Penang Forest Hiking Trips

Enjoy The Wonders Of Nature At Forest Hiking Trips

If hiking is your favorite past time  activities, Penang is definitely the right  place to be. As the nature-lovers'  heaven, Penang is home to one of the  oldest and unique tropical rain forest  in the world. It house many interesting 
species of exotic plants and wild  animals that could make hiking trips  here an unforgettable experience.

The 873 hectares Teluk Bahang Forest Reserve area which is found on the  Northwestern part of Penang is the existing location of 32 hectares Penang Forest Park.

The park set-up was established in 1974, to inculcate among people of all ages to build interest, appreciation and knowledge of Malaysia's unique biodiversity. A series of hiking trails was mapped out to bring people closer to nature. Various facilities are provided to encourage outdoor activities - Picnic and camping grounds, leisure-stroll  paths, forest-educational plot, lecture hall, meeting rooms and hostel for men and women.

There are a total of four hiking trails within the Forest Park and the fifth trail which span the Forest Park in the North and Penang Hill in the south. The trails are  specially designed to include not only for the increase of physical stamina but also to teach avid hikers on identifying and appreciating the island's exotic flora and fauna.

The hiking trips are all open to the public at no charge and each is planned according to different levels of difficulty. The four trails listed below all start from a common point and then divert onto different places within the forest reserve.

There is no need for you to worry about getting lost, because the trails are marked with clear signs as well as short explanations or description along the 21 stops. Forest rangers is also available to provide free tours and useful tips. The fifth hiking trip  will be most difficult because of the long distance covered and stamina required.

So, if you're ready, let us start with the easiest hiking trips and work our way upwards to the more challenging ones.

Monkey-Cup Forest Trail - Hiking Trips Level 1
Distance Covered: 800 meters
Total Duration: 1 ~ 1.5 hours
Total Station: 5 stops
Stage Difficulty: Easy
This is the shortest and the easiest among all the hiking trails. Here you'll be able to catch a glimpse of flesh-eating plant (monkey cup or pitcher plant in English) or in  Malay (periuk kera). This Picher plant are known to be from the Sarraceniaceae  family where it have a pincher modified leaves to trapped insect and digested by means of liquids secreted from the leaves.

This plant are harmless and some people even use it to cook rice and as a treatment to cure disease such as high blood pressure, diarrhea, cough and fever. Other trees that can be found along the trail are the nyatoh taban merah (once used as a  coloring agent), the meranti melantai, keruing used as a base for ointments,  perfumes and paints), bertam, the calophyllum sp. (holds a potential cure for AIDS),  kapur and rengas kerbau jalang.

Simpoh Gajah Trail - Hiking Trips Level 2
Distance Covered: 1,240 meters
Total Duration: 2 ~ 2.5 hours
Total Station: 7 stops
Stage Difficulty: Average
Named after simpoh gajah (gajah means elephant), a tree whose stilt roots resemble the shape of an elephant's trunk, the trails is quite similar to the first ones but you'll  need to pass through an area designated as virgin jungle reserve. An interesting feature of this tree is the hissing sound coming out when its bark is cut. You can see plenty of it in these trails.

Charcoal Kiln Trail - Hiking Trips Level 3
Distance Covered: 2,980 meters
Total Duration: 3 to 4 hours
Total Station: 10 stops
Stage Difficulty: Above Average
Requires strenuous uphill walking and is recommended for physically fit trekkers, where you'll need to walk up to altitude of 150m above sea level. In these hiking trips, you'll get to see and learn about various species of trees such as:
  • Bayan tree - A species of palm which is used as a food.
  • Tongkat Ali - A local ginseng to increase men’s vitality and also serve as an aphrodisiac.
  • Kacip Fatimah & Gajah Beranak - To be taken by women during post-natal recovery and for general good health.
  • Petai (a pungent pod) - A popular ingredient in Malay and Nonya cooking and widely believes to have cleansing properties.
  • Selaganilla
  • A big climber
  • Commercially viable trees and a charcoal kiln built in the 50s.
Ridge Top Trail - Hiking Trips Level 4
Distance Covered: 4,280 meters
Total Duration: 4 ~ 5 hours
Total Station: 10 stops
Stage Difficulty: Very Difficult
Hiking trips along the Ridge Top Trails is categorized as difficult an demanding. The trails involved steep hill climbing and require strenuous uphill walking which only recommended for trekkers who are physically fit and have lots of stamina. It follows Charcoal Kiln Trail that bypass bayas palm and further ascend upwards to 150m.

The trail will then branch off eastward and ascend again until you reach an altitude of 400m or the ridge of the hill. You walk pass some pitcher plants before reaching an open area overlooks a panoramic view of Teluk Bahang. Then you can head back  towards the Forest Park via a buffalo logging trail.

Penang Hill Forest Challenge - Hiking Trips Level 5
(Between Recreational Forest and Penang Hill)
Distance Covered: 11.3 kilometers
Total Duration:  8 hours,
Total Station: 10 stops
Stage Difficulty: Extremely Difficult
Developed by State Forestry Department, this is the longest trails of all. There are two ways to tackle these challenging trails. Start from the Forest Park, you'll need to  pass eight stops before reaching Bukit Laksama and the permanent forest reserve. Upon reaching, you'll come across Western Hill where you will need to continue hike on a  tarred jeep track until you reach the Penang Hill upper railway station.

From here, you can you can use the jeep track to descend towards Air Itam (via Hye Keat) or Botanical Gardens. Hop on board the funicular train if you feel too tired to walk. 8 hours of non-stop walking is no-fun. Make sure that you do all the  preparation before attempting to conquer these hiking trips.

Getting There:
The Teluk Bahang Forest Park is located about 15 minutes away (if you travel on  foot) from Teluk Bahang town. You'll be able to see the park after you walk pass  Penang Butterfly Farm. Take one of the northbound buses from Komtar or the jetty  to Teluk Bahang. The trip takes anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes. Entrance is FREE!

For more information, you can contact:

Pejabat Perhutanan Negeri Pulau Pinang
Tingkat 20, Menara KOMTAR, 10000 Pulau Pinang
Tel:             604-262 5272      , 650 5250  • Fax: 604-263 6335
Pejabat Renjer Hutan Telok Bahang:             604-885 1280      

Museum Perhutanan Hutan Lipur Telok Bahang
Taman Rimba, Telok Bahang, 11050 Pulau Pinang
Tel:             604-885 2388       • Email:
The Forestry Museum is opened every day except on Eid-al-Fitr (Hari Raya Puasa) and
Eid-al-Adha (Hari Raya Haji).

Forest guides may be available but you can identify the trails and the plant species by referring to the hiking trail leaflet, which is available from the Forest  Park grounds or the Forestry Department, Komtar.

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