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15 Honourable Craftsmen In George Town Keeping Penang’s Cultural Heritage Alive

Greetings, friends! Apart from having an amazing street food scene, Penang is known worldwide for its rich cultural heritage. Since 7th July 2008, Penang has been awarded as UNESCO World Heritage Site. In a recent post by Penang Global Tourism on Facebook, the state tourism bureau commemorates traditional craftsmen in George Town. From rattan weavers to calligraphers, you wouldn’t want to miss this out!

15 Honourable Craftsmen In George Town

1. Rattan Weaver at Lebuh Pantai

Photo: @madebygeorgi (Instagram)
Photo: @afroditedomok (Instagram)

Strategically located at the bustling Lebuh Pantai, lies the legendary rattan shop, Seang Hin Leong. Back in the days, rattan weavers spend their days creating baskets of different shapes to store items. Now, you will find all sorts of items from accessories to furniture here. Painstakingly weaved by Mr. Sim Buck Teik, step inside to find beautifully handcrafted rattan pieces in every corner.

Seang Hin Leong 

Address: 393 Lebuh Pantai, George Town

Operating Hours: Daily except for Sunday and Public Holidays, 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

2. Joss Stick Maker at Lorong Muda 1

Photo: @mercilessjun (Instagram)
Photo: @len_j_p (Instagram)

What are the materials used to make Joss sticks? Commonly made with tree resins, it also includes some flowers, seed, roots, and barks. At Lorong Muda 1, 90-year-old Lee Beng Chuan has been making Joss sticks since 1953. When he was much younger, Lee made 12-foot tall ‘dragon’ Joss sticks. Now, you will find sandalwood incense sticks and cones!

Address: 1 Lorong Muda (off Lorong Stewart), George Town

Operating Hours: Daily, 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

3. Songkok Maker at Lebuh King

Photo: @jak.chen (Instagram)

Have you ever wandered along the streets of Little India before? With so many quaint traditional outlets, it is no wonder that Little India is always bustling with locals and foreigners alike. Tucked in Lebuh King, you will find the last standing songkok maker at Penang’s World Heritage Site. Introducing Mr. Haja Mohideen, the honourable craftsmen keeping this tradition alive.

Kedai Songkok OSM Mohd Shariff 

Address: 157 Lebuh King, George Town

Operating Hours: Daily except for Sunday and Public Holidays, 10:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.

4. Paper Oblation Craftsmans at Lebuh Carnavon

Photo: Penang Global Tourism / George Town World Heritage Incorporated (Facebook)

Chances are, this is something that you don’t see every day. In Chinese customs, people believe in burning paper replicas of items such as mansions, cars, and servants for the deceased. Nowadays, other items such as mobile phones, and luxury bags are also part of the list! Discover all these intricate craftsmanship at Ah Ban Paper Oblation Shop at Lebuh Carnavon.

Ah Ban Paper Oblation Shop 

Address: 198A Lebuh Carnarvon, George Town

Operating Hours: Daily, 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

5. Flower Garland Makers at Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling

Photo: Penang Global Tourism / George Town World Heritage Incorporated (Facebook)

Follow the scent, friends! Tucked in Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, right next to Goddess of Mercy Temple, be awestruck by dangling flower garlands. Bright and colourful, flower garlands are commonly made for alter offerings. Additionally, choose your favourite flowers and make a bouquet here, too! Nothing brightens up the mood more than flowers!

Address: Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling (next to Goddess of Mercy Temple), George Town

Operating Hours: Daily, 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

6. Nyonya Beaded Shoe Maker at Lebuh Armenian

Photo: Penang Global Tourism / George Town World Heritage Incorporated (Facebook)

Without a doubt, there are many things to eat, see, and do at Lebuh Armenian. Packed with locals and foreigners, Lebuh Armenian offers Instagram-worthy spots. Did you know that there’s a Nyonya beaded shoemaker here, too? These quaint designs are surely outstanding. Elevate your everyday look with these beauties, or make it a decoration piece at home!

Handmade Nyonya Beaded Shoes

Address: 4 Lebuh Armenian, George Town

Operating Hours: Daily, 9:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

7. Trishaw Maker at Jalan Pintai Tali

Photo: @pilarcasasphotography (Instagram)

It is hard to miss out on trishaws whilst roaming around George Town. Riding around on trishaws allows you to see the heritage site with from a whole new perspective! Where do all these trishaws come from? Meet the last standing trishaw maker in George Town, Mr. Choo Yew Choon. As the demand for trishaws has slowed down, he spends his time fixing bicycles, pushcarts, and also mobile hawker stalls.

Hup Huat Tricycle and Bicycle Repair 

Address: 5 Jalan Pintai Tali, George Town

Operating Hours: Daily, 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

8. Perfumer at Lebuh Pantai

Photo: Penang Global Tourism / Adam Lim (Facebook)
Photo: @shafieahmat (Instagram)

Here’s another scent to follow! Introducing the leading and oldest perfumer in Malaysia, S.M. Badjenid & Son. Step inside the impressive three-story building to find bottles after bottles of scents. Notable for a wide range of non-alcoholic perfumes at reasonable prices, this spot impresses many netizens. Some even noted that it is the best spot in town!

