I have fond childhood memory of visiting Penang Hill. With luxuriant green, cold refreshing weather, tranquil, some part remained colonized too. I recalled, there was a green corner for kids to run wild while the parents get to sit down and relaxing close-by. About 830km above sea level, generally five degrees cooler than Georgetown, you will get to experience the change of temperature from the foot of the Hill to the Hill itself, with less than 30 minutes, excluding the waiting time at the queue to take the funicular. Penang Hill is one place that offering a spectacular panoramic view of Georgetown, sometime, Penang Bridge and beyond.
We were not lucky enough. We didn't have the view of Georgetown entirely at the lookout point of Penang Hill. It was misty due to the wet weather. It had been raining non-stop for 5 days consecutively. And because of that, it was extremely cooling too.
As much as I tried to find familiar sights of the place, it has changed a lot. Added with a structure to house the food court, an owl museum and a platform for hosting the love lock- adopted the popular love lock concept around the world, and a Penang Hill Square (Dataran Bukit Bendera). Oh boy, I felt a little disappointed.
The only unchanged place is perhaps the old Bellevue Hotel. We had a tea session at the cafeteria and soaked into the misty atmosphere. It was rather quiet there, peace and green, compare to the very happening Dataran. Though, I wasn't sure if this is the place that my parents brought us and stored the beautiful memory of Penang Hill in me.
|Love the Garden of Bellevue Hotel|
Apparently, Penang Hill, was the first colonial hill station developed in Peninsular Malaysia. Understandably, during colonial times, British administrators/planters/investors tried to find a place to escape the oppressive of the lowlands. The heat of the tropical climate took a heavy toll on the health of the British. Today, in spite of Penang Hill, Malaysia is now well known with Genting Highland, Cameron Highland, Fraser Hill and Maxwell Hill, attracting hordes of visitors looking to beat the heat by escaping to cooler climate.
- There is a playground near a Hindu Temple which is not too bad in condition.
- Official map of Penang Hill not just showing the points of interest, it also includes various routes of trekking towards the Hill.
- Funicular is not the only way to get up the Hill. You can walk up from the foot of the hill, actually another direction from Penang's Bontanic Garden to the top of Penang Hill. More helpful detail here, including the trekking routes.
- Ticket fare to take funicular is charged differently between foreigner and local. There is a small print says that, 50% discount for all categories after 7pm, Monday to Thursday, except Local School Holiday and Public Holiday. Absolutely good deal to enjoy the night scene of Georgetown.
- It is the last patch of tropical rainforest in Penang so the flora and fauna here have been protected since 1960. You can join some guided nature trails in Penang Hill. More information here.
- There is one British colonial building houses an upmarket David Brown's Restaurant and Tea House, absolutely the right place for a nostalgia English tea, scones, strawberry-and-cream and what not.
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