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Balik Pulau - Jungle stream - Relau Pass (Green Trail)

This hike from Balik Pulau to the Relau Pass is a challenging one, not for the fainthearted and not to be underestimated. It starts relatively easy at the Balik Pulau market/bus station. From here it goes all the way up to the stream as described in the loop to the Nibbinda Forest Monastery. It should take you about an hour or so to follow the trail all the way up to the Bukit Relau Forest Reserve.

Begin of the hike: Balik Pulau

After the market, in about 10 to 15 minutes, a junction is reached. The minor path to the right leads straight up to Anjung Indah but we need to follow the left road. Follow the trail to a major 4 way junction and continue left. From this point on, wherever you find a junction, take the left trail. You may have a little problem at the last hut which is build in front of a couple of large boulders. Here too, follow the left trail which leads direct to the stream and the Bukit Relau Forest Reserve entrance.

Addition: in February 2015 I hiked this last part of the trail and found that after the last hut the trail has become close to impossible to find as it is completely overgrown. After the hut, you can still see the boulders and the start of the cement trail. Keep a very close look at where you walk, the trail is still visible but for no more than about the point you place your feet.


Goal of the day, cross this hill range

Here the challenge starts. First, cross the stream and look for the dam a few minutes away just behind the large tree. From this point on there is no real trail to describe. The way to find your way is to stay close to the stream. There is what sometimes looks like a "path" available. This "path" is undefined but you might find every now and than remains of human activity, ie a plastic bottle, 100 plus tin can.

Follow the left trails
Once at the hut, keep looking directly after the hut for a trail to your left.

It probably takes about 20 minutes before you come across a water pipe (!) leading uphill. There seems to be a path too. I however skipped this and kept following the stream to my left hand. Unfortunately at some point the stream got smaller and smaller and than disappeared at all.

Overgrown trail
The now partly overgrown last part of the cement trail to the forest entry (Febr. 2015)

Entrance to Bukit Relau Permanent Forest Reserve
Entry of the forest

Now here's what you have to keep in mind: to your right there is a hill slope. Keep following this slope and continue by ascending a little. It will look the hill turns left towards the lighter area. You may hear some activity from farmers in the front left direction and you may get glimpses of cultivated land.

There is a kind of path on the right side of the stream
There is a kind of path on the right side of the stream,
a little further is a small dam

The best is to keep following the stream and do not start climbing before you will come to a small pond with a couple of ricebags in it. Once you're here, look for a clear steep trail to your right hand. This will lead to a T-junction. Left goes to Paya Terubong, right leads ultimately to Anjung Indah.

Bukit Relau Permanent Forest Reserve

However, I went earlier up and on a kind of path which zigzagged up the hill. It crossed the ridge path where I went left. Within minutes there is a junction with a path that leads gently down into the ferns (had I gone straight I would have easily walked to Paya Terubong).

Near the top in Bukit Relau Permanent Forest Reserve

The ferns are on a ridge. To your right there is "The Hill" as I found on another hike. Across the ridge, there are possibilities to look over it, you find the valley with a path to Jalan Tun Sardoon (P14)

Bukit Relau Permanent Forest Reserve 
Hoover your mouse over the photos to get a better view

Top of the hill Me at top of the hill On the trail to the Relau Pass   Bukit Relau Permanent Forest Reserve

Now I again found sign boards this was Bukit Relau Permanent Forest Reserve. The trail is for the most clear although at some point the ferns have taken over charge of the path. Eventually it leads to a forest junction where you can follow the rubber trail which leads to The Hill.

Close to the Relau Pass
The first farm, from here on there's a clear trail, later road to the Relau Pass

This less defined descending loggers trail eventually lead me to the top of a vegetable field. All I had to do now was going down to the main cement track and continue further down to the Balik Pulau road P14 Jalan Tun Sardoon from where you can stop a bus (502) in both directions (George Town/Balik Pulau).

View to Relau
View to Relau

The views continued to both the Penang bridges. The cement trail went from the farm land into the jungle and back to more vegetable farms before coming down at the P14.

End of the hike: the Relau Pass
On the photo, going left is Balik Pulau, right to Paya Terubong and Relau.
The T-junction for Paya Terubong and Relau is just over 1 km to the right (on photo)

From the farm it's another 35-40 minutes easy walk down to the exit which is the ongoing road from Relau to Balik Pulau just before the T-junction (left Paya Terubong, right Relau). You can take the 502 bus (every half hour) back to the city center.

Nibbinda Loop Map

Providing you don't loose too much time in the forest finding a way through thick jungle, this hike should take about 4 hours (not including resting).

  • Bus stop - Bukit Relau Forest Reserve: 60 minutes
  • Stream to the top: 100 minutes
  • Top to cultivated land: 35 minutes
  • Cultivated land to Relau Pass: 40 minutes

The time is approximately

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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

Balik Pulau, Ngoh Han Hill Temple, Cheng Kon Sze and Paya Terubong

This is a challenging hike of 5-6 hours through orchards, farms, secondary rainforest and back via the United Hokkien cemeteries to Paya Terubong. It's a beautiful hike!.

Balik Pulau, Ngoh Han Hill Temple, Cheng Kon Sze and Paya Terubong

View to Paya Terubong

Paya Terubong to Balik Pulau

This is another alternative trail to hike from the Nan Shan Eating Stalls to Balik Pulau.

Paya Terubong to Balik Pulau

Nibbinda Forest Monastery to Paya Terubong via Ridge path

This is a very interesting and very doable trail which leads from the monastery to the water basin and into the hills to the Nan Shan Hills from where you have several options to continue incl. Paya Terubong

Nibbinda Forest Monastery to Paya Terubong via Ridge path

The Nibbinda Loop

An interesting 3 hours hike steep up to the Nibbinda Forest Monastery and further through the Bukit Relau Forest Reserve back to Balik Pulau.

The Nibbinda Loop

Nibbinda Forest Monastery

Paya Terubong to Anjung Indah

Anjung Indah is the pass out of Balik Pulau. There's an awesome trail to hike from Paya Terubong using the Old Ridge Path to Anjung Indah.

Paya Terubong to Anjung Indah

Relau Pass to Paya Terubong

It starts at the Relau Pass and leads through vegetable and flower gardens to a short steep hike up towards the Nan Shan Hills and from there to Paya Terubong. It's a nice track.

Relau Pass to Paya Terubong

Crossing into the Nan Shan Hills

The trail leads through farmland into the forest continuing into the Nan Shan Hills before it turns again into the forest and rubber plantation before joining the main road to Balik Pulau.

Crossing into the Nan Shan Hills

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

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

Cheng Kon Sze (Ching Ji Chan)

The Cheng Kon Sze temple as is, is already a good reason to hike or bike up. However, the trails are worth exploring too.

Take the bike and cycle steep up or go on foot from the main road and hike all the way to Air Itam Dam. You will have a very enjoyable hike or bike adventure.

Cheng Kon Sze

Anjung Indah to Nan Shan Hills and Nibbinda Forest

A cool and very doable hike which starts at Anjung Indah, following the ridge trail to the Nan Shan Hills and back via a second ridge to the Nibbinda Forest and Balik Pulau

Anjung Indah to Nan Shan Hills and Nibbinda Forest Monastery

Paya Terubong to Balik Pulau

There are several ways to hike from Paya Terubong to Balik Pulau, even with different starting points. Links below all show how to hike in between Paya Terubong and Balik Pulau: