Penang is undeniably a wonderful city to get lost in. But what’s better than getting lost in the quirky streets of Penang?
It’s exploring one of the beautiful mansions in Penang that truly gives that “Alice in Wonderland” feel of exploration.
Come with me as I get lost in the wonderful Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, more popularly known as Penang’s Blue Mansion
The Blue Mansion was built in the 1880’s by a Chinese businessman and politician by the name of Cheong Fatt Tze. It has 38 rooms, 5 granite-paved courtyards, 7 staircases & 220 vernacular timber louvre windows.
What once housed one of the wealthiest and most privileged families of Malaysia is now a boutique hotel, but it is more popularly visited as a day-trip tourist attraction.
It’s been used as backdrop for many art-deco films and shoots. And it’s not hard to see why.
We initially joined a walking tour of the mansion however, curiousity got the better of us and we got sidetracked by so many things.
And from hereon we wandered and explored the nooks and crannies of this mansion on our own.
Walking in the hallways and rooms of this mansion, my imagination began playing its own CG-type “back into time” clip, where suddenly these rooms are filled with people, just how it was in the late 1880’s , servants bustling about, the hosts entertaining guests. Children of wives 2, 3 and 4 probably filing the hallways with their shrieks and noisy foot stomping. Their nannies quickly admonishing them.
Or a full 2 days of cleaning, dusting, and preparing a sumptuous feast in the kitchen. Wives and nannies teaching children to be on their best behaviour, as the whole mansion prepared for the coming of Cheong Fatt Tze, who came from a long journey overseas.
Lots and lots of possible “what-once-was”scenarios. It’s fun to imagine what it was like being back then in the day.
And I knew in an instant what my favourite spot in the house would be. Right in the middle of the courtyard, where I would look up and see this:
You reckon they ever saw silhouettes of war planes up there? birds? birds dropping something? bats? I loved this ceiling that opened up to the endless possibilities of reaching for the skies.
My second favourite corner would be this winding staircase, (the staircase itself was from Glasgow. Imagine the shipping fees back then!)
Blue isn’t one of my favourite colours but I found myself loving the cool shade of blue that was used throughout the mansion.
The Cheong Fatt Tze mansion is a definite must-visit when in Penang. Even if you’re not really into interior design or historical architecture, the mansion offers a cool respite from the humidity of Penang.
Next time, I would like to try staying at their boutique accommodation.
Do you like visiting old mansions and houses? Any interesting ones you’d like to recommend?
I missed to visit this mansion when I went to Penang. Did you also visit Penang Peranakan Mansion?
Jean | Holy Smithereens says
Hi Kat, yes I did visit the Peranakan Mansion as well! How did you find it? Quite interesting too. Though I liked the blue mansion more, the Peranakan mansion held more significance to history/society of the Nyonya culture
I liked Peranakan Mansion a lot! Every corner is picturesque. 🙂
Pia V. says
Will visit Penang hopefully in January 2014. Is three days enough to tour the place? Thanks so much in advance, Jean! By the way, I love the blue mansion interior. I look forward to it. ^^
Jean | Holy Smithereens says
Hi Pia! Yes 3 days is enough, I suggest you set aside 1 day for exploring the ‘vintage-y’ streets- they are all in 1 area including the blue mansion, and 1 day to see batu ferringhi (beach and night markets if you are into it) as they are not in the same area. and of course 1 day for food alone. 🙂 in the end there isnt really just 1 way to see all the places. but yes I think 3 days is definitely enough. have fun!