Kek Lok Si to Penang Hill via Lean Fah Tong temple (red trail)
There is an interesting hike from the Kek Lok Si to Penang Hill to do. This is a different hike as described on my hike to Tiger Hill from which you can access Penang Hill too. This hike stays on the "Air Itam" part of the hills. It starts with the usual point: Kwarn Inn Sahn Pow Yin Sian Psi (P) gate. Hike up towards the Air Itam Dam but instead of continuing all the way, find the junction to the Lean Fah Thong Temple (Thai Seong Loh Kwan). See the map at the end of the page: red trail)
This is a steep track that starts at a small temple on the way up to the dam. After about 15 minutes climbing you will arrive at the welcoming stone of the Lean Fah Thong Temple. Another 10 minutes further you will enter the temple complex.
Turn around just before the entrance gate and have a look at the Air Itam Dam far away and below you.
The temple is reasonable new and sees not many visitors. Yet, it's nice enough on the way up to Penang Hill. Check the left hall where a Tua Pek Kong takes care of travelers. The sign you look for are the walking sticks.
There is no direct road up to the connecting road to Penang Hill as described in my page to Tiger Hill using the Old Ridge Path. There is a path behind the temple but it doesn't seem to go anywhere else than just a farm nearby.
To reach the main road to Penang Hill, you have to go back to the entrance stone. Here a small cement path branches of to a small bridge and a dam (to your left). Follow the trail and stay left (even when you have a tar road branching off to your right). It takes just a few minutes to reach the main trail. Once on it, go right and follow the wider road.
At some point you will have a very nice view towards the back of the Lean Fah Thong Temple and the Kek Lok Si.
Stay on the main road, there are two junctions to farms on the way before reaching a junction that reads: Middle Way. You've been on and off through cultivated land and forest but now you're about to enter more secondary rainforest proper.
At the "Middle Way" junction, go left and continue climbing for another few minutes until you see a shelter. This is a good place to have some rest before entering the rainforest.
Just after the shelter, take a small path to your left as the main path in 100 meters runs dead in a farm field. Follow this trail for a few minutes through the forest until you reach the next farm. Just at the entrance of the farm there is a trail to your right along the fields (left) and forest (right). 2 minutes later you will see an overgrown entrance to the jungle. Once in the forest, everything will be quiet and shady.
Follow this trail, it's overall in good condition but there are a few points where you have to climb fallen trees. It's 30-35 minutes to the next junction which reads "Tiger Hill and Dam", to your left. This is the entry to the Old Ridge Path. Take the junction to your right.
15-20 minutes later you will arrive again at a junction. The path crosses a stream and you can go either left or right. The path to the left is wide and open and for the most flat. It will take about 15 minutes to reach the Summit Road. From there it's another 45 minutes to Penang Hill (right) and Tiger Hill, 15 minutes (left).
If you want to stay longer in the forest, go right. This trail goes up and down a few times, never too steep but at times it might be difficult with fallen trees and at the end of the trail a broken bridge. After the broken bridge it's another few minutes before the trail joins Moniot Road. Go left to St. Brelades and Summit Road. Penang Hill is 20 minutes easy walk away (Tiger Hill another 40 minutes, left). From the junction to the back of Mon Sejour and St. Brelades takes 70 to 80 minutes.
Should you consider doing the trail the opposite way, follow the sign to St. Brelades on the Summit Road. After St. Brelades the road goes steeply down. After 3 minutes you will find the trail to your right. Once on the trail, you will pass a broken bridge after which you arrive behind Mon Sejour. Just 20 meters after arriving at the farm field, there's a pond to your right. Ignore it and find the trail back just after the pond, it leads away from Mon Sejour back in the forest.
Follow this path which leads mostly flat with here and there a little climb towards the only junction. Continuing straight it will look lighter, it's the Summit Road. Take the small path which leads shortly up to your left to the Tiger Hill and Dam junction which is 20 minutes away.
Time schedule to expect:
Schedule is not to be taken exact.
At Penang Hill you can decide to take the funicular train back to Air Itam or continue to Crag Hotel, 84 and 5 and Moongate (Botanical Gardens and Youth Park). Another option is to hike further to Tiger Hill and hike the opposite way as describe here. This is only an option if you make an early start.
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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 Off The Grid
This hike doesn't take too long, about 3.5 to 4 hours but it's seriously challenging. Check out why.
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:
Kek Lok Si to Old Ridge Path via rain gauges 28 & 29
This is a very challenging trail with a 2 hour climb to rain gauge 29, the highest point in this trail (almost as high as Penang Hill). The trail goes through secondary rainforest on very good paths.
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.