S.M. Badjenid & Son 

Address: 84-186 Lebuh Pantai, George Town

Operating Hours: Daily except for Sunday and Public Holidays, Monday to Thursday & Saturday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

9. Traditional Chinese Medical Practitioner at Lebuh Campbell

Photo: Penang Global Tourism / Adam Lim (Facebook)

Here’s a fun fact. Traditional Chinese medicine dates back to 3,500 years! It includes all types of treatments, such as herbal medicine, acupuncture, and cupping therapy. Tucked in Lebuh Campbell, Chan Soo Sum, a qualified Chinese physician, and an acupuncturist has been practicing for years. Of course, you can find Chinese medicine and herbs, too!

Poh Aun Tong Medical Hall 

Address: 125 Lebuh Campbell, George Town

Operating Hours: Daily except for Sunday and Public Holidays, 10:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

10. Spice Merchant at Lebuh Pasar

Photo: Penang Global Tourism / Adam Lim (Facebook)

Calling all home chefs! Are you looking for herbs and spices to elevate your dishes? Well, you wouldn’t want to miss this out. Back in the days, spice merchants are based near the waterfronts for distribution purposes. It is a story that many Malaysians had read during school days. Here, you will find buckets and buckets of spices ready to be brought home!

Syarikat Abdul Ghaffar Trading 

Address: 29 & 29A Lebuh Pasar, George Town

Operating Hours: Daily except for Sunday and Public Holidays, 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

11. Islamic Books Publisher at Lebuh Buckingham

Photo: Penang Global Tourism / Adam Lim (Facebook)

Strategically located in the heart of George Town, Masjid Kapitan Keling is a must-see for everyone. The majestic mosque has been standing tall since the 19th century. Just a stone’s throw away, there’s a humble little bookstore specialising in Islamic books. Don’t be fooled by the size of the bookstore, as it is the largest publisher of Islamic books within the country.

Percetakan Almuarif Sdn Bhd 

Address: 16 Lebuh Buckingham, George Town

Operating Hours: Daily except for Sundays and Public Holidays, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

12. Roti Benggali Baker at Jalan Transfer

Photo: @nuruleylia (Instagram)
Photo: @irwan_ariffin (Instagram)

Honestly, Roti Benggali is one of the best bread ever! Soft and fluffy, spread some kaya and butter, and dip it into soft boiled eggs for the perfect combination. Another alternative? Curry, please!  Loved by locals, Benggali Roti has origins from India. Purchase yourself a loaf from Maliia Bakery, strategically located opposite Jalan Transfer’s famous roti canai.

Maliia Bakery (M) Sdn Bhd

Address: 14, Jalan Buckingham, George Town, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang

Operating Hours: Daily, 6:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.

13. Hindu Religious Goods & Indian Kitchenware Seller at Lebuh Pasar

Photo: Penang Global Tourism / Adam Lim (Facebook)

Here’s another spot for home chefs to visit! Tucked in the bustling streets of Little India for more than 60 years, this spot was rebuilt after it was tragically bombed during World War II. Without a doubt, you will find a wide range of products including Hindi religious goods and Indian kitchenware. Take your time to discover the best products it has to offer!

Kanganam Trading 

Address: 32 Lebuh Pasar (kitchenware) & 41 Lebuh Pasar (religion Items), George Town

Operating Hours: Daily except for Sundays and Public Holidays, 10:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

14. Kapok Pillow & Mattress Maker at Lebuh Cintra

Photo: Penang Global Tourism / Adam Lim (Facebook)

Have you heard of Kapok before? Kapok is a soft and silky all-natural fiber extracted from Kapok tree. Feels like a feather pillow! Similar to Kanganam Trading, this spot has been in operations for more than 60 years. At Chin Huat, find pillows, bolsters, and even mattresses filled with Kapok! Imagine hugging a Kapok-filled bolster. It’s going to make you feel warm and happy.

Chin Huat

Address: 78 Lebuh Cintra, George Town

Operating Hours: Daily except for Sundays and Public Holidays, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

15. Textile & Religious Items Trader at Lebuh Chulia

Photo: Penang Global Tourism / Adam Lim (Facebook)

Last but certainly not the least, check out this spot for textile and religious items. The busy street of Lebuh Chulia is the home for Syarikat Medina Store. Carrying textiles from Japan and Korea, you will also find imported traditional Indonesian sarongs, local batik sarongs, and checkered kain pelikat from India. If you love fashion, you will definitely you wouldn’t want to sit this one out.

Address: 109 Lebuh Chulia, George Town

Operating Hours: Daily except for Sundays and Public Holidays, 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Keeping Penang’s Cultural Heritage Alive

To be fully immersed in Penang’s rich heritage, these are the places to be! Whether you’re looking to buy some rattan furniture, or indulge in some good ol’ Benggali Roti, Penang has it all. With so many places to discover in Penang, where will you be going? Let us know in the comments! Check out 25 Street Food In Penang You Can’t Afford To Miss 2020!

Some content is adapted from George Town World Heritage Incorporated. 

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