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Paya Terubong to Balik Pulau, an alternative path (Orange trail)

The start of this hike is at the junction of Nan Shan Eating stalls and 7-Eleven store. Walk up from here by passing the 7 Brothers shrine to the Tua Pek Kong temple. This should take about 45 minutes. Continue on the road just right of the temple up to the 6 way junction.

6 way junction
6 Way junction, take the 3rd path from the left (first on the left is not on this photo).

For this hike, take the 3rd path from the left. The path goes a ginger flower garden. There are 2 minor junctions until you reach the green plastic which seem to block the path. In reality the path goes right in between the plastic, see photo.

Green Plastic
The path continues in between the green plastic walls.

Continue by crossing a small bridge and you're back in a ginger flower plantation. There are a few junctions but you can ignore those. After several minutes the path ends. You can go down a few steps to a small bridge. Here it starts to be confusing so take some time to observe the situation.

Small bridge into the ginger plantation
First bridge into the plantation just after the green plastic walls.

Once you cross the bridge it seems there are several paths possible into the banana plantation. It IS possible to work your way through the banana and in fact it isn't too difficult.

  1. Look ahead and you will seethe hills in far back, this is the direction you want to go.
  2. Once you either have passed the little hut and/or crossed the little stone bridge, there are in front of you several paths, take the left one
  3. The very small path leads direct over the pass into a banana plantation.
  4. The trail is faint but clear, keep right, you will quickly into the bush and turn right again and continue down.
  5. You will hear fast running water
  6. There are boulders in the water which you have to cross now.
  7. Once you come again out of the forest (it's not even a minute after the bananas), you'll see to your left waterpipes collecting the water for the farms further down.
  8. Turn right and descent in a minute by climbing over boulders and further a dry river bed to the cement trail from where you can continue further down into the valley

Banana plantation

An alternative is to climb up to the tree with a metal strip which is right in front of you when you cross the bridge. At the tree, turn right and follow the rubber trail and descent on the other side to the "rubbish dump" and the cement trail. (photo below)

Pushing through the bananas
Small trail which leads directly into the rubber plantation.

In case you come from the other side it's even easier. At the end of the cement trail, follow the dried up river bed up. To your right there is a low stone ridge, you can reach it by passing it to the left and than follow the small path up.

The pass
Follow the pipelines and the boulders to the other side.

Once up, follow the water pipeslines to the water collection point. Just before that point the trail turns left and goes around it. The next thing is to cross a series of boulders over the little stream and turn right. The path leads up to a banana plantation. Turn left and follow the faint trail to the other side until you see the hut from where you continue into the Nan Shan Hills.

Start of the climb over the pass
From the "Balik Pulau" side, this is the dried river bed and the stone wall to your upper right.

The path leads into a rubber plantation as described here. Once you're in the rubber plantation, take any available path down until you reach a small rubbish dump. Pass the rubbish on the right side and continue descending another few minutes until you see a small cement trail to your left and a hut in front of you while the path swindles down to your right.

The rubbish dump
The rubbish dump, turn right and continue descending another
few minutes before reaching the cement trail.

You can continue further down. If you do this, once you've passed the 2 farmer huts, turn left and descent further to Jalan Balik Pulau (connecting road Balik Pulau-Air Itam Dam). The track to your right after the 2 farmer huts essentially lead uphill and ends not far from the purple trail route as described here.

Junction at the hut, turn left
Junction to your left to continue into the hills.

Turning left is more interesting. At first the cement trail leads again steep up and back into the hills. Some of the path is new cemented but also at many places the path is completely overgrown. After 10 minutes the cement seems to disappear but returns soon enough albeit heavy overgrown.

The cement trail, here and there overgrown
The cement trail which is sometimes heavy overgrown.

Another 5 minutes later you will arrive at a complete new path of cement trail which quickly ends too. Continuing at this level doesn't bring you anywhere but there is a very small trail just left of the path leading up a ridge. This trail seem to go to a blockade of trees. Just before the blockade the trail leaves the ridge and follows the slope to the right in front of you.

Overgrown path
The path follows just under the area with orange earth.

Around the corner you will find a junction with a cement path. The path to your left leads to a dead end although you push into the rubber to your right and climb about 2 levels up where you find a good rubber path which leads back to the fallen tree with roots up and the "Last Farm". On the way you will have to pass a blockade of fallen trees but it is easy to climb over it (photo below).

6 way junction
First blockade on the way back to the "last farm" in the Nan Shan Hills.

