Trekking in Penang is a favorite pastime of foreign tourists and it is best enjoyed in Teluk Bahang Reserve Forest. Within this very old tropical rainforest is the 32-hectare-wide Penang Forest Park, which is teeming with an array of exotic plants and wild animals. Visiting the park and the 873-hectare Teluk Bahang is definitely an experience that is unique in Penang.
The National Park was opened to the public in 1974. It showcases the Malayan Peninsula’s unique biodiversity by mapping out several hiking trails. Guests may spend hours within the park hiking, camping, picnicking, and strolling. The park also offers educational tours, lectures and lodging.
Nature lovers will surely get a heyday inside this park since it offers five challenging and educational trails. The goal is to educate hikers and visitors of the island’s rich flora and fauna. All the trails are for free and safe. The paths are clearly and efficiently marked with several signs and posts that explain and describe the surrounding areas. The trails are arranged according to difficulty so that trekkers are not challenged more than they should.
There are also forest rangers that are willing and ready to help. Their services are also perfectly for free.
The fifth hiking trail is the most difficult since it covers the entire span of the park to the north and all the way to Penang Hill to the south. It is for the more experienced hiker since it is long and requires much stamina. This 11.3-km trail is categorized as extremely difficult and takes 8 long hours to complete.
The first, easiest and most fun trail is Monkey Trail, covering 800 meters for a good 1-1.5 hours of hiking. There are five stops along this trail that leads through rows of Monkey Cup or Pitcher Plants, known to be flesh-eating plants. Trekkers have nothing to worry about, though, because these strange plants don’t eat humans. They trap and feed on insects using liquid secretions from their leaves.
The second path is the Simpoh Gajah Trail. This path is 1,240 meters long, and the hike could take 2 to 3 hours, depending on the hiker’s stamina. “Gajah” means elephant. The trail is named after an elephant because it passes through a virgin jungle with trees whose stilt roots look like an elephant’s trunk.
The third trail is 2,980 meters long. It is called the Charcoal Kiln Trail and it requires a 3-4-hour hike. This is for more experienced hikers since it goes up to an altitude of 500 meters above sea level. This trail goes through Bunyan trees and other huge trees, as well as medicinal herbs. These trees were used as charcoal kilns back in the 1950s.
Finally, the fourth trail that surely make trekking in Penang an exciting experience is called Ridge Top Trail. This trail is more than 4,000 meters long and takes more than four hours to complete through 10 stops. This difficult trail involves steep climbs and long uphill walks. It follows Charcoal Kiln Trail but continues on upward to the peak where a panoramic view of Teluk Bahang can be seen.