Timothy Tye
Penang Hill

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Penang HillPenang Hill (4 February, 2017)

B. Melayu

Penang Hill (Traditional/Simplified Chinese: 升旗山; Pinyin: Shēngqí Shān; Penang Hokkien: Seng3 Ki3 Snua1 ) is the oldest hill station in Malaysia.

Penang Hill comprises a hilly granite mass in the middle of Penang Island reaching an elevation of 833 meters (2723 ft) at Western Hill. Apart from Western Hill, the other peaks that form Penang Hill include Bukit Laksamana, Tiger Hill, Bukit Bendera and Bukit Kerajaan. Bukit Bendera, or Seng3 Ki3 Snua1 in Hokkien, is where the funicular railway station is located, is 735 m (2450 ft) above sea level. It was known as Flagstaff Hill by the British, because this was where the British flag used to be raised to signal that mail has come.

Location of sights on Penang Hill

Sights on Penang Hill

The following are some of the places you can explore in Penang Hill, arranged in alphabetical order.

  1. Bellevue Penang Hill Hotel (GPS: 5.42583, 100.26911)
  2. Cliff Cafe (Astaka Bukit Bendera) (GPS: 5.42428, 100.2687)
  3. Crag Hotel (GPS: 5.43064, 100.27167)
  4. Monkey Cup Garden (GPS: 5.41651, 100.26131)
  5. Penang Hill Bungalows: Get to know the various colonial-era bungalows on Penang Hill.
  6. Penang Hill Canopy Walk: The now abandoned walkway suspended among the trees.
  7. Penang Hill Funicular Train: The funicular that takes visitors up Penang Hill.
  8. Penang Hill Hindu Temple (GPS: 5.4253, 100.26831) Temple to Lord Murugan, officially known as the Sri Aruloli Thirumurugan Temple.
  9. Penang Hill Lower Station (GPS: 5.40829, 100.27727)
  10. Penang Hill Mosque (GPS: 5.42469, 100.26824)
  11. Penang Hill Railway Hill train taking visitors up the hill.
  12. Strawberry Hill / David Brown's Cottage (GPS: 5.42418, 100.26955)
  13. The Habitat Penang Hill (GPS: 5.42555, 100.26803)
  14. The Owl Museum (GPS: 5.42447, 100.26891)

Amenities on Penang Hill

Going to Penang Hill

Most people go up Penang Hill by taking the Penang Hill Funicular Train. A much smaller percentage go up by jeep or by hiking.

Penang Hill Funicular TrainPenang Hill Funicular Train (26 January, 2012)

Penang HillPenang Hill (26 January, 2012)

Going up Penang Hill

The Penang Hill Railway Lower Station is located at the end of Hill Railway Road in Air Itam. You can reach it by taking Rapid Penang bus 204. The Penang Hop-On Hop-Off Tourist Bus also goes there. When I visited in February 2017, visitors to Penang Hill who arrive before 9:00am enjoy special MyKad rates of just RM3 for all categories. This is applicable outside school holidays.

If you are going by car, the main parking area is the Penang Hill Multi-Storey Car Park. The parking rates here are quite steep. As of February 2017, it is RM2 for the first hour and RM1 for the subsequent hour on Mondays to Fridays, and RM3 for the first hour and RM1 for the subsequent hour, for Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.

As of 1 January, 2018, the ticket fare for the Penang Hill Train is as follows:

Penang Hill Train Ticket FarePenang Hill Train Ticket Fare (6 January, 2018)

Penang Hill MyKad RatesPenang Hill MyKad Rates (4 February, 2017)

Car Parking Rates at the Penang Hill Multi-Storey Car Park
Car Parking Rates at the Penang Hill Multi-Storey Car Park (4 February, 2017)

Penang Hill Funicular Train

I describe the Penang Hill Funicular Train in its own pages right here:

Penang Hill Funicular Train


Penang Hill Railway


Penang Hill on Google Maps Street View

Penang HillPenang Hill (1 November, 2014)

Updates on Penang Hill

1 November, 2014
I paid a visit to Penang Hill to check on the latest development. Read here my 2014 visit to Penang Hill.

28 November, 2012
A roof canopy is being built between the Lower Station and the walkway to shelter visitors from the elements. As such the thoroughfare at the Lower Station is condoned off. For details, please go to www.penanghill.gov.my.

12 November, 2012
Due to construction works at the Penang Hill Lower Station, the thoroughfare will be condoned off from November 2012 until June 2013. For details, the public may contact 04-828 8880, 04-828 8839 and 04-828 8861.

26 January, 2012
The new food court, known as Astaka Bukit Bendera, opened to the public. It is also called Cliff Cafe.

21 February, 2010
The old Penang Hill Railway trains made their final run today.

The History of Penang Hill

It is said that Captain Francis Light was the first to plot a horse track up Penang Hill, way back in 1788. The route starts somewhere near the Botanical Gardens Waterfall. Penang Hill was first developed by the British to escape the tropical heat of the lowlands. During those early days, the lowlands were malaria infested, so Penang Hill was a choice for those seeking convalescence. Indeed a convalescent centre was built on Mount Hygeia for the officers of the British East India Company. It was cool, less humid, and most of all, free from malaria.

