Top 10 Hiking Trails in Penang

Apart from cultural heritage and diverse communities, Penang is blessed with luscious forests, adventurous mountain tracks, and mighty hills, for those who enjoy a great trek up the hilly side! Exotic orchids, farms, wildlife, waterfalls, and mountain top views are just a handful of what the Island has to offer. 

To enjoy the best view of your hiking trail, it is advisable to start your hike early in the morning, for cooler weather and not so humid experience. The advisable timings are from 6:00 AM to 8:00 AM, and 4:00 PM to avoid a large crowd and get the best photographs. Avoid hiking in Penang during rainy days, as the paths might get slippery and muddy. The best time of the year is between November and January, as this is when nature is at its best in Penang!

Here are 10 hiking trails in Penang:

1. Penang Hill (Bukit  Bendera)

Panoramic view from Penang Hill
Stunning panoramic view from Penang Hill (Source)
Since 1700, Penang Hill has a great history being the oldest British hill station in Southeast Asia. As this is the major hill of Penang, it has various starting points and trails leading you to the top of the hill, some of which include Moongate Highway 5 (jungle trail), Botanical Gardens trail, and the popular Heritage trail. The common Penang Hill trail is a less-trafficked back trail that begins with an easy start with light uphill steps. While the first hour is a steady climb, the second half is quite challenging with steep uphill steps and rugged trails. At the end of the trail, you will find some mixed fruit stalls with frozen and fresh juices for refreshment! Try this trail to get a glimpse of the city view of Penang!
Distance: 8 Km
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Time Taken: 3-3½ hours

2. Penang Hill via Heritage Trail

View from Penang Hill Heirtage Trail
View from Penang Hill Heritage Trail (Source)
With an altitude of 833m, the Penang Hill Heritage trail is the most undertaken hiking trail in Penang. You can find many cyclists and hikers on this path during the weekends. You can find red, white, and pink arrows that will guide you through the trail. There is also a funicular train which takes you up the hill, for which you need to pay around RM 15, at the counter on the foothill. You might come across many barking dogs on your way to the Claremont Sub-Station at the top. You need to trudge carefully till the Top Station, as the pathway is full of stairs, rocks, sometimes muddy and sometimes full of tree roots.
Distance: 4.7 Km
Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate
Time Taken: 2½ hours

 3. Penang Hill via Botanical Gardens

The pond with lotus leaves at Penang Botanical Garden
The pond at Penang Botanical Gardens (Source)
The Penang botanical gardens, also known as Taman Kebun Bunga or the Waterfall Gardens, was established by the British back in 1884. This traffic here is moderate but can increase during the weekends. This hiking trail offers you various routes to the top of the Penang hill. On your way, you will encounter cactus gardens, herb gardens, monitor lizards, wild boars, aquatic gardens, lily ponds, and much more!
Distance: 9.8 Km
Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate
Time Taken: 4 - 5 hours
Best Time: November to January

4. Penang Hill via Moongate Highway 5

A group of people hiking in through the Moongate 5 hiking trail in Penang
Hiking through Moongate 5 hiking trail (Source)
This trail got its name from the moon-shaped doorway at the trail’s starting point. Situated along the roads of the botanical gardens, this hiking trail offers you more of a jungle trekking experience with some toughest climbs and steep steps. Once you reach the top of Penang hill station 5, you will find some tea stalls offering Chinese tea, warm water, coffee, and biscuits.
Distance: 11.6 Km
Difficulty Level: Moderate - Difficult
Time Taken: 4 - 5 hours

 5. Bukit Jambul

Entrance to Bukit Jambul hiiking trail in Penang
Source
This path is an easy climb back trail with moderate traffic. You will majorly find staircases here leading to Bukit Pasir, the hill behind Bukit Jambul. At the summit, there are tea kiosks for those fitness enthusiasts preferring herbal tea and hot water. This hilltop provides a splendid view of the Penang Bridge and the surrounding cityscape!
Distance: 1.3 Km
Difficulty Level: Easy
Time Taken: 40 mins to 1 hour
Entrance: Beside Bj Cove, Bayan Lepas, Penang

6. Kerachut Beach Trail

A tortoise resting on the rock at Kerachut Beach
2 adorable turtles resting on a rock (Source)
Arguably one of the cleanest and remotest beaches in town, this Penang hiking route is a not-so-easy track with many uphill steps. Situated within the Penang National Park, it is a moderately trafficked out trail, however, it can get busy on the weekends. Be careful, as there might be some huge steps, rocks, and tree trunks to climb over in this trail. You might also encounter some monkeys and turtles on your way. The trail leads you to the Kerachut beach and eventually to a turtle conservation information centre. Visit here between September and February for the turtle nesting season!
Distance: 7.2 Km
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Time Taken: 3 to 3½ hours
Location: Penang National Park