Take the cement path to your right. Immediately on your left hand there's a water reservoir. Continue the path further down. If you follow the main trail, you should reach the second farmer hut in about 5 minutes. Here the cement trail ends and joins a wider road.

View into Balik Pulau
A few minutes on the cement trail with a great view to the Balik Pulau valley.

There's a large farm on your left hand. You may want to try to pass the farm but the farmers (and their dogs) will send you back. I slipped once through it only to find out the path goes further into the farm land and connects the trail higher up which leads to the ridge.

End of the cement trail
The road to the left behind the shelter leads to a farm, so continue on
either the small trail of wide road ahead.

You can take the small path in front of you which leads up to 2 large water barrels or stay on the wide road. Either way, both come later together at the end of the wide road. The small trail on your left leads up to the water barrels, so take the wide road on the right and continue down.

Left or right, doesn't matter
Continue left or right, both come later together.

A few minutes later both these trails come together. The wide road ends here, so take the small path on your right hand to descend further

In 5 to 10 minutes depending how easy you descend, this path joins another path. Left leads up to the hills (and a junction just across a small bridge which leads to the large farm you just passed) and ultimately to the cleared area with the white signboard Relau Permanent Forest Reserve and the Nibbinda Ridge. Climbing up that way should take your 15-20 minutes, maybe more if you climb slow.

The both trails from the photo above come here together. Continue on the small trail ahead and descend.

Continue right leads back to Jalan Balik Pulau. It should take about 10 minutes or so to come down. Once at the main road, turn left, pass the Nibbinda junction (left) and walk into Balik Pulau.

Last junction
Left trail continues to the ridge, to the right you will descend to Jalan Balik Pulau.

The hike should take about 3 to 3.5 hours.

Nibbinda Loop Map

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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

Paya Terubong to Balik Pulau

There are several ways to hike from Paya Terubong to Balik Pulau, even with different starting points. Links below all show how to hike in between Paya Terubong and Balik Pulau:

Balik Pulau, Ngoh Han Hill Temple, Cheng Kon Sze and Paya Terubong

This is a challenging hike of 5-6 hours through orchards, farms, secondary rainforest and back via the United Hokkien cemeteries to Paya Terubong. It's a beautiful hike!.

Balik Pulau, Ngoh Han Hill Temple, Cheng Kon Sze and Paya Terubong

View to Paya Terubong

The Nibbinda Loop

An interesting 3 hours hike steep up to the Nibbinda Forest Monastery and further through the Bukit Relau Forest Reserve back to Balik Pulau.

The Nibbinda Loop

Nibbinda Forest Monastery

The Anjung Indah Loop

The loop starts and finishes at the top of the pass on the road to Balik Pulau. It's a cool trail with at parts some serious challenges.

The Anjung Indah Loop

Crossing into the Nan Shan Hills

The trail leads through farmland into the forest continuing into the Nan Shan Hills before it turns again into the forest and rubber plantation before joining the main road to Balik Pulau.

Crossing into the Nan Shan Hills

Nibbinda Forest Monastery to Paya Terubong via Ridge path

This is a very interesting and very doable trail which leads from the monastery to the water basin and into the hills to the Nan Shan Hills from where you have several options to continue incl. Paya Terubong

Nibbinda Forest Monastery to Paya Terubong via Ridge path

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.

View to Balik Pulau from the Ngoh Han Temple

Air Itam Dam to Balik Pulau

Paya Terubong to Anjung Indah

Anjung Indah is the pass out of Balik Pulau. There's an awesome trail to hike from Paya Terubong using the Old Ridge Path to Anjung Indah.

Paya Terubong to Anjung Indah

Relau Pass to Paya Terubong

It starts at the Relau Pass and leads through vegetable and flower gardens to a short steep hike up towards the Nan Shan Hills and from there to Paya Terubong. It's a nice track.

Relau Pass to Paya Terubong

Balik Pulau to Air Putih

A less explored area in the Balik Pulau area leads from the bus station/market via the Catholic Cemetery to Air Putih with some sidetrack excursions possible. This trail can be done on foot or bicycle.

Balik Pulau to Air Putih

Anjung Indah to Nan Shan Hills and Nibbinda Forest

A cool and very doable hike which starts at Anjung Indah, following the ridge trail to the Nan Shan Hills and back via a second ridge to the Nibbinda Forest and Balik Pulau

Anjung Indah to Nan Shan Hills and Nibbinda Forest Monastery