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Anjung Indah to the South Relau Pass

The start of this hike is at Anjung Indah. In fact there are two options to cross to the South Relau Pass. On this page I will describe both as one hike with an option half way to abort the hike and walk back to Jalan Tun Sardong.

Anjung Indah
Faded sign of Anjung Indah.

It starts by getting on the road to the telecom towers opposite of Anjung Indah's view point. You will enter the Bukit Relau Forest Reserve for partly a quite rough walk. After a few minutes you will pass the telecom towers and walk straight to Taman Herba Relau. You can't enter the gardens here but you can follow the cement road to the right. Follow this road until you find a 4 way junction. The main road turns slightly left and continues further to a large farm area (we will come back this way!).

4 way junction
4 Way junction, you will need the middle road.

The narrow path to the right leads into a farm field and ends there so it is the middle path you have to take.

After a few minutes (with some nice views back to the Thai restaurant and the communication towers) the path turns 180 degrees up. In fact there are two trails, take the higher trail. It will lead into the forest. There's a junction to the left but it leads only to a slah and burned hilltop and behind the hill it loops back to the junction. The loop takes about 15 minutes but it's hardly worth the effort.

Slash and burn in Penang
The hill top cleared by slash and burn methods.

Back at the main trail, continue walking another few minutes through the forest until another cleared area becomes visible. This is the end of the path but there's a way to continue.

End of the path
End of the path but there's a way to continue ...

You may find a farmer or his workers here who might tell you there's no way further. They're right and wrong. There's no path straight or to the right but along the left side of the field, there is a small path entering the forest. It leads steep up to a hilltop (about 10-15 minutes climbing).

Path to the hilltop

The trail is clear visible but steep and it might be slippery after the rain. Once at the top the trail turns slightly to the right. Loggers have been active here (possibly illegal logging). This is a tricky area where you have to pay good attention.

At the hilltop
If you come from Anjung Indah, you will pass the log to your left, if you come from the
South Relau Pass, you have to follow the log to your right and straight on.

Pass the logging area (to your left), you will find rubbish and plastic bottles just after this photo and a faint path that leads to the edge of an old rubber estate. Now you can start descending immediately and keep right but I found it easier to go down this way (coming from Anjung Indah): pass the log and turn slightly right, there's some overgrown forest but directly after it, there's a path which leads to a wider trail. Follow the trail, innitially it might disappear because this rubber area is probably no longer used but the trail comes back. Basically you have to follow the ridge above you (but do not go to the ridge, there's no way down from there!!)

The old rubber estate

It takes about 15 minutes to descent to an open area with rubber trees.

The old rubber estate

If you descent through the rubber trees and keep too much left, you will not reach the open area with rubber trees but arrive at the trail I will describe later on for the way back to Anjung Indah.

Newer rubber estate

The continuing trail is at the right side of the where you leave the dense rubber trees. It's a clear trail that leads to levels of rubber. From that point on you can see the cement trail below you and all you have to do is to walk down the different levels of rubber to enter the pass.

The pass to Relau
The South Relau Pass

Here you have several options. You can continue to Relau (left), loop the area (straight) or Balik Pulau (right).

Should you want to do this reverse, at the pass, take the trail through the banana plantation to the far end and start climbing at the edge of the open area with rubber trees and the forest (left). There are several good looking trail to the left that seem to go into the forest. None seem to go anywhere than to a thick jungle.

Essentially you will walk on a kind of ridge. If you follow this trail (it comes and goes) you should end up at the logging area as described above). From there you have to find the trail down (which ain't as easy as it looks like).

The South Relau Pass loop

The South Relau Pass is a 4 way junction (taking the trail through the bananas as a junction). The trail that starts climbling leads into a rubber estate with some fine views of Balik Pulau. Unfortunately it's a loop road that turns back to the trail which descents from the pass towards Balik Pulau.

Rubber estate at the South Relau pass

The trail to the east leads to Relau. It's the trail we use to walk back to Anjung Indah.

An Alternative way to Relau

I was told by a farmer there is a trail from the pass that might (??) leads to Teluk Kumbar, much further south. So here is what I tried. I took the trail ascending into the rubber plantation and at the water tank I followed the rubber trail.

South Relau Pass

It didn't look I could go into the forest so I followed the rubber trail around the hill in the hope to see a trail there. The rubber leads into a durian orchard.

