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Air Itam to the Old Ridge Path for
Tiger Hill/5 Way junction (blue trail)

There is an interesting alternative to visit Tiger Hill. Instead of hiking up to 5 Way Junction (see this page), there is a trail that leads to Tiger Hill via a track on the way to Penang Hill without reaching it along Tiger Hill over the Old Ridge Path to the pass and Tiger Valley. This is a longer hike in partly more remote forest reserve. In short, a challenging trail. From the start at Kek Lok Si until the end of the Old Ridge Path takes about 4 hours. Here's how you walk it yourself (see the map at the end of the page: blue trail).

Bukit Kerajaan
Bukit Kerajaan forest reserve, only at a few places the path is overgrown like here

The start is in Air Itam at the Kek Lok Si temple. Find the Kwarn Inn Sahn Pow Yin Sian Psi (P) gate and hike up towards Air Itam Dam. After 20-25 minutes you will reach the rock telling you the direction to Air Itam Dam, but instead of following the dam trail, follow the main road which goes right. This road swindles sometimes a bit steep up.

Rock sign to Air Itam Dam
The rock that signs the direction to the dam, don't follow but continue on the main road to your right.

The road passes both cultivated land and unspoiled rainforest but it isn't until you have passed the Tiger Hill/Dam junction you will be in the rainforest proper.

Secundairy rainforest

On the way there are some fine views to Air Itam and Paya Terubong including a view to the back of the Lean Wah Tong Temple (there is a connecting trail between the temple and the ongoing road you are walking on.

Lean Wah Tong Temple

From this point on cultivated land will appear including two junctions to your left. Both however lead to farms and are dead ends.

Middle Way Junction
The "Middle Way" junction (to the right), we continue left!

After about 45 minutes on this road, you will reach a junction which directs you to the "Middle Way". This is apparently a trail that should lead to Penang Hill but we skip this in this hike. Our trail leads left and further up the hill with again here and there fine views to Air Itam and Paya Terubong including views to the Penang Bridge.

View to Penang Bridge

The road gets a bit smaller and within 5 minutes you will reach a shelter. The road continues to a farm just minutes further and another continuing path for another 2 minutes but it will turn out to be a dead end.

Trail to Bukit Kerajaan
Take the trail to your left, the continuing road is a dead end

There is a however a continuing path just after the shelter. There is a very small path to your left. Follow the path through the forest for a few minutes until you reach again cultivated land. There is a small trail directly to your right which leads along the farm land in a few minutes to the forest proper.

Path to Bukit KerajaanPath to Bukit Kerajaan
The path to the farmland. Follow the path until the green vegetation stops
and farmland starts, than move directly right to climb up along the fields.

It's an easy to miss path but if you miss it, the end of the trail is just 50 meters further. Climb up next to the field. The entrance to the jungle is right in front of you and although the first few meters might not be encouraging as it is much overgrown, the paths will clear up after.

Bukit Kerajaan
Some parts of the trail offer some difficulty

Once in the forest, the path is mostly clear although there are some obstacles. These can be fallen trees or, like the above photo, a rock where you have to step a little down on slippery sand and climb up. But nothing is really difficult nor dangerous.

Bukit Kerajaan

The name of the hill, according to the board is Bukit Kerajaan (Government Hill) but it's more likely to be an announcement it's just government land.

The trail is now for the most clear and easy going and continues climbing, albeit very moderate for most of the time. About 35 minutes after entering the forest you will reach a junction. There is even a metal sign board (apparently there used to be several of them) which shows the direction to Tiger Hill and dam, going left and up. Going right leads quickly to Penang Hill.

Direction Tiger Hill
The metal sign reads Tiger Hill and Dam.

This is the start of what is called the Old Ridge Path and connects you to the 5 Way Junction-Tiger Valley trail (see this page).

From this point on it's another 40 minutes walk towards rain gauge 29 all along Tiger Hill although you are not able to see the transmission station at the top. The path now mostly levels though at some points it climbs slowly until rain gauge 29.

Rain gauge 29

Rain gauge 29 is a 3 way junction. The left trail leads back to Air Itam but we take the right trail which stays on the ridge of the hill. There won't be any spectacular views to either side although you are able to see the Tiger Hill Valley to your right. From this point to the connecting 5 Way Junction-Tiger Hill Valley trail is 35 minutes.

After about 10 minutes you will find a steep slope going down. There's a rope to help you out here.

Old Ridge PathOld Ridge Path
The Old Ridge Path with a short but steep descending, ropes are ready to help you.

After the steep descending it's another 25 minutes (partly steep) going down until you're on the col of the connecting 5 Way Junction-Tiger Hill Valley path.

Old Ridge Path
The last meters of the Old Ridge Path, you can see the connecting path 5 Way Junction-Tiger Hill

The last 50 meters are steep down but than you're at the main trail that connects 5 Way Junction and Tiger Hill. Here you have to decide where you want to continue further. 5 Way Junction is 15 minutes to your left while Tiger Valley is another good half hour walk and Tiger Hill another hour (see this page).

From 5 Way Junction you have several options: Air Itam Dam to your left (coming from this trail), right in front the trail to Ngoh Han Hill temple and Balik Pulau, the main left road leads also to Balik Pulau (but take care when it has been raining) and to your ultimate right there is a road that eventually leads to Titi Kerawan waterfall.

Time schedule to expect:

  • Kek Lok Si - Air Itam Dam Rock: 25 minutes
  • Air Itam Dam Rock - Middle Way Junction: 45-50 minutes
  • Middle Way Junction - Tiger Hill Junction: 45-50 minutes
  • Tiger Hill Junction - Rain Gauge 29: 35-40 minutes
  • Rain Gauge 29 - 5 Way Junction: 40 minutes
  • 5 Way Junction - Air Itam Dam: 45 minutes

Schedule is not to be taken exact.

Hiking from Air Itam to Tiger Hill and Penang Hill

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Special Hiking Tours in Penang

Join us on our special hiking tours in Penang. We will bring you around in the jungle of the Botanical Gardens. Our tours include:

  • Botanical Gardens: Lily Pond - Waterfall
  • Moongate - Hikers Resting Spot #5 - Youth Park
  • Trails to Crag Hotel and Penang Hill

Read more and book your hiking tour.

Hiking in Penang around Botanical Gardens

or check the hiking and biking pages

Hiking to Tiger Hill and Penang Hill

This is a reasonable popular hiking trail in the hills. The trek takes about 3-4 hours to Tiger Hill and another to Penang Hill.

Hiking to Tiger Hill and Penang Hill

Air Itam Dam Off The Grid

This hike doesn't take too long, about 3.5 to 4 hours but it's seriously challenging. Check out why.

Air Itam Dam Off The Grid

5 Way Junction to Balik Pulau

This is, if you can't find the right trail, a very crazy trail. Take the right trail and it takes 3 hours, the wrong trail takes almost double. Here's the story:

5 Way Junction to Balik Pulau

Kek Lok Si to Penang Hill

An attractive and challenging hike of about 4 hours including a visit to the Lean Fah Tong temple.

Bukit Kerajaan

Kek Lok Si to Lean Fah Tong and Penang Hill

Kek Lok Si to Old Ridge Path via rain gauges 28 & 29

This is a very challenging trail with a 2 hour climb to rain gauge 29, the highest point in this trail (almost as high as Penang Hill). The trail goes through secondary rainforest on very good paths.

Kek Lok Si to Old Ridge Path via rain gauges 28 & 29

Rain Gauge 29

Air Itam Dam to Balik Pulau

This is an interesting option. The trail can easily be cycled and hiked. You'll pass beautiful tropical rainforest and cultivated areas with fruit farms, a wonderful day out in the heart of Penang with an option to visit the Ngoh Han Hill Temple with spectacular views to Balik Pulau.

View to Balik Pulau from the Ngoh Han Temple

Air Itam Dam to Balik Pulau