Brochures of Penang invariably show blue seas, silver/golden sandy beaches and wonderful historical colonial style houses.
It must be pointed out that most of the beach photographs were taken pre-tsunami of 2002. Most of the sand on Batu Ferringhi Beach north of Georgetown was washed away, and the beaches are not as half as attractive (or as sandy or large) as the photos show! And there are no decent beaches in or around Georgetown until you go north to Batu Fertinghi.
Also, Georgetown is colourful and interesting, with some superb meals to be had for very little money, BUT the deep monsoon drains which run along most of the pavements away from the main shopping street, can be very dangerous for the poorly sighted/ slightly unsteady/ immobile and elderly. You can so easily sustain a very nasty fall/injury/fracture by just stepping off the end of the pavement, especially in the poorly lit streets at night.
The colonial buildings, where restored or (unusually) well maintained, are gorgeous. But so many have been allowed to fall into decay, or neglected and look very sad/ dirty/unsafe.
St George’s Anglican Church is extremely well kept, and the dedicated church members very welcoming. The Tourist Information Office is well stocked and has helpful, professional staff. So enjoy the pros but beware of the cons!!