The Batu Ferringhi Loop
Batu Ferringhi is of course mostly known for the beaches of Penang. It also hosts many 4 and 5 star hotels. Lesser known is the existence of a waterfall and some amazingly beautiful secondary rainforest. The Batu Ferringhi Loop is not for the faint hearted, it's a challenging trail that can easily several hours walk in the hills. It's essential to bring 2-3 liters of water and some food.
It starts at the Bayview Hotel. Opposite of the hotel is the entrance to the Chin Farm Waterfall. The dirt road leads directly to the Chin Farm Waterfall and the Lam Thean Mui Temple. There are two ways to enter the loop. If you have never been to the Chin Farm Waterfall, you surely want to see it before going into the forest.
So follow the trail, pass the temple and turn left. You will see the falls from afar.
You can pass the falls via a small trail left of the falls. The trails leads left along the falls into a little canyon (if you like) and further to a small stream with a huge pipe crossing. You have to cross the stream over some boulders to the other side where the trail goes up and joins the main path. This path originates from just before the falls. Should you have taken the wide junction to the right before the falls, you would have come here too.
Turn left and you have arrived in the Teluk Bahang Forest Reserve. There is a board with a trail describing the route to Teluk Bahang Recreational Forest. The board doesn't offer much details.
A little further on the trail is a water tower. Pass it and continue to the Batu Ferringhi dam, just 10 minutes further on the path. Here it becomes confusing because it is not clear at first where to go to.
There is a clear asphalt road leading away to the left of the dam. This road will eventually connect with the Batu Ferringhi Aqueduct, some kilometers further east. It's an easy walk there and if you have plenty of time, you might consider. However, if you consider doing the Loop, you have to cross the dam.
Go down before the reservoir and cross the riverbed to the other side, slightly to the right. There is a trail marker giving direction to Teluk Bahang.
The trail is at first overgrown but plastic markers will help you finding the trail. Almost immediately after joining the trail there's a junction to the right. The marker board shows this is the direction to Teluk Bahang. The loop will end here!
So, continue straight and start climbing. It's at first steep and soon you're on proper forest tracks climbing deeper and higher in the hills.
It should take about 30-40 minutes before it looks like a junction to the left appears. On the way, it also looks like you're coming quickly closer to the top. At the junction, marker papers want you to continue left and back into the valley, so stay on the trail and continue climbing. It's less steep now but it will still take another 10-15 minutes to reach rain gauge 15.
This is a good moment to get your breath back and drink some water. After the rain gauge the trail levels. After 10 minutes you will find a junction to your right. The continuing path continues to Bukit Laksamana, which from this point on is still 90 to 120 minutes away (some steep climbing included).
The trail to your right has paper and plastic marker papers from the PTAC. In the first part the trail slowly descents and quickly you will see the Andaman Sea here and there through the forest. The trail is at first very clear but after about half an hour or so, the path seem to have disappeared. There is one plastic marker but it doesn't look like there's a continuing one.
The plastic marker is right in front on a tree. The path seem to turn to the right but that is not the real trail. You have to look behind the plastic marker. About 15 meters further there's a paper marker on the other side of a tree and it's easy to miss. At that point the trail comes back. If you can't find the marker paper at first go back to the last one and work your way through the forest until there's another.
The trail now gets steeper down and after some time, you will find a sign of Stesen 2! You have arrived on the trail from the Teluk Bahang Recreational Forest to Chin Farm Waterfall. Unfortunately it's now clear where to go except going on. The path is reasonable clear in the eastern direction while Teluk Bahang should be west.
Soon you will find Stesen 3 and 4. Stesen 4 is another problem. By now the sign boards for both Chin Farm and Teluk Bahang pop up telling you how far you are on the 4 km trek. At stesen 4 there is a descent that doesn't look to go anywhere because either the slope is too steep or blocked by trees that have chopped off. However, if you continue a little lower to the right, there is a passing. It leads steep down and soon you will get help from some fresh ropes.
The ropes help you to come down the steep slopes easy. You will have to cross a small creek before arriving at Stesen 5 where you have to cross the same creek again. In front of you it looks like you have to climb up the hill using a rope but there is a small trail to the right that leads next to the creek (now to your right side).
Another crossing of the creek and, maybe to your amazement you're seeing a familiar view: the Batu Ferringhi Dam. What is left is a short descent into the riverbed and climbing up on the other side. Follow the track back to the water tower and stay on the main track. It will lead along the Chin Farm Waterfall (now to your right) and quickly back to the Bayview Hotel.
You can take the 101 bus back to George Town.
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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.
A full day trekking through the rain forest south of Batu Ferringhi. This is a trail for the more seasoned hikers with great rewards in terms of views and animal life to be found.
Western Hill and Tiger Hill
The trail to Bukit Laksamana can be extended by continuing to Western Hill and Tiger Hill. It's a very challenging trail and not for the fainthearted.