Discover Air Itam

Bel Retiro Gate House

Bel Retiro is a government bungalow on Penang Hill. It was built in 1789 for the Governor of Penang and remains within the exclusive use of the government. It is the most prestigious property on Penang Hill, built in the 1800s as a resort for high government officials and visiting dignitaries. Although the bungalow itself is out-of-bounds to the general public, one can hike up to its gate, a beautiful brick structure with an arch entranceway called the Bel Retiro Gate House, for a nice photo opportunity.

Bungalows on Penang Hill

There are a total of 52 hill bungalows located on Penang Hill, owned by private and Penang state government. Most of them are more than 100 years old. With the oldest Convalescent Bungalow dated to 1803, Penang Hill is a good repository of bungalows featuring a fusion of architecture from British colonial to Asian and modern architecture.

Magnificent Panoramic View

Penang Hill features the best lookouts in Penang, offering panoramic views of the island and mainland. Rise early and catch the first train up the Hill, we will be rewarded with a magnificent glimpse of the sunrise on clear days or feel the cotton-like mist floating in the air on colder days. As dusk sets in, watch George Town light up, providing a magical backdrop against the evening sky. At Penang Hill, it is always an unforgettable, refreshing and enriching experience. The last train down is at 11 pm.

Sky Walk and Viewing Decks

With a total of 6 peaks and the highest standing impressively at 833 meters above sea level, Penang Hill features the best lookouts in Penang, offering panoramic views of the island and mainland. The sky walk and viewing decks offer a spectacular 180 degrees view of George Town with senior citizens and physically-impaired friendly features in fulfilling their accessibility needs.

Penang Hill Funicular Train

Penang Hill's current funicular train is the 4th generation system which started its operation on 24th April 2011. The journey used to take about half an hour and the train may stop at intermediate stations upon request. However, upgrades to the system now allow non-stop rides to the top in five to ten minutes. The funicular track stretches a distance of 1,996 meters from lower to upper station which is the longest in Asia. Penang Hill funicular tunnel, at 79 meters long and 3 meters wide with a steepness of 27.9 degrees, is the steepest tunnel track in the world.

Penang Hill Base Station

Penang Hill is now a popular tourist destination in Penang due to its fresher climate. The top of the hill is accessible via the Penang Hill railway from its base station at Jalan Bukit Bendera, Air Itam, Penang. This funicular railway system is the only one of its kind in Malaysia, transporting over a million visitors to the peak of Penang Hill as of 2014.

Penang Hill

Penang Hill is a hill resort comprising a group of peaks on Penang Island, Malaysia. It covers several hills, with the highest point at Western Hill which is 833 meters above sea level. Other than Western Hill, there are several peaks in the region, such as Admiral Hill (Bukit Laksamana), Tiger Hill, Flagstaff Hill (Bukit Bendera), Haliburton's Hill and Government Hill. Flagstaff Hill is 735 meters above sea level, the most developed peak. The hill stands out prominently from the lowlands as a hilly and forested area. Penang Hill is located in Air Itam, 6 kilometers away from George Town, Penang.

Koi Fish Pond Garden

The Koi Fish Pond Garden at Kek Lok Si Temple is dotted with stone sculptures of animals from the Chinese zodiac as well as many other auspicious animals like the tortoise. A koi fish pond sits in the middle of the garden. We can purchase some fish food from the souvenir store on the temple grounds to feed them. We can watch the koi swimming in the pond, admiring the impressive Bronze Statue of Kuan Yin Bodhisattva and enjoying the beautiful scenery of Penang Island from higher ground.

Bronze Statue of Kuan Yin

The Bronze Statue of Kuan Yin Bodhisattva, the Goddess of Mercy, is another popular highlight in Kek Lok Si Temple. It stands above the temple. It was completed in 2002 and its protective octagonal-shaped pavilion was completed in early 2010. The statue is made entirely of bronze and is over 120 feet high. The pavilion is constructed of 16 dragon pillars that are 200 feet high all covered by an exquisitely designed roof that perfectly compliments the grandness of this magnificent statue.

Laughing Buddha

The statue of Laughing Buddha, sitting in the center of the Hall of Heavenly Kings. Laughing Buddha statues depict a stout, smiling or laughing bald man in robes with a largely exposed pot belly stomach, which symbolizes happiness, good luck, and plenitude. The Laughing Buddha emerged from Chinese folktales of the 10th century. He is a semi-historical Chinese monk who is venerated as a deity in Chinese Buddhism.

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