Clan Jetties Of Penang

The clan jetties of Penang (yes, more than one!) are close to George Town at Weld Quay Jetty, Penang!

Which gives you no excuse to skip these floating villages if you happen to be in George Town for a few days of sightseeing! Especially for those keen on the Penang Heritage Trail!

Certain clan jetties have become very touristy while others still retain their tranquility. If you can’t decide which one to visit, let us help you with this post!

Table of Contents:

History Of Clan Jetties Of Penang

Originally built by Chinese Hokkien immigrants from the Fujian province of China back in the 19th century, these humble settlements on stilts along Weld Quay are now over a century old!

Charming Front Door Of A Typical House At The Clan Jetties Of Penang (姓氏桥)
Charming Front Door Of A Typical House At The Clan Jetties Of Penang (姓氏桥) – photo credits to spinningstill (Instagram)

Descendents of the Chinese clans still live here. There were 9 of these waterfront villages but 2 have being demolished to make way for modern development projects!

The jetties are named after their respective common surname. Of these, Chew Jetty is the most famous among tourists!

Information Signboard At Chew Jetty Penang (姓周桥)
Information Signboard At Chew Jetty Penang (姓周桥) – photo credits to ell.mary(Instagram)

Before they lived in these floating villages, the clans made their home further inland. Like in Acheen Street or Armeninan Street.

They only started to move to the jetty when the shipping/ trade business grew at the waterfront.

So that they could conduct their shipping business with more convenience and better business prospects!

Clan Jetties Of Penang (姓氏桥)
Clan Jetties Of Penang (姓氏桥) – photo credits to njhollandx (Instagram)

In particular, these included the Ong, Lee, Lim and Chew clans. Who offered their cargo transfer services to larger ships.

Other clans (Tan, Yeoh or Koay) dealt mainly in traditional industries like the trade of charcoal and firewood.

Tan Jetty
Tan Jetty – photo credits to prostopodushe (Instagram)

A surge of Chinese immigrants in the 20th century led to the further growth of these make-shift settlements.

As life was better in Penang than in China, many arranged for their families to come over!

These settlements however, were only under a Temporary Occupation License. Which had to renewed every year! Fees were based on the size of the house!

There was no insurance or compensation if these houses were acquired for development purposes.

This foreboding threat of development is significantly lessened as this area is now under the UNESCO World Heritage Site of George Town.

9 Clan Jetties Of Penang

With 2 clan jetties already demolished, there are just 7 of these unique waterfront communities remaining.

Clan Jetties Of Penang (姓氏桥)
Clan Jetties Of Penang (姓氏桥) – photo credits to njhollandx (Instagram)

Seeing their traditional way of life for yourself will help you appreciate how this tightly-knit community has survived for more than a century!

And how they contributed to Penang’s growth!

If you want to get an authentic feel of these clan jetties, take your sightseeing to the lesser known villages instead of just Chew Jetty!

1. Ong Clan Jetty Penang (姓王桥)

Hidden from plain sight by the Penang Port Commission building:

You can see what a typical jetty looked like before settlement!

Note: Original location is actually where the Raja Tun Uda Terminal is now!

2. Lim Clan Jetty Penang (姓林桥)

One of the larger clan jetties with a long walkway, you’ll find Lim Clan Jetty close to the present ferry terminal.

Typical Walkway At Lim Clan Jetty With A Cluster Of Homes
Walkway Between Homes At Lim Clan Jetty – photo credits to reubenskewes (Instagram)

Part of this village was destroyed during World War II. Reconstruction saw the creation of new temples and houses.

Place Of Interest:

  • Ri Yue Than (日月坛)
  • Suan Hai Ing Yang Tian (山海阴阳殿)
  • Wu Gu Xian Zu (五谷仙祖)

3. Chew Clan Jetty Penang (姓周桥)

Ever since the movie “Ice Kacang Puppy Love”, Chew Clan Jetty has become a highly popular tourist location.

Chew Jetty Penang (姓周桥)
Chew Jetty Penang (姓周桥) – photo credits to 07071124ried (Instagram)

Another reason tourists come is for the famous street art murals painted on the sides of the houses!

Mural Of A Local Scene At Chew Jetty Penang (姓周桥)
Mural Of A Local Scene At Chew Jetty Penang (姓周桥) – photo credits to allianzjung (Instagram)

The number of tourists has even prompted souvenirs shops and food stalls to set up right along the walkway!

Quaint Stores At Chew Jetty Penang (姓周桥)
Quaint Stores At Chew Jetty Penang (姓周桥) – photo credits to 07071124ried (Instagram)

Place Of Interest:

  • Chao Yuan Kong (朝元宫)
  • Kang Thean Kong (感天宫)
  • Hai Gua Kiong (海外宫)
  • Ting Hai Keong (王封镇海宫鹤龙寺)
  • Qing Yan Gong (清岩宫)
  • Chew Jetty Community Hall (槟城周桥公司民众会堂)

4. Tan Clan Jetty Penang (姓陈桥)

Tan Clan Jetty along with Chew, Yeoh and Lim, are the oldest clan jetties in Penang.

