The Ultimate Guide to Penang Street Art

The Ultimate Guide to Penang Street Art

There are places we all visit on our travels that disappoint and there are places we visit that simply blow all expectations out of the water. Penang for me and my husband was one such destination. I had added it into our itinerary simply because it happened to lie along our route from Bangkok to Singapore. And it ended up being the highlight of the entire trip! And it is the Penang street art that makes it so special!

There is so much to Penang – wonderful people, the tastiest street food ever, and of course, in George Town, the most fantastic street art. I am not going to tell you about Penang – the best post you can read is by Angie of Feet Do Travel so check her blog out – the link is at the bottom of this post.

This post is dedicated to the wonderful Penang street art – what it is, why it was created, where you can find it and why I had to see every single one of the murals (I have not seen all of the iron work art but I WILL be back to make sure I do!) and all  words best illustrated by the art itself!

street art in penang - I love penang sign | Penang street art and murals featured by top international travel blogger, Tracy's Travels in Time

Penang Street Art: Marking George Town – the background to the steel-rod sculptures

In 2008 George Town achieved UNESCO World Heritage status.  The Marking George Town initiative was a competition to come up with an idea to physically brand the site following achieving it’s world heritage status. The winning idea came from local artist Tang Mum Kian with the theme of “Voices of the People”.

52 steel-rod sculptures have so far been created and erected around George Town. Each piece tells the story of a part of George Town and of the history of the area – they are humorous and are best understood in context. Ensure that you pick up your free copy of Marking George Town from your hotel which will give you valuable information about each piece. It was fantastic learning about the history of this beautiful part of town through the sculptures.

Enjoy your adventure as you walk around town spotting them!

Although the sculptures are not officially named they are known by popular names or by their subject matter!

Don’t just look for the sculptures by day – in the evening they are all lit up for night-time viewing too!

The art work has been created by 4 artists – Tang Mun Kian, Baba Chuah, Reggie Lee and Lefty.

Their fabulous work not only tells the story of George Town but “they introduce the traditions, beliefs, practices and industries at key areas of the heritage city.” (from the Making George Town leaflet by Penang Global Tourism)

We managed to see about 2/3 of the sculptures – it became addictive!

If you are planning a trip there are so many awesome things to do in Penang as well as the great art! And if you decide to travel to the neighbouring island of Langkawi – and why not! I recommend you check out this list of great things you can do in Langkawi.

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Other popular George Town street art

As well as the brilliant steel-rod works there are many other examples of street art in George Town. I ended up having to find all of the pieces identified in the brochure (all 15 of them) and some are a LOT harder to find than others! It was like an amazing treasure hunt!!!

 | Penang street art and murals featured by top international travel blogger, Tracy's Travels in Time

The Indian Boatman This was one of my favourite pieces – it is stunning!

Cat and dog themed!

Some Penang Street Art is Interactional – Sit on the Bike/Motorbike/Swing!

There can be quite a queue to have your photograph taken with some of the art so you have to be quick. My husband was so fast sitting on the motorbike that he obscured the painting behind!!!!

 | Penang street art and murals featured by top international travel blogger, Tracy's Travels in Time

Child Mural At Prangin Canal – this was the last of the street art we located and my favourite!

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Some of Penang Street Art is Small, Others Take Over Entire Walls!

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As well as all the street art in Penang to find from the guide there are loads of other great pieces to find while exploring George Town! We loved these too!

Have you been to Penang? What did you think of the street art in Penang? Are there other places with awesome street art you could recommend – I love reading blogs about it!

To read more about Penang please check out Angie’s post – “Penang City of Surprises” by Angie of Feet Do Travel

Where to stay in Penang

We stayed in the best hotel of our entire holiday in SE Asia in Georgetown. The Hotel Muntri Grove is a lovely little boutique hotel ideally located to get the best out of your time in Penang. I cannot recommend this hotel enough – the price was excellent, staff friendly and helpful and the room simply huge! (And it has a pool which is great to cool off in after a day in the heat!)

Hotel Muntri Grove

A welcome smile from staff at Hotel Muntri Grove




 | Penang street art and murals featured by top international travel blogger, Tracy's Travels in Time | Penang street art and murals featured by top international travel blogger, Tracy's Travels in Time


Pin – Penang Street Art



George Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. To read more about this check out the listing HERE.

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Author: Tracy

Tracy is your expert expat!

She has lived and worked in 7 countries on 4 continents and travelled to over 50 more. A qualified school teacher with an interest in history, reading, photography, nature and wildlife she is always planning her next trip (preferably by train)

Through down-to-earth stories, tips and advice (based on her own extensive knowledge and experience of life as an expat) she aims to support new and prospective expats to survive and thrive in Australia.

With a lifetime of travel experience, and a network of friends all over the world, she is also able to share genuine insider guides, recommended best book lists and train journey inspiration to help you travel authentically to some of the most beautiful places on earth.


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  1. October 5, 2017 / 10:12 am

    We fell in love with Penang more than ten years ago and we’ve been back a few times since. The food is just divine, but its the colourful energy of the place that you’ve depicted in your gorgeous photos, that really make this place special. #FarawayFiles

    • Tracy
      October 7, 2017 / 2:29 am

      It is isn’t it – amazing place!

    • Tracy
      October 7, 2017 / 2:28 am

      It is a pretty awesome place! Sure you will love it!

  2. October 6, 2017 / 5:15 am

    What a lovely post, it took me back to our Fabulous time there so thank you for the memory and for mentioning our post 😀 I’m so glad you had as good a time as we did, it’s always difficult when someone recommends a place that “you must visit” so I so happy it wasn’t a disappointment (I mean, how can it be??). Wonderful read! #FeetDoTravel

    • Tracy
      October 7, 2017 / 2:22 am

      I loved your post Angie so was pleased to be able to add it – felt it was pointless writing about Penang as your post was so good so focussed on the street art instead. We LOVED it! Will be back for sure!

  3. October 6, 2017 / 5:26 am

    This is incredible. Especially love the kids playing basketball. So cool!

    • Tracy
      October 7, 2017 / 2:27 am

      The street art is fab!

  4. October 6, 2017 / 5:57 am

    I’ve seen the piece of the two children on the bike before, but not the rest. The beginning pieces are very unique! I like that they’re really like a comic! #FeetdoTravel
    Lolo recently posted…3 Transylvanian Fantasy Castles in RomaniaMy Profile

    • Tracy
      October 7, 2017 / 2:20 am

      They are amazing and a great way to learn about Penang!

  5. October 6, 2017 / 9:02 am

    I loved Penang when I went there in the 90s but the street art scene wasnt big then – or maybe I didnt notice? I would so love to go back and wander the streets looking for these pieces. The ones with the children are so joyful. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

  6. October 6, 2017 / 9:47 am

    Wow! So extensive – did you take all of these photos? I love Penang as I live in Kuala Lumpur I have been a couple of times. Well done on the article and thanks for sharing.

    • dan walford
      October 7, 2017 / 1:55 am

      Yes all my photographs with my iphone too – I have loads more of the wire art too!

  7. October 6, 2017 / 10:32 am

    A queue for street art!! never heard that before! I’m a graphic designer, so I know I would just love all the art Penang has to offer. I really hope we can visit one day with my parents, as they grew up in Penang and Malaysia, so heard lots of their stories, however it sounds like a modern city now, so I bet it’s a very different place to how they remember it!
    Garth recently posted…New York CityMy Profile

    • dan walford
      October 7, 2017 / 1:54 am

      You guys would love it I am sure – it was our favourite destination of our trip and just was so amazing. I don’t this some of it will be any different Garth – would love to hear what your parents think when they visit.

  8. October 6, 2017 / 1:23 pm

    I’ve read about the marvellous street art in Penang before. It looks like a wonderful way to see around the city and I like the idea of doing it as an arty treasure hunt with kids. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles
    Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles) recently posted…Faraway Files #49My Profile

    • dan walford
      October 7, 2017 / 1:52 am

      It became a real must see for us – I had to see all the art and we loved searching for it!

  9. dan walford
    October 7, 2017 / 1:52 am

    It is a must visit destination for me and we can’t wait to return!

  10. October 8, 2017 / 5:02 am

    The street art in here is so unique. I would love to see it. I have been taking photos of street art in several cities and the same artists start to pop all over. There is nothing wrong with that but it would be great to see something fresh and different. Penang is different (and I like that). #feetdotravel
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    • TracyJane
      October 8, 2017 / 9:21 pm

      Definitely worth a visit – we want to go back we liked it so much!

  11. October 8, 2017 / 5:44 am

    What a wonderful street art in George Town. I love the paintings and the steel rod sculptures. Amazing what people can do and often just in their spare time.

  12. October 9, 2017 / 5:37 pm

    Move over Banksy hey? I love these works of art. What an interesting way in which to unite an area. #FarawayFiles

    • TracyJane
      October 9, 2017 / 10:01 pm

      It certainly is – so interesting too

  13. October 10, 2017 / 7:23 pm

    I’ve read so much about the street art of Penang but very few articles have managed to capture it as well as you have! Very excited to get there hopefully soon!

  14. October 12, 2017 / 2:42 am

    That street art with Mr. Bean is just about our all-time favorite! We’ve seen some of these before, and the few that incorporate things – like the swing or the bicycle – are really cool. The 3D aspect adds some interest and depth. The metal work is amazing, too – That must take a lot of work! Cool stuff!
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    • TracyJane
      October 15, 2017 / 7:43 am

      It was stunning Shona!

  15. October 13, 2017 / 11:38 am

    I have to say congratulations on walking around Penang and successfully photographing all the street art. I was so hot, I only managed to take a couple of street art pics! Georgetown is another UNESCO site for you to add to your huge list!
    James recently posted…What to see in Gozo – Malta by landMy Profile

    • TracyJane
      October 14, 2017 / 11:11 pm

      Thanks James – we did it over a number of days and took our time! Hard and hot work though but so rewarded!