Khoo Kongsi and Penang Hill

The Khoos are one of what was known as the Five Big Clans that formed the main part of the Hokkien community in early Penang.


Since mid-19th century, each of the clans has been based in  particular demarcated areas of Georgetown, with a clanhouse at the centre of each area.

The photo below is of the Khoo Kongsi clanhouse. What you can’t see is how it is hidden away, with  terrace houses on the perimeters of the courtyard.  These terraced houses are also part of the clan territory – forming almost a mini-town within the city.


The first clanhouse was built in 1901, but mysteriously burnt down. Some said that its extravagance and opulence angered the gods. So this is the more modest replacement.

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Rooms either side of the temple contain Khoo honour boards, proudly displaying the academic achievements of several generations of Khoos.


A short ‘teksi’ ride away, is the Penang Hill.


There we took the funicular railway to the top.

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A hill station was established on Penang Hill by Francis Light (founder of Georgetown). Those colonials had it all worked out. When the heat and humidity of the town was too much, you headed to the nearest hill or mountain to cool off. In this case, Penang Hill (at 823m) is generally several degrees cooler than Georgetown. The average temperatures on the hill range from 20 to 27 degrees, while Georgetown is 30-32.

On the hillside, there are still many examples of colonial bungalows.

At the top station there is both a mosque and a Hindu temple – which is where I  found this Ganesha hanging out.IMG_9267

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