Scenic Tan Jetty
Scenic Tan Jetty – photo credits to laxmiii_sbdr (Instagram)

There are two temples to visit at this jetty. Mazu Temple is dedicated to Goddess of Seafarers.

As ancestors of the Tan Clan were fishermen from a remote island off the coast of Fujian Province!

Place Of Interest:

  • Chow Eng Tien (昭应殿)
  • Mazu Temple (妈祖庙)

5. Lee Clan Jetty Penang (姓李桥)

Residents of Lee Clan Jetty were forced to move from their original location when the Penang ferry terminal was built back in the 1960s.

Lee Jetty Colorfully Lit At Night
Lee Jetty Colorfully Lit At Night – photo credits to paulbaoluo84 (Instagram)

Their main business was transporting sailors from their ships to the mainland and back. A business that meant competing with other clans!

Kim Aun San Si (金鞍山寺) houses their ancestral deity, Baosheng God of Health.

Read more: Penang Nightlife – 23 Best Things To Do In Penang At Night

6. New Clan Jetty Penang (杂姓桥)

Unlike the other clan jetties in Penang, New Clan Jetty is home to multiple families (regardless of clan) who came over from Chew Jetty!

Kee Thean Keong (启天宫) is a small temple right at the end of the jetty.

7. Yeoh Clan Jetty Penang (姓杨桥)

Quiet for the majority of the year except during the Nine Emperor Gods festival:

Yeoh Clan Jetty is actually less on the sea than it is on land! After being victim to bombing during World War II, residents chose to stay closer to land.

Hean Boo Thean Kuan Yin Temple Near Yeoh Jetty
Hean Boo Thean Kuan Yin Temple Near Yeoh Jetty – photo credits to baaz91 (Instagram)

Hui Teong Keong (会堂宫) has an unusual canine-shaped deity. However, the main deity here is Patron God Wu Xian.

8. Peng Aun Jetty Penang (平安桥)

Peng Aun Jetty was demolished in 2006 despite protests from heritage conservationists.

The main reason for its demolition are the flats off the Jelutong Expressway.

9. Koay Clan Jetty Penang (姓郭桥)

Similarly, Koay Clan Jetty was demolished in favor of the same flats.

Famous Penang Food Near To Clan Jetties Of Penang

Between Chew Jetty and Tan Jetty is where you can expect to find a good number of hawker food stalls and best cafes in Penang.

These are golden opportunities to try some Penang famous food, especially Hokkien-style food and seafood!

1. Penang Road Famous Ice Kacang Cendol, Tan Jetty

The first stall you need to stop at on your way to Tan Jetty:

Penang Road Famous Ice Kacang Stall At Tan Jetty
Penang Road Famous Ice Kacang Stall At Tan Jetty – photo credits to hociakshareshare (Instagram)

Their cendol is one of the best cendol in Penang! And you can get other refreshing chilled desserts too!

Cendol From The Penang Road Famous Ice Kacang Stall At Tan Jetty
Cendol From The Penang Road Famous Ice Kacang Stall At Tan Jetty – photo credits to hociakshareshare (Instagram)

Location: Tan Jetty, Pengkalan Weld, George Town, 10300 George Town, Penang Island

2. Prawn Fritters and Loh Bak, Tan Jetty

Look out for this inconspicuous family-run stall at Tan Jetty where you can try their freshly-fried and affordable beancurd, lor bak (pork rolls) or prawn fitters together with their chili sauce!

Prawn Fritters & Loh Bak @ Tan Jetty
Prawn Fritters & Loh Bak @ Tan Jetty – photo credits to kwan_yean (Instagram)
Note: There is nowhere to sit here.

Location: 90-A, Pengkalan Weld, George Town, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang

Contact: +6016-452 0637

Opening Hours: 8am–6pm

3. Chew Jetty Café

There is not one but two star dishes at this humble restaurant!

Special Wanton Noodles At Chew Jetty Cafe
Special Wanton Noodles At Chew Jetty Cafe – photo credits to paulynzz (Instagram)

Wanton noodles served in 3 different ways (which usually sell out before 4pm) and an aromatic version of the spicy Hokkien mee!

Location: 47, Pengkalan Weld, George Town, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang

Contact: +6011-2055 5975

Opening Hours:
Tuesday to Sunday 7:30am–5pm
Monday 7:30am–3:30pm

Read more: 11 Best Asam Laksa In Penang – Satisfy Your Tastebuds With This Iconic Malaysian Dish!

4. Ka Bee Café

After renovation, Ka Bee Café now offers an air-conditioned environment for patrons to taste their signature seafood broth noodles with crispy deep-fried fish fillets on the side!

