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“grounds and tunnels well renovated”
Review of Penang War Museum

Penang War Museum
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Private Penang Island Tour Including Snake Temple
Ranked #86 of 236 things to do in Penang
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Attraction details
Owner description: A private museum complex, built by the British as a hill fort in the 1930's used by the Japanese as a POW camp and killing place.
Level Contributor
29 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“grounds and tunnels well renovated”
Reviewed May 24, 2012

A worthwhile visit - we spent an hour here reflecting on what had happened, and why it was allowed to be overgrown and hidden from view, and only renovated in 2003. I suspect the paintball games pay for the upkeep.
A part of history that I need to revisit.

Visited May 2012
Thank valan62
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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142 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Sad remembrance”
Reviewed May 6, 2012

You have to be an enthusiast to visit this one. It was not flashy and obviously been done up on the strength of 'one' person. You have to know the history of Penang during the WWII to really understand and have the feel of the historical place. We were very surprised to find the size of the area which is bigger than we thought it'd be. Walking around the hilly area, our thoughts went to the soldiers and the POWs and their families.

Visited April 2012
1 Thank oneleene
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
73 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
“Pretty poor - shame really as it could be excellent”
Reviewed April 9, 2012

A 1.5 hour bus trip from Georgetown gets you here. There is a steep 0.5km climb to get to the entrance, and a 35RM fee to get in (plus another 2RM for cameras).
The museum basically consists of the remaining structure of the fort that was built to defend Penang. Not much in the way of other relevant artifacts are there, and the use of female dummies to portray the soldiers in uniform for the few basic displays there are, is a unfortunate.
The site is also used for paint ball activities, and I suspect this generates the cash needed to run the place. Its a shame, as with more thought and investment this could be a great attraction for the island.

Visited April 2012
1 Thank rsitch12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
111 reviews
54 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 119 helpful votes
“Nearly walked at 35RM, glad I didn't...”
Reviewed March 16, 2012

Its a slog to get there, 1 hour on the bus, and a long walk up a steep hill in the burning heat. Interestingly, I haven't found a tour yet with this place on the itinerary, especially as it's only 15 minutes from the Snake Museum. Weird.

When you get there, it's 35RM each (20RM for Malaysians which is annoying - what happened to equality?) which was enough to make me nearly walk away. I stayed and listened to the speech from the Malaysian lady behind the counter to a family that had just paid to get in which intrigued me and so thought we'd give it a go. It's a not for profit place and has had no funding at all. Important to remember when walking around.

I'm glad we went, my girlfriend still thinks it was very overpriced.

Walking around, there are no artefacts as such, the lady explained during the 60 baron years the fort was lost to the jungle, Malaysians robbed anything of value for scrap to sell.

However the buildings, tunnels and general area has been well restored. You can walk through the escape tunnels and up the vertical ladders, something you would never be able to do in a European museum.

Between the information available, the Malaysian lady and the guy in the British barracks, I left the place knowing when, how and why the fort was built and when, how and why it was lost to the Japs in 1941 amongst loads of other interesting facts.

I wouldn't recommend this place to anyone under 18 just because I think they'd be bored but for anyone interested in WWII, especially if you are British, I'd recommend.

On our way out, (through the gift shop) the lady said 'Welcome back to Malaysia!', which actually rang home with me, I didn't realise how engrossed I became whilst walking around... The soldiers really had it tough.

Do the Snake Temple on the way home and make a day of it...

Visited March 2012
2 Thank David P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
36 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“A MUST visit.”
Reviewed February 17, 2012

Disturbing but important place to visit. It was difficult for my husband to cope with the steps and pathways but the owner, whom we met and talked with, has worked very hard to set out this important bit of history.

Visited January 2012
1 Thank vivace49
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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