Monday, December 20, 2010

Penang National Park


The Penang National Park (Taman Negara Pulau Pinang) is located all the way at the end of Teluk Bahang and is also currently the smallest national park in the world. Nature lovers and outdoor fans who enjoy hiking or trekking would be pleased to know that the place offers a number of treks at this park covering 2563 hectares. Having said that, I visited this place in October 2010 only to find that it was indeed a hidden gem of Penang Island. Formerly known as Pantai Acheh Forest Reserve, the new name was given in 2003 together with a revamp on infrastructure and amenities here.

Starting of the trek

My trips are usually self driven around Malaysia so as I arrived towards the end of the road, there was a parking lot in the main registration area of the park headquarters. It is here where everyone who intends to go into the park needs to register with the park office for security purposes. For those seeking a park guide, there is a charge of RM5 where he will take you on your trek. For me, I had arrived a little after lunch so my options were narrowed down to a simple trek to the center of the park. With this being said, I would recommend that you visit the park as early as possible to see the many interesting places and beaches here. Some of the treks here can take up to three hours one way.

Gets interesting as you go in further

A local wooden jetty seen from the trek

The good thing about this trek was that the main pathway was paved with concrete for the first 1-2 kilometers so walking here was easy for all levels. As I got in about one kilometer, a lot of flora dominated the pathways with some unique plants seen. From a report back in 2006, there are an estimate 417 flora and 143 fauna species found in the park here. At one point after you start, you suddenly see the sea on your right side with the trek running alongside. Wooden tables and benches are strategically placed along this part for those coming here to have a picnic. A small beach is also scattered throughout the area here while sea breeze blows towards the park.

The natural trek begins

After the first stretch of beach, the trek slowly turns into a proper pathway where the concrete ended. The journey still continues alongside the sea here while the path starts to go a little uphill. I recommend some proper trekking or hiking shoes for this place and bring a poncho just in case it rains. It can get a little slippery while there are railings of rope and wood at various sections of the hike.

The first junction and lookout area

One of the natural beaches at the Penang National Park

As we arrived at the first intersection of the hike, there was a modern wooden structure providing shelter and a bridge over one of the rivers. Crossing the bridge, you come to an intersection with multiple signs showing the directions of the many other treks and places at the park. Also in the signs are the distances to these places. Educational boards are also put up here with information on the Mangrove, Flora and Fauna here.

For those who want some private time on a beach, the Penang National Park boasts of 8 of the best beaches in Penang Island! They are located throughout the park and these are the beaches;

1. Teluk Bahang
2. Teluk Tukun
3. Tanjung Aling
4. Teluk Duyung (Monkey Beach)
5. Teluk Ketapang
6. Pantai Kerachut
7. Teluk Kampi
8. Pantai Mas

Signs showing the many places around the park

Detailed information on the park

After a brief exploration around this area, I headed to a Canopy Walk which is right in the center of the park. The total time it took me to reach the canopy walk was about 25 minutes as I had made various stops along the way. For those eager to visit Monkey Beach, it would take an estimate 2 hours to trek there one way. But I was told that the place is amazing and one of the nicest beach in Penang and most likely, I will make another visit here on my next trip to the island. By the time we reached the Canopy Walk here, it was time to turn around as nightfall was around the corner. Overall I have to say that this was indeed a surprise for me because all the years of visiting Penang Island, I never did explore the nature apart from usually doing the food and heritage run here. 

If you have kids, this would be a lovely place to introduce them to the Flora & Fauna of Malaysia. An estimate half day here would be sufficient and if you would like to plan a picnic, this would be perfect. because of the amenities provided. Barbecue (BBQ) Pits are also provided at various spots in the early trek of the park. Bird Watchers would also find this place interesting as there are quite a number of species to be found here. When I was trekking the park, I noticed a number of locals who came here for their evening walks too so for the expatriates living in Penang, this would be a fantastic place to exercise.

