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Penang Upside Down Museum: what to expect from your visit

Penang Upside Down Museum: what to expect from your visit

Read on for our honest Penang Upside Down Museum review and for top tips to get the most from your visit.

One of the great things about travel is how it changes your perspective on life. We usually mean that in the figurative sense but if you’re in the mood for something more literal, check out Penang Upside Down Museum, a funky and fun activity in George Town, which will flip your world upside down.

This is a fun Penang indoor activity if you need to dodge the rain or a break from the daytime heat. Plus it’s a winner if you’re looking for things to do in Penang with kids. Note that the Kuala Lumpur branch of the museum has closed down.

Where is Penang Upside Down Museum

Handily located in the heart of George Town, you’ll find the Upside Down Museum on Lebuh Kimberley, just down the road from the Kimberley Street Food Night Market.

If you’re strolling around the delights of central George Town, you’ll only ever be a few minutes walk away, otherwise take a Grab taxi and be dropped right outside the door.

Click here for Google Maps location.

What to expect from your visit

Lebuh Kimberley is a beautiful location in its own right and the Upside Down Museum fits into the surroundings neatly. Located in a heritage building, the museum is deceptively big, with multiple rooms leading away from the main reception area.

Free lockers are provided to leave your shoes and bags; as with everything else at the museum, the lockers are of course upside down! Toilets are on the top floor, easiest to access at the end of your visit.

As with other upside-down museums we’ve visited, it can feel slightly underwhelming when you first arrive because, as silly as it sounds, it just looks like a normal house, albeit with the furniture randomly hanging off the ceiling.

It really comes to life once you’ve taken the first picture, try to do that straightaway so everyone gets the idea. There are some example photos on the walls as you walk around to give you an idea of what to do.

There are plenty of helpful staff on hand to make suggestions and they’ll also take pictures if you prefer. We actually enjoyed doing it ourselves and just wandering around, making our own poses and crazy angles. The museum is very well maintained and the little details around the rooms help to bring the pictures to life.

The museum is made up of about six different rooms on the ground level, set out as a ‘normal’ house, with living rooms, kitchen, dining room, bathroom, etc. The highlight though is the upstairs level which magically recreates Armenian Street in George Town, only upside down. This large scale room has a shopfront with shutters, moped, fruit and vegetables, bicycles and a walkway. It’s brilliantly well done.

In the room next door, be prepared for a trippy game of billiards on a sloping table which looks level but is anything but. If any adults have tried to play pool in a pub after a couple of beers, the sensation might feel familiar.

These museums rely on no-one else being in your shot try to visit during a quiet period if possible. There were few other visitors when we visited but there’s a waiting area to limit the numbers during peak hours. We suspect that if you visit on a weekend or holiday, the staff might usher you through the rooms slightly quicker in an attempt to manage the numbers.

How to take photos at the Upside Down Museum

This is the key part of the visit as it’s one of those rare places which actually seems better scrolling though your camera roll afterwards. It’ll take a couple of practice shots to get the right idea, we quickly discarded the first few shots as they weren’t all convincing.

  • Try to position yourself over interesting objects on the floor/ceiling (e.g. below with the toilet seat making for a diving pool)
  • Avoid any other items being in the shot as they’ll ruin the perspective (water bottles, handbags, other people, etc)
  • Quickly check your shot by turning your screen around to make sure the photo worked. Let the kids see so they know what they’re doing and what to change
  • If you spot an empty room, jump in before someone else gets in the frame.
  • But try to limit the amount of time you spend perfecting the shot if others are waiting.

Is the Penang Upside Down Museum worth visiting

We had a fun time at the Upside Down Museum and probably appreciated it more after the event, when we looked at the photos and saw the full effect. It’s not the cheapest activity in town and would be a more difficult experience if the crowds were bigger as you do rely on having a clear space to take your photo to get the correct perspective.

It’s well-maintained, the level of detail is very high and it’s interesting to see how everyone is built and pieced together. Plus, the air-conditioning inside the building is very welcome on hot days and is almost worth the admission price on its own!

However, these upside down museums are popping up all over Southeast Asia and if you’ve been to one before, this one probably won’t feel that different and a visit does rely quite heavily on the novelty factor.

Penang Upside Down House

How much is the Penang Upside Down Museum?

Adults pay RM36 and children RM26.

For MyKad visitors, the cost is slightly lower at RM26/14.

Penang Upside Down House

Do you need to pre-book tickets?

On the day we visited, there were only a few other people visiting so there was no need to pre-book. The Upside Down Museum doesn’t have its own website as such, relying on social media accounts to provide information. This means the only pre-booking sites are third-party which will include booking fees etc.

Final thoughts on the Penang Upside Down Museum

Whilst there are arguably better ways to spend your time in Penang, the Upside Down Museum is undoubtedly an enjoyable activity, particularly on a hot day when you need a break from the heat. It’s one of many good places to visit for indoor activities in Penang.

Don’t expect a full day’s entertainment, you’ll most likely be in and out within an hour, which does make it quite an expensive visit. Once you’ve got used to the techniques it really comes to life when you take the first photos and flip your screen.

Kids and adults alike will have a fun time, the look of confusion and excitement on everyone’s faces when they first see themselves hanging upside-down is a real highlight.