Psychologists have long proved that scary experiences help to increase feelings of affection, albeit temporarily under those circumstances. Couples looking for that something to get your hearts pumping, here’s the perfect getaway for you — a short trip to Penang, Malaysia for a Spooky Tour.
The Penang Spooky Tour, now in its second year, is a special package that Tourism Malaysia came up with to be launched in conjunction with the Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival. Under this tour, you can visit spooky spots like a T-junction that is famous for ghost sightings, and the Protestant Cemetery, where Penang’s European founders lie. You can also expect an up-close look at the local Hungry Ghost festivities, which is a fresh experience, even for Chinese. Unlike its Singaporean counterpart, which has become characterised with commercialised getai performances, the Penang festivities still retain a whole lot of traditional charm, with roadside Teochew opera performances, and elaborate ceremonies for the worship of the God of Hades.
But the highlight of the Spooky Tour is no doubt, a visit, and if you’re up to it, an overnight stay at the notoriously haunted Penang War Museum. In fact, the War Museum has just wound up as one of Asia’s top 10 haunted sites in National Geographic’s new documentary, I Wouldn’t Go In There! For the uninitiated, the Penang War Museum is situated on a hilltop that was historically dubbed as Bukit Hantu (translated as Ghost Hill). First built as a military defense fortress in the 1930s by the British, the site was later used as a torture and prison camp by the Japanese after Penang fell during World War II. As you can imagine, there is certainly no lack of chilling happenings over there!
Adhering to the principle of retaining as much as the site’s original state as possible, the Penang War Museum is designed as a trip ‘Back to Malaya’, to take the visitor back to the days and state during the World War II. Likewise, expect no luxury accommodations over here — visitors on the overnight stay will sleep together in the Museum’s old barracks, which once served as interrogation and torture rooms for Prisoners of War! Facilities are basic, with only a sleeping bag provided, and shared toilet facilities. The Museum can accommodate a maximum of 20-30 people per night, so do make sure you book ahead if you don’t want to miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime experience! A 2D1N Spooky Tour package including the overnight stay costs RM$269 per person. (For other shorter packages, do check out the image below.)
Psst, we spoke to the owners, who told us that they hire a Malay bomoh (i.e. Malay witch doctor) on-site if visitors stay overnight just in case anything happens… don’t say you haven’t been warned!
To book, you can contact the following operators:
Capital One Leisure Sdn Bhd
66, Lobby Arcade Penang Road
Tel: 04-262 3790
Ravi Sharma Travel Sdn Bhd
46, Leigh Street
10200 Georgetown, Penang
Tel: 04-263 2145
No 457, Chulia Street
Tel: 04-261 8828
Pacific Style Holidays Sdn Bhd
Rooms 3-A, Kompleks Muzium Perang
Lot 1350, Mk 12 Daerah Barat Daya
Batu Maung, 11960
Tel: 04-626 5742