Penang Botanic Gardens is a beautiful Penang attraction that is suitable for anyone who relishes being outdoors!
The luscious garden is over a century old with towering trees and attractive walking tracks that take less than an hour to complete. Depending on your fitness level of course.
And there are many different specialty gardens in the Penang Botanic Gardens. Such as a lily pond, a cactus and orchid house and more! Read more below.
Table of Contents:
- Penang Botanical Gardens History
- Penang Botanic Gardens Location
- Penang Botanic Gardens Entrance Fee & Opening Hours
- Botanical Gardens Attractions
- Botanical Gardens Penang Hiking
- Botanical Gardens Penang Breakfast
- Attractions Near To Penang Botanical Gardens
- How To Get To Botanical Gardens
Penang Botanical Gardens History
Charles Curtis is the man behind this garden in 1884. In fact, the easily recognizable Curtis Crest of The Habitat is named after him.
His passion for gardening was key to the Penang Botanical Gardens!
A former granite quarry site, the gardens go by a few other names – Taman Kebun Bunga or Waterfall Gardens.
Over time, the gardens have become home to a vast array of local and exotic plants.
Back in 1885, this vibrant green lung in Penang City contributed over 10,000 saplings to be planted over the whole island.
In 1910 however, the gardens were under threat of being underwater as part of a plan to build a reservoir.
Obviously, the plan did not go through. The compromise was a small reservoir at the base of the waterfall within the gardens.
World War Two saw the Japanese occupy tunnels by the lily pond for storage facilities and ammunition works.
The British came back in 1945 and saw through with the restoration of the gardens.
Today, much of the research that used to be carried out in these botanic gardens now falls into the responsibility of the Singaporean Botanic Gardens.
As such, the Penang Botanic Gardens mainly serves as a public park where visitors can purchase plants from the plant nursery.
They even offer rental services for private organizations and public events!
Penang Botanic Gardens Location
Visitors will find the Penang Botanical Gardens along Jalan Kebun Bunga, 10 minutes’ drive from central George Town.
Botanical Gardens Penang Office:
- Address: Kompleks Pentadbiran, Bangunan Pavilion, Jalan Kebun Bunga, 10350 George Town, Penang Island
- Contact: +604-226 4401 (General), +604-226 4405 (Administration), +604-226 4404 (Botany & Horticulture)
- Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm (Closed on weekends)
- Website: botanicalgardens.penang.gov.my/
Penang Botanic Gardens Entrance Fee
Admission is free to visit this lovely public park!
Parking is free as well, and there are many lots so don’t worry too much if you’re planning to drive here.
Botanical Gardens Penang Opening Hours
Visitors can visit the park from early morning to late evening as it is open daily from 6am to 8pm.
Even on weekdays, you can expect the park to be busy during the early morning and evenings when it is cooler.
We saw tour buses bring in a busload of tourists in the evening too.
However, some of the specialty gardens like the fern house and orchid house, are only open on selected days of the week (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday).
And the Tree Houses in the Penang Botanical Gardens are open from Monday to Friday from 8am to 4pm.
Botanical Gardens Attractions
Note: Some of the attractions may be closed due to renovations.
- British-inspired formal garden
- Japanese garden
- Aquatic garden
- Lily pond
- Cactus house
- Fern house
- Orchid house
- Herb garden
- Plant nursery
- Horticulture centre
- Jungle trails
Apart from the individual specialty gardens, it’s nice enough to walk around the entire park. The main path is not completely flat and offers some uphill challenge towards the middle.
Depending on the time of day that you visit, it can be shady at this park too. But you should bring your own water, mosquito repellent, and hat anyways. We did not see any water fountains throughout the park.
There are many large trees at Penang Botanical Gardens including some unusual species from South America, and other south-east Asian countries:
- Raintree – At the entrance
- Cannon ball trees – at the entrance
- Argus pheasant tree – Near the exit, by the convenience store at the park
Monkeys (macaques) are also a common sight at Penang Botanical Gardens (car park included). Don’t feed them or let them hear rustling plastic to avoid harassment.
Botanical Gardens Penang Hiking
1. Penang Botanical Gardens To Penang Hill
You’ll find an astounding number of around 11 hiking trails that start from Penang Botanical Gardens!
With total distances ranging from ~4 to 7km.
There are trails that make use of the road. And others that go into the jungle. 2 of these trails will take you up to Penang Hill.
|Hiking Trail To Penang Hill||Starting Point||Duration (one-way)||Distance (one-way)||Difficulty||Remark|
|Trail 1||Left of entrance to gardens||2-3 hours||5km||Steep in the first kilometer||Uses residential road|
|Trail 2||Inside the gardens||2-3 hours||n/a||Very steep||There is 1 rest stop mid-way|
|Trail 3 (Alternate)||Before the gardens (Moongate)||2-3hours||11.6km||Very steep in the start, gentle rolls later||There are 2 rest stops with water; well-maintained|
For these hikes, you’ll need to bring:
- Closed-toe comfortable walking shoes – hiking shoes are best
- Protection from the elements! Umbrella, rain jacket and sunscreen
- Mosquito repellent
- And plenty of water!
