George Town among top 16 'must-see' destinations

PHOTO: Ernest Zacharevic

GEORGE TOWN - The Unesco world heritage site here has been picked as one of the 16 "must-see" destinations by the Los Angeles Times.

In its Boxing Day edition, the paper wrote that "George Town (population about 500,000), Penang's main city, is a Unesco World Heritage site with a 500-year history of trading and a hotel boom in progress".

It stated that as many as 10 new hotels may open in 2016, and a bevy of cruise lines call at the port in inner George Town.

"With luck, this growth will leave intact the city's most historic architecture and encourage its lively food scene. George Town was a British trading post from the early 19th century (hence its name) until Malaysian independence in 1957.

"It gives you British echoes, Malay essence, Chinese and Indian commercial traditions, scattered rickshaws and a stew of religions," the paper added.

The other destinations (alphabetically arranged) were Botswana; Bozeman, Montana (US); Cartagena, Colombia; Dublin; Ireland; Harlem, New York (US); Iran; Myanmar; Natchez, Mississippi; Orange County coast, California (US); Paris, France; San Sebastián, Spain; Seattle (US); Stratford-Upon-Avon, England; Washington, D.C. and Williamstown, Kentucky (both in the US).

The Los Angeles Times is the fourth most widely distributed newspaper in the US with a daily circulation of more than a million. It also has the largest Sunday circulation in the country - more than 1.3 million.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng also highlighted the article in his Facebook page on Sunday night.

George Town also took the No. 4 in Lonely Planet's Top 10 Cities list for Best in Travel 2016.

"George Town might be widely known for its Unesco World Heritage-listed streetscape, but of late it has also emerged as the crucible of an artsy, modern Malaysia," Lonely Planet had said on its website.