Photo: Take a walk in the woods.

Penang Botanic Gardens

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To experience Malaysia’s rainforests without straying too far from the sanctity of the city, you need go no further than the Penang Botanic Gardens.





Set within a valley at the base of Penang Hill and bordered on three sides by dense tropical forest, the gardens offer a respite from the hectic streets of Georgetown. Wandering along its broad, tree-lined boulevards, and listening to the whir of cicadas and the chatter of birds and monkeys in the jungle beyond, it’s easy to see why this has always been such a popular place for locals to come and relax (although the peace is somewhat shattered by occasional blasts from a nearby rifle range).

Oh so pretty. Photo taken in or around Penang Botanic Gardens, Penang, Malaysia by Sally Arnold.

Oh so pretty. Photo: Sally Arnold

The present gardens were established in 1884 on this 29-hectare site as a recreational facility for the town and as a repository for a wide variety of different plants. For seasoned horticulturalists, the gardens are perhaps not as impressive or as well tended as others around the world and although there are lots of labels citing the Latin names of species, there is not much information.

The rolling lawns and the backdrop of the rainforest make this a pleasant place for a stroll, and there are plenty of different zones to explore, including a Fern House, Orchidarium, Formal Garden, Palm Collection, and Sun Rockery, all featuring both endemic and foreign species. Even if you have never been that interested in plants, you may still be impressed by the cannonball trees, whose trunks are festooned with huge round fruits.

Bring a book ... or a rake. Photo taken in or around Penang Botanic Gardens, Penang, Malaysia by Sally Arnold.

Bring a book ... or a rake. Photo: Sally Arnold

One of the highlights is a short loop trail to the waterlily pond—although there were none flowering at the time of our visit, regardless, as you wander into the jungle of towering trees, you really feel as though you are leaving the city far behind and get a real sense of Malaysia’s natural environment. Take a moment, park yourself on a bench and keep an eye out for monitor lizards in the pond, brightly coloured birds and butterflies, and the occasional monkeys swinging high up in ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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How to get there
The number 10 bus to the Botanic Gardens leaves every hour from Weld Quay, via Lebuh Chulia Street and Lebuh Burma, alternatively the gardens are a stop on Penang’s Hop-on Hop-off tourist bus route. A Grab car from town will set you back around 10-15 ringgit.

Penang Botanic Gardens
Jalan Kebun Bunga, Pulau Tikus
Mo–Su: 05:00–20:00

Location map for Penang Botanic Gardens

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Penang? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Malaysia.


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