Relau Pass to Paya Terubong (Yellow trail)
The Relau Pass is located just south of Paya Terubong on the way to both Relau and Balik Pulau. Right at the pass there is a short steep trail leading into the hills westwards. Although there are many trails there is only one way to cross the hills into the Nan Shan area. Here's how to hike it:
If you come from George Town, ask the driver to stop at the pass, cross the road and start climbing the path which at first is very steep but it's only for the first few minutes. After that the path climbs more gently. Directly after entering the forest, you'll see an antenna mast with a short trail to the left. Ignore it and follow the main trail.
The first junction, it's at first unclear to go left or right. The right trail is leveling but leads only into the jungle with no possibility to continue anywhere. So take the left trail. This trail starts climbing and after a few minutes another junction follows, go right. Again another few minutes later there's a 3rd junction and again you have to take the right trail.
The first glimpses of south east Penang become visible. The trail keeps climbing and within another 10 minutes another junction is reached. The continuing trail leads just over the hill with views to Paya Terubong but will ultimately become a dead end. Should you want to explore this trail, expect to spend about half an hour to go and come back to the junction.
The trail leads to a farm and further to a small well where farmers tap their water but the forest is too thick to enter (see photo below).
The next 25 minutes on the left trail it gently climbs. Here and there you will get some good views to the Second Penang Bridge. You are now also in more vegetable gardens. Once you have come to the point below at the photo, you have to pay good attention. The continuing trail swindles further for another 15 minutes but ends at a flower farm. From that point on there is no path or jungle trail further.
So you have to go back to this point on the photo above. Just before this point there is a small creek with a stone bridge and a tiny trail which leads uphill through a ginger flower plantation.
It's a tricky trail and leads steep up. Follow the trail for a few minutes and stay left, there is a little wooden bridge but climb along the vegetable field. It's a trail of rocks and dirt. Once up there's a cement trail and to your right a blue hut. Pass the hut and the water tank and tiny creek and follow the path up to a 6 way junction which is just 10 minutes further climbing.
There is only one way out from here but it is worth to check some of the other trails. From right to left (counting from arrival):
The best way to hike up to the top (dead end) is to take the main trail to the left. This trail continues climbing and has the promise of more great views further on at the top of the hill. Indeed you are able to see the Balik Pulau area from the end of the trail but unfortunately I didn't find any continuing trail.
So head back and take the first cement trail to the left. It will lead to a hut and further up on a hill top with some spectacular views within a flower garden. It's irritating there's again no continuing trail but it's certainly worth to climb up here.
So you have to walk back to the 6 way junction and continue the only way possible, the path just behind the shelter. This path goes through some forest and ends at the 5 way junction with connections to Balik Pulau and Paya Terubong. Take the right road and walk down to the Chinese Temple, about half an hour away and from there further down to Paya Terubong, the Nan Shan eating stalls where you can get a bus in front of the 7-Eleven.
The hike should take approximately 3-4 hours depending of course how many breaks you take and how much time you spend in exploring the dead ends.
Doing it reverse.
Some say doing this hike reverse is more difficult. In reality, it's quite doable. Here's how to do it (a slight difference to find the right trail is necessary though).
Start in Balik Pulau and start walking to the Air Itam Dam. Just follow the main road until there is a clear V-junction, go right and climb for the next few minutes to the next junction. The road to Air Itam turns left, for Paya Terubong, continue straight. Follow the wide road until you pass a small artificial waterfall crossing the road. The road turns left and continues steeply up double backing the stream. Pass the stream again until you reach a junction (a minute from when you pass the stream). Take the road to your right and follow this all the way up. At the end of the cement road, you're in the rubber plantation. Once you're at the end of the trail, look for the rubbish dump as on the photo below and start climbing the rubber trail.
Now you have to start climbing all the way up to the pass in front of you by following the rubber trail. Whenever you can climb up to the next level, do that and keep continuing left. Once you're on the highest level, look for iron sticks in the ground which are the border of the rubber plantation and the jungle. These sticks also give way to the last 20 minutes climbing on a clear jungle trail to the first vegetable field in the Nan Shan Hills.
Once you reach the vegetable garden, follow the trail down to the first hut and further to the second hut at the 4 way junction. You can walk through the hut and continue going down to Paya Terubong.
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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:
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!.
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.
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.
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
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: