AN ABANDONED quarry in Kampung Guar Petai Penang has become a tourism hotspot with many netizens singing its praises on social media.
Located about 15km north-east from Butterworth town, the 800m by 800m square-shaped site which is also known as Bukit Katak (Frog Hill). It boasts of a blue-coloured lake surrounded by red cliffs which many say originated from past excavation works.
Although hidden from the public eye, one can reach the “paradise” via the exit from Jalan Arumugam Pillai in Bukit Mertajam.
After a short drive on the red laterite road, visitors need to take a 15-minute hike up to the 50m-high cliff with the peak offering hikers a panoramic view of the cocoon.
Those who fancy a dip can swim in the lake while the more adventurous opt to go for cliff diving.
Shutterbugs will surely be kept busy snapping pictures of the rocky formations and the crystal clear water.
Mountain bikers are also regular visitors here, taking up the challenge to ride up the hill on their bicycles.
Student Mohd Azmin Johari, 20, from Pematang Pauh said he got to know about the new retreat after seeing some photos of the place on Facebook.
“I then made a search online for the exact location.
“To my surprise, I found out that it was not too far away, just about 20 minutes drive from Butterworth town.
“This place has good tourism potential. I hope it will be developed and included in the tourism map,” he said when met at the lake.
Avid photographer Mohd Ashraf Abdul Rahman, 21, also came to know about the location through social media.
“I saw many beautiful photos being posted by my friends in our forums. I decided to give this place a visit.
“It is very peaceful here. I am so surprised that such a beautiful place still exists free from urbanisation,” he said.
A local resident who lives nearby who wished to be known only as Kamarul, 55, said he has been living in the area for the past 30 years, but never knew of such an attraction.
“The place used to be a large rubber plantation in the early 1970s, called the Tok Alang Estate.
“After that, the land was cleared and turned into a quarry to produce raw material for a nearby brick kiln.
“However, the operation was closed down about 10 years ago. It was only the beginning of this year that people started to visit the site again,” said Kamarul.
Food and drink sellers have started to operate near the entrance of the site at the foot of the hill, capitalising on the weekend crowd.
“Most families visit this place on weekends, especially in the morning and evening.
“They come here for a picnic or gather with friends.
“The students come in groups to take photos of the place,” said a drink seller.
However, due to the nature of the location, there is neither any toilets in the vicinity nor any kind of shelter.
When contacted, Seberang Prai Municipal councillor David Marshel said they would look into developing the location as a tourism hotspot.
“We have been receiving positive news about the place and the tourism task force wants to learn more about the place.
“We believe it is private land. We will know more when we do a site visit there early next month,” he said.