After spending months in Penang, Malaysia, we thought we had seen everything on the island. We visited Kek Lok Si temple, went to Monkey Beach, and played at Adventure Zone, but one spot that never really interested us was the Butterfly garden.
I think it may have been because when we lived in Costa Rica we regularly saw many beautiful butterflies everyday right in our yard. Spending money to see more just didn’t seem worth it to us. But when a friend came to visit and really wanted to go I grabbed my 5 year old and figured we would give it a try. Wow, were we impressed!
So impressed that we suggest it to anyone heading to Penang for Malaysia holidays. We visited 2 times so the rest of the family could enjoy all the Garden had to offer. It really is that much fun!
The Butterfly garden is located in Teluk Bahang. It is easily accessed by car or motorbike (plenty of parking available) and even by rapid transit bus #101, 102, or 501. They are open 365 days a year from 8am to 6pm with the last entrant allowed in at 5pm. The only exception is on Chinese New Year eve when they are open 1/2 day. The rates, at the time of publishing, are RM27 (roughly $9 US) for adults and RM15 (roughly $5 US) for children age 4-12. Over 12 counts as an adult and under 4 is free. They also offer MYKAD discounts.
The entrance rates may seem slightly high for Malaysia but it includes access to the butterfly garden as well as a large insect area. You are also invited to join in with the Nature guided tour given multiple times a day. The staff was really knowledgeable and patient when answering all the little guys questions.
We entered immediately into the butterfly garden. It is a large area complete with a pond, loads of beautiful and identified flowers and trees, and multiple areas for relaxing and taking photos. We were given cute books for the kids when we paid and they really enjoyed trying to locate the critters and find the stamps throughout the garden to complete their booklets.
Tip: It is quite hot and humid even by Penang standards so be sure to dress accordingly and bring water with you!
Inside you will find many different butterflies at varying stages of life. Eggs, caterpillars, cocoons, and just hatching butterflies were everywhere. They also have feeding stations throughout the garden in order to attract them to a central spot. We were able to feed them, watch the proboscis tongue probe for nectar, and grab some great shots as they tend to stay where the food is!
After exploring the whole outside area we started to head inside. At this point we were stopped in order to help release new butterflies. It was a real treat for the kids who all watched in amazement as their new "pets" flew around hesitant to leave the area for a bit.
Inside there is immediate relief in the air conditioned building. Educational and fun movies play in the small rooms throughout the building. This is also where the insect portion of the garden is located.
There are spiders, huge centipedes and millipedes, stick bugs and so much more. But the real highlight for us was the scorpion area. There is a tank inlaid in the ground that you need to walk over. Inside it there is a black light on and you can see the amazing coloration that they display. I had no idea! We must have spent 1/2 an hour just watching and photographing them!
As you leave there is an out of place trinket or art type area. I think the items are for sale but it's a strange spot for it and with the kids I just wanted to get past it before someone broke something. Just before exiting there is a nice gift shop with really reasonably priced items as well as much deserved ice cream and drinks.
Overall this is a great spot to visit! It is not an all day affair but a really nice and educational couple of hours at least. If you have time in Penang I highly recommend you visit!