The Penang Botanic Gardens is the pride of Penang. This beautifully manicured 50-hectare park, also known as Waterfall Gardens, Penang Botanical Garden or Kebun Bunga has been a feature of George Town life since it was established way back in 1884.
The British colonial administrators in Malaya had their faults but one thing they were good at was creating lovely parks such as the KL Lake Gardens, Taiping Lake Gardens, Singapore Botanical Gardens and this one in Penang.
One advantage that Penang Botanical Garden has over the others is its wonderful setting with Penang Hill as a backdrop and a cascading stream running through it to provide some welcome cooling breezes.
The park’s first curator, Charles Curtis, worked tirelessly to transform an abandoned granite quarry into a magnificent park stocked with thousands of native and exotic trees, shrubs and herbs.* Some of those earliest trees still survive and are now fully mature.
*Botanists and gardening fans may like to read this detailed guide to the garden written in 1934 and reproduced on the botanical gardens’ official website.
Since Independence the park’s management has maintained and enhanced the gardens and added new features to make it the popular attraction it is today for locals and tourists alike.
- Aquatic Garden
- Formal Garden
- Begonia and Bromeliad House
- Fruit Arboretum
- Cactus Garden
- Secret Garden
- Herb Garden
- Aroid Trail
- Lily Pond
- Sunken Garden
- Japanese Garden
You can enjoy a relaxed stroll on the park’s paved footpaths, or, for more exercise, take the up-and-down hilly trails, where you might see not just plants but occasionally wild animals such as monkeys (mostly macaques but some dusky langurs), monitor lizards, squirrels, wild boar, snakes and of course, birds.
- Buggy/Tram Rides are available for those unable or unwilling to walk. A fee applies except for registered disabled persons.
The Botanical Garden is open daily from 5am to 8pm and admission is free. The plant houses (Fern House, Cactus and Succulent House, Orchidarium and Bromeliad House) are open as follows:
Tuesday and Thursday: 9.30am-12.30pm and 2pm-4.30pm
Saturday and Sunday: 9.30am-12.30pm and 2pm-6pm
Penang Botanical Gardens
673A, Jalan Kebun Bunga
Pulau Tikus, 10350 George Town
Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
GPS: 5.437732, 100.290698
Email: [email protected]
This article first appeared in Malaysia Traveller.