Very soon, the government departments were building hill bungalows for their senior officials. These are found mostly around Bukit Bendera. The northern part of Penang Hill is not well developed. Places such as Bukit Kerajaan and Bukit Timah are designated water catchment areas and so no development is permitted there.

Entrance of Bel Retiro, retreat for the king and prime minister of MalaysiaEntrance of Bel Retiro, retreat for the king and prime minister of Malaysia (5 March, 2005)

During the colonial days, there was a form of segregation among the races. The most prestigious property was Bel Retiro, built in the 1800s as a resort for high govenment officials and visiting dignitaries. It was the favourite retreat of the first Yang di-Pertuan Agung and Tunku Abdul Rahman whenever they visit Penang. Building on the principle that proximity is next to greatness, the senior officers build their bungalows in proximity to Bel Retiro. During colonial time, no non-whites were allowed residences above the Viaduct station. Two locals whose properties came nearest the European boundaries were Khoo Sian Ewe and Chee War Lock, both Municipal Commissioners.

Just as it is fashionable today to own a luxurious condominium, during the early years of the 20th century, it was the in thing to own a bungalow on Penang Hill. Many of the properties owned by the Chinese were given decidedly Western names, for example Mon Sejour, Dolce Domum, Fairmont, Grace Dieu.

Bellevue Hotel, Penang HillBellevue Hotel, Penang Hill (3 May, 2005)

Hiking is a popular option to "conquer" Penang Hill. There is the 5 kilometer tarred road popularly called the "jeep track", which is open only to the vehicles of the hill residents. The most popular pit stops along this route are 52 and 84. Here, hikers can get refreshments prepared by volunteers.

There are numerous trails from the lowlands up Penang Hill. Among them are the ones from Moongate, another from inside the Botanical Gardens, yet another from the Air Itam Dam to Tiger Hill, one from Hye Keat Estate and another from the Youth Park.

A monkey cup at Monkey Cup Garden, Penang HillA monkey cup at Monkey Cup Garden, Penang Hill (26 January, 2012)

Penang Hokkien Section

This section is in Penang Hokkien and is part of Learn Penang Hokkien. It helps you practise reading in the language. Refer to the Penang Hokkien Dictionary for words that you are not sure.

Seng3 Ki3 Snua1

Seng3 Ki3 Snua1 si33 cit3-leh3 chut1mia2-eh3 sor1cai3 ti1 Penang. Khah1 ce33 lang2 lai3 Penang-eh3 tnia33tiok1 tok33 boek1 khi4 Seng3 Ki3 Snua1. Tha1na1 uh33 nor33-leh3 lor4 khi4 Seng3 Ki3 Snua1. Te33-it3 tok33si33 ceh33 Seng3 Ki3 Snua1-eh3 Hoay1chia1. Ku33ca4 cit1-leh1 hoay1chia1 cin3 ban33, ta1pi1 tha1na1 ceng1hu4 tau3 sin1 eh3 hoay1chia1 liau4, e33 knia2 khah1 khuai3.
Uh33 lang3 paek3 khi4 Seng3 Ki3 Snua1 yong1 snua3lor4. Cit1-leh1 snua3lor3 si33 ti1 Ang3mor3 Hua3hnui2 khi4. A33si33 boek1 paek3, khah1 ce33 lang2 thek1 cit1 tiam1 ceng3 pnua3 ba3lu1 kau3 Seng3 Ki3 Snua1-eh3 teng4.

Penang Hill is a popular place in Penang. Most people coming to Penang will want to go up Penang Hill. There are two ways to ascend the hill. The first is by using the Penang Hill train. Formerly this train is very slow, but now the government has installed new trains that can go faster.
There are people who climb Penang Hill using the hill road. This hill road start at the Penang Botanic Gardens. To climb, most people take an hour and a half to reach the top of Penang Hill.

Bungalows on Penang Hill

  1. Bel Retiro: The most prestigious property on Penang Hill
  2. Convalescent Bungalow: One of the oldest rest houses on Penang Hill.
  3. Moy Craig: One of the most beautiful bungalows on Penang Hill.
  4. Richmond: Rest house belonging to the Municipal Council of Penang Island.
  5. The Great Wall: Hill retreat on Penang Hill built by Khoo Sian Ewe.

Misty Penang HillMisty Penang Hill (2 August, 2003)

Once upon a time, there was a little red train ...Once upon a time, there was a little red train ... (26 January, 2012)

Convalescent Bungalow on Penang HillConvalescent Bungalow on Penang Hill (3 May, 2005)

Moy Craig, Penang HillMoy Craig, also called Raj Bhavan Bungalow (3 May, 2005)

Penang Hill MosquePenang Hill Mosque (3 May, 2005)

Penang Hill Hindu TemplePenang Hill Hindu Temple (3 May, 2005)

Kopah Villa, Penang HillWind vane on the roof of the cottage that was originally called Through, then renamed to Kopah Villa, and presently Bukit Pinang (3 May, 2005)

12 Top Tourist Attractions in Penang


List of Hill Resorts in Malaysia; Hills in Penang and Hills in Malaysia

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