Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Penang National Park @ Teluk Bahang [7th Mar 2010]

Many thought that Penang was just famous for their delicacies and food. I am no exception to that stereotyping not until when Phooi Khuan told me that there was a place that all the nature lover would love to be there. Although I have been to Penang numerous times, I have yet to explore the nature side of it and I suppose this was a good time for a nature outing.

After the dim sum breakfast, we headed off to the nature site that was preserved, the National Park of Penang. It is located deep inside of Teluk Bahang after passing by Tanjung Bungah and Batu Feringhi. We took almost 40 minutes of traveling from Anson Road before reaching the place at 9.30am.
Entrance of Penang National Park

Span area of the National Park

We needed to register at the counter before being allowed to enter to the park. At first I thought that there would be some fee for the entrance, but I was wrong. The registration is free and and you will be given a pass stating your desired route and your activities.
Registration counter

Our pass, only trekking

We then proceeded to the main entrance of trail which is just a stone throw away.
The journey begins here

The starting trail was not tough at all, as they were paved nicely. More to a strolling than a trekking.
Well paved trail

Just after 5 minutes of walk, we have reached a beach side. There were seats and tables being erected for those picnickers. However, the view were not that great as the water were brownish and murky.
Upper north of Teluk Bahang

There were signboards erected along the paved trail, reminding the visitors not to litter around and to keep the park clean. This just showed that most of the Malaysians still do not know how to preserve the nature and needed some signboard to serve as reminder. I am hoping that there will be a day where these signboards will be removed, to signify that the Malaysians have learned to care about the nature heritage.
Please Malaysians, keep our nature clean!

After 10 minutes lapsed from the main entrance, we reached the first check point, Pasir Pandak. There was a bridge labelled with Jambatan Pasir Pandak welcoming us to explore deeper in to the park.
Pasir Pandak Bridge

Checking the stability of the bridge

At the end of the bridge, there was a T junction of trail with a direction signboard erected. Taking the left trail will lead us to the Pantai Kerachut, the west of Penang National park. Since our objective was to head to the Muka Head lighthouse, we took the right hand side trail.
The T-junction trail signboard

The starting trail to the Muka Head was still straight forward with man-made steps aiding the way.
Man-made steps, no worries=)

Level terrain

It was just minutes of walk before you reach another beach side on your right hand side. I suppose this beach is still under the region of Pasir Pandak. The water was calm and the beach look secluded with only rocks and boulders lying on the sand.
Upper North of Pasir Pandak

The trail get a little harder with steps going up and down. However, things were still pretty easy, thanks to the concreted step trails.
Concreted steps

After another 5 minutes of walk from the secluded beach of Pasir Pandak, we reached another checkpoint. The landmark of the checkpoint was still a bridge, but this time it was being labeled as Jambatan Sungai Tukun..
Bridge again?

I wondered why they needed so many bridge to from as landmark. Were they out of ideas? However, I got the answer the moment I look on my left hand side,
A stream, called Sungai Tukun

While on the bridge, you will spot another beach on your right hand side with some funny planks being erected. Were the planks meant for the oyster industry?
Another beach, Teluk Tukun

There were nothing much to keep us staying at the checkpoint. Shortly, we reached a section where there was rope being tied to the side to ease the way. It was not tough as the picture suggested.
Does it look tough?

Keep walking

The walk was not boring because almost every five minutes, there will be another different view or trail welcoming you. This time round, the trail featured a stretch of wooden platform overseeing the sea on the right side. It was a very unique experience hiking in this national park and I was excited on what was there for us as we go deeper.
A wooden platform

The platform overseeing the sea

At the end of the platform, we needed to descend before reaching another beach. Phooi Khuan told me that, we had reach the third checkpoint, USM/CEMAC. A check with the clock showed that we took near to 20 minutes to reach here from the second checkpoint.
Solid rock foundation

It was windy, the sand were very fine with a clear blue sea water welcoming you. The continuous sound of the waves beating the beach was so soothing to the ear. What a way to spend your Sunday morning.
The rock foundation
Initially we thought of climbing it, however we backed off due to the slippery condition on the rock foundation.

USM Research Area

Unity of tiny little crabbies

Ya-hoo, I love this check point!

The USM Jetty

Ever thought what was the use of the jetty? I knew a jetty was meant for boats to dock, but we have different ideas here.
Emo-ing time

What posing us?

"You are under arrest!"

Our pair of sticks

We lingered at the USM beach for about half an hour before continuing our journey. The trail gets tougher here as there were no more paved or concreted path. Shortly, we came across a path that was blocked by a fallen tree. Time to flex the body a little.
The fallen tree

Still has a wooden bridge to aid the way

Some of the obstacles faced

The trail was pretty boring as there were nothing much being offered but the typical natural trekking trail and the sound of the waves. The good point was that the canopy of trees shedding us from the sun light. After 30 minutes of trekking from the USM check point, we finally reached another wooden platform.
Another wooden platform

Suddenly Phooi Khuan held me back and asked me to look down to the ground. There was this special rock which served as a sign that we are just steps away from the Monkey Beach.
The heart shaped rock

And shortly, there was a beautiful pristine beach welcoming us. Here we are, the fourth checkpoint, the Monkey Beach.
The Monkey Beach

Unpolluted, pristine beach

Our sand print on the beach

A swamp by the beach

Reminds me so much about Pulau Redang

Shaded by the sun

A beach palm, beach durian and strawberry coconut?

