Penang State Park
One of Malaysia's first forest reserves
What we say:
Penang State Park, on the northern tip of Penang near Teluk Bahang fishing village, was one of Malaysia's first forest reserves and has two accessible trails running through it. The trail to Muka Head takes about two hours each way and is the easier of the two routes but likely to be busier at peak periods.
Monkey Beach (Pantai Keracut) is on the way and most people choose to hang out here rather than continuing on to the lighthouse at Muka Head. Monkey Beach is where the boat trips drop off too and it can get busy on holidays but if you don't fancy the walk back then you can hitch a ride for about 10 ringgit. The trail through the middle of the park takes you to the meromictic lake, where salt and fresh water layer in a interesting phenomenon. This is a seasonal occurrence though, so do check before heading off this way. The lake is one of the two places that you can camp in the park. This route then leads on to Pantai Keracut, a beautiful beach where turtles also nest.
Whichever route you choose, you will see long-tailed macaques and huge water monitor lizards. The park is home to slow lorises and flying lemurs too and the lucky will see turtle hatchlings sharing the beach with horse shoe crabs. Guides are available but you don't really need one, just keep your wits about you as the track is a little vague in places where people have taken alternative routes to the shoreline or around rocks.
You can also hire a boat at the nearby fishing pier to drop you off at one of the many beaches that lie in the isolated coves surrounding the point -- a far better beach experience than Batu Feringghi. A boat trip will cost 150 ringgit for the boat and an extra 30 ringgit per person for drinks and beach BBQ. This typically includes an hour's fishing but you can negotiate based on what you fancy doing. As a daytrip, away from the bluster of Penang proper, this is recommended -- don't forget to bring lunch and swimming gear.
A small registration office is in the park's car park, where the trails also start. The Interpretation Centre or visitor centre to you and me is just by the park's entrance and has lots of colourful information about the park's flora and fauna. It's beautifully air-conditioned and a lovely spot to cool down. There are telescopes for a sneaky view of Batu Ferringhi and a cool interactive display about the lighthouse at Muka Head.
More detailsNorthern tip of Penang
Opening Hours: Wed-Mon 08:00-18:00
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