Fort Cornwallis Penang

We went to Penang, Malaysia for slow travel so we could focus on our businesses. But we did take the time to see some must-do sites in Penang including Penang Hill and Penang Hill Funicular, Batu Ferringhi beach and Fort Cornwallis.

In terms of an awesome investment of time, two out of three ain’t bad!

This post is about Fort Cornwallis. It was the misfire of the so-called ‘must-dos’.

What to do in Penang

About Fort Cornwallis Penang

Fort Cornwallis is a bastion fort in George Town, Penang, Malaysia.

Fort Cornwallis Penang

It was built by the British East India Company in the late 18th century and is the largest standing fort in Malaysia.

It’s longevity was no doubt helped by the fact that the fort never engaged in combat during its operational history.

I suppose we should have had a clue about how lame the visit would be by the fact that it is named after the then- Governor-General of India, Charles Cornwallis – the same guy who surrendered at Yorktown ending the American War of Independence. Loser general, loser tourist attraction…

Ok – that’s probably unfair to Cornwallis. He actually went on to have a very successful career after Yorktown. But I wasn’t throwing away my shot!

Fort Cornwallis Penang Today

Today, the fort is a tourist attraction in the heart of George Town.

Fort Cornwallis Penang

We visited one afternoon because I love history and Lisa loves me so lets me drag her along as I explore historical sites. The entrance fee is RM 20 – about $5 US.

But the problem with this historical site is that, as mentioned, not much history actually happened here.

So it’s not so much exploring history as it is exploring a well-preserved and restored star-shaped bastion fort.

The ‘highlights’ include the powder magazine.

Another highlight is a named brass cannon, the Seri Rambai.

It was cast in 1603, and in 1606 the Dutch East India Company gave it to the Sultan of Johore.

In 1613, the Acehnese took possession of Seri Rambai and carried it to Aceh.

In 1795, the Achenese gave it to Kuala Selangor.

Still following me here?

Because then the British seized Seri Rambai in 1871 and took the cannon to Penang.

The government moved it to the fort in the 1950s.

The thing that stood out most to me is that today it appears to be aimed at the developments at Straits Quay!

Aaaaand…that was about it for Fort Cornwallis Penang.

There were also some 18th century British soldier cut-outs, sooooo this happened…

There are guided tours of Fort Cornwallis, but we had seen it all.

Bottom Line

I suppose Fort Cornwallis Penang is worth a visit if you happen to be nearby on the Esplanade.

But even for a history – especially military history – enthusiast like me, there was not much to it.

Better to spend your time on Penang Hill or in Batu Ferringhi!

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