Thursday, March 16, 2017

Penang Hill Malaysia

Here comes the Funicular Tram
We got a taxi at the E&O Hotel and had him bring us to Air Itam which is the base station for the funicular tram that leaves for the quick but crowded ride up to Bukit Bendera (Penang Hill) which is a great place for views over Penang Island.

Ticket Crowd
Penang Hill is a hill resort consisting of a group of peaks in Penang, Malaysia. It is located above Air Itam, which is 6 k (3.7 mi) from the city centre of George Town. Penang Hill is also known by its Malay name Bukit Bendera, which refers to Flagstaff Hill, the most developed peak. The name Penang Hill covers a number of hills, with the highest point at Western Hill which is 833 m (2,733 ft) above sea level. It stands out prominently from the lowlands as a hilly and forested area above George Town. It was used as a Hill Station retreat during the British colonial period, and is now a popular tourist stop from Penang. The top of the hill is accessible via the Penang Hill Railway from its base station at Air Itam.

Boarding the Tram to Go Up Hill
We knew it was going to be crowded so we got bought the “fast lane” tickets and we were glad we did when we saw the crowds and lines to buy tickets.We were able to walk past them all to the front of the line. Another advantage of the fast lane ticket is you also get to board the tram first and able choose a good seat with no problem, otherwise you’ll be caught in crush with everyone else!

View from the Penang Hill
Malay Huts
History says that Captain Francis Light, founder of the British Colony in Penang, first engineered a road from the Penang waterfall up to the top of the hill in 1788. He cleared an area at the top to grow strawberries, which then became known as Strawberry Hill for a while. Its official name at that point was Flagstaff Hill, which is still remembered by that name in Malay, Bukit Bendera (Flagstaff Hill). It referred to the flagstaff outside the residence of the Governor of Penang at the top of the hill, built by Francis Light around 1789.

Going Down in the Tram's Front Seat

Crowd at the Bottom
A major revamp started in 2010, with a new funicular that allows for faster access to the hill, as well facilities for visitors, walkways and viewing decks. It receives now well over a million visitors a year.

It was great to go to the top of Penang Hill by funicular Tram and the views of Penang Island and George Town were quite worth it.

Highly recommended!

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