Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion
Penang Wonderful Heritage

The Magnificent Legacy of Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion
One of the noticeable structure that you can find in the heart of Georgetown will be the magnificent 56,000 sq ft Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, a 19th century architectural legacy of Penang. Located at the Leith Street, the mansion is one of the only three stately Chinese-style mansions remaining outside China.

The famous indigo-blue mansion is built by Cheong Fatt Tze; Penang most generous
philanthropy and influential businessman which business empires covers most of South East Asia and Europe Countries.

It was constructed over a seven year period between 1896 and 1904 by teams of master craftsmen from China. The majestic Cheong Fatt Tze mansion of 38 rooms, 5 granite-paved courtyards, 7 staircases and 220 windows was designed to reflect Cheong Fatt Tze's stature and eclectic approach to life. There is even a servants quarters built in front of the mansion in which have been converted into restaurants and bar.

Cheong Fatt Tze mansion are built according to Chinese geomantic principles (Feng Shui) and decorated with intricate carvings, rare chien nien mosaics and Chinese latticework. It also includes Art Nouveau stained glass, Gothic louvered windows, Stoke-on-Trent geometric floor tiles and Scottish cast-iron elements.

Servants' quarters that has turn
into Pubs and Restaurant

Old trishaw in front of the mansion

Entrance To The Mansion
The Feng Shui alignment did prove auspicious for him as more and more prosperous business deals have been created. Unfortunately the spectacular grandeur of the "Blue Mansion" ended when Cheong Fatt Tze died in 1916. He has stipulated in his will that the mansion could not be sold until the death of his last son. He also put aside funds to ensure that the house is properly maintained. Sadly, it did not materialize. The funds set aside for the maintenance were not enough, as it did not take inflation into account. As a result, the mansion fell into dilapidated state.

The mansion was put on the market for sale soon after the death of his last son in 1989. By this time it was in an extremely bad condition and faced the prospect of either demolition or eventual collapse. Fortunately in 1990, the mansion was bought
and authentically restored over six years by a local firm specializing in heritage conservation work.

The firm - Laurence Loh Architects, hired skilled workers from China to restore the fantastic and rarely seen chien nien mosaics. They also hired elderly skilled craftsmen, able to use
old techniques and tools to repair by hand all the woodcarving on the timber beams and shutters.

Photo courtesy of Asia Explorer.
Reception Hall

At The Courtyard

The restoration completed in 1999 with the courtyard now being serve as a public space for exhibitions, tours, concerts, weddings and other public activities. The annexes have been converted into 16 uniquely themed apartments, decorated in nineteenth century style and are open out for rental.

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.

Cheong Fatt Tze Biography
Cheong Fatt Tze during his heyday is one of the most influential and flamboyant of all Penang's multimillionaire during the 19th century.

His extraordinary rose from a simple water carrier in Java to multinational conglomerate are just something that we can only dream of. By the time he was 36, he already established himself as one of the most prominent residents of Java.

Cheong Fatt Tze is a true "rag to riches" story - Starting from penniless boy who left his poor home in Southern China at the age of 16 into becoming one of the most powerful shipping magnate and financier with business interests covering South East Asia’s to the Europe.

The photo of him wearing a tuxedo and western hat showing that he's all fired up in his business dealing and the others wearing Chinese mandarin dress as if he is waiting for an audience with the Chinese emperor. Whatever it is, Cheong is indeed a man with exceptional personality.

Known as "Rockefeller of The East" and also "China's last mandarin and first capitalist", Cheong Fatt Tze has the uncanny ability to bridge the gap between the East and West and with it are able to acquire vast areas of land for development. He held many important portfolio covering countries such as China, Singapore and Malaysia.

The shrewd and astute Cheong Fatt Tze traded in everything he could get his hands on; Pepper, rubber, coffee, tobacco, wine, and more during his fast paced and extraordinary lifestyle.

He is so influential and important person in which upon his death, Dutch and British authorities ordered their flags to fly at half-mast to honor this legendary figure.

Cheong Fatt Tze has numerous homes throughout his empire to accommodate himself and his eight wives, six sons and numerous daughters. However, the "Blue Mansion" in Penang remains one of his favorite partly because of his wife number seven Tan Tay Po @ Chan Kim Po. She also held the distinction of the only wife being mention in Cheong Fatt Tze will.

The meteoric rise of Cheong Fatt Tze comes to an end when he succumbed to pneumonia, and died on September 11, 1916 in Jakarta, Batavia, age 76.

Map to Cheong Fze Mansion

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Opening Hour:
11am and 3pm daily for guided tour

RM10.00 per person.

Getting There:
The blue mansion is located at 14th Leith Street. You should be able to find it either by taking a trishaw ride or walk. Of course, taxi will be another alternative.

But... Before you do that, check with the hotels that you're staying whether they provide a FREE transport to this place. Why want to waste your time & money! Right?