Ben van Wijnen
Botanic Gardens on Penang are located at the end of Waterfall Road, about 8
kilometres form the Georgetown city centre. You can reach it by taking bus nr. 7
at the bus station down at the Komtar building.
The Gardens came to existence in 1884. Previously it was an old granite quarry.
The the Gardens were known as "the Waterfall Gardens", because at the end of the
Botanic Gardens is a 122-metre high cascade waterfall with its water flowing through the Gardens.
Nowadays you can't visit the waterfall, because it's on the territory of the
water supply. Only on special occasions you can visit this waterfall. I think,
the waterfall is only very beautiful, when it has rained very hard, because when
you look at the stream from the waterfall in the Garden, it is very small.
When you have taken the bus, it
will stop at the front gate of the Botanic Gardens. On the left you will se a
small road going to Penang Hill. It's only accessible for the people who live up
the Hill. Mind the bus: it's going once an hour. There is no admission.
You must buy a good brochure of the Gardens. We bought ours at the bookshop
"Popular" and we paid only RM8 for this brochure. It gives a very clearly
description of the Botanic Gardens.
It was written by: Dr. Chris K.H. Teo.
Early in the morning you can see the employees of the water supply going to
their work. Other people come to the Gardens to jog, exercise breathe the
clean and fresh air of the nature. As the day goes on, hundreds of visitors will
come to the Garden. Just to sit on the lawn, by the stream or underneath the
Till today, the Penang Botanic
Gardens remains one of the most visited places on the island with some 5,000
people making a beeline for the gardens on weekdays alone. On weekends, public
and school holidays, the figure doubles to 10,000.
The Gardens are open from 5.00 am to 8.00 pm every day of the year.
Admission is Free at the Main Entrance
If you have passed the
you will see the "Rain Tree" (see the photo above).
It's native to Central America. This
tree provides a lot of shade. That's
why it's commonly planted in
Malaysia. The leaves will droop or
close in the evening or when the
day is overcast. It's also called the
5 o'clock Tree.
The next tree is the "Cannon Ball"
tree (see the photo on the left
side). It's native to South
America. This tree has beautiful
flowers and around the trunk it
bears the fruit. The fruit is about
the size of a cannon ball. You can
also see the beautiful flowers on
It's not so strange that
imported those trees from other
country's. They did that before:
the rubber tree, the rain tree and,
of course, the tea -shrub.
This last one you will see in the
Walking through the Botanic
Gardens you will pass several Green Houses: Ornamental House,
the Fern House; Orchid House, Cactus House. The houses are open and you can go
in. Inside you find a large variety of species of those plants. Visitors to the
Orchid House (Orchidarium) will be amazed and spell bound with the intricate
dazzling orchids - gems of the jungle come with minute flowers of myriads shapes
and colours in various dimensions.
The path to the lilly pond is
covered with varied natural vegetations of the tropical rainforest. A smooth
waterfall is flowing into the pond. This area is beautifully landscaped
similar to the surrounding natural vegetations and the pond is filled and decked
with aquatic plants. This area is considered to be pleasant and enchanting area,
with cool, serene and tranquil ambience.
Near the trees are signs with the names of the trees on it. Several names:
tamarind, bamboo, Betel Palm, (Pinang Palm), mangosteen and lychee.
A lychee-tree. Look at the color of the leaves
The lanes in the Gardens are very easy to walk. They are accessible for
wheelchairs. Beside the lanes you see beautiful birds, squirrels, turtles and
sometimes an iguana.
There are also 200 monkeys (Rhesus monkeys) in the Gardens, which are coming
from the the surrounding hills. Don't feed them, because they will become
aggressive. When you feed them, they want more and they grab your bag or
photo camera. So.... don't feed them.
There are also signs in the park: please don't feed them!
The Rhesus monkeys: please don't feed them!
The best time to visit the Botanic
Gardens is in the morning. Employees of the water supply are going to their
work. Joggers are running; no tourists and it's much cooler than later that day.
It will take about 2 hours to visit the Gardens. Take some more time, if you are
very interested. We visited the Gardens in 2 hours.
A film crew was shooting a movie at the lilly pond.