5 Way Junction to Sungai Pinang (3-4 hours, blue trail)
This is an alternative to the red trail, and what an alternative! Once you have arrived at 5 Way Junction, you have several options. If coming from the Air Itam Dam: to your right: Tiger Hill and further to Penang Hill, see this page or continuing on the Old Ridge Path to rain gauge 29. To your left you can hike the Ngoh Han Hill trail. The second to the left, a decent road that swindles up towards Bukit Elvira, leads to Balik Pulau but it's challenging to find the right trail as I found out during my 5 times I hike it.
The middle road is the one you want. It has the sign towards the Tua Pek Kong (red board). The road swindles down and quickly you find another boards at a junction to your left. You can take the junction but after 10 minutes you reach a dead end although you meet one of those amazingly nice farmers.
So you follow again the Tua Pek Kong direction until the next junction. This one is a bit confusing. The main road turns steeply down but the wider and less developed road turns slightly to the left. There is another junction within minutes but this too is a dead end.
You will have some views towards the hills to your right. The road to the Tua Pek Kong can be seen further down but soon you will loose that sight. Slowly the trails swindles up until you reach a 4 way junction.
The trail to your left seems abandoned, so there's the choice of going straight left or straight right.
Going left: the road to nowhere.
I went left as it seemed the better road. Quickly I started to see a large chunk of Balik Pulau area all the way to Pulau Betong. It seemed I was on the right trail. Within 5 minutes I was joined by a pack of barking dogs which lead me to a junction. I could go straight or right. The straight road seemed the more remote so I took that one. 10 minutes later I found another junction (were it actually smelled heavy of vomit, it was disgusting).
The left lead into the forest. Soon a small shrine and a tank were visible. But also the road was blocked by many trees. I passed the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th blockade while on the way I got some awesome views over the Balik Pulau area but at some point the blockade was simply too much.
So I went steeply down towards a farmers shelter. Again a junction, I turned left and ... the excellent though steep road ended abruptly in a banana plantation. So I went back and took the other road. This one seemed to turn back towards the road I had walked just earlier. And indeed that was exactly what the road did. I was back at the first junction after the 4 way junction. This was all roads to nowhere. Thus I turned back to the 4 way junction
Going right: Sungai Pinang
The road to the right was more a forest road, a decent though. Within minutes I had some awesome views towards Balik Pulau but also to the hills to my right side as I was now effectively on a ridge. Now the road became a tar road and started to decent.
Soon the first farms appeared. The road swindled steeply down. To the right, there were hills that separate the red from the blue trail. Thus you also won't see the Tua Pek Kong on this hike.
From this point on it was basically following the road down. Several junctions came and went. The trick here is to choose the trails that go down and follow the direction of Sungai Pinang, the village at the west coast of Penang which on and off becomes visible. It's about an hour mostly steep descending.
You will find a notice board you're on private property for the next 2 km. You can safely ignore this warning. The road continues to swindle down to road 6 which connects Balik Pulau (9km) with Teluk Bahang (11km). Here you have to wait for the infrequent bus #501 or try to hitch to Sungai Pinang, a few km further down where you may get equally infrequent bus # 404 from Pantai Acheh or the #501 either to Teluk Bahang or Balik Pulau (from where you can get the 401, 401E and 502 back to George Town).
The blue trail is certainly one of the best walks in the Balik Pulau area. If you skip the part that leads to nowhere, it takes from 5 way junction to road 6 about 2 hours. It's first class hiking.
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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.
5 Way Junction to Air Putih
From 5 Way Junction it's a nice 3 hour walk through forest and farm fields.
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:
5 Way Junction to Sungai Pinang (red trail)
This is a slightly difficult to find. The key in this hike is to follow the main trails and keep going down. It's a scenic trek through cultivated land and secondary rainforest to durian plantations. A great trail!
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.
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.
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.