The Penang National Park located at Teluk Bahang (or sometimes referred locally as ‘End of the World’) is the first protected area legally gazetted under the National Park Act of 1980, which signifies the State and Federal Governments’ efforts in protecting the environment. Also the smallest national park in the country, the park is unique due to its landscapes, wildlife and beaches. Teluk Bahang is a few kilometers further up from Batu Feringghi and the location of the National Forest is here.
Some of the the unique features of the park include meromictic lake, wetlands, mangroves, mudflats, coral reefs and turtle nesting beaches. The eight beaches located at the park are among the nicest beaches in the island due to their almost untouched nature. These beaches are Teluk Bahang, Teluk Tukun, Tanjung Aling, Teluk Duyung (Monkey Beach), Teluk Ketapang, Pantai Kerachut, Teluk Kampi and Pantai Mas. To get to the beaches, one can hike and walk up the jungle trails or alternatively hire a boat to reach there via the sea.
There is also a lighthouse in the park which is located at Muka Head and is accessible through the far end of Teluk Duyung. Built in 1883 at a cost of £37,929 by the British, it is located 242 metres (794 ft) above sea level.
Visitors will need to register (for free) before and after entering the park at the reception area as shown above. An information counter as well as public shower rooms are available there too.
The beach is also home to monitor lizards which like to take a stroll on the sands and swimming at the sea on sunny days.
The trees of the forst is also home to Dusky Leaf monkeys resting or swinging at the branches on sunny days.
Just in front of the National Park Office, is the nearby fishermen jetty where fishing boats dock and also where one can find boat-for-hire to travel by sea to the beaches located at the National Park area.
The Buppharam Buddhist Temple (Wat Buppharam), located at Pulau Tikus in Penang, was built in the year 1942 by Luang Por Sri Keow, a Buddhist monk. The name Wat Buppharam is also known as Flower Temple. Various legendary and mythical figures of Buddhism and Taoisim origins can be found around the temple complex. The temple is well known for its ‘Lifting Buddha’, a 100-years old Buddha statue where worshippers seek answers or prayers from. Besides that, the temple also offers services such as providing protective amulets.
The Dhammikarama Burmese Temple is a buddhist temple located at the heart of George Town with its presence that lasted on the Penang island for more than 200 years since its foundation back in 1803. Often regarded as the earliest Burmese Buddhist temple in Malaysia, the temple is located directly opposite of the Wat Chaiyamangalaram Thai Buddhist temple.
The temple complex is consisted of a main shrine hall, the Sime Hall which houses a giant standing Buddha statue, a pagoda, a 200 years old well built during the early settlement of monks. The roof of the Sime Hall is also clad in golden paint with unique Burmese architecture. Statues of mythical creatures as well as deities can also be found scattered around the temple complex’s courtyard and garden.
Penang Hill (or Bukit Bendera in Malay) is a hilltop area comprising a group of peaks and is located approximately 6 kilometres from the city centre of George Town. It stands out prominently from the lowlands as a hilly and forested area.
The most convenient way up to Penang Hill is by means of the Penang Hill Railway, a funicular railway from Ayer Itam district to the top of hill. Construction of the railway took place between 1906 to 1923, at a cost of 1.5 million Straits dollars. The railway was opened to the public on October 21, 1923. The 2,007 m (1 mile 435 yard) journey takes about half an hour and the train may stop at intermediate stations upon request.
In 2010, the hill railway service was upgraded and the old funicular trains were replaced by newer ones, which are air-conditioned as well as carrying heavier load. The new train is faster and does not stop halfway at the middle station of the hill (unlike the old one). The ride up to the top of the hill will take around 15 minutes.
For Malaysians, the fare for a return (round trip) ticket is RM8 per adult and RM4 per child aged between three and 12. For foreign tourists, the return fare would be RM30 for adults and RM15 for children aged seven to 12.
The Cheah Kongsi is one of the oldest and intriguing clan temple to be established in Penang in the year 1873.
Situated right at heart of Georgetown (Armenian Street), the Cheah Kongsi possessed a intricate and unique architecture as well as design which reflects buildings of ancient Chinese. The Cheah clan in Penang is the oldest of the five major Hokkien clan associations in Penang. Historically Cheah Kongsi was founded by Cheah Yam, a clan member who came from a village called Sek Tong in the Hokkien province of China.
Situated opposite just across the road from the Dhammikarama Burmese Temple lies the Thai Reclining Buddha (or Sleeping Buddha) Temple. The world’s third longest reclining Buddha is built within the temple. Outside the temple walls, statues of mythical beings can be found just like the Burmese temple.
The Penang Botanic Gardens, also known as the “Waterfall Gardens” because of the cascading waterfall nearby, is a public park situated on Jalan Air Terjun (Waterfall Road) in George Town on Penang Island, Malaysia. The original gardens were established in 1884 from an old quarry site, under the supervision of Charles Curtis, who was the first superintendent.
The CHEW Jetty is a settlement of wooden houses built on stilts and the name “CHEW” is the surname (the first name) of the residences and that’s where the name was derived. Migrant’s families with this surname would live together in this area. The CHEW jetty is now one of the popular tourist attractions on the island. Wooden platforms connect the houses supported by stilts on the waters. Visitors can even go for a homestay at the village for an unique experience.
The Kek Lok Si Temple is a Buddhist temple situated in Air Itam in Penang and is one of the best known temples on the island. It is the largest Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia. In 1930, the seven storey main pagoda of the temple or the Pagoda of 10,000 Buddhas, was completed. This pagoda combines a Chinese octagonal base with a middle tier of Thai design, and a Burmese crown; reflecting the temple’s embrace of both Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism.
In 2002, a 30.2m bronze statue of the Kuan Yin was completed and opened to public. It replaced the previous white plaster Kuan Yin statue which was damaged due to a fire a few years earlier. The bronze statue is located on the hillside above the pagoda while the head of the previous statue which survived the fire is preserved and placed on the right hand corner of the new statue.