Saturday, 5 November 2011

Malaysia Info - Places of Interest Penang

Penang Museum and Art Gallery Lubus Farquhar

   Built in 1821, the Museum houses a fine collection of old photographs, maps, charts and other historical relics. There are also Malay daggers (Keris), Chinese furniture, embroidery and paintings of old Penang. The Art Gallery on the first floor displays the works of local artists and is the venue for special exhibitions. The statue of Captain Francis Light graces the grounds in front of the buildings.
Opening hours: Daily from 9 am-5 pm, Friday from 9 am-12.15 pm & 2.45 pm-5 pm. Entrance fee: RM1.00.

Acheen Street Mosque, Lebuh Acheen

   Also known as Masjid Melayu, the mosque was built on land donated by Syed Sheriff Tengku Syed Hussain Aidid who came from Acheh in Sumatera. The 1820 mosque features a small window halfway up the minaret which is said to have originally been a hole made by a cannonball fired during the 1867 triad riots.
Permission to enter must be obtained from mosque officials.
Kapitan Keling Mosque, Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling
It was named after the Indian Muslim merchant, the "Kapitan Keling" (headman) Caudeer Mohudeen who built it in the early 19th century. It features an ocher yellow facade and dome-shaped minaret reflecting Moorish Islamic influence.
Permission to enter must be obtained from mosque officials.
Sri Mariamman Temple, Lebuh Queen
The temple, built in 1883, features fascinating sculptures of gods and goddesses over its main entrance and on its facade. Housed within its ornately decorated interior is priceless statue of Lord Subramaniam embellished with gold, silver, diamonds and emerald. The statue figures prominently in the annual Thaipusam festival when it is borne on a silver chariot through the city streets to the temple at Jalan Waterfall.
Opening hours: Morning to late evening.
Permission to enter must be obtained from temple officials.
St George's Church, Lebuh Farquhar
Built with convict labor in 1818, it is one of the oldest landmarks in the city. The entrance of this stately Anglican Church named after the patron saint of England, features a memorial canopy dedicated to Captain Francis Light.
Goddess of Mercy Temple, Jalan Kapitan Keling
One of the oldest Chinese temples in Penang, the Kuan Yin Teng or the Goddess of Mercy Temple was built in 1800 by early immigrant settlers from China. The building is decorated with intricately crafted dragons and stone sculptured lions which are said to be its guardians. The temple is flocked by pilgrims and followers all year round especially during the three anniversaries of Kuan Yin which are on the 19th day of the second, sixth and ninth lunar month.
Khoo Kongsi, Lebuh Cannon
The forefathers of the Khoo family who emigrated from South China built it as a clan-house for members of the Khoo family. It was burnt down in 1894 and some believed that it was due to its resemblance to the Emperor's palace. A scaled down version was later built in 1902. The building features a magnificent hall embellished with intricate carvings and richly ornamented beams of the finest wood bearing the mark of master craftsmen from China.
Opening hours: 9 am - 5 pm, Monday to Friday & 9 am - 1 pm, Saturday.
Permission to enter must be obtained from the Kongsi officials.
City Hall, Esplanade
Built in the 1880s, this stately colonial building is a fine example of British Palladian architecture featuring magnificent Corinthian columns and huge windows. It was once the seat of local government. Clock Tower, Pesara King Edward
Towering 60 feet high, the clock tower was presented to Penang by local millionaire Cheah Chen Eok in 1897 to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.
China Town
China Town on the island stretches from Weld Quay to Lebuh Stewart, Lebuh Muntri, Lebuh Campbell and Lebuh King. China Town is so large and well-preserved that you will sense and feel the lifestyle of Chinese immigrant settlers who came here in the 1800s. Visitors will be intrigued by the many clanhouses, shophouses and temples found along these streets, which reflect the heritage left behind. Stepping into these streets will certainly take you back in time.
Nagore Shrine, Lebuh King
Constructed in the early 1880s, the shrine is a memorial to the Caliph, Syed Shahul Hamid. Faithful devotees may be seen visiting the shrine to seek favors on Thursday.
University of Science Malaysia's (USM) Museum and Art Gallery, Minden
The museum houses a collection of artifacts on Malay and Nyonya cultures, textiles, prints, traditional jewelry and daggers (Keris). One section is devoted to the performing arts. The art gallery has a fine collection of paintings.
Opening hours: 10 am - 5 pm, Monday to Friday (closed between 12:15 - 2:45 pm on Friday), 10 am - 1 pm on Saturday.
Permission to visit should be obtained from the security guards at the main gate.
Fort Cornwallis, Lebuh Light
The fort was built on the site of Francis Light's historic landing in 1786. Originally a wooden stockade, it was replaced by a concrete structure built by convict labor, in 1804. Today, an open-air amphitheater, a history gallery and a handicraft and souvenir center occupies the interior. It houses the famous Dutch cannon presented to the Sultan of Johor by the Dutch and which finally found its way to Penang after being looted by the Portuguese.
Opening hours: 8:30 am - 7 pm, Admission: RM 1.00 per person.
Snake Temple
Built in 1850 and dedicated to the deity Chor Soo Kong, the temple is located 3.2 km from the Penang International Airport. It is a sanctuary for pit-vipers said to be the 'servants' of the deity. These poisonous snakes, seen coiled round the pillars, beams and potted plants within the temple are believed to be rendered harmless by the smoke of the burning incense.
Admission is free.
State Mosque, Jalan Masjid Negeri
The state Mosque features elegant modern architecture and took four years to complete. It can accommodate 5,000 worshippers for congregational prayers and is usually packed on Friday. Permission to enter must be obtained from the State Religious Department, Lebuh Pantai. Visitors must dress appropriately and remove their shoes before entering.
Komtar, Jalan Penang
The Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak, a prominent Penang landmark, houses Government departments, commercial offices, department stores, shops and restaurants. The 65-story complex also contains theaters, squash courts and a geodesic dome which serves as a multi-purpose hall, while the 55th floor offers a panoramic view of the city and on clear days, also of Gunung Jerai in Kedah.
Kek Lok Si Temple, Air Itam
One of the finest Buddhist temples in South East Asia, the Kek Lok Si temple stands majestically on a hill in Ayer Itam. Built in tiers, the temple culminates with the beautifully crafted "Pagoda of Ten Thousand Buddhas". Taking more than 20 years to build, the temple is set against beautiful scenic surroundings. It features gardens, a turtle pond, shrines and beautiful sculptures.
Opening hours: Early morning to late evening, Admission is free

