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.
The Beach Street in Penang is a busy street during the weekdays as it is also known as Penang’s banking or financial district. Rows of historical and heritage buildings converted into banks and financial institutions lined up the street. Most of these heritage buildings retain their old appearance and architecture despite being used as modern financial centers by their owners.
Being one of the oldest streets in Malaysia, Beach Street’s history stretches back to the founding of Penang island as a trading port. Prior to a land reclamation during the late 1800s to early 1900s, Beach Street was actually built along the coastline of eastern Penang island in the 1780s. Hence, the shape of the street was curved and it started from Pesara King Edward roundabout (north) all the way to C.Y. Choy Road (south).
The Acheen Street Mosque located in Acheen Street, George Town (Masjid Melayu Lebuh Acheh) was founded by Tengku Syed Hussain Al-Aidid in 1808. The mosque is surrounded by rows of heritage shophouses, as well as a a cemetery including the mausoleum of Syed Hussain and his family, mid-19th Century town houses and an octagonal minaret. Veing one of the oldest in Penang, the mosque complex depicts an early Muslim urban community in Penang comprising of the Malays, Indian Muslims, Arabs and the Achehnese.
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.