No visit to the exciting and historic town of George Town would be complete without a stroll around the opulent Pinang Peranakan Mansion.
Where is the Peranakan Mansion?
The official address of the Pinang Peranakan Museum is 29 Lebuh Gereja (Church Street). This lies just on the East of George Town’s old centre. See the location on Google Maps here.
When to go?
For all the details on the best times to visit Malaysia, please read this. Visiting the museum is very popular during weekends and school holidays. Malaysia also has many public holidays and long weekends too and locals are fantastic tourists. So it is wise to plan your visit to Pinang Peranakan Mansion to avoid these peak times.
Opening times are from 9.30 to 5 pm daily.
Guided tours of the mansion operate at 11.30 am and 3 pm every day and are included as part of your admission.
Tickets for Peranakan Mansion
Tickets are available at the gate and cost 20 MYR per adult. Children under 6 are free.
Can I take my kids to Peranakan Mansion?
Yes! Just keep a super close eye on them as the “once broken consider it sold” rule has a lot of clout in a house full of precious antiques. Our kids (the girls especially) love seeing the richly decorated rooms and imagining their bedrooms being so beautiful.
Who are the Peranakans?
Otherwise known as the Straits Chinese, the Peranakans are the Babas and Nonyas who built their own unique culture in Penang. The wealthy Chinese immigrants of Penang drew on parts of Malay and British lifestyles creating a unique and eclectic blend of elements. This rich heritage is still evident today, especially in the food and language of Penang.
The History of Pinang Peranakan Mansion
The original builder of the mansion called it the “Hai Kee Chan”, or Sea Remembrance Store. Chung Keng Kwee was not a Peranakan at all. But rather a Chinese immigrant mining magnate who became the Superintendent of all Chinese in Penang. He designed the house in the interesting style favoured by the Peranakan of Penang at the time using a combination of architectural elements from both the East and the West. Traditional Chinese courtyards are framed with traditional Glaswegian ironwork as an example.
After the family lost their fortune, the house was purchased by a local Penang Peranakan architect Peter Soon who set about restoring the house to its former glory. He installed his own vast collection of luxurious antiques. Wandering through this house really gives you a glimpse into how the upper-class Straits Chinese might have lived last century.
Exploring the Peranakan Museum
Entering through the ground floor courtyard, you are immediately impressed by the grandeur that is present here. The British floor tiles, Chinese artwork and Glaswegian columns all effortlessly and gracefully combine to make you feel welcome. The front of the house is where the ladies’ chambers are found. Here the women of the house including Chung’s 4 wives would hang out.
There is a vast dining hall where important guests would have dinner and then retire to the adjacent British or Chinese sitting rooms to discuss business. The British room is furnished with European furniture and bone china, while the Chinese room houses traditional Chinese furniture and carvings.
On the upper floor, you will find several stunning bedrooms with canopy beds, elegant antique furniture and clothing. Note that there are no bathrooms up here, it was all done in chamber pots which were carried away by servants.
Heading through to the rear of the house you will find an incredible collection in the Peranakan Jewellery Museum. There is also a small cafe for refreshments. The family temple next door still belongs to the Chung family.
The Pinang Peranakan Mansion – The Verdict
We visited this magnificent mansion during our 2 week stay in George Town. It is definitely one of the top things to do in the city. Afterwards, we checked out Cheong Fatt Tze’s Blue Mansion as well. They are both so different, and both worth visiting in their own rights.
I think the sheer enormity of the collection of precious antiques in the Peranakan Museum makes it a very interesting place to see. You could easily spend hours looking at each and every piece. It is all displayed beautifully and everything is in sublime condition.
Other Things to do in Penang
Penang is such a great place to visit. You can get lost strolling around between narrow laneways and traditional shophouses, hunting for street art. Or visit the historic clan jetties. Step back in time at Cornwallis Fort, or visit the northern Batu Ferringhi Beach.
Penang is a very interesting place thanks to the blend of cultures here. Nowhere else can you visit a mosque that is next to a Buddhist temple, adjacent to a Hindu temple and a Christian church. The food reflects this blend of cultures and sampling different cuisines here is one of the top things to do in George Town. We ate everything from Syrian and Pakistani food, to Indian, Nonya, Malay, Thai, and Western too. The street food vendors which come out at night sell awesome little coconut pancakes, spring rolls, nasi goreng, and delicious soups such as curry mee.
For more information on your visit to George Town, read this now:
Make sure you visit: