Old is gold

Heritage Attractions

With the oldest building (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.

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 govenment officials and visiting dignitaries. Bel Retiro Bungalow was the favourite retreat of the first Yang di-Pertuan Agung (King) and Tunku Abdul Rahman (Prime Minister) whenever they visit Penang. Senior government officers built their bungalows close to Bel Retiro, on the principle of closeness is next to greatness. 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 Gate House, for a nice photo opportunity.
Bel Retiro
Lower Station
Second Generation Funicular
Mon Sejour
Entrance Railway
Fourth Generation Funicular

How we get here

Key Historical Events

It was not an easy path that the Hill had grown over time and moulded it into the great place that we share today.


  • 1905
    • The first generation train was completed but was rendered ineffective, due to technical faults.
  • 1920
    • Construction works to build the second generation train was initiated by Senior Resident Engineer Mr.AR Johnson.
  • 1923
    • Penang Hill Railway Service was opened to public.
  • 1924
    • Sir Lawrence Nums Guillemard, governor of the straits states officially launched the Penang Hill Railway Service and the second generation train.
  • 1941
    • Railway service was halted during Japanese’s conquest in Malaysia.
  • 1942
    • Penang Hill Railway Service restored.
  • 1950
    • Penang Hill Railway Ordinance No.42 of 1950 was gazetted.
  • 1977
    • Old coach of the Railway was replaced with the Switzerland-made third generation coach.
  • 2011
    • Penang Hill Corporation took over Penang Hill Railway Service and the new fourth generation coach from Switzerland was launched.
      Spanning the 1996-meter track in approximately 5 minutes, it is now the fastest, steepest and longest funicular in the region.
  • 2012
    • Dataran Bukit Bendera an open space area for events and public activities was officially launched.
    • ‘Viaduct Trail’ that connects the car park to the Penang Hill funicular train station was open to public.
  • 2013
    • Retractable roof at Lower station was launched by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng with larger covered area for public convenience .
    • Elevated covered walkway was built and opened to Public connecting the upper station to Astaka (Food court) as an alternative route.
    • By-paths A,B,C and D were opened to visitors at hill top for nature lover to explore.
    • Landscape upgrading of Summit Road and lighting up of both the lower and upper stations and the hill top to give it a romantic mode and for safety reason are part of PHC initiative.
  • 2014
    • Sky walk with lift to KBB bungalow was opened to Public with three spectacular view decks and gardens and enlarged holding area at hill top station.
    • Rebuilt “Heritage Trail since 1890” was opened to Public for leisure walk and as alternative way down from Middle station.
    • Slope stabilization work was carried out at various areas and hill drainage was upgraded.
    • Penang Hill Heritage Forest Challenge - The inaugural international 11km hiking challenge organized by PHC in collaboration with Penang Forestry Department, PAAA, JKKK, Penang Hill Resident Association and MSN on 22 February 2014.
  • 2015
    • Penang Hill Multi-storey Car Park was launched by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng which was built to cater for the increasing number of visitors to Penang Hill.
    • The viewing deck was launched by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng
  • 2016
    • by-paths E, F, G, H, I and J were opened to visitors at hill top for nature lover to explore.
    • Climb to Change a Life - This inaugural event, aimed at helping children with movement difficulty to discover their potential while enjoying Mother Nature as well as to promote Penang Hill as the “Hill of Love” on 24 April 2016. This event also brings awareness and better understanding to the public, hence moving towards a more barrier-free society.
  • 2017
    • Penang Hill was declared as a non-smoking zone.
    • Three Nature Walk trails were launched to provide visitors with the opportunity to discover more of the Hill.
    • A new” Visitor’s Guide was” launched to provide accurate information and encourage visitors to explore beyond the traditional core area. This coincide with the launch of the new Nature Walks (guided tours by voluntary guides) on 26 October 2017.
    • The funicular service was suspended and Penang Hill was classified as a 'Red Zone' due to the landslides and fallen trees along the funicular railway track, major roads and paths on the hill as well as the jeep track from the Botanic Garden. The hill summit was inaccessible on 4 November 2017.
    • Penang Hill was reopened to the public with the resumption of the funicular service by Chief Minister, YAB Tuan Lim Guan Eng on 30 December 2017.
  • 2018
    • Trash-free Trails Project - This project is aimed at creating public awareness as well as to inspire others on the need to protect and preserve the environment especially the hiking trails towards Penang Hill which launch on 5 January 2018.
    • PHC’s new website was launched by Chief Minister, YAB Tuan Lim Guan Eng in conjunction with a “Special Recognition Day” to appreciate the contribution and efforts by those who helped in the recovery process on 19 January 2018.

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