There’s something about the heritage city of George Town that invites a slower pace of travel, a deep appreciation of local life. It makes sense then that the Unesco World Heritage capital in the northern Malaysian state of Penang – or the second most visited city in Malaysia after Kuala Lumpur – is home to some of the country’s best luxury boutique hotels.
A case in point is The Edison George Town, a 111-year-old building restored with modern facilities and trimmings. Here’s a breakdown of the hotel, also a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
The building was first commissioned and built in 1906 as a residence for a local tycoon before changing hands during the World War II. Most recently, it was known as the Cathay Hotel, also serving as a brothel at the time.
Inclusion on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)’s World Heritage List is nothing to sniff at. In the simplest terms, it signals that a cultural or natural site — be it a Great Wall, a Grand Canyon or a pollution-stained mausoleum — is of “outstanding value to humanity.”
Prestige aside, recognition as a World Heritage site is also often akin to hitting the tourism jackpot. This is particularly true for impoverished and developing parts of the world that are home to transcendent sites that, without the UNESCO stamp of approval, have remained overlooked, off-the-map — and vulnerable. In these areas, World Heritage status is viewed as a form of salvation.
Yet with this exalted lifeline, there’s often a grave price to pay.
Malacca (locally known as Melaka) is a lovely laid back city in Malaysia, located near the Straits of Malacca. Also known as ‘historic state’, Malacca has been ruled by the Dutch, Portuguese and British thanks to its strategic location which made it an important port along the east-west trade route. Chinese immigrants came to Malacca for trade and mingled with the local ladies of Malay archipelago giving rise to a distinct ‘Peranakan’ culture! The city has been rightly declared a UNESCO world heritage site and still has much of the old heritage intact.
We spent a lovely weekend there soaking in the Peranakan culture, trying delicious cuisine and admiring the lovely architecture of the city.
How to get there: From Singapore, you can take a bus to Malacca.
Thinking of a vacation in Malaysia? Here’s a list of things to do (see wildlife, go to an island) and what to eat (milo, claypot chicken rice).
For years, Malaysia cruised under the tourist radar, overshadowed by its more popular Southeast Asia neighbors such as Thailand and Singapore.
Yet, steady economic growth and a particularly catchy “Malaysia Truly Asia” tourism campaign have helped lift the country to prominence.
Malaysia is a tapestry of diverse cultural influences, drawing from its local indigenous, Malay, Indian and Chinese communities as well as its colonial heritage.
It’s also a story of contrasts — a place where smooth highways lead to both modern cities and lush rainforests, where street vendors set up shop in the shadows of skyscrapers and hipster cafes operate next to traditional kopitiams (coffee houses).
LENGGONG: The Tourism and Culture Ministry has initiated a move to obtain Unesco World Heritage Site status for three more places in Malaysia.
Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz listed the three areas, namely the Royal Belum State Park in Gerik, Perak; the Quartz Ridge of Gombak, Selangor and the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia, a green lung.
The text of his speech was read out by ministry secretary-general Datuk Ab Ghaffar A Tambi at the launch of the Lenggong Carnival 2017 at Dataran Lenggong here last Saturday night, held in conjunction with the fifth anniversary of the recognition of the Archaeological Heritage of the Lenggong Valley as a World Heritage Site.
In his speech, Nazri informed that the ministry had sent a tentative list of documents to Unesco prior to furnishing a complete dossier on the three sites.