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Hiking in Penang

You have arrived in Penang and you are considering some cool walks in the hills you see from your hotel room in George Town. There's some quality hikes to do for beginner and experienced hikers alike. For many travelers visiting Penang Hill is a must do. But why limit yourself to the funicular train only? Aren't there more interesting ways to visit Penang Hill? And aren't there any other interesting places in the hills to visit?

Waterfall near 5 Way Junction
Waterfall near 5 Way Junction

This page will show you the entrance to some fine hikes. I've done all these hikes myself and all the photo material is mine too. So you get the info first hand.

There are several main areas to explore:

  • Botanical Gardens including trails to Penang Hill
  • Kek Lok Si and the Air Itam area
  • Balik Pulau
  • Nan Shan Hills (Paya Terubong)
  • Teluk Bahang Penang National Park
  • Batu Ferringhi

Lily Pond trail around Botanical Gardens
The Botanical Gardens and Teluk Bahang are areas also suitable for children

You can of course also book one of our hiking tours. There are 3 available although on request we can offer you any of the trails described in these pages. Here's what we offer.

Botanical Gardens

The Botanical Gardens are a local favorite. If you arrive in the early morning, you will find many locals strolling and jogging. What many do not know is that there are some awesome trails to hike. The shortest trail is in the garden itself and is easy to do on your own. Just follow the path and walk along.

View of penang
View from Moniot Road towards George Town, Butterworth and Kulim Hill

More interesting are trails with the Gardens as starting point:

Ruins of a house at the top of Bukit Cendana
Ruins of a house at the top of Bukit Cendana,
some say it's haunted but I didn't see any ghosts

The easiest and least time consuming way to the Botanical Gardens is by taxi. There is a bus but it seems to go every 45-60 minutes.

Kek Lok Si and the Air Itam area

Many travelers visit the Kek Lok Si in Air Itam. Few realize there is a beautiful piece of nature just above the temple which is starting point for some awesome hikes: the Air Itam Dam.

Unusual view to Air Itam Dam

Unusual view to Air Itam Dam from Lean Wah Tong Temple

Hikes to do in this area include:

There are many more trails and I will keep adding them to the website whenever I have done them.

View to Paya Terubong
Spectacular view to Paya Terubong, Air Itam and further to George Town

Balik Pulau

Do not ignore Balik Pulau. It might be a little more difficult to get there and back but the hikes are worth to explore. There are the two already above mentioned trails from the Kek Lok Si which can be reverse done too. Other trails include:

If you are stationed in George Town, the best option is to take bus 502 which should go every half hour from the Jetty and Komtar. Get off at the main bus station in Balik Pulau (about an hour to 70 minutes from the jetty) and follow the instructions on the pages. Here again more trails will be added as soon as I have found them.

Unusual view to Air Itam Dam

A rare find on the Ngoh Han Hill trail

The Nan Shan Hills

The Nan Shan Hills offer another interesting area to hike. Most of the hikes here can be done on bicycle too. Many trails are on or along agricultural farm lands. Yet, should you cross the hills to either the Air Itam Dam or Balik Pulau, you will find yourself in secondairy forest which quickly changes into rubber and durian plantations. Here are some options to hike to and from Paya Terubong into the Nan Shan Hills:

Teluk Bahang Penang National Park

Although Teluk Bahang is Penang's' only national park and it is very popular, it's in my humble opinion not the most interesting option to hike. The really interesting hikes require a bit more experience and the easy one basically follows the coastline to Monkey Beach (and is busy during the weekends).

It is however beautiful preserved forest that deserves more attention than only the Monkey Beach walk.

Monitor lizard in Teluk Bahang
A common sight in Penang's national park: a monitor lizard

Batu Ferringhi

Batu Ferringhi doesn't have many trail but boy, are the trails excellent. The start of the trails is at the Chin Farm. From here you have the option to visit the Chin Farm Waterfall and continue to Bukit Laksamana, Western Hill and even Penang Hill and the Botanical Gardens. Mind you, this is a trail for the more experienced hiker.

The trail up to Bukit Laksamana (the 2nd highest peak at Penang, 805m is at least 4 hours. Add another 2 to reach the highest peak: Western Hill. From there you can decide to go down to Batu Ferringhi or continue to either Penang Hill (Summit Road) or Botanical Gardens (forest trail).

It's also possible to hike more or less halfway the Bukit Laksamana trail and continue to the Teluk Bahang Recreational Forest.

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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 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 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

Hiking to Ngoh Han Hill and Ngoh Han Hill Temple

This 3-4 hours hike is a great alternative if you don't want to do the Tiger Hill hike but still want your adventure in the hills of Penang and find some awesome jungle waterfalls.

Waterfall to be found on the hike to Ngoh Han Hill

Hiking to Ngoh Han Hill and Ngoh Han Temple

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.

Western Hill and Tiger Hill