Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion is located at 14 Leith Street, 10200 George Town, Penang, Malaysia. The mansion's indigo-blue outer wall makes it a very personality building in the area which built by Cheong Fatt Tze (1840-1916) from China, also known locally as Teow Thiaw Siat, a Chinese of Hakka descent, who was one of the richest men in Southeast Asia.
The mansion occupies a land area of 56,000 square feet, with a built-up area totalling 33,000 square feet at the end of 19th century. It has 38 rooms, 5 granite-paved courtyards, 7 staircases & 220 vernacular timber louvre windows. Other features of the house include Gothic louvered windows, Chinese cut and paste porcelain work, Stoke-on-Trent floor tiles, Glasgow cast iron pillars and Art Nouveau stained glass. The mansion was originally built with careful attention to the principles of Feng Shui. For example, it faces the sea and has Penang Hill behind it; the domestic block is built in front of it to prevent any road being built to create a T-Juncion in front of it; it has water running through it and is built with a step in the middle to create a slope (to ride on the dragons back).
The distinctive blue colour of the mansion is the result of mixing lime with natural blue dye made from the Indigo plant. The blue was very popular in the Colonial period and the dye was imported from India. The lime wash was very effective in a tropical weather as it absorbed moisture and cooled the house. However the blue is a colour of death in Chinese culture and the practice was never introduced in Hong Kong. The house was originally painted white in the time of the owner, and the indigo was applied much later.
The mansion has been featured in various films including the 1993 Oscar-winning French film "Indochine" starring Catherine Deneuve, and has also been featured in programs broadcast on various international tv channels (CNN, BCC).
Today, the mansion has been readapted as a boutique hotel. Tour also provided but visitors are not allowed to take photos of the mansion (other than the outside façade); this was strictly enforced by staff members unless you are a guest of the mansion.
Tour hours: 11am and 3pm only
Admission fees: RM10
Duration: 2 hours or thereabouts