Penang War Museum

Penang War Museum in Bukit Batu Maung was a fort built by the British in the 1930s. In 1941 it gained fame when it became the site where the battle for Penang against the invading Japanese army was lost. These days it is a museum open to the public and is billed as Southeast Asia’s largest war museum.

Situated on the road to Teluk Kumbar on Penang’s southern coast, the fort was initially supposed to be a preserved citadel constructed as part of a plan to protect the island from foreign invasion. It is also known as Muzium Perang Pulau Pinang.

The former British bastion was manned by British, Sikh and Malay soldiers after its completion. It fell during WWII when the Japanese launched an attack against the fort from inland, rather than from the sea, as was expected by the British. I seem to recall a similar problem at Singapore!

From that day onwards (17 December 1941) the Japanese commandeered the stronghold and the army base became chequered with a dark past. It was used as a prison base for acts of torture and other cruelties; as a result of these war atrocities, the garrison was dubbed ‘Bukit Hantu’ (Ghost Hill) by locals due to the hundreds of people who were brought here and beheaded.

The Penang War Museum was restored as a memorial to its dark days and opened to the public in 2002. Interesting fact: the 20-acre museum houses historical artefacts such as cannons and even features underground military tunnels and ammunition bunkers which are located nine metres underground. Some of these tunnels lead all the way to the sea as they once served as access routes to get to submarines. Navigating through these passageways sometimes forces one to walk or even crawl through very narrow, confined spaces.

Additionally, you can also tour the barracks, cookhouses, gun emplacements and other structures in the eerie and vast Penang War Museum as there are plenty of signposts to guide your way.

Opening Hours: 09:00 – 19:00
Address: Lot 1350 Mukim 12, Daerah Barat Daya, Batu Maung
Tel: +604 626 5142 or +6016 421 3606

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