The Heritage Trails of Penang

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Covers severals streets around Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia

The Heritage Trails of Penang Reviews

trippin_jen trippin_…
166 reviews
Penang Heritage Trails Mar 26, 2012
There are over 20 attractions you can find along the Heritage Trails of Penang, and one may interest you more than the other. I believe the whole trail is approximately 16km.


1. Walk - each heritage building is not far from one another. If you are an active person who don't mind walking, 16km is ok. BUT, do take into consideration the SUN and the HEAT! The walking will not kill you, but the weather would. Walking will cost you more time too.

2. MPPP CAT (Central Area Transit) FREE Shuttle - they claim to have a free 'Hop On Hop Off' shuttle that brings you to all the popular heritage spots. However, during my 3d2n trip in Penang, I did not once spot the bus. If you're lucky enough, this can be a good option too. But you'll also waste time waiting for the bus and you may be stuck in traffic too.

3. Rent a Bicycle - this is my favourite and I've tried it. It's quicker than walking, and the breeze you get can at least balance up the heat you're getting from the sun. With a bike, you can go anywhere you like, whenever you like. There's no need to wait for the next bus and you'll definitely not get caught in the traffic. I give 2 thumbs up and 2 toes up for this option! (See my other review on Rent-a-Bike)


Start early in the morning! I estimated 3.5 - 4 hours for myself, but I was SOOOO wrong! I started at 8am, stopped at 12pm, continue from 1.30pm until almost 3pm! Cycling the whole 16km will probably take you only 2 hours, but if you intend to stop, take pictures, and visit those mansions, I'd say you'll take at least 5 hours, depending on their opening hours.

PLACES YOU SHOULD NOT MISS (in no particular order):

1. Fort Cornwallis - Overlooking the waters, it looks like a place built for defense. But apparently, historically it's used more for administrative purposes.

2. Cheong Fatt Tse Mansion - Try to go on a Saturday, where the tour guide's name is Sally (or something that sounds like that). She witty, funny, interactive and fun fun fun! I'd call this a 1-hour 4-F's tour - Family, Friends, Fortune and FengShui! During this tour, you'll learn:

- how CFT's mansion is built based on FengShui beliefs

- why is it painted blue, how many wives he had and which was his favourite

- how many out of the total number of wives lived in that mansion before

- who built the 5 houses in front of his mansion and why

- who was dis-owned from the family

- which 3 lamps in the house were the original ones from the past

- how poor housekeeping helped preserve the mansion

- why many of the family members wanted CFT's youngest son dead

The entrance fee is MYR 12 and the guided tour is at 11am, 1.30pm and 3pm. You will also get to see the real clothes and shoes once wore by the family members. And CFT's will in English was also displayed. Fortunately or unfortunately, photos are not allowed in the mansion. They would like tourists to pay attention to the history... which is really a good move I must say.

And did you know, the mansion is also now converted into a hotel... for a price, of course. If you plan to have a wedding party or birthday party or for business meetings... this is one option for you.

3. Kapitan Keling Mosque - a beautiful mosque stood grandly near the Little India streets.

4. Dr. Sun Yat Sen's Penang Base - this place is not so prominent but I spotted it thanks to a big poster at the entrance of this 'shoplot'. There was a movie based on the story of Dr. Sun Yat Sen, and at the entrance they showed the trailer of this movie. Inside, you can see the long table used when Dr. SYS was conducting meetings. This table apparently, was built without a single nail. However, due to water damage, the table was 'shortened'. I must say that the building was not so interesting, but the persons in charged of taking care of the place did a pretty good job explaining the history, and their enthusiasm in sharing information made my 'tour' very interesting indeed. I am not a fan of books, what more biographies, but I ended up buying a book on Dr. SYS... Credits to the 'tour guide' of this place.

5. Khoo Kong Si - a beautifully structured temple shows the wealth of the Khoo Clan. If you can speak Hokkien, it's a plus point as the old man guarding the temple will tell you the history of the place, and he's also very keen to showing you the small details of the place. I don't think he speaks English, so that's really a pity. The photos I took did not do the place justice though... sorry for that! Entrance fee has been increased to MYR 10, and comes with 2 postcards.

6. Penang Peranakan Mansion - this place became even more popular after a Singapore drama called "the Little Nyonya" was shot here. In the outside, it's a plain, huge, green mansion. In the inside, it's really cosy and you can imagine yourself staying in a big mansion. At the side of the entrance there's a small souvenir shop too. The store keeper is also very friendly and was quick to share with me the popular places for the best local food. A very nice man indeed. Entrance Fee is MYR 10.

I wanted to visit the Penang Museum but it is closed on Fridays.

For other popular tourist spots out of the Heritage Trail, please see my other reviews.
Morning sun at 8am
Lanes dedicated to cyclists, and t…
Fort Cornwallis
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
trippin_jen says:
:) hope you enjoy urself! :)
Posted on: Apr 14, 2012
duwie says:
Hello. Thanks for the review, it helps to make my travel plans
Posted on: Apr 14, 2012
trippin_jen says:
hahah! edwin, i believe you. cos the entrance fee is only MYR 1.. how much can they offer, right? hahha
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012
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harrylnic harrylnic
3 reviews
The blended town Jun 08, 2011
if you visit Malaysia but not penang, u making a terrible mistake, Penang was the first developed city in malaysia by the british governor. and the chinese came over and than the indian and the malay. Expert said, if u look into penang, u r actually looking at hong kong 30 years back. is hard to explain what penang really can bring to your vacation but i can guarantee, u never will regret to stop by.
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Jopin Jopin
20 reviews
Discovering Penang's history through the streets of Georgetown (pics to follow) Sep 22, 2008
Penang's Heritage Trail takes tourists on a walk through the streets of Georgetown to encounter the state's famous historical landmarks and the significance of each building and/or location. These include the oldest schools, places of worship as well as an old fort, among others.

There are two trails which cross each other, and though it is recommended that you start your journey or walk from the first starting point, it isn't necessary to follow the trail exactly, as it would depend on where you're coming from or from which hotel you're staying at.

Initially, I thought that we would have to take a bus to the first point of the trail, but as we followed the map from where we stayed (at the Mingood Hotel), we actually began at the midway point of one of the trails. It also wasn't as far a walk as I thought it would be. My favourite street would have to be Muntri Street. As Kim and I made our way to through this street to encounter a few of the landmarks on the heritage trail, we also found rows of pre-war shophouses and homes, each one unique from the last. While some were in a state of disrepair, there were others that were restored to their original beauty, while some others were painted in ornate and regal colours, such as golden walls with black doors and windows. We even came across some hidden treasures that were old houses that look as good as they did in 40s and 50s.

If you do make it to Penang, the Heritage Trail is something that you MUST do. You only need a good pair of walking shoes, a big bottle of water, sunscreen and a camera to capture all those hidden alleys amidst the gorgeous row of old, English-influenced architecture on film. It takes about 2-3 hours if you make it a point to cover the trail proper, and it's time well spent.

Go to and click on the Heritage tab on the top right of the homepage for more information.
The Heritage Trail map 1

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photo by: Aurora78