Botanic Gardens: The pride of Penang

The Penang Botanic Gardens has been a feature of George Town since 1884.

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 Penang Botanic Gardens is also known as Waterfall Gardens.

History

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.

Angsana or Burmese Rose Wood (Pterocarpus Indicus).

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.

The Aquatic Garden.

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.

The Bromeliad House.
Kayu Arang or black and white ebony (Diospyros Embryopteris Ebenacaeae).

Main attractions:

  • Aquatic Garden
  • Formal Garden
  • Orchidarium
  • Begonia and Bromeliad House
  • Fruit Arboretum
  • Cactus Garden
  • Secret Garden
  • Herb Garden
  • Aroid Trail
  • Lily Pond
  • Sunken Garden
  • Japanese Garden
A beautiful cascading stream.

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.

The Formal Garden.

Facilities:

  • Shop
  • Surau
  • Toilets
  • Bandstand
  • Gazebos
  • Buggy/Tram Rides are available for those unable or unwilling to walk. A fee applies except for registered disabled persons.
The Ipoh Tree (Antiaris Toxicaria). The Perak city of Ipoh is named after this tree which has a toxic sap from which poison darts and arrows are made.

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

A Mahogany Tree with a bandstand behind.
The entrance to the Penang Botanic Garden.

Penang Botanical Gardens
673A, Jalan Kebun Bunga
Pulau Tikus, 10350 George Town
Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

GPS: 5.437732, 100.290698
Phone: 04-2264401
Email: [email protected]

This article first appeared in Malaysia Traveller.