7. Titi Kerawang to Balik Pulau

The calm watefall at Titi Kerawang hiking trail in Penang
The hidden waterfall of Penang (Source)
This is a unique hiking trail that leads you to the hidden waterfalls of Penang, situated about 500 m from the starting point, amidst lush green forests and beautiful wildlife. This trail is a treat for the eyes as it comprises fruit orchards, exotic Bao Sheng durian farms, and aromatic ginger flowers! ‘Titi Kerawang’ meaning old bridge, is a great picnic spot for many visitors!
Distance: 10 km
Difficulty Level: Easy
Time Taken: 3-4 hours

8. Monkey Beach to Muka Head LightHouse

Panoramic view from Muka Head Lighthouse
Panoramic view from Muka Head Lighthouse (Source)
Constructed in 1883 during colonial times, the Muka Head Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in Penang, which gives you the best panoramic views of the city. Starting from the monkey beach at the Penang National Park, it is a 10-minute boat ride (RM 50 per boat) to the lighthouse. Apart from the wildlife such as monkeys, squirrels, white-bellied sea eagles and birds, you can also enjoy water sports on the beach along with some food and drinks! 
Distance: 6 Km
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Time Taken: 3-4 hours
Location: Penang National Park
Opening Hours: 7:30 am to 6 pm, Lighthouse closes at 3 pm

9. Batu Ferringhi

The waterfall along Batu Ferringhi hiking trail
Source
Known for its white sandy beaches, this trail starts from a tiny entrance opposite the Bayview Hotel. This is an easy hiking trail that even kids will enjoy. You will come across a waterfall after about 10 minutes of your walk. From here, some routes will take you to the Batu Ferringhi dam and Aqueduct which was built during the British rule and supplies drinking water to the neighbourhoods. You can also stop by the Chin farm and the river to take a quick swim.
Distance: 5.7 Km
Difficulty Level: Easy
Time Taken: 3 hours

10. Youth Park (Taman Flora)

Entrance to Your Park
The entrance gate to Youth Park (Source)
Though this recreational park is not a fundamental hiking trail, it offers several pathways that lead to the top of Penang Hill, Mount Cendana, and the Western Hill! It is also a common fitness spot for many sports enthusiasts and houses many activities such as mountain biking, fitness spots, skating arenas, and more!
Distance: 8.5 Km
Difficulty Level: Easy
Time Taken: 4-5 hours
Opening Hours: 6 am to 5:30 pm

Tips for Hiking in Penang

What to wear?
As you will need to walk through Penang’s dirty mountain tracks and hills, you should wear comfortable clothing such as t-shirts, hiking pants/shorts with a pair of running shoes or hiking boots.

Basic Requirements
As Penang has a humid climate and might get hotter in the noon, carry sufficient water bottles, a towel to wipe off the excess sweat, sunscreen tubes, hats, and sunglasses for protection.

Mosquito/Insect Bites
As mosquito and insect bites are vicious in Penang, you might have to carry natural mosquito repellent creams, sprays, or even tiger balms to avoid a dozen mosquito bites on your arms and legs. You can also wear full-sleeved clothes for extra protection.

GPS/Maps
Although there are arrows and signboards throughout the pathways, it will be helpful if you carry a tourist map, a GPS tracker, and a smartphone for emergency purposes.

Extra Clothes
You may bring a pair of clothes if necessary if you are camping or resting for a while.

Cash
As most of the trails in Penang lead you to refreshment and food stalls offering fresh juices and fruit, it is better you bring some amount of cash with you. There might also be some trails where you need to pay for entrance tickets.

Snacks
Though you might find food stalls at the beginning and end of your hike, you might not find any, in between your trails. Hence, it is necessary that you carry some snacks in your backpacks for small energy breaks.

Restrooms
Many hiking trails in Penang will have restrooms only at the starting and ending points, and not in between. It is advised that you use the restrooms in advance before starting your hike. You won’t find another before reaching the summit in most trails!

Trekking Guides
Many hikers have been known to get lost in Penang’s interiors. Hence, if you feel you might need help, you can hire a local nature guide from your hotel or Penang National Park.

Undertake the above adventurous trails and indulge yourself in the beauty of Penang! Happy Hiking!

This post was published by Gayathri Babu

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