One of the two historic cities of the Straits of Malacca, George Town jointly received the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site status in 2008 partly because of its rich living multi-cultural heritage and tradition. Therefore, a visit to Penang Island would be incomplete if tourists do not explore the culture of the Peranakans, among other local communities.
Also known as Baba (male) and Nyonya (female), the Peranakans make up a prominent community that is unique to the Straits Settlement states of Penang, Malacca and Singapore. Due to this factor, they are also known as the Straits Chinese.
This community, having integrated into the local lifestyle and adopted the way of life of the Malays and then the British during its era of colonisation, the Peranakans observe a unique lifestyle, culture, tradition, language and culinary styles that are still passed down with pride from one generation to another.
In Penang, one of the best places to learn about the Peranakan way of life is the Pinang Peranakan Mansion. This magnificent building has been established as the home of a wealthy Baba and depicts his opulent lifestyle of decades ago. The original home was built in 1894 by Kapitan Cina Chung Keng Kwee and was known as “Hai Kee Chan” or “Sea Remembrance Store”. It once served as Kapitan Chung’s residence and office.
Interestingly, Kapitan Chung was not a Baba himself. Even so, his Chinese courtyard house with an open air-well area in the centre of the house features a British façade and portrays an eclectic international feel in its interior, with furnishings of golden Burmese teak, English sideboards and floor tiles, French cabinets, Irish rugs and Scottish ironwork, among other imported wares.
In 1990, the property was procured by its current owner Peter Soon who restored, preserved and furnished the mansion to commemorate not only the legacy of the Peranakan community but also the building’s unique architectural history.
Today, Pinang Peranakan Mansion is home to more than a thousand pieces of antiques and collectibles, many of which are used to educate visitors on the culture and tradition observed by the Straits Chinese community.
The mansion has been expanded into a complex of five buildings, offering four attractions. Yes, the admission ticket entitles the holder to visit all four sections: The Straits Chinese Jewellery Museum, The Nyonya Kitchen, The Chung Keng Kwee Ancestral Temple, and of course, the Pinang Peranakan Mansion (main building).
Complimentary guided tours around the complex are available for groups of five persons and above. Prior arrangement is required. Also, do take note that photography or videography at Pinang Peranakan Mansion is disallowed under normal circumstances.
Nonetheless, Pinang Peranakan Mansion and its grounds are available for rent for private gatherings and functions. Contact the management for rates at the information provided below.
Ticket price (inclusive of 6% GST):
Child (below 12 years): RM10.60
*rates are subject to change without notice
Visiting hours: 9.30am – 5pm daily (unless notified by the management)
Pinang Peranakan Mansion
Add: 29, Church Street, 10200 Penang.
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