found in abundance throughout George Town, and were actually commissioned by the Penang Tourism Board to provide a fun pictoral anecdote about the history of the street it is located on, and is a rather fun way to learn a little bit about Penang’s heritage. I don’t cover that in here because the locations are already pretty well documented by the Tourism Board.
There are many different street artworks besides those listed above, some by random artists and others commissioned by the local tenants. I tried my best to find out info about these artists and credit them accordingly here, but if you do have updates, please let me know!
- I highly recommend you pick up the Marking George Town map by Penang’s tourism board from the airport as a hard copy guide to Penang’s street art
- Another handy resource I used for my 2016 trip is Travel2Penang, which is pretty detailed and the street view maps were simultaneously useful yet hard to read somehow
*Remember that street art is transient and ever-changing and I might have overlooked some spots!
Route 1 (Orange)
Lebuh Ah Quee
Start from Lebuh Cannon junction and walk down towards Jalan Pantai junction.
Turn left at the Lebuh Pantai junction. Walk past Gat Lebuh Chulia junction. Before you reach Lebuh Pasar, you should come across a carpark on your left where you should see these two artworks quite easily:
Gat Lebuh Chulia
Turn back down Lebuh Pantai and walk towards Gat Lebuh Chulia. Turn left and walk towards Pengkalan Weld aka Weld Quay.
*on the opposite of Gat Lebuh Chulia is another alleyway. Within that one you can see another of Louis Gan’s murals, which show two kids playing basketball. I missed that this time around!
Route 2 (Red)
After you are done with the orange route above, continue walking down Gat Lebuh Chulia till you reach Pengkalan Weld. Turn right and walk down the road (away from the Bus interchange). You should pass various jetty entrances, stop and turn in the one that says Chew Jetty.
Gat Lebuh Armenian
Backtrack towards Pengkalan Weld and cross the road. Gat Lebuh Armenian should be directly opposite. Walk straight up the road towards Lebuh Armenian.
*another 101 Lost Kittens work entitled ‘Please care and bathe me’ is somewhere around here, though I couldn’t find it!
After Gat Lebuh Armenian, cross the Lebuh Pantai junction towards Lebuh Armenian and walk all the way up. You will need to make a minor detour towards Lorong Soo Hong. This road is closed to vehicular traffic on weekends.
Route 3 (Yellow)
From Lebuh Armenian junction, turn left and walk down Lebuh Cannon.
Lorong Toh Aka
Route 4 (Green)
Ok I didn’t link this walk with the other three as it is a little bit further away. Start from Jalan Masjid Kepitan Keling and walk along Lorong Stewart.
If you have any additions or corrections, do drop me a comment or an email please! I created this guide based on my own experiences and research, so I may have missed out some things or gotten locations wonky, so do help me make this guide better!
Whew if you covered all that, that is a lot of walking indeed! Now how about heading outside of the core George Town area – we’ll be exploring outer areas like the south-western Balik Pulau, and even across to mainland Penang! Or check out some of my other Penang posts.
Looking for more street art? Check out my dedicated street art page.