How to reach Penang Hill? Funicular Train route

A Detailed Guide To Penang Hill/ Bukit Bendera

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The name Penang Hill is not a singular peak but rather a range of ten hills. It is also known by its Malay name Bukit Bendera, which refers to the most developed range in the hill, Flagstaff Hill. Located in George Town, Penang Hill is scenic and culturally significant, with several buildings dating back to the British era. It is a popular tourist destination during the summer months. 

This guide explains everything you need to know about Penang Hill—how to reach it, what to do, where to stay, and so much more.

Penang Hill/ Bukit Bendera

Parking Facilities

Ample parking is available at the foothills of Penang Hill. However, due to the crowds, finding a space might be a challenge. Several paid parking spaces are available in the vicinity.

Network Availability

Penang Hill has good reception from all network providers. But while hiking, expect a spotty network along the trail.

Best Time To Visit

Penang Hill can be visited throughout the year. Although the rainy season starts in May and ends in September, it doesn’t rain all day or throughout the day. You’ll get time to explore even if you visit during the monsoons.

The best time to visit Penang Hill is during the early morning and late evening when the weather is pleasant for exploration. If you’re hiking, you can start anytime, as most of the trail is in the shade.

How to Reach Penang Hill?

The foothills of Penang Hill can be reached by bus and Grab taxi services. Google Maps will guide you through the bus route, bus number, and the nearest bus station. From the foothills, you can reach the Penang Hilltop in several ways. All possible routes are listed below.

Paved Main Road

The 4.7-kilometer-long paved road is the main route to reach Penang Hill. Several jeeps offer transport service to the visitors. You can hire the entire Jeep or share it with other people. The Jeep ride costs around RM 160. A few people walk up the paved road to the Penang Hill. Be cautious of the passing cars and jeeps due to sharp turns on the road and steep inclines.

The Funicular Train

Funicular trail ride, George Town, Penang Hill

Also known as Penang Hill Railway, the funicular train service is one of a kind in the country and is the most commonly used route that starts at the foothills and runs until the top of Penang Hill. The tickets are issued in batches, and you might have to wait for your board to turn the funicular train. At times, you might have to wait for up to 2 hours. Alternatively, you can purchase the online ticket one day before your visit day.

Also, note that the round-trip ticket is valid for one day only. If you plan to stay at the top of Penang Hill, it is better to purchase a one-way ticket and buy your return ticket on the day you leave. The tickets purchased are not refundable.

PersonCategoryMyKad, MyKid, MM2H, and iKad HoldersNon-MyKad Holders/ Foreigners
Normal LaneFast LaneNormal LaneFast Lane
Adult Round TripRM 12RM 40RM 30RM 80
One WayRM 6RM 25RM 15RM 45
Children (Aged 4 – 12 years)Round TripRM 6RM 20RM 15RM 40
One WayRM 3RM 10RM 8RM 20
Senior Citizen (60 years old and above)Round TripRM 6RM 6RM 30RM 60
Differently AbledFree

The special sunrise rate for MyKad and MyKid holders is RM 3 for the tickets purchased between 6:30 AM and 8 AM (applicable on certain days for the tickets purchased at the counter).

Penang Hill Entrance

The Funicular service is operated on all days. The Timings are as follows.

Funicular Service6.30 AM – 11.00 PM
*The last trip from the lower station to the upper station is at 9.45 PM.*The last trip from the upper station to the lower station is at 11.00 PM.*The funicular runs on a half-hourly basis and additional trips will be run if necessary.
Ticket Counter6.15 AM – 9.30 PM

Hiking Routes

Penang Hill Map

Hiking is the best way to escape the crowds of the funicular train service. We hiked up Penang Hill via the Moon Gate Trail and descended via the Heritage Trail. Other modified routes exist, but most of them converge at some point. 

Most of the hiking route is lined by trees. The trees and plants will protect you from the direct sunlight, but you can feel the humidity. It is best to start the hike during the day hours.

You do not need a guide to hike these routes. With proper preparation and a good sense of direction, the trails can be tackled without help from guides. The trails are marked in OSMAND. Download the offline maps and load the GPS file from the official website before hitting the trail.

The Heritage Trail

Penang Hill heritage trail

The Heritage Trail is the most popular route and is pretty straightforward until the end. The trail initially has guided steps, followed by a steep hiking path. You will pass through the middle station, Claremont station, and Viaduct junction. After the Viaduct junction, a cement route will lead you to the top.

The initial stages of the trek offer a breathtaking view of the city. The trail also has interesting views, with the train passing by often. After the viaduct junction, the trail is filled with different shades of green on either side. Remember to take a moment and enjoy the different plants.

  • Duration: 2 Hours
  • Hike Distance: 3 Km
  • Difficulty Level: Easy – Moderate

The Moon Gate Trail

Penang Hill Moongate hiking trail

The Moon Gate Trail starts from the yellow arched entrance. The trek starts with a mix of cement stairs and a hiking trail for a few meters. There is a gradual ascent until you reach the rest area. After that, the hike is flat for a few meters, gradually descending. There is a restroom en route for convenience needs. Continue following the jungle until you reach the Viaduct station. From there, the trail joins the Heritage Trail. This hike is a favorite of all hiking lovers and one of the best activities on the island of George Town.

  • Duration: 3 Hours
  • Hike Distance: 6.2 Km
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate

Restaurants at Penang Hill

Several restaurants at the top of Penang Hill offer spectacular views from their outdoor seating, balconies, and glass walls. The vibes are impeccable, but the food is expensive. There are also several snack and juice bars at the top. You might have to walk a few meters to find the nearest restaurant in the foothills. It is better to carry some food, especially if you have kids.

Accommodations at Penang Hill

 

It is impossible to see all the sights at Penang Hill in just one day. Several resorts are available at the top of Penang Hill, but we highly recommend Hickory Penang Hill.

Attractions at Penang Hill

Penang Hill, different ways to reach

The hilltop offers magnificent views of the sunrise and sunset. For all the photography enthusiasts, ensure you do not miss out on basking in the light of the golden sunlight at Penang Hill. Several attractions are spread over the hilltop. Most have an entry fee, while some are free. The activities are catered to all age groups. It is easy to walk around as the direction maps are kept at important places. A golf cart can also be hired for RM 30 per person to take you around the hill.

  1. The Habitat – the World’s longest two-span stressed ribbon bridge with other spots, including Langur Way canopy walk, Penang Hill Swings, and Curtis Crest Treetop Walk
  2. Teddyville Museum
  3. Telescope Viewing Deck
  4. Penang Hill Gallery @ Edgecliff
  5. Masjid Bukit Bendera (No entry fee)
  6. Sri Aruloli Thirumurugan Hindu Temple (No entry fee)
  7. The Gate House (No entry fee). You can cross the gate but cannot go inside the house.
  8. Little Village @ Bukit Bendera
  9. Viewing Deck (No entry fee)
  10. 32-Pounder Cannon and Victorian Postbox (No entry fee)

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