Penang National Park Landmarks

Interesting Penang National Park Landmarks

There are several points of interest dotting the Park. Some are easily reached, others are not. Some enterprising fishermen and boat operators offer a ride plus barbecued lunch. They pick you up at Teluk Bahang, drop you off at Muka Head, and whip up a barbecued seafood lunch while you explore the place on foot, or swim in the sea.

If stamina allows, try to check out the spots below. Do not go alone, unless you are very experienced. Bring lots of drinking water and snacks. Several jungle trekking groups in Penang organize regular hiking trails. Some of these groups even include senior citizen members.

The USM's Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies (CEMACS) at Teluk Aling
CEMACS was established in August 1991 to undertake research and post-graduate training in Marine Science and Coastal Ecosystems. It is situated on a sandy beach at Teluk Aling.

The Centre focuses on four areas, viz-a-viz mariculture and coral studies, mangrove ecosystem studies and pollution studies.

This research base is equipped with teaching laboratories and a wet laboratory, a number of hatcheries and small dedicated laboratories for phytoplankton culture, microbiology, a media kitchen and accommodation facilities for students and lecturers. There is a jetty that serves as a landing place for boats ferrying students and workers from the Teluk Bahang jetty.

Lighthouse at Muka Head (Lat. 05° 28.4' N, Long. 100° 10.9' E)
The 14m-tall lighthouse is believed to have been built in 1883. Erected atop a 242m cliff, the lighthouse makes a dramatic marker to ships negotiating the northwestern cape of the island.

Its original lights, fuelled by petroleum vapour, were first installed around 1900 by Chance Brother Smethwick of Birmingham. In 1954, these lights were replaced by the same firm using electric lamps. When running, the lighthouse's revolving light flashes every 20 seconds.

You make your way up to the lighthouse from the beach, up a flight of stairs located after the bungalow. If the lighthouse keeper is present, he'll show you around if you have a permit. The last time I was there, I even made my way up to the top of the lighthouse, and the panoramic view from there is breathtaking. There was also a tame eagle in the garden, a pet of the lighthouse keeper to while away the long hours.

Meromictic Lake at Pantai Keracut
There are four sandy beaches facing west - Teluk Aling (where CEMACS is located), Pantai Kerachut, Teluk Kampi and Teluk Ketapang.

At Pantai Kerachut there is a unique meromictic lake, where there is a distinct layering of
waters - the upper layer of fresh water, fed from several surrounding streams, remaining cool, while the lower layer of salt water is kept warm.

About one square kilometer in size, the lake is seasonal, and is usually present from March to August. Several species of small fish and shrimps have adapted well to the unique conditions of the lake.

The sandy embankment protecting it from the sea is broken down by wave action around September. During low tides and dry seasons, the lake evolves into a field of mudflats with hardy, terrestrial grass.

Pantai Kerachut is the ideal place for relaxing and camping. Very quiet on weekdays, with the silence broken only by bird calls, and the sound of the waves breaking on the shore.

Watch out for the monkeys though. They have somehow learnt to rummage through the bags of unwary visitors, searching for food. If you leave your bags unattended, be prepared to find all your food missing when you return!

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