Seafood Broth At Kabee Cafe (佳味餐室 - 鱼头米粉)
Seafood Broth At Kabee Cafe (佳味餐室 – 鱼头米粉) – photo credits to wenz81 (Instagram)
Note: The owner is very passionate about seafood, often perusing local seafood markets to obtain the freshest ingredients!
Fried Fish Slices At Kabee Cafe (佳味餐室-鱼头米粉)
Fried Fish Slices At Kabee Cafe (佳味餐室-鱼头米粉) – photo credits to layjiun (Instagram)

Location: 49, Pengkalan Weld, George Town, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang

Contact: +604-261 5659

Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday 11am–2:30pm; 5–10pm (Sunday Closed)

Read more: Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion (The Blue Mansion) – Relive The Peranakan Glory Days

5. Village Fish Head Bee Hoon

Delectable tom yam or clear soup noodles with fish slices are reason enough for people to throng this eatery during lunch and dinner!

Village Fish Head Bee Hoon, Weld Quay
Village Fish Head Bee Hoon, Weld Quay – photo credits to lydiaburr (Instagram)

Location: 10300, 37, Pengkalan Weld, George Town, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang

Opening Hours: 12pm–11:30pm

Other Place To Visit Near Clan Jetties Of Penang

The clan jetties are of course, just one of many things to do in Penang! Be sure to check out these other places while you’re in the same area!

1. Penang Street Art

Besides the famous Penang street murals around Armenian street, there are actually two wonderful murals close at Chew Jetty:

Siblings On A Swing By Louis Gan - Penang Street Art That Is A Popular Selfie Spot
Siblings On A Swing By Louis Gan – Penang Street Art That Is A Popular Selfie Spot – photo credits to butterfliesxqueen (Instagram)
  • Brother & Sister on a Swing
  • Skippy the Cat

2. Penang Interactive Museum

It can quickly get hot during the afternoon after wandering around George Town and the clan jetties.

Giant Laksa At The Wonderfood Museum
Giant Laksa At The Wonderfood Museum – photo credits to jimmysutjiptogenerali (Instagram)

Have a break from the heat at any of these fascinating Penang interactive museums:

  • Wonder Food Museum
  • Ghost Museum
  • Asia Camera Museum
  • Upside Down Museum
  • Batik Painting Museum

Read more: Fort Cornwallis Penang – UNESCO Heritage Site In George Town

3. Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi

More commonly referred to as Khoo Kongsi, this prominent Chinese clan association goes back ~6 centuries ago.

Khoo Kongsi Clan House
Khoo Kongsi Clan House – photo credits to wolf_goofydog (Instagram)

For RM10 per person, you can see their iconic and elaborate clan house with its own temple and a museum!

Location: 18, Cannon Square, George Town, 10450 George Town, Pulau Pinang

Contact: +604-261 4609

Opening Hours: 9am–5pm

Read more: Kek Lok Si Temple – If You Only Have Time For 1 Temple In Penang, Let It Be This One!

4. Pinang Peranakan Mansion

Pinang Peranakan Mansion is where you go if you want to experience what luxury was like during the old glory days of Penang!

Penang Peranakan Museum
Penang Peranakan Museum – photo credits to aishahfarhanah_ (Instagram)

Hundreds of Peranakan antiques are on display in this heritage house! With daily tours to provide more insight!

Location: 29, Church St, Georgetown, 10200 George Town, Penang

Contact: +604-264 2929

Opening Hours: 9:30am–5pm

Read more: Penang Botanical Gardens – Visit The Green Lungs Of Penang!

5. Penang Little India

Vibrant and filled with traditional shops selling flowers, praying paraphernalia, sarees and gold jewelry!

Little India Of Penang
Little India Of Penang – photo credits to ivan_teoh (Instagram)

There’s plenty here to catch the eye! And a lot of delicious Indian food to try!

Location: Lebuh Pasar, George Town, 10450 George Town, Pulau Pinang

Opening Hours: 8am–9:45pm

Read more: The Habitat Penang Hill (Ultimate Guide) – With Tips For Entrance Fee Discounts!

Getting To The Clan Jetties of Penang

At walking distance from the Weld Quay Bus Terminal, it’s not difficult to reach the clan jetties of Penang via bus, taxi or ferry!

The Penang Hop-On Hop-Off Tourist bus makes a stop here too!

For those who want a local guide to bring them on a private tour of the clan jetties, you can book a tour with RayTheTour!

Our tours include:

  • Direct pick-up from your hotel in Penang, Ipoh, or even Cameron Highlands!
  • MPV or van transport and local experienced guide to take you around Penang from morning to evening
  • Drop off anywhere in Penang after the tour!
  • Child seats can be requested (subject to availability)

Further reading:

Conclusion

Even if you’re not a history buff, you should make it a point to visit at least one of the 9 clan jetties of Penang!

Seeing these villages on stilts with your own eyes will give you a new perspective on Penang! And an incomparable sense of what it used to look like in the 19th century!

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