'Glamping' a cool idea for Penang Hill


Filepic of a breathtaking misty morning on Penang Hill.

Filepic of a breathtaking misty morning on Penang Hill.

MAKE Penang Hill a glamping heaven, proposed Citizens Awareness Chant Group (Chant).

‘Glamping’ is a portmanteau that stands for ‘glamourous camping’, and as the term implies, it means spending nights outdoors in tents or hammocks of relative luxury and without having to rough it out in the woods.

“That is just the thing Penang Hill can offer,” said Chant adviser Yan Lee.

He said instead of building boutique hotels, existing government-owned bungalows can be turned into facilities for glampers with little need for extensions and new structures.

“People from around the world can pitch their tents on the existing gentle slopes to enjoy a breath- taking view of George Town and the mainland.

The 215-year-old Convalescent Bungalow at Penang Hill will be refurbished and turned into a hotel but for now, no glamping options exist in the area.
The 215-year-old Convalescent Bungalow at Penang Hill will be refurbished and turned into a hotel but for now, no glamping options exist in the area.

“With the cooling temperatures after sunset, visitors to Penang Hill can spend the night experiencing the great outdoors with little impact to the environment,” Yan Lee stressed.

He suggested that the grounds around Convalescent Bungalow cater for “five-star” glamping with high-end tents while more basic tents can be provided in Coolie Line on the hill.

Yan Lee showed the press cabin-like glamping tents used in Australia that are larger than 9sq m and come with porches, king-size beds and luxury bathrooms.

Speaking in a press conference, he also suggested that restoration and development plans for Penang Hill glamping be made into a design competition for local and international architects.

“The state can put the top five designs up for public display and let the public vote for the designs they like,” he said, adding that the state could turn the competition into a reality show like those on US TV.

Chant suggests that bungalows on the hill can cater to the glamping crowd.
Chant suggests that bungalows on the hill can cater to the glamping crowd.

He said the state could have the final say on which design will be chosen but stressed that Penangites would want to have a say in the hill’s development and urged the state to allow it.

“Holding a public design competition for Penang Hill will be much more transparent than making a request for proposal,” Yan Lee added.

Earlier, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow caused a stir when he brought up an old proposal to build hotels on the hilltop, following public demand for more accommodation up there.

Chow later stressed in the state assembly that any development atop the hill will be in accordance with the Penang Hill Special Area Plan 2016 and Penang Hill Local Plan 1998.