Dharmikarama Burmese Temple, Lorong Burma
A pair of elephants guards the entrance to this Burmese temple. Within the pagoda ground is a Boddhi tree and a wishing pond. It is the scene of many festivities during the water festival in April. Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram, Lorong Burma
The Buddhist temple of Thai architecture houses a 33-meter gold-plated reclining Buddha - said to be one of the longest in the world. The niches behind the statue house urns containing the ashes of devotees.
Admission is free.

P. Ramlee's House
Situated along Jalan P. Ramlee (formerly Caunterhall Road), is the newly restored wooden house, to commemorate the late P. Ramlee, Malaysia's foremost entertainer. Originally built in 1926 by his father and uncle, the house had previously undergone successive repairs before being taken over by the National Archives as an extension of its P. Ramlee Memorial project in Kuala Lumpur. The display within and outside the house features the main living areas and also the life history of the late singer, actor, composer, and director. The various artifacts include his personal memorabilia related to his life in Penang and also items belonging to his family.
Opening hours: 9 am - 6 pm, closed on Monday. Admission is free.
Pinang Cultural Center
Pinang Cultural Center operates 3 cultural tours daily, 9:30 am - 12 pm, 4:30 pm - 7 pm, 6 pm - 10 pm (dinner show). The cultural tour, which lasts for 2 hours 30 minutes, is a window to the Malaysian culture.
In each of these guided tours, visitors get to see - a demonstration of traditional welcoming ceremony, Malay martial arts, traditional games, handicraft making, a longhouse, an exhibition on heritage and a 45-minute cultural show featuring dances from all over Malaysia.
Penang Bridge
The Penang Bridge, which links Penang Island and the mainland, was officially opened on 15th September 1988. The spectacularly beautiful bridge spans 13.5 km across the channel, offering a beautiful view of the open sea, ships and the sprawling coastline.
Balik Pulau
The hills of Balik Pulau abound with clove and nutmeg trees which bear fruit in November-January and July. Or savor the durian, a seasonal fruit which is the luscious king of fruits.
Nattukkotai Temple, Jalan Air Terjun
The temple is dedicated to the deity, Bala Subramaniam, and features prominently during the annual Thaipusam festival when thousands of devotees throng its premises for the various rites and ceremonies.
Opening hours: Early morning to late evening.
Permission to enter must be obtained from temple officials.
Bukit Jambul Orchid and Hibiscus Garden
The Bukit Jambul Orchid & Hibiscus Garden and Reptile House are located along Persiaran Bukit Jambul, close to the Hotel Equatorial; only a leisurely 5-minute drive away from the Penang International Airport.
Opening hours: 9:30 am - 5:30 pm
Entrance fee: RM 4.00 for adults & RM 1.00 for children.

Butterfly Farm, Teluk Bahang
The Farm spans 0.8 hectares and is home to 3,000 living specimens of over 50 species of colorful butterflies, frogs, scorpions, and other insects.
It features a lily pond, artificial waterfalls, a rock garden, tunnel and a bubbling mud pool. Also included within the farm are a garden enclosure, breeding area, laboratory, exhibition area, souvenir shops and information center.
Opening hours: 9 am - 5 pm
Entrance fee: RM 5.00 for adults & RM 2.00 for children, RM 10.00 for adult foreigners & RM 5.00 for children-foreigners.
Botanical Gardens
The Botanical Gardens offer peace and tranquility amidst lush green surroundings, tropical plants and the vibrant colors of Penang's flora. The 30-hectare garden also features a waterfall. Created in 1884 by the British, it was meant as a tribute to Charles Curtis, its first superintendent who collected botanical specimens from the surrounding hills - specimens which have since become significant samples in the world's major herbariums. The gardens are also well-known for their bold Rhesus monkeys.
Opening hours: 7 am - 7 pm, Admission is free.
Penang's Famed Beaches
Penang's northern shoreline is famous for its beautiful beaches of golden sand and deep blue seas. The Tanjung Bunga, Buta Ferringhi and Teluk Bahang beaches offer expansive stretches of glittering sand interspersed with secluded coves within the shelter of gigantic rocks. It is along this famous coastline that resorts of international standard have sprouted up, offering a host of water-based recreational facilities.

If you crave for privacy, head for Teluk Duyung, Monkey Beach, Pantai Keracut and Pantai Mas accessible via the trails in the Pantai Acheh Forest Reserve from Teluk Bahang. The Pasir Panjang Beach at the south-western tip of the island is a good clean stretch for swimming and can be reached after a 25-minute hike over hilly land from Betong.
Penang Hill (Bukit Bendera)
Malaysia's first hill station, Penang Hill is 380 meters (2730 ft) above sea level, visitors can ascend to the top by either hiking up or by the funicular railway which has been operational since 1922. Apart from the cool, refreshing climate and the fantastic view at the summit, visitors can also view the picturesque bungalows, a beautiful flower garden and a bird park. There are bungalows for rent and a hotel for those who want to stay for more than a day. Visitors can also indulge in refreshments and snacks at a convenient tea kiosk located on top of the hill. There is a good walking track up the hill. It takes 4 hours to reach the top and is recommended only for the more energetic. The jungle trail begins at the "moongate" at Jalan Air Terjun, approximately 300 m from the Botanical Gardens entrance.
The funicular rail service begins at 6:30 am and ends at 9:30 pm.
Entrance fee: RM 4.00 for adults & RM 2.00 for children.
Kampung Seronok, Batu Maung
The name "Kampung Seronok" originated form a suggestion by an English engineer, D.W. Grehan who had, on a number of occasions, shared in the joy and merrymaking of the kampong folk, in the days shortly after the Japanese surrender. What makes it unique is the fact that it is virtually 'open' to visitors who are free to observe and participate in the various cultural activities, traditional games and rural economic pursuits of the people, showcasing the intrinsic values of traditional village life.
Batu Maung Fishing Village
Batu Maung is a small fishing village at the south-eastern tip of the island, which owes its fame to the beach-front shrine dedicated to Admiral Cheng Ho, the famous Chinese admiral who featured prominently in the history of the Malacca Sultanate. The huge footprint in the vicinity of the shrine is said to be that of the Admiral.
Penang Bird Park, Seberang Jaya
The park spans 5 acres and houses a fine collection of some 800 birds from all over the world. It is beautifully landscaped and features a walk-in aviary, pond with ducks and swans, ornamental ponds abounding with water lilies, Japanese Carps and ornamental plants.
Opening hours: 9am - 7 pm, Entrance fee: RM 5.00 for adult & RM 2.00 for children.

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