Coffee shops and street art go hand in hand in Georgetown, Penang. And Flic and Nick from Lights, Camera, Backpack give us their very detailed guide on seeing where to see the best images, and where the good coffee's hiding too.
There aren’t many things we love as much coffee, but great street art has to be one of them. So, imagine our excitement when we heard that Georgetown had commissioned street artist Ernest Zacharevic to create some art on their city walls, alongside the existing art.
However, many of the maps and guides to help find the art were old or inaccurate. This is very frustrating for travellers that only have a few days in Georgetown. That said, we’ve come with a solution and designed an updated version.
We’ve also united our 2 passions to show where the best coffee shops are along the way! One of the beautiful things about street art is that it’s ever changing and evolving, so we’ll have to go back to Georgetown soon to make another updated map. It’s a hard life!
Start at Black Kettle on the corner of Lebuh Chulia and Lebuh Pantai (Beach Street). Here is a coffee shop and bakery, with skilled baristas working with Australian coffee beans and an impressive bakery section. It’s more expensive than others, but it’s worth trying the good quality coffee.
When leaving, turn left and walk along Beach Street. Turn right onto Lebuh Ah Quee, and you’ll see 3 pieces of street art. These are ‘Old Motorcycle’, ‘Burned’ and a boy walking his pet dinosaur. A little further on, take the alleyway on your right and you’ll find Bruce Lee fighting a cat!
Continue up the alleyway and turn right when you get to Beach Street. You’ll see Easy Brew on your left, that sells coffee from 24 different countries. They also offer a free roasting demonstration. The cowboy coffee comes with a flavouring tray of butter, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon sticks.
After Easy Brew, turn left. Take a left onto Gat Lebuh Armenian and you’ll see ‘Skippy’, a big ginger cat, on your left. There’s also ‘Cat 102’ and ‘Love Me Like Your Fortune Cat’ on the right.
Just past the last image, you’ll see Da Shu Xia Seafood house. You can’t miss it because half of the restaurant is a massive wooden boat. Order the Penang White Coffee. Malaysians are crazy about their instant coffee and some of it’s actually not that bad. The Boat’s closed on Wednesday, so keep that in mind.
Turn left, and then again onto Lebuh Victoria. On your right, you’ll see Awesome Canteen. It’s part of the China House group and employs some of the best baristas in Penang. Try the pricey but delicious Japanese cold brew Chemex for a clean, fruity cup.
Turn right after leaving Awesome Canteen. Here you’ll see ‘Brother and Sister’.
Turn right onto Lebuh Chulia, where you’ll come across ‘Children Playing Basketball’ and ‘Brother and Sister on a Swing’.
A little further down Lebuh Chulia is Kopi and Toast. It’s where the local cool kids come to hang out. Grab a kopi and some kaya toast if you’re a bit hungry. There’s also the chance to explore the Jetty villages here. These are ramshackle huts built on concrete poles protruding from the water.
Turn right and walk back down Lebuh Chulia and take a right on Beach Street. On your left, there’s Coffee on the Table. Here you can grab a cup of 3D coffee! These adorable creations looked amazing and tasted great too!
Exit Coffee on the Table and turn left. On your immediate left you’ll see a car park with 2 large scale pieces.
Walk along Beach Street and then turn left on Lebuh Gereja. The famous Old Town White Coffee is here, and is a favourite among older people. They sell a cheap and robust kopi, and you can make it part of a combo meal if you’re in the mood for some curry mee.
Wave goodbye to Old Town and return to Beach Street. Just past Bishop Street, you’ll see another large work of a trumpet player through an archway.
Turn around and walk down Bishop Street. On the corner of Bishop and King Street is a painting of a purple tree.
Continue along Bishop Street, and turn left onto Masjid Kapitan Keling and then right onto Lorong Stewart. The Alley coffee shop is on the left. Order a delicious ristretto as well as some churros and cronuts. They also offer free drinking water and WiFi.
- Continue along Lorong Stewart. On the side of the awesome Tipsy Tiger Party Hostel, there’s a fitting image of a large tiger. Visit the hostel bar if you’re in the mood for a cheap beer and a game of table tennis with a friendly crowd.
As you walk along Lorong Stewart, you’ll see ‘The Boatman’ on the corner of Lebuh Klang.
On the same street, and just before you reach Love Lane, you’ll see ‘Electric Man’ and ‘The Dancer’.
Walk in the same direction and you’ll pass a creatively decorated electricity meter.
Keep walking to see the image of this large blue girl holding herself up.
Carry on down the road, past the cat cafe (we can recommend the cats, not the coffee) and you’ll come across ‘The Man and The Mouth’ by the Ryokan Muntri Boutique Hostel.
Continue walking till you get to Jalan Penang and turn right. Look for the ‘Trishaw Man’. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the artist’s inspiration!
Turn back down Jalan Penang. On your left is Maxim’s Gelato. This isn’t a coffee shop, but they do incredible mocha, tiramisu and espresso gelato, so we wanted to include it on the tour.
Keep walking and turn left onto Chulia Street. On the side of Hotel Chulia Mansion are these 2 bold pieces.
Keep going and turn left onto Love Lane. Wheelers offer cups of rich, thick espresso along with laidback vibes.
Exit Wheelers, and take a left on Chulia Street and then right onto Carnavon. Keep walking Carnavon until the road splits into a V shape. Turn around and walk back up the other side of the ‘V’. Here you’ll see a white rabbit disappearing down a rabbit hole!
Keep following the road as it branches off to the right and continue on Cannon Street. To the right is ‘Boy Reaching’ and on the left are 3 cats.
Turn around and walk back down Canon Street, then right on Armenian Street. Down the first alley on your left you will see these two pieces.
Go back to Armenian Street and turn left. On your left you will see this dragon art and ‘Three Dolls’.
A bit further down Armenian Street you will see a colourful cat. A little further down Armenian street is Kopi Loewak. It specialises in the most expensive coffee in the world, Luwak coffee.
At 38RM, it’s probably the lowest priced Luwak you’re ever likely to drink, and it’s well worth it. The Asian palm civet eats, and then defecates, the part-digested coffee cherries. This process is said to improve the taste of the coffee because of selection and fermentation.
Kopi Loewak brew their civet coffee using the siphon method. This produces a full flavoured, clean taste and is interesting to watch.
After Kopi Loewak, make a right. On your left is the most famous piece of street art in all of Penang, ‘Brother and Sister on a Bike’.
And there you have it — a detailed guide into seeing the coffee shops and street art of Georgetown. There’s plenty more to do here, and that there are probably more pieces of street art that we haven’t included.
All photos courtesy of Lights, Camera, Backpack