Crag Hotel: Abandoned Film Set in Penang

Crag Hotel: Abandoned Film Set in Penang

The Crag Hotel

Towering over Malaysia on a side of Penang Hill which is rarely visited, sits a withering set of buildings linked to a very rich history. Some of these buildings date back to the late 1800s and have served many functions throughout their lives including a hotel, private residence, a school and even a film set.

Crag Hotel Penang Hill.
View from the Crag Hotel sitting upon Penang Hill, Malaysia.

The site, which is best known as the Crag Hotel, is well hidden and difficult to access due to stray dogs. Though it is this reason that makes the abandoned hotel that much more special to visit. A series of buildings worn by time and weather await intrepid explorers. Many of which contain the hidden surprises of film set equipment and setups that were left behind once BBC television projects had wrapped filming.

Abandoned former school on Penang Hill.
The entrance into the now abandoned Crag Hotel, which was once run as a school.

But how did this once glorious place come to be and fall into disrepair?

History of the Abandoned Crag Hotel in Penang

The Crag Hotel has a long and interesting history that has led to its current ruined state today. It started its life out as an opulent residence for a worker of the East India Trading Company, being built in the 1880s. Its location, upon Penang Hill, was an area many large mansions were being built by these wealthy traders.

Abandoned building turned film set in Malaysia.
A deteriorating building that had been converted inside into a film set.

Not long after its construction, the home was sold to an Armenian Hotel chain who were running grandiose hotels throughout Asia. This chain pumped more money into the building, renovating and expanding its reach. It was then opened up to the public as a new hotel in 1894. It was again extended and rejuvenated during the 1920s after changing hands again.

Abandoned Crag Hotel, Penang.
The Crag Hotel, slowly deteriorating.

This location continued to function as a hotel right through until WWII when it was claimed by the Japanese. Following the war, the hotel was left abandoned and begun to fall into disrepair. It sat abandoned for a while longer until it was purchased and converted for use as a school, opening in 1955. The school functioned, with many students and staff living in dormitories on premises, until 1977 when it was closed down.

More buildings making up the Crag Hotel, BBC Indian Summers film set.
Buildings sitting in a row, all abandoned and rotting.

Following the close, the site was once again left abandoned. However, the location was scouted for use in a BBC television series known Indian Summers. Much of the surrounding area was cleared from overgrowth and the interiors were restored to look appropriate for filming.

Crag Hotel kitchen
The kitchen area in Crag Hotel, used as a film set in the BBC television show Indian Summers.

There are some whispers amongst the locals that this abandoned hotel in Penang may be haunted. Yet, there aren’t really any substantial ghost stories that suggest these rumors are rich in truth.

Abandoned hotel on Penang Hill.
Balcony looking down over Penang Hill.

Visiting the Crag Hotel

Though the Crag Hotel is long abandoned and definitely not a popular tourist spot on Penang Hill, it is worth looking into a visit. To find the hotel you can take a short walk from the top of Penang Hill on the road which leads down. After walking for about 10-15 minutes, take the first left away from the main road. It will be a narrow, ill-maintained road that you will need to follow until you come to a narrow bridge. This is the area where you will find a pack of dogs guarding the bridge. These dogs seem stray, yet are obedient to people who live alongside the river. When I visited, a local woman allowed us access to the hotel by restraining the dogs as we crossed the bridge. I would advise using caution when approaching the bridge.

Abandoned Crag Hotel.
Exploring all the abandoned buildings that make up the Crag Hotel.

If you are interested in other haunted places in Penang, I recommend checking out this abandoned school.

Thanks for reading!


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Amy is a world traveller and explorer of creepy locations. She has visited some of the most famously haunted places around the world in search of evidence of the paranormal. Follow Amy's Journey:

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