• Opening Hour

    11.00am and 3.00pm daily (For guided tour)

  • Location

    14 Leith Street, 10200 George Town, Penang, Malaysia.

  • Admission Fee

    RM16.00 per person

  • Exploration Time

    20 – 30 minutes

Brief Introduction

Located at 14 Leith Street, 10200 George Town, Penang, Malaysia. The mansion’s indigo-blue outer wall makes it a very distinct building in the area. The Circa 1880s mansion built by the merchant Cheong Fatt Tze at the end of 19th century has 38 rooms, 5 granite-paved courtyards, 7 staircases & 220 vernacular timber louvre windows. It served as Cheong’s private residence as well as the seat of his business activities.


Constructed over a seven year period between 1896 and 1904 by teams of master craftsmen from China, the majestic mansion of 38 rooms, five granite-paved courtyards, seven staircases and 220 windows was designed to reflect Cheong Fatt Tze’s stature and eclectic approach to life.

The mansion is one of three stately Chinese-style dwellings remaining outside of China, and is the only one in Southeast Asia. This building is particularly unusual, however. While it represents the best of eighteenth and nineteenth century Chinese architecture and is laid out according to Chinese geomantic principles and decorated with intricate carvings, chien nien and Chinese lattice-work, the courtyard-house also has an intriguing array of other influences. These include art nouveau stained glass, Gothic louvered windows, Stoke-on-Trent geometric floor tiles and Scottish cast-iron elements.

Cheong Fatt Tze lived in the mansion until his death in 1916, with three of his eight wives, his six sons and numerous daughters. In his will he stipulated that the house could not be sold until the death of his last son but because his sons had little money to maintain the house, it fell into ruin.

When Cheong Fatt Tze’s last son died in 1989, the house was put on the market. By this time it was in an extremely dilapidated state and faced the prospect of either demolition or eventual collapse. In 1990 it was sold to a small group of conservation-minded buyers, who, despite the derelict appearance of the building, recognized its heritage value and were charmed by its unique character.


Cheong Fatt Tze mansion restoration has had a great impact on the heritage preservation in Penang and serves as a model for conservation projects throughout the region.

Cheong Fatt Tze mansion has won numerous awards such as:

  • 1995 Malaysian National Architectural Award For Conservation.
  • 2000 UNESCO ‘Most Excellent’ Heritage Conservation Award.
  • Best Tourist Attraction 2003 Merit Award – Malaysian Ministry of Culture, Arts & Tourism.
  • ASEANTA 2004 Excellence Award; ASEAN Cultural Preservation Effort.

It is also being used in an Academy Award-winning film “Indochina” – A story about the withdrawal of the French from Indochina starring Catherine Deneuve.

Although the mansion is very old, but with the new restoration and preservation, the spirit and legacy of Cheong Fatt Tze mansion can still “live on” in the midst of Penang modern high-rises.


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