Chin Farm Waterfall to Bukit Laksamana & Tropical Fruit Farm
A great hike leads from the Chin Farm Waterfall to Bukit Laksamana and the Tropical Fruit Farm. This hike is not for the beginner hikers. However, if you have done some hikes in your past you might want to consider this hike as an option after doing some other hikes in Penang.
Just before the Chin Waterfall there's a wide path to your right which leads in about 20 minutes through the forest to the Batu Ferringhi Dam. Now it's all about paying good attention. At the dam, there's a few steps down onto the rocks. Walk all the way down until you see a small marker board showing the direction to Teluk Bahang. It's just before the small pool opposite of where you came from.
At first it's a small path through the ferns but within a minute you will get your first climb steep up to the main trail. Follow this trail for about 40 to 45 minutes to the first rain gauge #15. The path levels for a while and than starts climbing. To continue on the Batu Ferringhi Loop, take the first junction to the right.
Another 10 minutes further you will arrive on a major junction with proper signboards. For continuing to Teluk Bahang Recreational Forest, take the junction to the right, trail 4. Small signboards will show you the way. This is junction Simpang 13. Continue in the direction of Simpang 12.
The trail continues to climb, sometimes steeper than other times. Rain gauge TB 21 is the next stop. After another 10-15 minutes you're at Stesen 5. It is however the next junction, stesen 12 which is a major junction. Here you will find a large map of the whole Batu Ferringhi, Bukit Laksamana, Western Hill and teluk Bahang area complete with contour lines and more details where the trail goes.
The trail to your right will bring you to Teluk Bahang which is about 2.5 km away. Penang Hill (Bukit Penara) is still 8.7 km away.
The path is easy to follow. From this point on you will find brand new ropes to help you climbing the sometimes steeper part of the hills. Within 25-30 minutes you should reach the next rain gauge: 14. More ascending and descending follows but all in all you will go further up.
Again the terrain levels, but not for long. Stesen 7 is the next stop. It's no more than a signboard. The last rain gauge before Bukit Laksamana is TB 16. More here on it gets steeper at some points. Within 30-35 minutes you're almost at the top.
Left and right some views start to appear, first a nice view to your left of Batu Ferringhi followed quickly by a spectacular view towards Teluk Bahang and the Teluk Bang Dam and National Park. A minute later you're at the top.
Bukit Laksamana has it's top (the second highest in Penang) at 805 meter above sea level. Western Hill can easily be seen to the east, the astronomical observatory is clear visible and the deep valley which separates Bukit Laksamana and Western Hill too.
This is the moment for some good rest. You have two choices to continue. For this page we take the junction to the right. It's a very clear path which initially gently descends but soon it'll be a lot steeper. On the way you will get more views to the Teluk Bahang Dam.
The forest is thick but the path is clear and the trail papers of PTAC and markers or the Forest Department help you staying on the trail. In about 30 minutes the trail becomes wilder and much steeper. Now there are no ropes to help you descend. The marker papers however show you the way.
After about an hour and a half from Bukit Laksamana you will find the first rain gauge on this rail: TB 22. The terrain ascends and descend on and off. After about 20 minutes you will arrive at avery confusing point. Here trees have been coming down, maybe during a storm, maybe (partly) purposely. There seemed initially no trail to find (it took me about 15 minutes before I found the trail).
When arriving at this place, look for a small trail to your left which leads along the fallen trees. You might see a few marker papers but many have been destroyed when the trees came down.
It was in this area I saw a wild boar. These magnificent animals, the largest mamal on the island, is close to extinction due to heavy hunting. Yet, in this few visited areas of the rainforest they manage to survive. I am not sure about the official status but it would be excellent if hunting would be prohibited. I do see every now and than people who catch wild boar which are sold to private people.
The trail leads left and continues descending to rain gauge TB 23. You're considerably lower in altitude but no way near the Teluk Bahang road. The path however is very clear and continue to descend.
Now at one point after about 20 minutes there is a junction. There are 2 trails to follow. The one I took lead through rubber to the Tropical Fruit Farm. The other trail I haven't checked but seem to continue to the Titi Kerawan Waterfalls.
You will arrive at the top of the Tropical Fruit Farm. Just walk down using the stone steps to the main road and take a bus to either Teluk Bahang or Balik Pulau.
Proper hiking shoes or sport shoes with profile will do. It's good to bring a hat. Personally I always walk in shorts and T-shirt, I find it not necessary to walk in long trousers and long sleeve shirts.
Bring at least 3 liters of water and food (Chinese dumplings, glutinous rice with pork and egg) or a pack or 2 of sticky rice are the best (and easiest to carry).
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The Batu Ferringhi Loop
Batu Ferringhi is more than beaches and 4/5 star hotels. One of it's lesser known attractions is the Chin Farm Waterfall and the secondary rainforest further in the hills. Here's a description of a beautiful trek in that rainforest:
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.
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.