Tourists visit Penang Hill to escape city’s heat

Respite from the heat: Tourists Brownlee and English enjoying cooler temperature on Penang Hill. — ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: The hot spell in the city is driving tourists to find cooler respite on Penang Hill.

Being Penang’s tallest peak at over 700m above sea level, tourists can be seen enjoying the cool misty breeze.

American Joseph Hooks, 70, who is now residing in Bangkok, Thailand, and his wife Supat Sawangsri, 64, are among those who spent their time there yesterday.

“It’s so hot in Thailand, and when we arrived in Penang for the first time a few days ago, it was just as hot.

“In the city, I had to open the refrigerator in the supermarkets just to cool off. Finally, we found a cooler place on the peak here, and it is much better,” said Hooks.

New Zealanders Steph Brownlee, 28, and her boyfriend Thomas English, 29, also retreated from the scorching heat in the city for the greenery on Penang Hill.

“We’ve visited various places, including the clan jetties, and eaten the street food. Since Friday, however, we’ve been sweating non-stop wherever we go.

“At least on Penang Hill, we get a panoramic view of the island without the heat,” said Brownlee.

Checks showed temperatures on the peak to average between 24°C and 26°C, about 5°C cooler than at ground level.

Yesterday, the flow was smooth, as there were not many people at the ticketing counters and the queue to board the funicular train was manageable.

It was reported that during the Hari Raya break, Penang Hill received almost 8,000 visitors per day.

Penang Hill Corporation general manager Datuk Cheok Lay Leng said the destination remained popular with tourists even after the Hari Raya and Labour Day holidays.

“Penang Hill is a cool retreat for those looking to escape the heat and humidity of the city, in addition to enjoying the great scenery from the peak,” he said, adding that there were an average of 6,000 visitors per day.

He, however, advised visitors to bring along an umbrella in case of sudden rain, adding that they were also invited to attend the coming Penang Hill Festival from July 21 to 23 in conjunction with the Penang Hill Railway’s 100th anniversary this year.

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