Park Opening Hours: 7am till 6pm

Getting to Penang National Park; 
Buses: From Komtar Building in Georgetown, take Hin Bus No.1-1 or ask the bus companies.
Taxi: From anywhere around the island. Note it takes about 30-45 minutes from Georgetown to the park.
Self Drive: Drive along the main Batu Feringgi Road and head towards the end of Teluk Bahang. You will see the park entrance on the left just before the jetty. There is parking available.
Picnics/BBQs: Allowed at allocated areas
Camping: You need to contact the Park Headquarters

Admission to the park: Free. However if you need a guide/trekker, there is a charge of RM5.
Penang National Park on Wikipedia

Address for the National Park in Penang;
Penang National Park
Jalan Hassan Abas,Teluk Bahang,

11050 Penang
Pulau Pinang

Telephone: 604-881 3530/ 881 2016,
Fax: 604-881 2016


Apart from the great food and Unesco Heritage Site Zone in Georgetown or even Chulia Street Penang, there are also beaches and markets around the island to visit. Also, photographers will find that taking Pictures of Penang will be exciting as there are many old colonial buildings around the main town area. For those who love the outdoors or simply nature, you have many choices to explore the island and one of them is right here at the Penang National Park.

Author:

Malaysia Asia is a multiple award-winning travel blog site with information on unique and interesting places around Malaysia, Borneo, Indonesia, Southeast Asia and the World. Malaysia Asia is also under MyAsia Services, a Digital Travel Solutions Company based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest. We are also not your regular travel bloggers. 

21 comments:

CathJ said...

Never know they have such a place... thanks for the info.. :D

Corfu Villas said...

That is a great park. I have been there before 2 years during the same Christmas holidays.

Traveling Ted said...

This place looks really cool. I love mangrove swamps.

Lilian said...

Wow! I've visited Penang many times but have usually made it a food tour...time to consider a nature tour there! =)

iamthewitch said...

Hey David!! I have been to Pantai Kerachut like 4-5 times before when I was staying in Penang last time! Amazing and clean beach! But starting to be commercialized with all the new camp facilities.. I'd prefer it the raw way, just the beach and jungle.. But it's still nice nonetheless.. Also went to Monkey beach before, and there's a track there that leads to the lighthouse! Amazing view from there! You should try it ;)

David Jr said...

Thanks all. Apart from the lovely food, now at least you know there is some nature to look forward to in Penang.

Iamthewitch, Now I really need to go and check out the lighthouse there. I was told by a friend too that is is really beautiful during sunset too.

David

Anonymous said...

Cool! (^___^)

Nepal Treks said...

wao whats a great national park. thanks for introducing

The NVR Guys said...

Looks absolutely gorgeous!

jim said...

1988 we spent 2 weeks exploring Penang Island. Can't recall this park. How long has this been established David?

Traveller's Anatomy said...

Penang and nature is not very synonym. But would love to check this place when I visit Penang in the future. Great info David!

David Jr said...

Thanks everyone.

Jim, back in the 80's it was around, just that it was not highlighted. Only in 2003 (I Think) when they gazetted it as a National Park and went through an upgrade.

Siti, the next time you visit Penang, check out this place. Half a day is enough to explore it.

David

mrshadow said...

I saw some videos on youtube and I can only say wow... That is a very beautiful place.

David Jr said...

Thanks MrShadow. Hope you liked them :) Merry Xmas and Happy New Year!

David

John said...

Pictures looking really very beautiful, thanks for sharing it with us …………..

David Jr said...

Thank you very much John. Hope toy get to visit Penang and the National Park one day.

Jeremy B said...

For being so small, it looks like a beautiful place to visit! I love nature and it looks like a great place to hike and relax!

Cathy Sweeney said...

What a beautiful place for a trek and some relaxation. The photos of the paths and beaches look so inviting.

adventureswithben said...

Self drive and a hike - one of my favorite things to do!

David Jr said...

Jeremy, Cathy and Ben - Thanks for your kind words and I agree with all of you. A lovely place to just get away from it all. I would love to go back for the longer trek to Monkey Beach here.

David

Anonymous said...

I go Penang many time also don know got this such nice place, must go and visit coming next trip to penang...