Fort Cornwallis, Penang Hill

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Fort Cornwallis - A Quick Overview

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Address: Jalan Tun Syed Sheh Barakbah, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia, Penang Hill

Phone: +60-42620202

Ticket Price: 2 MYR

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Time Required: 02:00 Hrs

Timings: 09:00 am - 07:00 pm Details

Currently Open

Added 26.9K times in trip plans

Island, Park, Historical Site, Family And Kids, Fort, Military Area

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About Fort Cornwallis, Penang Hill

Fort Cornwallis is the largest standing fort in Malaysia. Set close to the Esplanade and Penang Clocktower, the star-shaped bastion is one of the oldest structures in Penang. Named after Marquis Charles Cornwallis, only a set of ten-foot high outer walls remain, with an enclosed park within.

Situated on Penang’s north-eastern coast, a stroll along the privately-managed Fort Cornwallis’ perimeters will take you about 10 minutes. It is a surreal experience to hear the 1812 Overture playing over the speaker system while a Malaysian man dressed in full British regalia stands at the gate. Inside the fort is a variety of vaguely-informative exhibits.

Built in 1786, Fort Cornwallis was intended as a defensive structure against pirates, Kedah forces and even the French during the Napoleonic Wars. However although it was initially built for the Royal artillery troops and the military, it served an administrative function rather than an actively defensive one. 

Spanning 4490 sq.ft. it was built as a stockade with no permanent structures. The fort stands on the site where Captain Francis Light first set foot in 1786 on the then virtually-uninhabited Penang and took possession of the island from the Sultan of Kedah. He then established a free port to lure trade from Britain’s Dutch rivals.

Originally built of nibong palms, during Colonel R.T. Farquhar’s term as Governor of Penang Fort Cornwallis was rebuilt with bricks and stones using Indian convict labor thus transforming the wooden fort into a stone structure. Fort Cornwallis’ star shape is attributed to the fact that this design was a better defence against multiple fields of fire from enemies.

A bronze statue of Captain Francis Light stands near Fort Cornwallis’ main entrance. Inside the fort are prison cells, barracks, munitions storage areas, a harbour light once used to signal incoming ships and the original flagstaff.

At the southwest corner of the fort is Penang’s first chapel, built in 1799. You can also see several old bronze cannons inside the fort including Seri Rambai, which is popularly regarded as a fertility symbol. Locals often place offerings of flowers and joss sticks at its base.

The largest fort in Malaysia, Fort Cornwallis was initially built to ward off attacks from pirates but then was turned into an administrative building. Today it acts as an important historical structure with a number of tourists visiting it everyday. Buy tickets for Fort Cornwallis online to avoid wastage of time in huge lines. You can also find out Fort Cornwallis ticket prices before booking them and combine Fort Cornwallis tickets with other attractive deals and tours. Other tickets for Fort Cornwallis tours can also be purchased from our ticketing platform at great deals.

Fort Cornwallis Ticket Prices

  • For kids, the entrance fee is RM 1

How To reach Fort Cornwallis by Public Transport

  • On foot or by a trishaw.

Restaurants Near Fort Cornwallis

  • Quay Cafe
  • Seed Natural Food Cafe

Love this? Explore the entire list of things to do in Penang Hill before you plan your trip.

Fancy a good night's sleep after a tiring day? Check out where to stay in Penang Hill and book an accommodation of your choice.

Fort Cornwallis, Penang Hill Reviews

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  • We visited Fort Cornwallis yesterday at 1.30pm and waited for the next tour at 3pm. While we waited we ate at the restaurant which by local prices is expensive but for a visiting tourist is cheap. The food was delicious. My daughter and I chose the set menu. There was plenty of food - servings are generous. I've read the other reviews and if you didn't have a guided tour the fort is not very interesting. Our lovely guide told us about the history of Penang and the fort and it was most informative. It is also a lovely peaceful spot and a nice respite from the hustle and bustle of Georgetown.

  • Definatly worth a visit but you must take the free tour as its very interesting and the guide is very knowledgeable and informative of the local history. They need to tell people that they have a free tour as we were the only people to go on it that day but im not complaining. They are doing a lot of restoration at the minute which will make it more interesting as well. A must see...with a guided tour...

  • Rather expensive for what it is. A large part is currently closed for public due to archaeological work going on. Make sure to visit with the tour guide. Molly tells you about the history and is very nice.

  • Nothing much to see. The most interesting part is listenning to the history of the fort & Penang from the tour guide. RM20 admission fee for local

  • It was a waste of money when I last came 8 years ago and today there is even less to see as they have restricted access to much of the site. 20RM each to look at the fort walls? You get a better view of the walls from the outside. Don't bother. No evidence that your money goes into any restoration.

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