The water tank

There didn't seem to be a trail but as this was a plantation I suspected there would be a trail further down but I was surrounded by a pack of dogs. Fortunately an old farmer helped me out and brought me to the cement trail.

The old farmer

Despite his age he went faster down the hill than I could as he has done this his whole life. Once at the trail he didn't allow me to turn right (which I wanted and suspected it would lead me further south). Instead he directed me to his house from where I joined a cement road.

This road would lead to many junctions but all where either dead ends or loops so I followed it all the way down to a T-junction. To the right leads to Fig Tree Hill and another dead end, to the left to Relau (about 40 minutes descending). Once you exit the forest it's another long walk to find a bus.

Rubber estate at the South Relau pass
You can try to use one of the many unpaved rubber trails to the left
to see if you can find an entry to Malihom.

The South Relau Pass Loop

Pass the water tank, stay on the cement trail and start desceding. It goes steep down and turns back. At some point it becomes a brand new wide (and reflecting white) road. Follow the new road until you find a clear junction to your right with a house that seem to block the path (it doesn't).

Farms on the south east hills
Many new roads have been build by the farmers.

You can turn left and continue to Balik Pulau as this is where the path from the junction above you join. The road ends at a gate after passing several farms. Just after the gate you can turn left or right for going to Balik Pulau. I went right and that road ended at Jalan Tun Sardong (P14), 3 km from the Balik Pulau bus station and market. The 502 bus to Balik Pulau passes and will stop here.

Back to the junction and Anjung Indah

A more interesting option is to continue back to the South Relau Pass. It's a short walk back to the pass. Once back at the pass, take the small cement path to your left (Originally you came from the far left, see photo above). Quickly after the pass there is a slight open area with a faint trail to the left.

South Relau Pass
The junction where you choose to go to Balik Pulau (left, not on photo) or
climb back to the pass.

There are two ways to continue. Follow the faint trail or follow the cement road. In any way they will later both join.

Faint trail near the South Relau Pass
The faint trail that leads off the cement trail.

Option 1: through the forest

Should you opt to take the forest path, take the faint trail to your left. It leads to a vegetable field. Pass it and look for a small hut to your left. Just left of the hut the rubber estate starts. The start might be a little tricky but just 10 meters after the scrub there is a clear trail.

The hut
Arriving at the hut, look for the rubber trail left of the hut.

It takes 15 minutes on this trail to come back at a cement trail. There are some obstructions on the trail but they're all easy to pass. At some point you will cross a big plastic water pipe. It's all a flat track.

Bukit Relau Forest Reserve
The photo is not quite clear but trust me, the trail is very clear and easy.

Option 2: follow the cement roads

Should you opt for the cement trail, continue on the cement path until you find a T-junction with a wider road and turn left. Continue for another 10-15 minutes until you find a small path to your left (there will be only one). It leads through banana trees amongst others. Within minutes you will find a sharp S-curve (in which curve the forest trail will join the cement trail.

Near the South Relau Pass
Looking back to the pass.

Back to Anjung Indah

Once at the cement trail (option 1) turn left and start climbing. After 8 minutes there's a junction to the right which descents. After another 6 or so minutes the path ends at a banana plantation. There's no obvious ongoing trail visible. However, if you cross the plantation and climb up (only a couple of minutes), you will see a clear trail along the hill slope followed very quickly with an antenna mast.

Bukit Relau Forest Reserve
Junction where the forest trail (option 1) joins the cement trail of option 2.

From this point you have a good view over the whole east part of Penang including the Penang Bridge all the way to both the twin towers of Anjung Indah and Bukit Penara.

The banana plantation
Entering the banana plantation, from the path climb up to your left and cross it,
on the other side you will see a trail

There is a good road starting (I should say ending) at the mast which leads quickly down to several farm houses. Walk 5 minutes down until you find a junction and turn left and pass the house to the gate behind it.

The mast
The mast which offers some fine views over East penang

Now the road starts ascending again but not for long. On the way to Anjung Indah you will pass the original 4 way junction (about 6 minutes) where you took the middle path, now you come from the left road (see photo above). Within 20 minutes or so from the red gate, you should be back at Anjung Indah.

The Gate
The red gate after which the road swindles up to Anjung Indah.

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