Hiking to Pulau Betong (Pasir Panjiang)
There is a fine trekking to do at the far south west of Penang. The trail starts at the end of road P224 in Gertak Sanggul at the south of the island which is where the bus will drop you in front of the police station.
Should you decide to try this trail on bicycle, it is possible although the path at some points is rather small. However, it's certainly not too steep or too difficult. Your only problem will be the last part going down to the beach as you will arrive at the far side of the beach and have to walk on the beach to the main road.
There is a small road through the kampong but soon you find yourself alone (on a week day) on a cement road which now starts slowly swindling up around the hills. Stay on the main path as the paths branching off all direct you to the seaside where locals are fishing.
After about 15 minutes you should reach an open space. Another few minutes further there is an overgrown path leading up the hill. Skip this and stay left. The path gets smaller but you will soon arrive on cultivated land.
Once you arrive at several huts and houses it becomes confusing. Keep an eye for the house in front of you. The wider path to the left leads nowhere so stay on the smaller path that leads direct to the little hut in front of you.
In case you're not sure, there are most of the time people (either farmers working or on motorbikes) in the area, so ask for the right direction.
Once you pass it, you will get some awesome views to the Straits of Malacca and you can already see Pasir Panjiang from afar.
Stay on the main path, ignore the dogs, who might be aggressive. If necessary, take a few stones and threaten them, throwing was in my experience not necessary.
Keep the hills on your right. The trail now has flatten. It should take about 70-80 minutes from the small house to marker point 4.7km. This is a T-junction with a house in front of you, go left and start climbing again.
In about 10-15 minutes you will reach a junction. The path to your left will lead you directly to Pasir Panjiang beach. The continuing path swindles steeply down into Kampong Pulau Betong village.
Once arrived at Pasir Panjiang, the trek should take you about 2 hours for the 6 km, you have two choices: hike back and get the bus from Gertak Sanggul or continue walking on the main road to Kampong Pulau Betong, get a rest and a drink in the restaurant and take the infrequent bus to Balik Pulau which is about 6km away. You might try one of the locals bring you on a motorbike to Balik Pulau.
If you decide to cycle, you might want to give Pasir Panjiang a miss at the last junction and continue cycling directly to Kampong Pulau Betong. This descending is quite steep so make sure your breaks are working well. Once in the kampong, you have the choice to turn left to Pasir Panjiang or turn right to Balik Pulau and from there back to George Town.
Map is taken and modified from: Nature Trails of Penang Island,
Malaysian Nature Society, Penang Branch, Currently Out of Print.
Getting to Gertak Sanggul and going from Balik Pulau
The easiest way to get here is by bus, from the jetty, take either 307,401E to Queensbay Mall and change to bus 308 which stops at Gertak Sanggul police station.
It is easier to take a bus back to George Town from Balik Pulau. The 401 and 502 will bring you back.
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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:
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.
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.