Hiking Penang National Park in a solo adventure is fun, a little bit demanding but not enough to be scary. At the end, there is one of the most beautiful pristine beaches to relax and start all over again.
My only regret for the day I’ve went hiking in the Penang island Taman Negara (National Park) is that I started late. This because in the morning there were signs of rain. I oscillated a lot either to go or not as the possibility to be caught by rain into the woods was not very appealing.
Then I thought: what if will rain? I very much prefer to take a good shower rather than leave the island without doing this. But I lost a few hours I could of spent better, making two trails instead of just one. Anyway, my day was awesome so let me share it with you.
Starting the solo hiking adventure
First thing while arriving at the National Park is to register as visitor. You will receive the map with the trails and useful information, like if one trail is closed or other insides. The entrance is free.
In The National Park Penang, the smallest in Malaysia there are more trails you can follow:
Pantai Kerachut, Turtles beach that has two trails: a easy one and a very demanding one, that was not recommended to be followed. 3400 meters (11 154 feet) from the entrance. After arriving here you can go further to Teluk Kampi, which is the most remote beach in the park. Another 1500 meters (4921 feet).
Another trail goes to Teluk Duzung, Monkeys Beach that is the most crowded place in the Park. 3400 meters (11 154 feet) from the entrance. Then each of this can continue, till the Lighthouse 1270 meters (4166 feet).
There is also The Canopy, 250 meters (820 feet) long suspended trail, at 15 meters (49,21 feet) above the ground. It is a shortcut that connects Turtles Beach to Monkey beach. At the time of my visit it was closed. The journey lasts as I was informed about 20 minutes and is awesome, as you can see the birds so close, the Canopy passing through the trees. If you follow this trail you have to purchase tickets from the entry: 5 MYR.
I chose the difficult trail to the Turtles Beach by mistake. My plan was to take the easy one, but as I didn’t followed the signs on the trees (as I should) I lost the trail. Then fund it again after a while when the things got a little bit messy but it was great. I lost the trail as I was admiring the landscape and also being concentrated at finding the picture perfect places.
This journey can be made in about an hour and half if you do not rush and take time to take pictures. Actually I think I made more as I also lost some time to find my way.
Hiking Penang National Park to Pantai Kerachut, the Turtles Beach
The first part of the journey brings you to admire the Jetty, floating houses. And the sea. Entire area is amazingly beautiful and serene.
Then the road got a little bit messy, as I said, finding lots of trees on the trail and at one point I had to rely on some lianas to find my way. This was the hard part.
Pantai Kerachut, easy and smooth again
There is also a virgin jungle which is so unexpected
Right before entering the Turtle Beach there is a mecromitic lake
Pantai Kerachut, Turtle Beach
The beach is amazing, pristine, with beautiful fine sand. Loved it. Lots of trees, lots of shade. There are amenities such as showers and toilets. Also some camping areas.
Before going swimming, I went to the turtles sanctuary.
Her you can see baby turtles that are kept for a few days then released. The turtles lay their eggs in the night only in special protected areas on the beach.
Be aware of the jellyfishes
I met a ranger that told me about the jellyfishes that they said are abundant in here and about the fact that are some solution you can apply in order to avoid being stung. And that the water gets deep very quickly and it is dangerous.
As a result I went swimming for a while and was fine. I am a very good swimmer yet I was nervous a little about the jellyfishes. So instead of spending two hours in the water I went for about 30 minutes and more in shallow waters. I saw a group of people bathing so I got courage myself. It turned out they were not aware of the jellyfish problem and only fund out about it at the end from me.
After a while I sunbath a little and went showering before hiking back
If you don’t want to hike you can take a speedboat to and from the beach, 20-30 minutes takes the journey. 50 MYR one way, 100 round trip for the whole boat, that has 10 seats.
After I reached the entrance to the park (by feet) following the easy way and also going down which was so much fun I went further. 2,5 kilometers (8202 feet) by feet till Hard Rock Cafe Hotel. Close by is a night market I wanted to see but it was nothing special, just kitsch items, very touristic place.
As I was really hungry I eat at a restaurant close by and took a bus back to George Town.
Don’t forget to bring:
Plenty of Water
Snacks. There is no market inside the park, only at the entrance and the offer is quite poor. I took some biscuits and some chips as there were the only things available at the store. And water, of course. Some fruits would of been nice, too.
Change clothes.I did this right before leaving the Park. I had just a dress and I was freezing in the bus back to George Town because of the air con.
Mosquitos repellent, sunscreen, instant sanitizer.
Foto camera, telephone, chargers.
The National Park, Penang Taman Negara
Penang Taman Negara was declared National Park back in 2003.
The park has 1,213ha, the smallest park in the peninsular part of Malaysia.
It is the only National Park with five different habitats in a single area:
– lowland dipterocarp forest
– hill dipterocarp forest
– mangrove forrest
– sand beaches
– mecromitic lake
There are over 1000 species of plants recorded
417 flora and 143 fauna species
Meromictic Lake in Pantai Kerachut
The only of its kind in Malaysia and one of the 19 known in the world
What mecromictic mean: that here both freshwater creatures and saltwater coexist in the same space in different layers. They survive as both streams of water do not mix, sitting in layers.
Below is the warm and salty water from the sea, while the top layer consists of cold and fresh river water.
This occurs between the months of May to September, when the winds and tides are strongest. During this period, strong winds and waves cause salt water to invade the lake while simultaneously blocks the outflow of fresh water from the river to the sea.
The rest of the time the lake becomes a field of mudflats.
The lighthouse in the National Park Penang was built in granite in 1883. Muka Head Lighthouse is 242 meters above the sea level. In the On clear days you can see Langkawi and Sumatra islands.
Reaching National Park Taman Negara by public transportation
The bus 101, that goes every 10 minutes. The terminal is near to Ferryboat station in George Town, but can be also picked from Komtar station, the main George Town terminal. The journey costs 4 MYR and takes about an hour.
Bus 103 from Weld Quai Bus Terminal, Jetty or Komtar.
The bus stops right at the entrance from the Teluk Bahang village.
You can rent a scooter or take a taxi here.
There are two entrances in the park: Teluk Bahang village and Kuala Sungai from Balik Pulau.
Penang National Park is opened daily 8:00 – 17:00.
You can take a canoe for two ride through the fantastic mangrove forest at Kuala Sungai Pinang.
There are a lot of picnic places, you cannot stay in the park overnight, although some people do.
Camping: there are some dedicated camping areas, but you have to contact the representatives of the parc before to make a reservation.
You can spend a night in the Teluk Bahang village, in one of the fishermen houses.