Penang National Park leads hikers to hidden beaches

The park has several hilly but well-marked trails, with many of them leading to ‘hidden’ beaches. — Photos: Wikimedia Commons

Penang is known for many things: Delicious food, beautiful heritage buildings, murals and more.

But did you know that the state also has a national park? At 25sq m, the Penang National Park is rather small compared to other national parks in Malaysia, but it is no less impressive.

Because of its size, you can actually explore the whole park in just a few hours, on foot or via a small boat. It’s a nice place to take young explorers who are curious about nature.

However, do try to visit during the dry season if you’re not keen on getting wet.

Visitors may get the chance to see dusky langurs at Penang National Park.Visitors may get the chance to see dusky langurs at Penang National Park.Start your exploration at the Interpretation Centre to learn about the park’s ecosystem, before continuing with a 90-minute trek through the forest. The trek is not too difficult and there are ropes along the way to help guide you. It is a good way for visitors to check out the flora up close; there are over 400 plant species found here.

There is also the Sungai Halimunan or “invisible river”, which actually refers to the groundwater.

If hiking is too much for you, then rent one of the small boats and take a 30-minute ride through the waterway. This will allow you to see the “crocodile” and “turtle” rock formations.

The Kerachut Beach is where you can go to set up camp and enjoy the night sky.

The country’s one and only Meromictic Lake – a lake which has both saltwater and freshwater, yet they do not “mix” with one another – can be found at Kerachut Beach too.

A turtle sanctuary is located at the end of the beach and if you visit anytime between April and August, you may be lucky enough to see a green sea turtle, while those who come between September and February may catch a glimpse of the olive ridley sea turtle.

Hiking enthusiasts can head up to the Muka Head Lighthouse (227m) to get a panoramic view of the beach.

Other interesting trails and spots include Teluk Aling and Monkey Beach.

The park is open daily from 8am to 5pm; admission is free.

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