Paya Terubong (GPS: 5.37388, 100.2757), (Traditional Chinese: 壟尾; Simplified Chinese: 垄尾; Pinyin: Lǒngwěi; Penang Hokkien: Long1boey4) is a working-class neighbourhood in the central part of Penang Island. Paya Terubong was named after terubong, a type of grass known scientifically as Cyrtococcum oxyphyllum. The name Paya Terubong refers to a ravine, rather than swamp, in which the grass grows. Located at the heart of Penang Island, to the south of Air Itam, Paya Terubong is surrounded by hill ranges. The main road through this neighbourhood is Jalan Paya Terubong, which links Air Itam to the north with Relau on the lowlands to the south.
Until the mid 1970's, Paya Terubong was still very much undeveloped, with most of its inhabitants being farmers working the hill slopes. A good portion of Paya Terubong is taken up by a big Chinese cemetery managed by the United Hokkien Association. As scarcity of land in Penang becomes more pressing, the hill slopes in Paya Terubong began to be cleared for residential development since the beginning of the 1980's.
Today Paya Terubong is one of the most densely populated high rise places in Penang. Sandwiched between the hills are towering apartment blocks. The majority of the population in Paya Terubong are the working class wage earners, mostly Chinese, living in low cost and medium cost apartments, many of which could use a new coat of paint. There are also some landed properties constructed in Paya Terubong, with a few upmarket ones being developed in the last few years.
Towering apartments in Paya Terubong (23 March, 2013)
High-rise apartments in Paya Terubong (16 September, 2012)
Paya Terubong is served by Rapid Penang Bus 201, 202, 203, 301 and 306. The area is 7.6 km from Magazine Circus, meaning it is moderately near to the city centre. Having said that, I should point out that the roads to George Town is often congested particularly during rush hours.
Jalan Paya Terubong, the main artery for the neighbourhood is only two lanes in most sections, making traffic movement slow. This neighbourhood is quite landlocked, with the hills surrounding it, and access only thorugh Air Itam, Farlim and Relau, over the hills. The nearest hospital is too far away. The low-cost housing here is the most affordable on the island. If that's all you can afford, I have nothing to say. But if you can afford it, and are looking for medium or high cost properties, I would advise that you weigh the traffic congestion in Paya Terubong before deciding.
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