6 Quirky Museums You Need to Visit in Penang

Upside Down Museum Penang

Trust us when we say, it does not get any quirkier than this.

#1 Get Woke and Hungry at Wonderfood Museum

Wonderfood Museum Penang
Model spread of Malay Nyonya desserts.

It felt like a mirage when we saw a giant bowl of Cendol as we walked under the scorching sun along Market Street. Before succumbing to the heat, there we were at the entrance of Wonderfood Museum, and the mirage earlier was actually a model of a bowl of Cendol. Not that it was any consolation because it was not edible.

Wonderfood Museum Penang
Wonderfood Museum Penang

Wonderfood Museum is certainly not a place to miss because it is a brilliant space that celebrates Malaysian food, showcases Malaysian food culture, and raises awareness on pressing food-related issues. The museum is partitioned into thematic sections – food spread from different cultures of Malaysia, how we view food from different perspectives (against colours, time, and gravity), giant replicas of famous Malaysian hawker food, food trail section for photo-ops and finally, nooks and corners for educational purposes.

Wonderfood Museum Penang
What if your usual food items are not in the colors of the norm? Would you still eat them?
Wonderfood Museum Penang
An example of food model that elicits awareness.
Wonderfood Museum Penang
Food spread purely in black and white. Doesn’t colour play an important role to trigger our senses?

Wonderfood Museum proves that museums don’t have to be dry and dull. The people behind Wonderfood Museum injected fun element, along with a healthy dose of quirks and knowledge. If there is one reason why you should visit this museum, we say it is definitely a place for everyone – the nerd, the vain and the adventure-seeker.

Visitor details:

Admission Fee: Adult RM25 / Child RM15

Address: 49, Lebuh Pantai, George Town, 10200 Pulau Pinang.

Opening Hours: 9 am to 6 pm daily

Tel: 04 – 251 9095 / 012 225 1968 / 012 229 1968

#2 The View of the World from the Upside Down, at Upside Down Museum

Upside Down Museum Penang
There were different rooms, with different decor which called for different poses. Ideal for vain-pots seeking the perfect picture.

Well for fans of Netflix’s The Stranger Things, good news, the Upside Down Museum is anything but scary. From the beginning to end, Upside Down Museum is purely fun. Each section was partitioned according to different (upside-down) decor and the staffs were very attentive at managing the incoming crowd so that it does not get too cramped.

Upside Down Museum Penang
Truly an experience being tossed upside-down.

It is definitely an interesting take on world upside-down and the team behind the concept did a remarkable job on each detail in each room. The staff work as guides as well as stand-in photographers because Upside Down Museum is a haven for those who love to be in front of the camera. The only tip for our readers before going to Upside Down Museum is stretch and be ready for your million-dollar shot(s). Thank us later.

Visitor details:

Admission Fee: Adult RM27 / Child RM16/ Student with ID (Malaysian) RM11/ Student with ID (Non-Malaysian) RM16

Address: 45 Kimberley Street, Georgetown, Penang

Opening Hours:

  • Monday to Friday: 8:45 am to 6:30 pm (last admission at 5:30 pm)
  • Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays: 8:45 am to 7:30 pm (last admission at 6:30 pm)

Tel: +604-264 2660

#3 Spiked and Aroused, at Durian The King of Fruits and Tongkat Ali King Showroom, The Top Komtar

Durian and Tongkat Ali Showroom The Top Komtar Penang
Visitors are able to touch and feel different types of durian skins at the showroom

If you drop by The Top, Komtar (which you should), there are two interesting showrooms that pay homage to Malaysia’s favorite fruit and herb – Durian and Tongkat Ali. It is a treat for the young ones as the showrooms have giant figurines of different types of durians and Tongkat Ali which enables visitors to touch and feel. The showrooms are very informative and well-laid for an easy walkthrough for visitors. At the end of the tour, there is a huge variety of Durian and Tongkat Ali products from coffees to chips for visitors to buy on their way out.

Durian and Tongkat Ali Showroom The Top Komtar Penang
Ancient tool to break open durians.
Durian and Tongkat Ali Showroom The Top Komtar Penang
Brilliant depiction of durian formation from flower to fruit.

Entry for either is included in the ticket to The Top, which also covers more than ten other attractions in the Top, Komtar.

Visitor Details:

Address: Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak, No 1 Jalan Penang,  George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Tel: 04-2623800

Opening hours:  Daily 10 am – 10 pm

Website: The Top Komtar

#4 Doing the Do Re Mi at P. Ramlee Gallery

Did you know Malaysia’s all-time icon P. Ramlee hails from Penang? Tengku Zakaria bin Tengku Nyak Puteh, better known as P.Ramlee is a legendary superstar back in the 50s and 60s, both in the film and music industry. He was born in Penang on March 22, 1929, and received all of his education in Penang.

P.Ramlee Gallery Penang
Model House of the late legend, Tan Sri P.Ramlee at Jalan P.Ramlee (formerly known as Counter Hall) in Penang.
P.Ramlee Gallery Penang
Main Room.

