7 Popular Sites of Penang

The Malaysian island of Penang is known as one of the world’s most beautiful destinations filled with natural scenery and cultural sites. Penang, also known as the Pearl of the Orient, is famous for its excellent cuisine, soft sandy beaches, and historical attractions. These are some of the best locations to visit during a trip to Penang.

1. The Tropical Spice Garden

Tropical Spice Garden(photo by rasmuscleve)

This beautiful location features more than 500 exotic examples of flora and fauna. This site is more or less a living museum filled with botanical wonders that fill the lush eight acres of land. There are 11 different garden trails as well as waterfalls and the Spice Museum and Spice Café. You’ll also be able to buy a variety of fresh spices, massage oils, and sandalwood soaps here.

2. Penang Hill

Penang Hill(photo by Jeremy Malcolm)

Penang Hill is also known locally as Bukit Bendera or Flagstaff Hill. It’s about 2,700 feet above sea level and is an ideal place to cool off when taking in the magnificent scenery of the entire island and its surroundings. If it’s a clear day, you may even be able to spot Seberang Perai in the distance. You can reach the top of the hill by funicular train in about 30 minutes. Once you reach the peak, you’ll find a church, Hindu temple, restaurant, a snake show, and a mosque.

3. The Penang War Museum

Penang War Museum(photo by wills)

This historic museum is located on Bukit Maung and was constructed by the British. It honors those who were killed during the Japanese invasion. It’s an ancient fortress which was turned into an army base by the Japanese army. It tells many stories of torture and legend has it that it’s haunted by the souls who lost their lives there. Some local residents won’t even venture there after dark. You’ll still see the underground tunnels, ammunition bunkers, ventilation shafts, sleeping quarters, medical infirmary, and cook houses there.

4. Fort Cornwallis

Fort Cornwallis(photo by neepster)

This fort was named after Charles Cornwallis, who was the Governor General of India. Inside the walls, you’ll find prison cells, a chapel, a storage area for ammunition, a harbor light, some ancient cannons and the original flagstaff. The original fort was made of wood and it now houses a café, a history gallery, an amphitheater, and souvenir center.

5. Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram

Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram(photo by plassen)

This magnificent Thai temple was constructed back in 1845 and features a giant statue of the Reclining Buddha, which is over 100 feet long and is believed to be the third largest of its type in the world. Legend has it that this was the resting position of Buddha before death. There are several other smaller statues on hand in the temple as well as some colorful murals that tell the life story of Buddha.

6. Penang Road

Penang Road(photo by fsokl)

This popular road is the island’s tribute to Rodeo Drive in Hollywood, California. The brightly lit road combines the old and new worlds quite well. It’s separated into four different sections with the Upper Penang Road section being the most popular with the nightlife crowd. There are plenty of restaurants, bars, nightclubs, hotels, karaoke joints, antique shops, markets, and boutiques to choose from.

7. Kek Lok Si Temple

Kek Lok Si Temple(photo by mikecogh)

This is one of the biggest Buddhist temple complexes in Asia. It sits on the top of a hill in the charming village of Air Itam. The temple was founded over 100 years ago and features beautiful gardens and a striking pagoda which combines Chinese, Burmese, and Thai architectural styles. There are many Buddhas on display that are made out of a variety of precious materials. There are also large statues and a large Laughing Buddha.