Penang and Kuching Redefine Malaysia’s Urban Cool

loading Dawn colours Sarawak river a blazing pink.

These two cities – though far from each other – are dancing to a similar beat

Saying that Penang and Kuching have a lot in common can disorientate – they sit at two separate ends of the nation, with an ocean of differences in between. When thinking of Penang, it is images of heritage buildings, colourful festivals and omnipresent food that spring to mind first. Kuching, on the other hand, inspires very different visions – steamy rainforests, orangutans and Dayak blowpipes.

Similarities between the two may not seem obvious, but of late, the cities seem to have found some common ground. Besides their relationship with water – George Town sits by the sea, while Sarawak River flows through the heart of Kuching – the main parallel between Penang and Kuching is the way in which the arts have reignited the pulse of both cities, transforming once-neglected city centres into newly born hipster havens.


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