Time for a little rest before some hiking begins

I was so reluctant to move on because the beach was so beautiful. I had been to many beaches but this Monkey Beach clearly was one of the better one that was good enough to persuade me to stay longer. However, we need to moved on to the final check point Muka Head, where the lighthouse is located.
Statistics and information

What? Close?!!

Though the lighthouse was closed, we however decided to continue hiking up. Well, at least I could have a glimpse of the lighthouse even though I will not able to enter it.
Starting trail to Muka Head

As opposed to the previous jungle trail, this trail was upslope of 45 degrees with very minimal level terrain. Fortunately, there were concreted stairs aiding our way. However, having less than 2 hours of sleep the day before just did not make things any easier.
Steep stairs

The only stretch of level terrain

A lesson to learn, always have enough of rest the day before your outdoor activities especially hiking. However, I always tend not to have enough rest even though I keep reminding myself.
The jaded us

After 15 minutes of non stop hiking, we finally spotted the first check point of rest hut. Suddenly, I felt the sudden rush of my adrenaline, hasting myself to the rest hut. However, my adrenaline was quickly drained away by the message on the stone.
It reads " Caution, Snake!"
I don't like reading this kind of message even though it might just happen to be some hoax.

First check point

We took a 5 minutes breather here before continuing our journey up. We munched on to some energy bars and gulping in the much needed 100 plus.
Our much needed energy food

After the breather, we continued hiking up for a further 5 minutes. Phooi Khuan was ahead of me, and suddenly she stood there. I saw her grabbing some stones from the ground and throwing it over some leaves. I asked her what was the matter and she answered me that she heard some hissing sound. She said that it might be a snake. I was like "What? Oh my God!". I asked her to back off and without thinking twice I called for a U-turn.
The place where Phooi Khuan stood

As much as I would love to reach the peak of Muka Head to sight the lighthouse, however what Phooi Khuan had just told me coupled with the initial message on the rock just did not make things well. I suppose it was a fake and this was the risk I dare not taking even though I'm a risk taker.
Time to descend

We took near to 20 minutes to reach the starting point of the trail and suddenly Phooi Khuan stood by checking out on the leaves. Phooi Khuan stop scaring me please. You know I don't like reptiles even though I love nature. Thankfully, it was not the snake.
Can you spot the Iguana?

Here we were back to the Monkey Beach. The sun was rising and shining all over the beach. No wonder why Phooi Khuan was looking for her shade earlier in the morning. I was hoping that I brought my shade along too.
Sunny Monkey Beach

1pm, 17th March 2010 at Monkey Beach

Escapade from the busy city

In much need of the relaxing ambiance

Perfect spot for chilling

We just love the coconut tree

We lingered at the beach more than an hour, exchanging some stories and life facts. It was very enjoyable with the breeze touches to the face coupled with the soothing sound of the waves. The only thing lacking was the coconut as the stall was closed. What a pity.
See you again Monkey Beach!

It was hard to part with the beach, what's more with the beautiful beach. Even After lingering for more than an hour, I still felt very reluctant to head back to the main entrance of the Penang National Park. There was two option to choose from. First option was to trek back all the way which would take at least one and a half our. Or, secondly, we can request for a boat transfer which would only take 10 minutes. Obviously, we chose the boat transfer option since we were so dread tired.
It's time to head home

My part time job

Getting near to the Teluk Bahang jetty

Teluk Bahang jetty

As being told, it was only 10 minutes away by boat transfer from the Monkey Beach to the jetty.
Back to where we from

Definitely, our heart was still stuck at the Monkey Beach. We need some solitary moment to get ourselves back.
The sephia-ish Phooi Khuan

The wanderer me

Obviously not, the two pictures above were just merely for posing. Though we missed the beach, but it was not till that chronic situation.
We were just kidding!=P

It was tiring, but nonetheless I enjoyed every bit of the exploration in the Penang National Park. Hopefully, it won't be too long before my next trip here for the exploration to the West coast side of the national park. There is one thing for sure, that the next time I heard people saying that Penang was only famous for their delicacies, I will be sure to enlighten them. Clearly, they have been missing this gem in the Pearl of Orient!

Thank you Phooi Khuan for introducing such a beautiful place!=)

1 comment:

  1. Wow what an experience! Cant believe I've been missing out on this place all these while lols. Monkey beach looks so beautiful! You told me the only way to get there is by trekking right? Was hoping for an easier way to get there hahah :p
    Great pics, love 'em! :)


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