There are two parts to the P.Ramlee Gallery – first being the gallery itself and secondly, a restored house model believed to be a model of his humble abode back in the day. P.Ramlee Gallery is situated within the compounds of Jabatan Kebudayaan and Kesenian Negara Pulau Pinang, located on the right side from the main entrance. There is no entrance fee for the gallery and house. It is important to note that the house is not his actual house but a thorough reproduction – however, it is certainly nostalgic to go through some of his personal belongings aptly displayed around the house, especially for die-hard fans.

P.Ramlee Gallery Penang

P.Ramlee Gallery Penang
Posters of all of P.Ramlee’s movies

There is also his personal bicycle and a canoe that he had used before placed in the house. P.Ramlee Gallery is a definite visit if you are someone who grew up with his music playing in the household and wants to relive the memory that comes with it.

Visitor Details:

Admission Fee: FOC

Address: Lot 2180, Jalan P. Ramlee, Taman Kampar, 10460 George Town, Penang

Tel: 04-281 7484

Opening hours: 9 am to 5.30 pm

Website: P.Ramlee Gallery Penang

#5 Gold-digging at Kim Haus Loft Goldsmith Museum

Kim Haus Loft Goldsmith Museum

No offense to Kanye but being gold-diggers for a day was actually very exciting. Jokes aside, goldsmith museum has to be the most unique as far as museum goes. Kim Haus Loft came in conception when owners bought over a run-down ‘gold-mine’ of a place (no puns intended) to revamp it into a lifestyle, boutique hotel. Since the previous building was a renowned jewelry store in Penang (Kim How Gold and Jewellery), people behind Kim Haus decided to retain the history of the building so much so they decided to include a goldsmith gallery into their hotel concept.

Kim Haus Loft Goldsmith Museum
Curated goldsmith tools
Kim Haus Loft Goldsmith Museum
More tools of the trade scattered around the property.
Kim Haus Loft Goldsmith Museum
Extension of the goldsmith museum all the way to Gold Bar, Kim Haus’ in-house bar.

Displays of antique goldsmith tools and equipment were scattered around the property which gives the museum a bit of an edge. In addition to that, this allows visitors and hotel guests to explore the premises thoroughly as the museum spans through the whole property. Each piece was curated carefully and sourced from different parts of the world, as goldsmithery is indeed a rare trade these days. Our favorite part of the museum has got to be the gold vault – one of the biggest of its kind in Penang – is now turned into a private dining room for restaurant guests.

Kim Haus Loft Goldsmith Museum
Entrance of the gold vault, which is now turned into a private dining room

If you happen to be nursing a serious food coma in Campbell street, don’t forget to drop in Kim Haus Loft to check out the Goldsmith Museum. Trust us, it would keep you moving and hiking up the stairs, unlike any other museums. The best part of the tour, you ask? The amazing homebaked desserts and coffees at the Kim Haus bakery, all under one roof. You’re welcome.

Visitor Details:

Admission Fee: FOC

Address: 9 & 11, Lebuh Campbell, 10100, Georgetown, Penang.

Tel: 016- 3301515

Opening hours: Daily 11 am to 2:30 pm; 6 pm to 10:30 pm.

Website: Kim Haus Facebook Page

#6 Tale-telling at Teochew Puppet and Opera House

Teochew Puppet and Opera House Penang
Display of puppets, adorned in beautiful costumes

Ling Goh is the founder and director of Teochew puppet and Opera House, that is situated along Armenian Street. Goh comes from a lineage of opera performers which dates back to the 19th century, and she is the current heir who carries out her family tradition of being an opera actress as well as an important figure to revive the lost art of Teochew puppetry and opera. She is also passionate about passing down the knowledge of Teochew puppetry to the younger generation.

Teochew Puppet and Opera House Penang
Majestic coat of opera performers that carries different significance according to the colours.
Teochew Puppet and Opera House Penang
Miniature costumes of Teohew puppets.
Teochew Puppet and Opera House Penang
Different types of headpiece for different characters of the opera.

The gallery is held at a house, and it starts with the displays of wooden puppets and its form, and the various puppet costumes in amazing vibrant colors and folklore designs. The full display of the costumes is something very gripping and remarkable because it was something you would not come across anywhere else. This was emulated further down the room where there were racks of gorgeous opera performers costumes hung from the wall, which served as a decor itself as it adorned the bare walls of the gallery with sparkly materials. There were also a variety of masks flawless intricacy and details which adorned the walls too.

Teochew Puppet and Opera House Penang
Miniature instruments.
Teochew Puppet and Opera House Penang
Puppet form hand-crafted from wood, clay and paper, weighing several kilograms each.
Teochew Puppet and Opera House Penang
Gallery keeper demonstrating the first kind of puppet, made out of leather.

Teochew Puppet and Opera House’s gallery keeper is very knowledgeable and helpful if you are curious to know the stories behind each opera performance as well as the Teochew puppet culture. We learnt that Teochew puppetry and opera performance were a mean of education back in those days in China, which was then continued and replicated by the Teochews in Penang upon immigration. He also explained the significance of each costume according to colors and design, which was really enrapturing. Truly an unexpected but enlightening visit, make sure you do too when you are in Penang.

Visitor Details:

Address: 122, Lebuh Armenian, George Town, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang

Tel: 04-2620377

Opening hours: Daily 10 am to 6 pm

Facebook: Teochew Puppet and Opera House

Shamrina Rose

Shamrina Rose

Wit sharper than my eyeliner.
Shamrina Rose

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *