Penang For the Street Art Lover

I did do a lot more than just eating my way through Penang. One of the reasons why I came back to Penang on my last trip was for the street arts. These were fairly new as I remember being there back in 2010 and they were not there. Naturally I got a little excited, as I do for small things, and it’s always nice revisiting a place with new things to see.

There are two types of street arts, one made from welded iron creating humorous caricatures while the other one is the painted one. The street arts in Penang are somehow organized, they are not illegal and you can easily get a map locating all the street arts, all in Georgetown. I guess this is a good idea, however I must say that I missed the hunting-down-street-arts-in-random-places feel that I had in Portugal. There was just this different kind of excitement when I actually had to go to the streets, hunt down and search for street arts, sometimes I found nothing, other times I got lucky by finding amazing gems. When that happened, there was this rush of excitement bursting inside of me screaming “I FOUND THIS ALL ON MY OWN!”.

Anyway, I totally didn’t mind the mapped street arts. I decided to rent a bike for the day to bike around Georgetown and find these street arts. The painted street arts were created by Ernest Zacharevic, a Lithuanian artist. Inspired by Penang and its culture and heritage, he decided to liven up old buildings in the heritage site area of Penang. Truly an inspiring artist.

It seemed that some people were inspired by Zacharevic’s street art galore that I also found a few other street arts that are not in the map. For me, it was a win!

I didn’t find all the street arts as I was cycling very slow, stopping at spots that I thought was fascinating. My friend, Timothy, was in charge of the map and I simply followed him (hah! What a lucky friend I am!).  Here are some of my favourite findings:

Starting from the welded iron arts, I love this one of a man climbing up to a window at Love Lane with the title “Cheating Husband”.

This “Too Narrow” art talks about rickshaw, widely used in Penang in the past (and also still used now). It also has an addition street art of popular Hokkien, a Chinese dialect, words. Pretty cool and also informative and you can practice the words with the locals!

I also enjoyed spotting “undocumented” street arts, like this one at a bike shop. I have no idea why there is a witch scaring people at a bike shop, but well creativity can’t be explained sometimes and I enjoyed it nevertheless as it puts good use of a plain door.

A good doze of minions arts were also found, and who doesn’t love these sunshine yellow cuties?!

However most of all, I spent most of my time admiring the street arts hand painted by Zacharevic as some were located high up on a wall. It must have taken a lot of work to create such pretty arts and for that I respect the guy for putting so much effort into it. The “Trishaw Man” was located in a street were a lot of trishaws, or rickshaws as I call them, were waiting for passengers. Love the intricate details, especially the flowers on the trishaw.

I particularly enjoyed playing with this one. At Step by Step Lane, a set of swing was installed on an old brick wall with two kids hanging out on it. I saw a handful of people, including myself, posing on the other swing – a very fun street art!

I spent a whole day looking for these street arts. If you are a street art aficionado, it is definitely worth investing some time on it. For those of you who have been to Penang before the street art era, it’s time for you to come back! And those who have never been to Penang, I really don’t know what you’re waiting for. Penang is known for its gorgeous temples, addictive food and its quirky UNESCO heritage old town – there really is no excuse for you not to be here.

DEW Tips on Penang

  • Biking around Penang is easy. Bike rentals are easy to find, I rented my bike for 15RM. Do bring water with you as it can be a little hot.
  • Don’t be scared in trying the street food there! Many of the food stalls have many finger-licking food that would be ashamed if you didn’t try them!
  • There are many places you can stay in Penang, but if you prefer to be on the quieter, more relax side of town, I recommend Batu Ferringhi Beach area (yes Penang has beaches!). Do check out PARKROYAL Penang Resort which is located in this area.
  • Have fun!

25 Comment

  1. Minions! <3 Love all the pictures, but my favorites are the ones with the minions (people should head to your Facebook page to see more pictures!) and the first one. I'm not sure what I'd enjoy more, the map of the street art or discovering them on my own. I feel like the map is a great idea if you don't have enough time to explore. 🙂

    1. Yes the map is definitely a great idea for those who don’t have much time to explore. And besides, I got to see a lot of street arts who were not on the map like the minions! 😀

  2. I love street art and minions. Combine them and it just makes my day 🙂 Thanks for this post.

    1. Glad you enjoyed them Lauren 😉

  3. I love how the street art incorporated pre-existing features like pipes and cables – it gives a really cool, 3-D effect to everything.

    1. Yes I love that too! I think the artist did a great job of doing that 🙂

  4. The popularity of street art has certainly grown around the world. I love finding it randomly, but kind of nice that Penang has a map for it, too. Love the mural of the two kids on the bike — very cool.

    1. Yep absolutely and I love it since I’m a big street art fan! These ones in Penang are super cool, thanks for reading Cathy 🙂

  5. UNESCO sites and street art – two of my favorite things combined. Thanks for the great pictures!

    1. Glad you enjoyed them Bev 🙂

  6. Love street art!! Definitely need to head there one day 🙂 Great photos–sounds like a fun day!

    1. Yes! Penang is such a fun place – so much to do, hope you can go there one day Jenna 🙂

  7. I loved this post, the images with the 3D items mixed with the street drawings are amazing! I’m such a fan of minions too! Love those photos.

    1. Thanks Sharon! Love the 3D welded irons too and also a big minion fan here 😀

  8. Street art is pretty fabulous. I agree; it’s a lot of fun to find it on your own! The Step By Step Lane installment is so cute! I love the one with the picture of the kids on the bike.

    1. Yes that one is my favourite too! Street arts in Penang were really cool, though maybe next time maybe I’ll leave my map at home 😀

  9. I love the one in front of the bike shop! When I hear “Penang” the first thing that pops in my mind is food, but the street arts look just as awesome.

    1. Yes Penang means food absolutely but the new street arts addition is amazing too, gives you more reasons to visit Penang 🙂

  10. I adore street arts, but have never made it to Penang. Would you recommend Penang for a weekend trip from Jakarta, or is it only worthwhile to allocate 3 days or more? Thanks in advance for the advice, Aggy! 🙂

    1. I think Penang is great for a weekend trip although an extra day will allow you to explore other parts like its national park. Hope you get the chance to go there Maesy!

  11. I love me some good street art – and biking through cities, for that matter! Step by Step Lane looks pretty cool, as does the “too narrow” mural. I’d love to see this for myself one day. 🙂

    1. You will love being in Penang, Pola! Such a quirky and interesting city 🙂

  12. Really enjoyed this series of photo from Penang, Aggy. They do know how to make street arts look classy, something a lot of cities in Indonesia need to learn.

    1. Thanks Bama, I realized a lot of good street arts popping up in Yogyakarta, but unfortunately they are messy and unclassified, making them look unappealing. Certainly an unfortunate!

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