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Your guide to Bukit Mertajam
All About Bukit Mertajam
Bukit Mertajam is the dense metropolitan core of northern Malaysia's Seberang Perai city, in the state of Penang. The township is engrained with traditional Malaysian and Chinese culture, offering rows of multi-generational noodle shops and handmade goods surrounded by jungle-covered mountains and hills to the east. Once a farming and fishing village, the area has grown into one of the region’s largest communities, combining proximity to the coast and access to the frenetic streets and nightlife of nearby George Town, located across the Penang Bridge. People come here to browse the handwoven furniture on main thoroughfare Jalan Pasar, stopping off for herbal tea at stalls that have been here for decades.
Bukit Mertajam is also a transportation hub for several regional trains and rail lines. The district lies near the verdant peaks and challenging trails of Bukit Mertajam Recreational Forest and Penang Island, with its buzzing markets, golden beaches, and thriving cities.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Bukit Mertajam
The tropical coastal conditions of Bukit Mertajam are hot and humid throughout the year, with most seasonal variations centered around changes in overall precipitation. Rainfall is less likely in winter months, with a steady incline throughout the year until it reaches its peak in the late autumn. Because rain is constant in the area, however, you’ll want to pack a light rainproof layer or poncho regardless of when you visit.
The neighboring island city of Penang is a lively community with a packed program of festivities and events. One of the region's most popular celebrations is the Hungry Ghost Festival in August, where Buddhists burn offerings to ancestral spirits along with colorful processions and altars hosting live music and entertainment.
Top things to do in Bukit Mertajam
Originally inhabited by Chinese migrants working in the area's spice and sugar industries, the Old Town district of Bukit Mertajam is now a mecca of traditional Chinese cuisine and local Malaysian fare. Hakka noodles and rojak salad are among the many specialty dishes here. The area also has several historically significant landmarks dating from the early 20th century, including the now vine-covered family home of Penang’s first chief minister and the historic stone-built Cheok Sah Cinema building. You’ll also find heritage shops selling handmade goods like traditional clayware.
Bukit Mertajam Recreational Forest
In this nature reserve on the edge of town, you’ll find waterfalls, towering Mengkundor trees, and ancient temples hidden amongst the dense jungle. You can hike and cycle through the expansive trail systems that wind their way through the park. Several creeks and natural pools provide opportunities to cool off after an afternoon of exploring.
This regional capital city and UNESCO World Heritage site lies just off the coast on Penang Island — easily accessible by the connecting bridge. George Town is well known for its varied architectural styles — you’ll find Chinese temples and mosques interspersed with high-rises here — along with its thriving nightlife and artistic character. You can explore the history of comic books from across the continent at the Komik Asia museum and admire the beauty of traditional batik creations at the Batik Painting Museum Penang. Filled with stunning street art, colorful architecture, and modern cafes, the city makes for an excellent day trip to explore northern Malaysia, both old and new.