Dec 7, 2019

Penang National Park: A Hike to Turtle Beach



People always think of Penang for its food, beaches, and heritage shophouses, but do you know, a large chunk of Penang Island is covered by forest? If you drive on the road to Batu Ferringhi, you will end up at Teluk Bahang. Beyond all the glamourous resorts by the beach, there's a quiet and sleepy fishermen's village. This is where the Penang National Park starts.

The Penang National Park is frequent by the locals for their weekend nature outing and you can also find some adventurous tourists finding their ways to the most pristine beach of Penang. The National Park gives you access to three beaches that are not accessible by road. We choose to go to Pantai Kerachut (or Kerachut Beach) because the other routes were obstructed by landslide.




How to get there:

  • By car - Waze for the location “Taman Negara Pulau Pinang”. Car park costs RM4 per entry.
  • By bus - Bus No.101 to the last stop at Teluk Bahang.
  • By Grab - Search for "Taman Negara Pulau Pinang".

Procedure:

  1. Register yourself at the counter. The counter opens at 8am. You are not allowed to enter without registration. This is a safety procedure and registration is free.
  2. Collect the printed map at the counter and start exploring. 
  3. The distance from the entrance to the beach is about 2km. It will take about 1.5 hours to hike in and another 1.5 hours to get out of the jungle.

The alternative route to get to the beach is via boat ride. I will cost you around RM20 per person.

Camp site at Turtle Beach. It's away from the beach but it's the only safe spot. 

Preparation and what to bring:

  1. Your body must be moderately fit or better.
  2. A good pair of shoe
  3. Check the weather
  4. Bring lots of water. There's no drinkable water source once you get in.
  5. Bring some snacks
Wedding photography is very common here.

What you will discover:

  1. A meromictic lake where the seawater and freshwater meet, but they do not mix together. This is the only meromictic lake in the entire Malaysia.
  2. A turtle sanctuary is located at the far left of the beach. Learn about turtle conservation and their life there. It's a great place for kids.
  3. Remember that this area is a reserved forest. You can find prionailurus wild cat, silvered leaf monkey, wild giant black squirrel, various snakes, hornbill, etc. Many times I heard some animals rattling in the bushes, which I think are snakes. I also got upclosed with a silvered leaf monkey and it was my first time seeing one. 
  4. The canopy walk and suspension bridge is currently closed under maintenance. Part of the journey have been covered with landslide for the past 2 years.
The 10th turtle conservation that I've been to.


Weird jungle fruit.

Guess what this looks like?

Typical scenery on the way to the beach.


I would rate this jungle tracking as moderately adventurous. You still need some degree of physical strength to hike throughout. Don’t think that it’s bad, there’s always the option of taking the boat if exercise is not your cup of tea. And if you take the boat, there are other areas to explore such as the lighthouse, Monkey Beach (yes, there are monkeys there on the beach) and ....

I’m going to make this my regular place to exercise because it combines both of the things I love - beach and nature.


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