Discover Georgetown, Penang Through its Doors

Yes, you read it right...doors. It’s easy to overlook the ordinary things as we travel to a new territory. But sometimes, paying attention to the little things lets us see something valuable about a place.  Find out what I discovered about Georgetown, Penang through its Doors. 


doors of Georgetown, Penang

Georgetown, Penang

Georgetown, Penang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is known for its street art and appetizing hawker foods.  Apart from that, it’s difficult to miss the heritage houses and shophouses when you're wandering among the streets of Georgetown.  The structural design of the shophouses, laid out in rows, represents the fusion of Chinese, Malay, Indian and European influences.


The Doors of Georgetown


History has written that the early town was predominantly settled by Indians and Malays, until there came an influx of Chinese laborers from South China to work in Georgetown and tin mines in Penang.  Manifesting this history are the doors of Georgetown's shophouses.  The basic carved timber door is Malay-inspired, while the butterfly-shaped air vents and small shrines in front of the house are from Chinese influences.


Temple doors, on the other hand, are framed with inscriptions of the names of door gods in the belief that the gods will protect the temple.  Some have paintings of the gods facing each other and prayer lanterns hanging at the doorways.

doors of Georgetown, Penang

As the Hokkiens, or Southern Chinese communities continue to make good money from tin mining, they soon brought their sons to English schools.  Upon return, they brought with them the European culture and started improving their houses, giving these European touches.

doors of Georgetown, Penang doors of Georgetown, Penang

The old tiles below the windows and on the floors were said to be imported from Europe

As shops flourished over time, some converted their doors into roll-up shutter doors.  I would have preferred though that they keep the old architecture as this represents Georgetown, Penang’s heritage.

doors of Georgetown, Penang doors of Georgetown, Penang doors of Georgetown, Penang

I did not get tired capturing images of several doors even though they look very similar.  In fact, I liken all these doors’ colors as different flavors of ice cream.

doors of Georgetown, Penang

Moreover, the doors seem to reflect the personalities of its dwellers.

doors of Georgetown, Penang


doors of Georgetown, Penang


doors of Georgetown, Penang


doors of Georgetown, Penang

Space maximizers

doors of Georgetown, Penang

Undoubtedly Indian - this is along Little India after all

Being a popular street art destination, street art around doors is inevitable.

doors of Georgetown, Penang doors of Georgetown, Penang doors of Georgetown, Penang doors of Georgetown, Penang

This one's my favorite!

doors of Georgetown, Penang

There’s also something rustic about the structures of Georgetown, Penang like the worn-out walls and metal doors that I can’t resist snapping photos of.

doors of Georgetown, Penang doors of Georgetown, Penang doors of Georgetown, Penang doors of Georgetown, Penang doors of Georgetown, Penang doors of Georgetown, Penang

At this point, I hope I haven't made you feel like being "doored-out".  My simple message goes like this: appreciate the little things.

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More stories on Georgetown, Penang street scenes from my guest post at The Planet D.

Want to see more door porn? I've put together 25 of my favorite door images from around the world in an e-book, each with a story behind the image. You can get it for free if you subscribe to my blog here.



  1. Vyjay Rao 3 December, 2016 at 14:50 Reply

    The doors are fascinating and each one of them have a story to tell. These doors open into a rich heritage and culture and lead to an intriguing and exciting past.

  2. Jo 5 December, 2016 at 17:37 Reply

    That’s some door porn to last a lifetime hehe. love this post and the door pics. I tried to do one with “churches” but could get just 5 shots so that’s still in the making 🙂 I love the temple door and the Chinese one 🙂

    • findingjing 6 December, 2016 at 13:19 Reply

      Oh! Would love to see that collection, Elisa 🙂 I so wanted to travel to South America for the ancient cities, the street art and definitely the vibrant-colored doors. 🙂

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