The Clan Jetties are considered one of the last bastions of ancient Chinese settlements on the island. And house the stilt houses of various Chinese clans. There were seven jetties until one was destroyed by fire, and now only six remain. The Clan Jetties are located on Penang’s Heritage Trail.

These water villages, are over a century old. Located exactly on Lebuh Chulia (near Kapitan Kling Mosque) on Pengkalan Weld (Weld Quay). The Chew Jetty is the most tourist-friendly. With the most stilt houses, the longest jetty. A must-see temple, and numerous sites for Kodak moments.

(source: KeongDaGreat/shutterstock)

Bare Necessities

The jetty communities grew in the early twentieth century, but as squatters, people lacked essential facilities such as water and electricity.
Only after the Penang municipal election in 1957 did the Clan Jetties begin to enter the modern era; before that, they transported their water from the main road in kerosene tins.

The government initially erected the jetties, a shed was built to cover and rest for people waiting for the cargo sampans to arrive. The shed was turned into a typical dwelling when the clans took over the jetties. The Clan Jetties are still home to seven separate clans: the oldest are the Lim, Chew, Tan, and Yeoh jetties, while the Koay, Lee, and Mixed Surname jetties were built later.

Good To Know

The Clan Jetties are located near the Penang ferry terminal. With access to the jetties via a temple on the quayside.
Fun fact: because they do not live on land, none of the families pay any taxes. Because people still live in this area, be cautious when taking photos. If you’re not sure when or where to shoot, wait for sunset – the splash of orange contrasts beautifully with the turquoise-blue sea, and it makes for an even more spectacular shot if you can get a shot of a sampan in the foreground.

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