Dec 25, 2021

Emperor Villa: Casual Hiking & Breakfast in Penang

This place is no hidden secret. It's probably one of the best bush-walking places in Penang. During the Pre-covid days, this place used to be a luxury tranquil hideout for tourists. The homestay around the hill cost around RM500 or more per night. But now it is a place frequent by locals for a nature walk. Not only it is shaded with foliage so you can still walk during the mid-day, but at the end of the trip, you will also be rewarded with a pretty cool restaurant that serves good food. I took my parents there, and if they can do it, I’m sure even those physically average are able to go through the walk. 


How to get there:

Waze or Google Map "Sri Subramaniar Munisvaran Temple Sungai Ara". You may park along the street.

Look for the spot below and just follow the track. It is a pretty straightforward track to follow. There will be a signboard showing "Emperor Villa" at every junction. 


Along the way, you will hear a stream running down the hill and eventually meet a mini waterfall where you might find people picnicking. Here are the abandoned resorts that I mentioned. They are now slowly coming back to life.





What to prepare:

  • Although the track has slight elevation, you can't feel it that much. A good walking shoe is still required if you want a comfortable walk. From the starting point to Emperor Villa is about 4km. 
  • Bring along some water will do.
  • The track serves as a road for those who are staying on the hill. Be mindful of motorcycles, cars, and even trucks. Do not listen to your headphones while hiking here. Always keep on the pathway as there are insects, snakes, wild boar, etc. Do not wander into private properties as they have guard dogs. If you see the dogs loitering around, just continue walking. They won't attack hikers as long as not in their territory. 


What to expect:

  • It is a safe walk but can be crowded on weekend mornings.
  • There are a few routes that lead to different points of interest. I have not tried them, but it is a huge forest that links up to Balik Pulau hill. 
  • Please bring cash just in case you have no phone signal to pay via cashless methods. 





My favorite is the chai kuey, but it's not always available.


And I like to sit in the hut outside. There's a stream underneath, it's surrounded by trees, it is nature at its finest. Look at how comfortable the dogs are sleeping here.


Here's the menu for your reference:



The price is quite reasonable. They use fresh ingredients and cooked on the spot. Although the main course can be pricey, the portion is big and made of organic ingredients. I always tempted to try the main course but I was afraid I might be too full to hike down eventually. The food are pork-free but not guaranteed halal. I did see a lot of Malay hikers dine-in there before. 
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