The Malaysian state of Penang is situated in Peninsular Malaysia’s northwest coast and offers fascinating sightseeing tours that can be enjoyed by young and old alike. Among the many attractions one will find here are the Penang Museum and Art Gallery, the Penang Toy Museum and the Universiti Sains Malaysia Museum and Gallery. Those looking for some outdoor adventure can take a ride on the Penang Hill Railway which is an attraction in its own right.
Situated in Air Itam, this funicular railway takes passengers up Penang Hill offering a scenic journey to the top. The train ride generally takes ten to twenty minutes and once having reached the peak, visitors will be greeted by breathtaking views of nearby Georgetown and the surrounding areas. Also at the top one will find restaurants, a mosque and Hindu temple and a tea kiosk where you can enjoy a refreshing drink.
Constructed between 1906 and 1923, this funicular railway was officially inaugurated in 1924 by the Governor of Straits Settlement at that time, Sir L.N. Guillemard. Stretching for 2,007 metres, the railway was upgraded in the 1970’s before being overhauled in 2010. Featuring air conditioned cars, this popular train service operates daily from 6.30 AM to 9 PM and runs every thirty minutes.
The funicular’s lower section is 907 metres in length and the train cars can travel up to maximum speeds of around 1.4 metres per second along this section. Stretching 1,313 metres, the upper section is located at a height of 367 metres and train cars here can travel at a slightly faster maximum speed of 1.8 metres per second.
A historical hill resort, Penang Hill is close to Georgetown and offers visitors a laidback setting in which to unwind and enjoy some rest and relaxation. The area is also home to unique flora and fascinating fauna. Tropical oak trees, the carnivorous pitcher plant and ancient tree Ferns can be found here, while dusky leaf monkeys, flying lemurs, tree shrews, bats and giant black squirrels are among the wildlife inhabitants in the area. The hill is also a haven for a wide range of bird species.
Travellers visiting the region and looking for a Penang hotel near the coast that offers a range of business and leisure facilities can stay at Copthorne Orchid Hotel Penang. An ideal base from which to set off on excursions around the area, this well placed Tanjung Bungah hotel is also within easy reach of the city of Georgetown.