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Penang Discovery Travel Guide
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It is the smallest national park in the country with a size of 2,562 hectares. It was gazetted in 2003 and is home to 46 species of birds such as the stork-billed kingfishers, white-breasted waterhens and great egrets.
A 2000 expedition led by the Malaysian Nature Society recorded 417 flora and 143 fauna species. Before the area was designated as a national park, the locals knew it as Pantai Acheh Forest Reserve. Some of the activities carried out are fishing, swimming and hiking.
The pure, sandy stretch of Pantai Kerachut is also a favourite nesting place of Green turtles from April to August, and the Olive Ridley from September to February. The turtle hatchery set up in Pantai Kerachut in 1995 is now managed by the State Fisheries Department along with the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) and the Forestry Department. They also manage the upkeep of the park, which is in pristine conditions.
Some of the best hardwood trees can be found here, especially from the shorea species, such as Meranti and Merawan Baru. In fact, the area is the only known place in Penang where the red, paper-like barked Gelam trees grow. The bio-diversity of the park is also impressive, with 1,000 species of plants including five different species of the Bintangor tree.
Besides this, the park is the only one in Malaysia that contains six different types of habitat a meromictic lake (a lake that occurs seasonally, where there is a distinct layering of waters), wetlands, mangroves, mudflats, coral reefs and turtle nesting beaches. There are also various plant pitchers, wild orchids and funghi, and medicinal plants.
Penang National Park
Because of its remote location, the park's nine beaches are considered among the best in Penang. They are:
Teluk Bahang Beach
This is a shady camping ground, and with nearby civilization, it is used for family outings. At the Teluk Bahang roundabout, continue straight towards the fishing jetty and you will be able to see a restaurant called “End of the World”. Follow trail 1A from here. This beach is within walking distance and easily accessible by foot from the jetty and the restaurant.
Teluk Bahang is the area where the Bahang Bay is located. Often it is confused with the Teluk Bahang township. The panoramic fishing jetty engulfing the backdrop is a rare sight which is built of mangrove timber and palm trunks.
Use trail 1A-1B, and it is about 20 minutes from the End of the World restaurant. The trail is a clear and easy walk along the coast to reach Teluk Tukun beach. Camping grounds are built along Tukun River. Tukun River flows into Teluk Tukun. A small island opposite is Pulau Tukun Tengah. The national park headquarters are situated near here. There are several small swimming pools for campers.
Follow the coastal trail via Sungai Tukun with trail 1A-1B-1C; it will take about 30 minutes to reach Tanjung Ailing from Teluk Bahang. The near end of the beach is littered with millions of small moon shells of different genetic variations.
Tanjung Ailing houses the USM research centre and the forest and coastal areas are being used for research on bio-technology. There is a jetty to bring in supplies from town. The beach is easily accessible and it is a suitable camping site for campers. It is also a resting place for visitors en route to Muka Head (Teluk Duyung).
You can walk or take a boat (only during high tide) to Teluk Duyung. You can reach Teluk Duyung about one and half hours from Teluk Bahang by using trail 1A-1B-1C-1D. Teluk Duyung is a beautiful bay protected by the Muka Head's cape.
On Head's peak stands a majestic lighthouse built in 1883. A burial ground of at least 80 years resembles that of Indonesian Acheh and is an interesting historical artifact. The lighthouse peak offers a panoramic view of the surrounding islands.
Teluk Ketapang (Monkey Beach)
Monkey Beach is situated in the Penang National Park in the North-western Coast of the Island. It is one of the few pristine beaches left on the Island because it is not as exposed to the pollution found along the West Coast of the Island.
As its name suggests, the beach is inhabited by monkeys of the Crab-eating Macaque species. A variety of fauna and flora can be found within the park including green turtles, flying squirrels, flying lemurs and over 150 species of birds. On the beach itself the White-bellied Sea Eagle can often be spotted.
The beach can be reached either by a one and a half hour hike along the coast or by a short boat ride from the park entrance. The calm bay of Monkey Beach is considered safe for swimming, unlike many beaches on the island that are infested with jellyfish. Although it is relatively isolated, visitors to the beach are not uncommon and numbers increase especially during the summer tourist season. A further half an hour uphill hike from the beach will take visitors to the scenic lighthouse.
A small isolated beach originally known as Monkey Beach. “Teluk Ketapang” is derived from the numerous sea almond trees known locally as Pokok Ketapang. This isolated beach can be easily accessed by boat from Teluk Bahang jetty; alternatively you can try trail 1A-1B-1C-1D-2.
The other jungle trail leads to Pantai Kerachut, one of the most frequented beach in the park. A suspension bridge connects the trail to the beach itself. The meromictic lake is the most prominent feature on the beach, and one of the three of its sort in Asia. located near the sea, it is fed by five rivers and the sea itself. This is a seasonal lake, and is only filled during the interchange of monsoon winds. At the far end of the beach is a turtle sanctuary, where turtle eggs are being incubated. A display area also exhibit specimens of marine life and occasionally turtle hatchlings.
Geological formations are also fascinating on this beach. Quartz veins and igneous rocks form most of its geology. Flora includes scarce plants growing on the lake in the drought season and several others striving for survival on gaps on the rocks. Monitor lizards is often seen on the beach. The lake itself features interesting ecology. Gastropods of great population dwell in the lake. Crabs and garoupas frequent the rock pools.
During the nutrition bloom from November to January, Kelp blooms upon the rocks, attracting jellyfish to the shores. Turtles lay their eggs here all year round. The three species recorded to have shored are the Green Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle and Olive-Ridley Turtle. Gorgonian corals also grow in these waters.
From End of the World, follow the track along the coast until you cross a suspension bridge. Take the path on the left that leads away from the coast, or just use1A-6A-6B-6C/6D/6E. You should be able to reach Pantai Keracut in one hour and a half.
Teluk Kampi has the longest beach in the park. There are many artefacts and past history. The tell-tale signs of trenches found along the northern coast indicates a defense post for the Japanese Army during World War 2. Teluk Kampi is another isolated beach that guarantees an easy and relaxing trip.
The most common trail is the one from Pantai Kerachut over Tanjung Kerachut and down to Teluk Kampi using trail 1A-6A-6B-6D-6E-8A-8B-8C.
Pantai Mas is a golden beach. Formally a coconut plantation, it is now an overgrown wasteland. Being very close to civilization, mud and mangroves create a wilderness few people would like to go to. The difficulty in accessing Pantai Mas by sea could be the reason why dwellers abandoned their homes here.
Accessing Pantai Mas with fishing boats is only available during high tides. Alternative access is through the trails from United Hokkien Cemetery or the longer ridge trail starting from Teluk Bahang. The easier walking trail will be from Pantai Acheh village. It will take about 45 minutes, trail indication is 15A-15B-15C.
Visitors are required to register at the Information and Registration Counter.
Admission to Penang National Park is FREE.
Admission ticket to the Canopy Walk must be purchased at the registration counter.
- RM5 for Adults
- RM3.00 Children
Penang National Park is open daily from 7.30am till 6.00pm.
The Canopy Walk (Titian Kanopi) is closed to public every Friday.
The operating hours of Canopy Walk is between 10am - 1pm and 2.30pm - 4pm.
Penang National Park
Jalan Hassan Abas,Teluk Bahang,
Tel: 604-881 3530/ 881 2016,
Fax: 604-881 2016
Department of Wildlife and National Parks Penang
Level 40, KOMTAR, 10000 Penang Road, Penang
Tel: 604-881 3530/ 881 2016/ 261 3039, Fax: 604-261 0330
GPS Coordinates: 1.858852 N, 102.922196 E