May 29, 2005
This military fortress was built by the British in the early 1930s and spans over 20 acres. Dug into the hill of Bukit Batu Maung, the British created underground tunnels that housed intelligence and logistic centers, halls, ventilation shafts, sleeping quarters etc. It was taken over by the Japanese during the Second World War and converted into a POW camp. When the war was over, this fortress was abandoned and "lost" till recently. It now served as perhaps, one of the youngest living museum in the world for visitors to experience the history, relics and a taste of regimental life of that era.
There are various activities for the adventurous and the not so adventurous. The former, activities like paint-ball wars, WWII trench and jungle trekking, night tour, and team-building activities are available for a price. For the not-so-adventurous, there is a trail explore the fortress and relics in about 1 hour. Just follow the footsteps painted on the ground from the main entrance.
Since we were not all dressed for the more adventurous activities, we stuck to the trail and explored the fort relics. From the canon firing bay to the underground tunnels, the history lessons we learnt in school came alive for us. At the Malay and Indian barracks, we felt shivers down our spine as the barracks re-enacted the horrors of WWII, from the torture chamber to the "sex-slave" barrack that was set up by the Japanese.
The trail led us back to the souvenir shop (surprise-surprise). We did not linger however. With one last look at the pier below from the carpark, we bid farewell to the "lost city".
To get there:
This museum is not easy to find as it is hidden amid dense forest. The turn-in road is small and can be easily missed as well if not for the posters on the light posts. If you are taking public transport, the uphill walk leading to the fortress can be a little tedious and takes about 20mins. Best opt for the taxi.
Operating hours: 9am to 7pm daily
RM$10 for locals
RM$20 for foreigners
Camera fee: RM$2 per camera or video recorder
For more information: Go HERE
Wear light-colored jeans, cargoes, or khakis if you intend to try out the more rugged activities.
Hat and insect repellent is a must.
Wear comfortable and sturdy walking shoes.
From journal Penang Revisited