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Penang Hill, Bukit Bendera

Posted by on Jun 3rd, 2007
Filed Under: Penang, Sights

Penang HillPenang Hill, Bukit Bendera

Located 6km from George Town, Penang Hill (Bukit Bendera) is one of the most popular destinations in Penang. Penang Hill is actually a complex of hills and spurs and the highest point is Western Hill which is 830 meters (2730ft) above sea level. Apart from the cool climate and the fantastic panoramic view of George Town, Tanjung Bungah and the mainland from the summit, you can also enjoy the picturesque colonial bungalows, a beautiful flower garden and a bird sanctuary. Some of the flora and fauna of Penang Hill are considered as endemic species, and are so rare that their existence is endangered.

Penang Hill train

The most convenient way up to Penang Hill is by means of a funicular railway in Air Itam (there’s not much places you be seeing such funicular railway system these days!). There is a tunnel which measures 258 feet long and 10 feet wide starting at steepness of 35 feet high, which is the steepest tunnel in the world.

The funicular train leaves every 30 minutes and can carry up to 80 passengers. One way ticket cost of RM4. It takes about half an hour to the top. The funicular train does not go straight to the summit and will pass several small stations, where the locals will alight. There are also some small hotels and guesthouses on this stretch. During holiday seasons, the wait for this ride can take as long as 1hr.

Funicular Train service
Going up, 6:30am to 9:30pm. Saturday extend until 11:30pm
Going down, 6:45am to 9:15pm. Saturday extend until 11:15pm

The alternative is to hike up. You will pass by several pit stops on your way to the summit. Some of the more famous pit stops at the mountain are 52 and 84, at these pit stops, the view of island is visible to hikers which are able to get some water, tea and coffee (you might even get biscuits if you are lucky) prepared by locals stationed on the hill; don’t forget to drop some change into the box to help maintain the services for others. Pit stop 84 is the last one before reaching the top of Penang Hill, it will take you another 45 minutes from 84. There are a number of trail leading to different peaks as follows:

  • Moon Gate at Waterfall Road: 5.5km about 3 hours
    About five minutes away from the Botanic Garden entrance. This trail takes you to Bukit Bendana and 84. The moon gate was once the main gate into the grounds of a colonial mansion aptly named “Yu Yi Yuan” (Yu Yi Garden). The mansion is now in ruins and lies just 15minutes walk from the gates, but its history is significant in the chronicles of the migrant Chinese in Penang.
  • Hye Keat Estate , Air Itam
    This path takes trekkers through a connection of fruit and vegetable farms and forks off to 84 whilst the other veers off to the Middle Station. From the Middle Station, trekkers can opt to trek all the way up to the top of Penang Hill or hop onto to the funicular train all the way up or down.
  • Tiger Hill trail: 8km about 5 hours
    This uphill climb starts from Air Itam , not far from the Kek Lok Si Temple. The trail heads up to the Air Itam Dam and then to Tiger Hill, ending at Summit Road. From the exit point at Summit Road, it’s another 30min to Strawberry Hill. According to trekkers, this trail is worth the hard work trudging into valleys, passing by a farm, streams, jungle shrubbery and trees. Not much left of this on the island, it is a must do before it completely disappears.

Another way to go up the hill is by hiring a 4WD vehicle which is the least popular choice. Hotel Bellevue provides this service from RM70 to RM130 depending which part of the island are you from.

Locatrion: The station to get to the top is located in Air Itam. At Air Itam, you should come to a roundabout. One side leads to Kek Lok Si Temple and the other to Penang Hill.

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