Ben van Wijnen
"This place is one of the last few natural parks in the state. Clean, well maintained and the monkeys are not aggressive. Some there are some learning impaired half-humans continue to feed the monkeys."
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 trees.
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
entrance 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 the picture.
It's not so strange that the English colonists 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 Cameron Highlands.
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.