Slightly farther than Taman Negara in Peninsular Malaysia, Penang National Park is the smallest and newest national park in Malaysia. Penang National Park in the local language is read as Taman Negara Pulau Pinang, an area of about ten square miles located northwest of Penang Island.
Eight of the best beaches in Penang are located very close to Penang National Park. Sea turtle nests, majestic freshwater lakes, pristine beaches and mangroves await anyone willing to roam the park.
First stop: Penang National Park Interpretation Center
Penang National Park is one of the most easily accessible national parks by public transport. From George Town, you can take Rapid Penang bus 101 to Teluk Bahang west. The entrance to the national park is just a short walk from the bus stop.
Once you’re at the entrance (admission is free), head straight to the information counter before starting your journey.
The equipment is still new, but there are few people using it, like the touch screen to look up information. The binoculars help you to observe the whole scene of the real fishing village.
The information center is open daily from 9am to 4pm.
Walking in Penang National Park
The three trails in Penang National Park are quite steep but the facilities are well maintained. The covered walkway allows you to observe the life of the species in the trees and acts as a shortcut between the two main roads. The number of steps on the two main trails can make even the most professional hiker sweat.
All visitors must register at the information desk before entering Penang National Park. If you intend to use the covered walkway, you must purchase a ticket at the counter.
The information counter is open daily from 7:30 am to 6 pm. Unless camping overnight, visitors must be out of the national park by 6 pm. Free entrance.
Penang National Park Trail
Just 500 meters from the entrance to the national park, you will have to decide whether to turn left to visit Pantai Kerachut – a beautiful beach with sea turtle nests, or turn right to see Monkey Beach and the old lighthouse. second in Malaysia. You can go to both of these places in one day if you go early and have enough strength!
- Monkey Beach: This beach is so aptly named for the macaque monkeys that roam the trails. Walking to Monkey Beach takes 1 hour and 15 minutes. Many other visitors can reach here by ferry from Teluk Bahang jetty or from resorts at Batu Ferringghi. Although not too comfortable, Monkey Beach can get quite crowded during peak tourist season!
- Pantai Teluk Aling: is a casual beach about half way to Monkey Beach. There is a sea turtle sanctuary here maintained by a local university.
- Muka Head Light House (Muka Lighthouse): If you have the strength, continue past Monkey Beach for another 30 minutes to reach Malaysia’s second oldest lighthouse. The spiral staircase inside the lighthouse gives visitors a great view from above.
- Canopy Walkway: The covered 20-minute walk is a shortcut between the two main trails. The walkway has a view of the river below and the nests You have to buy tickets at the entrance to the national park.
- Capony Walkway is open from 10am to 1pm and from 2:30pm to 4pm, closed on Fridays. Adults: $1.75; Children: 1 dollar.
- Meromictic Lake: There are only a handful of brackish lakes in the world and Penang National Park is lucky to have one. However, this lake is quite muddy and a bit expensive to visit. You can reach the lake by going to the left of Pantai Kerachut for about 1 hour 30 minutes.
Pantai Kerachut: Probably the most beautiful beach in Penang, Pantai Kerachut is also a favorite nesting spot for endangered sea turtles. The deep, coarse sand here is heaven after you’ve sweated the trails. Camping is the only way to see turtles on the sand at night. There are shower toilets, camping facilities at the end of the beach as well as a small sanctuary with a turtle display. Walking time: 90 minutes.
Boat for the return trip: If your legs can’t go any further, you can rent boats from both Monkey Beach ($17) and Pantai Kerachut ($33) to take you back to the entrance to the national park.
Teluk Bahang: Food, Money and Accommodation
The small fishing town of Teluk Bahang is the gateway to Penang National Park. As a peaceful respite from Georgetown, Teluk Bahang is where life begins early and sleep comes early.
Food: There are a few Chinese restaurants, a Muslim cafe and food stalls dotted along the main road selling some of Penang’s favorites. The small 24-hour supermarket at the entrance to the national park has basic necessities.
Water: Take advantage of the water pump located in the strip of shops on the left side of the road when you reach Penang National Park; 10 cents for 1.5 liters of water and the environment does not have 1 more plastic bottle thrown from you.
Money: The only ATM in town that doesn’t accept international cards, so bring enough cash while you’re here.
There is no accommodation inside the garden, however there are a few basic accommodation options in Teluk Bahang. As the majority of tourists to Penang National Park are just day trippers from Georgetown or nearby Batu Ferringhi. Camping is allowed with Pantai Kerachut.