The Penang War Museum is located on a historic site, making it one of the places to visit in Penang that is not only interesting, but tells a real story as well. The area was originally built as a British fort during the 1930s. It did not rise to fame until 1941, however, when the Japanese army took over after the famous battle for Penang. Today it is actually the largest war museum in Southeast Asia.
This attraction is located in Bukit Batu Maung within Penang and can be found along the area’s southern coast on the road leading to Teluk Kumbar. When the fort was first built, it was going to be a preserved citadel that was made to protect this island against foreign invasions and another name for the museum is Muzium Perang Pulau Pinang.
After 1941, the fort at Penang passed from the control of the British, Malay, and Sikh to that of the Japanese. From that point on, the buildings began to develop a dark history as the fort was used for torture and similar cruelties. Hundreds of people were beheaded at the fort throughout its history and this torture led to the fort being nicknamed “Bukit Hantu” which means Ghost Hill.
Throughout the years, the name Bukit Hantu/Ghost Hill has remained due to various tales of hauntings. Because of this, locals started staying away from the area as long ago as 1945 when the Japanese army fell. Today, many people look here for tourist attractions in Malaysia related to ghost stories or hauntings.
Today, this museum tops the list of places to visit in Penang but for those unfamiliar with the site, it may be overwhelming at first. The area has an eerie atmosphere from a combination of its history as a military fort as well as that of a torture center and prison. The museum encompasses a total of 20 acres of land.
The Penang War Museum is also home to many war artifacts, part of the reason it is considered one of the most interesting places in Malaysia. These artifacts mostly come in the form of actual buildings including cookhouses, barracks, gun emplacements, gun stores, and more. It is these elements that give the museum its creepy atmosphere, leading it to be one of the things to do in Penang for those interested in the supernatural, particularly ghost hunters.
History lovers should also put the War Museum on their list of places to visit in Malaysia due to the important war events that took place at the site throughout the 1940s.
The site is also home to many underground tunnels which are incredibly small or narrow in places. This means that while visiting them, you should be prepared to crawl or squeeze by in some cases.
The fort officially became a War Museum in 2002 at which point it opened to the public. It is easiest to drive to the museum, but you can take a bus and then a short walk.
The Penang War Museum is a historic site and as such should be treated with respect. During your visit, do not harm or disturb the fort and its surroundings in any way. The natural area surrounding the War Museum is home to native wildlife and should also be treated with respect.