2. Penang Botanical Gardens To Penang Waterfall (Botanical Gardens Waterfall)
If you’re up for a jungle trek, you can visit the majestic ~122m tall Botanical Gardens waterfall. This three-tiered waterfall was once famous back in the 60s to 70s.
But it rarely sees visitors now as it is no longer freely open to the public. A small minority of Penang’s population still get their water directly from this waterfall.
And prior to gaining access to this waterfall, you need to first have approval from the Penang Water Authority (Perbadanan Bekalan Air Penang Island).
There is a non-government organization called Friends of the Penang Botanic Gardens that arrange monthly visits to the waterfall too.
Botanical Gardens Penang Breakfast
Thinking of visiting the Botanical Gardens in the morning? There are a few places close by that are pleasant breakfast venues!
1. Big Ben Breakfast And Western Café
Look towards the right of the car park of the Botanic Gardens, and you’ll find this café serving Western food in a typical open-air hawker restaurant environment!
Despite having no air conditioning, it’s still one of the coziest and affordable places for western style breakfast in Penang!
Their signature menu item is Big Ben:
A big breakfast set complete with bacon, sunny side up egg, a slice of ham, one sausage, baked beans, a baked tomato and toast!
- Address: 674, Jalan Kebun Bunga, Pulau Tikus, 10350 George Town, Penang Island
- Contact: +6016-500 2286
- Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 8am to 2pm and again from 5pm to 10:30pm; 8am to 2:30pm and 5:30pm to 9:30pm on Wednesdays (Closed on Mondays)
Read more: 17 Best Cafe In Penang With Great Coffee (Includes New Cafes)
Other places you can try:
2. Waterfall Cafe + Sabarish Catering
Have one of the best thoasai’s in Botanical Gardens at this quaint café. It is the perfect spot to devour some much-needed local delights after your lovely walk in the garden.
They also have a great view of the Japanese Garden from this café, so you can enjoy your hot cup of masala tea with the sights.
- Address: 673 C Waterfall Cafe Waterfall, 10350 George Town, Pulau Pinang
- Contact: +604-227 5580
- Opening Hours: Daily from 8am to 7pm
3. Tropical Fruit Juice Bar Botanical Gardens Penang
A humble fruit juice bar that will quench your thirst with fresh fruit and vegetable mixes after a hike at the Botanical Gardens!
- Address: 674, Jalan Kebun Bunga, Pulau Tikus, 10350 George Town, Penang Island
- Contact: +604-229 3841
- Opening Hours: Daily from 7:30am to 7pm
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Attractions Near To Penang Botanical Gardens
1. Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Temple
Also known as the Waterfall Hill Temple or Thaneer Malai , this hill-top temple complex has commanding views of the surrounding area.
And it is busiest during Thaipusam!
Plan your visit accordingly as there are more than 500 steps to ascend. Furthermore, the temple is closed between 12:15pm to 4:30pm and 9:15pm to 6:45am.
2. Penang Municipal Park
Just in case you can’t get enough of parks:
There’s another recreational park in Penang! Taman Perbandaran Pulau Pinang or the Penang Municipal Park is on the fringe of George Town.
Busy with exercise enthusiasts on the weekends, the well-maintained shady park has sports facilities, a pool, jungle trek trails and even a reflexology path!
3. Penang Hill
Bukit Bendera or Penang Hill sits 821m above the city. The rainforest that covers the hill has been under protection since 1960!
While its popularity isn’t as far along as Cameron Highlands, visitors can come for the new attraction, The Habitat, and the slightly cooler climate!
There are 3 options to get up to Penang Hill. Hiking, taking the funicular train, or getting the jeep service from Penang Botanical Gardens.
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How To Get To Botanical Gardens
1. Tour Service
A private tour with RayTheTour is one way to get around easily and directly from your hotel in Penang!
Their service ensures comfort and convenience. And there are knowledgeable guides that will bring you to their favorite places in Penang from morning to evening!
Combine your tour with a day trip to Ipoh, Taiping or even Cameron Highlands too.
Get to know more about the tours on WhatsApp.
Read more: 4 Best Ways For Getting Around Penang (With All Penang Transport Options)
2. Getting To Botanical Gardens By Bus
Of course, there’s always the public transport system to fall back on:
Rapid Penang Bus No. 10 takes passengers from Weld Quay (Penang Jetty) to the Botanical Gardens at a regular interval of 45 to 60 minutes!
For now, this is the only bus you can take to Botanical Gardens. The bus will drop passengers off at the car park outside the entrance to the gardens!
Bus No. 10 Route:
Weld Quay (Jetty) – Jalan Ria (Komtar) – Gurney Drive – Botanical Gardens
Direction From Jetty to Botanical Gardens Bus Stops: Show On Map
When you want to take the bus back to George Town, walk a few minutes outside of the car park to the bus stop down the road.
Via this route, you can get off close to KOMTAR bus terminal or at the jetty.
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Penang Botanic Gardens is a big and well-maintained public park in Penang that is free for all visitors to visit. And if you have some time to spare, you should check it out. It offers some peace from the busier George Town.
Moreover, you can actually hike to Penang Hill from the Botanic Gardens. This is another incentive to visit this Penang tourist attraction that falls under the shadow of better known attractions in George Town. Like Penang Street Art and Kek Lok Si!