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Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) travel advisories, some destinations may be unavailable for certain dates. Find out more.
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Fort Cornwallis

The largest and one of the oldest forts in Malaysia offers fascinating insight into Penang’s colonial past.

Fort Cornwallis aims to show how life would have been for the British governors and civil servants that were based in Malaysia during colonial times (early 1800s). Original colonial structures, artifacts and authentically dressed staff and guides all help to paint the picture for you.

As you approach the fort, an imposing statue of Sir Francis Light is the first thing that comes into view. It was Light who oversaw the building of the fort in 1786, in order to protect the British trade route from potential attacks from pirates or the French. The fort was originally constructed from palm trunks, and the star-shaped, stone structure that you see today was completed in 1810.

History buffs will love the chance to wander around Fort Cornwall’s original features. Because it was never attacked, the structure remains much as the soldiers and civil servants who worked here would have known it. Examine the gunpowder magazine, imagine a prayer service in the original chapel, and have your photo taken behind the bars of the jail.

Don’t miss the Sri Rambai Cannon, the largest of Fort Cornwallis’s 17 cannons. The Sri Rambai has a colorful history that dates back to 1606, encompassing Dutch, Portuguese and British owners. Interestingly, the historic cannon is revered locally as a fertility aid. You may see women dropping flowers into its hole, hoping to increase their chances of becoming pregnant.

Guides dressed in bright red, colonial regalia are on-hand to offer tours for a small charge. But you’re also welcome to walk around the fort by yourself, which is easily done in an hour. Light refreshments and souvenirs are available at the kiosk near the entrance.

Fort Cornwallis is located in Georgetown, easily accessible by public transportation and close to the Victoria Memorial Clock on the Esplanade. The fort is open daily and there is a nominal charge for entry


Guide to Exploring Fort Cornwallis


Top Hotel Deals

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JEN Penang Georgetown by Shangri-La £41
JEN Penang Georgetown by Shangri-La

JEN Penang Georgetown by Shangri-La

Magazine Road, George Town, Penang
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    This family-friendly George Town hotel is located in the shopping district, within a 5-minute walk of KOMTAR, 1st Avenue Mall and Prangin Mall.

    Eastern And Oriental Hotel £118
    Eastern And Oriental Hotel

    Eastern And Oriental Hotel

    10 Lebuh Farquhar, George Town, Penang
       
      5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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      The Prestige Hotel Penang £56
      The Prestige Hotel Penang

      The Prestige Hotel Penang

      8 Gat Lebuh Gereja, George Town
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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        Bayview Hotel Georgetown Penang £22
        Bayview Hotel Georgetown Penang

        Bayview Hotel Georgetown Penang

        25-A Farquhar Street, Georgetown, George Town, Penang
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          This family-friendly George Town hotel is located by the sea, within a 10-minute walk of Penang State Museum and Penang City Hall. KOMTAR and Penang Times Square are also within 1 mile (2 km).

          The Chambers £24
          The Chambers

          The Chambers

          1st & 2nd floor 23 Light Street, Georgetown, George Town, Penang
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Downtown George Town, this hotel is steps away from House of Yeap Chor Ee and Penang City Hall. KOMTAR and Penang Times Square are also within 2 miles (3 km).

            Friendship Motel £13
            Friendship Motel

            Friendship Motel

            20, Penang Street, Georgetown, George Town, Penang
               
              2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

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              Merlin Hotel £18
              Merlin Hotel

              Merlin Hotel

              No 1 Lebuh, Georgetown, George Town, Penang
                 
                2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

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                Loop On Leith George Town Penang Hotel by Compass Hospitality £19
                Loop On Leith George Town Penang Hotel by Compass Hospitality

                Loop On Leith George Town Penang Hotel by Compass Hospitality

                29 Leith Street, George Town, Penang
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Downtown George Town, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, KOMTAR and Penang City Hall. Gurney Drive and Penang Times Square are also within 2 miles (3 km).