Georgetown, capital of Penang state on the northwestern side of the Malay Peninsula, was the East India Company’s first outpost in the region, and preserves behind its high-rise blocks and modern intersections a wealth of colonial-era vestiges, from whitewashed Neoclassical piles to vintage louvred shophouses with peeling plaster walls, and resplendently ornate Chinese temples writhing with coiled dragons and Confucian sages.

This is also Malaysia’s culinary capital, renowned particularly for its cheap and spicy street food. And if the lure of the excellent museums and markets starts to wane, the resort strip of Battu Ferringhi lies just a short skip up the coast, where you can have your callouses and corns nibbled away at a fish spa – a toe-curlingly strange, uniquely Malaysian experience.

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