If there is anything Yeison and I know for sure about traveling is that we’re not big city fans. Kuala Lumpur was beautiful in every way a city can be but we knew there was more to Malaysia than just the Petronus Towers. Penang seemed to capture many other travelers’ hearts and we wanted experience it as much as we could during our time there.
That included the touristic attractions and Penang Hill (Bukit Bendera) is one of them. Penang Hill is one of the oldest colonial stations in Malaysia that was established when the British were there. It’s now a holiday retreat, tourist attraction and residential/agricultural area.
Going up Penang Hill
To get to the top of the hill which lies about 830 meters above sea level, you have to take the funicular train. I have never taken a funicular train before and when I saw the train pull into the station, I looked at it kind of skeptically.
I don’t have a fear of heights but after seeing too many Final Destination movies, I have this weird paranoia that the train will fall backwards, especially after seeing how steep it is!
Fortunately we got to the top without a hitch. The train ride is pretty fun and you can even feel your ears popping as it makes it way up 600 meters, 700 meters and 800 meters above sea level.
At the top, there are various things to see and do such as temples, an owl museum (which doesn’t have any live owls I found out), hiking trails, a mosque and an aviary garden. There’s even the popular locks of love in a section above the cafe.
Even though I was really looking forward to exploring Penang Hill, I felt a little cheated. We wandered around, walking up to the top and around the main area but it felt like a giant children’s playground instead of a historical and cultural attraction.
It is definitely a great place to take kids which was proven by the hundreds of children running around while we were there but for adults, the thing we enjoyed the most was the hiking.
There are a few different walking trails which take you around the hill so you can enjoy the nature of Malaysia. We also ran into a herd of monkeys! What a nice familiar sight. Penang Hill’s tropical forest is beautiful and lush but remember to bring mosquito repellent. I got bit 18 times on my arm in the two minutes I stopped to take pictures of the monkeys.
Also keep an eye on the map because you might end up going down a couple hundred meters only having to hike all the way back up like we did…
Sadly the day we went was extremely cloudy and a bit drizzly so we didn’t get much of a view. I’d imagine that on a clear day or at night it’d be spectacular!
Our video of Penang Hill
Tips for visiting Penang Hill
Entrance fee: 30 RM for adult foreigners both ways ($9.50)
Train schedule: 630AM – 10PM on weekdays, 630AM – 11 PM weekends
There is a cafeteria if you get hungry. Grab a map if you plan on walking some of the trails. If you don’t want to walk but still want to go around Penang Hill, you can hire a golf cart for 60 RM. Keep your ticket as you’ll need to show it for going back down.
Location and Directions
From Penang Jetty or Georgetown, take Bus 204 all the way to the end. It will drop you off right in front of the ticket office. Take the same bus to get back to Georgetown.
More adventures in Malaysia