Although I have been to Penang numerous times, I have never been up Penang Hill. Well, travelling as a family, concurrence from all members was required and there was always somewhere more interesting to visit.
So, this trip to the 1440-acre Penang Hill was my first, and made possible by Gaya Travel Magazine and Tourism Malaysia Penang.
Located in Air Itam on the island of Penang, the local name for Penang Hill is Bukit Bendera, which means Flagstaff Hill, the hill’s original name. The hill was aptly named based on the fluttering flag from a flagpole at Bel Retiro, the home of the then Governor of Penang, which was used as a signal transmitter.
Penang Hill is 823 metres above sea level and is the first and oldest colonial hill resort in Malaysia, dating back to the 1700s. It was the lookout point for Captain Sir Francis Light, acknowledged as the founder of Penang.
The greater Penang Hill encompasses several hills such as Strawberry Hill, Halliburton’s Hill, Government Hill and Tiger Hill. Western Hill is the highest among them with an elevation of 833 metres above sea level.
The best way to ascend the hill is via the Penang Hill train. This fourth generation system with an air-conditioned train only takes four minutes per trip.
This is a far cry from the old days when trains took ages and the first class air-conditioned cabin was only for the whites (British), who went up Penang Hill to escape from the scorching tropical heat in the lower lying areas of the island.
Penang Hill’s funicular track stretches a distance of 1996 metres from the Lower to Upper Station, making it the longest track in Asia. Meanwhile, its tunnel, at 79 metres long and 3 metres wide with a gradient of 27.9° is the steepest tunnel track in the world.
In 2013, Penang Hill attracted more than 1.2 million visitors. It’s not surprising as there are much to do there, from soaking in the beautiful panoramic view of Georgetown to exploring the various flora and fauna awaiting to be discovered. Guided nature tours are also available for a fee.
Penang Hill Train Fare:
Adult (MyKad) – RM10
Child (4 – 12 years) – RM4
Senior citizens (55 years old and above) – RM4
Students (with student pass) – RM4
Disabled (with OKU card) – complimentary
Adult (Standard) – RM30
Child (4 – 12 years) – RM15
Senior citizens (55 years old and above) – RM30
Students (with student pass) – RM15
Disabled (with disability card) – complimentary
Family packages are also available. The ticketing counter at the Lower Station closes at 9.30pm (weekdays) and 10.30pm (weekends / public holidays / school holidays).
Weekdays: 6.30am – 10pm (last train from Upper Station)
Weekends / Public Holidays / School Holidays: 6.30am – 11pm (last train from Upper Station)
For further information, contact:
Penang Hill Corporation
Add: Jalan Stesen Bukit Bendera, 11500 Air Itam, Penang.
Tel: +604-8288880 / 8288861
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