Did you know that Penang, beyond famous street art, has a place that looks like the Tree of Souls from the hit movie Avatar? This is Penang Avatar Secret Garden in Tanjung Tokong, a place that has become very popular. It’s a good place to visit at least once and enjoy the light show created by the LEDs draped on the tree.
Address: 336, Jalan Tokong Thai Pak Koong, Tanjung Tokong, 11200 Tanjung Bungah, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
There is no entrance fee to Avatar Penang Secret Garden. At least, there is no fee which is collected near the attraction’s gate by anyone related to MBI – the company who sponsored the construction of this site.
The main attraction at Avatar Penang Secret Garden is the landscaped park set on the hill behind Thai Pak Koong temple. Its centerpiece is, of course, the big “Tree of Souls” decorated with LED strings. It comes alive as soon as darkness falls. The tree soars above a life-sized checkerboard, and there are stairs and a wooden boardwalk to complete a quick circuit around the tree and back down.
During the day, this section of rainforest along Tanjung Tokong’s quiet side streets, meters away from the rocky coastline, appears ordinary. By night, this section of rainforest transforms int0 a sea of fiber optics, neon, and fairy lights glowing in various hues of pink, purple, green, and blue. The paths are surrounded by illuminated foliage and stone statues representing various Buddhist themes.
Near the entrance is a towering tree draped with lights, bearing a very close resemblance to Pandora’s sacred spirit tree, Eywa. Other illuminated plants include low lying shrubs, ferns, and even a field of LED poppies specifically colored to spell out messages.
Visiting a little before sunset allows for the opportunity to explore the beach area, where more stone statues and animal-shaped-shrubbery lead to a rocky groin.
When To Visit
The light show starts right after sunset around 7.30pm, but it’s best to arrive about an hour earlier and walk around the beach. There are several rock statues and sculptures on the shore, including a giant turtle and Chinese deities. During the day, they are often used for photo sessions and offer an interesting aspect of Penang’s history you may want to check out before visiting Penang Avatar Secret Garden.
Thai Pak Koong Temple
Nestled in Tanjung Tokong, behind the Thai Pak Koong Temple is the Pandora inspired secret garden. The Penang Avatar Secret Garden was a project by MBI which turn this piece of greens into a neon fantasy. Neon LED lights are draped and wrapped at the branches and trunks of trees.
Come earlier to catch the sunset and take some great pictures of the shore ans statues before your Avatar adventure. The view is pretty awesome, overlooking the sea and skyscrapers. The neon lights in different colors creates a peace of mind. Just turn left behind the Thai Pak Koong temple, but instead of climbing the staircase that leads uphill to the Avatar Penang Secret Garden, stay down and reach the viewpoint overlooking the sea. This is where a statue of Tua Pek Kong sits observing the waves — like Zhang Li the adventurer used to scan the sea — and where visitors can find a seat and relax enjoying the sea views.