Discover Penang National Park
The northwestern corner of Penang Island is wrapped in the thick jungle and beaches of the world’s smallest national park at Teluk Bahang. A visit here offers a few exciting hiking trails, monkeys, beaches, and a lot more. This includes the world’s few meromictic lakes, which means a lake where fresh and saltwater don’t mix but coincides in layers.
Look for some strange and cute Malaysian Animals
The jungles of Penang hide at most minuscule 13 Malaysian animals, including rare ones such as the flying lemur, the Sunda slow loris and the giant red squirrel. Like the long-tail macaques, some of them are pretty easy to spot, but you must be lucky to find others.
The Botanic Gardens and Penang Hill are the outstanding places to start looking. But remember that, whatever you find, keep your distance and don’t disturb them in their habitat. Most importantly, do not feed monkeys or any other animals.
Meet a million butterflies at ENTOPIA
Formerly called Penang Butterfly Farm, ENTOPIA is one of Teluk Bahang’s best attractions. It offers an extremely larger space to see insects, creepy crawlies and other small animals. Take your time to stroll inside Natureland. A living garden vivarium with 15,000-odd free-flying butterflies.
Or browse the Cocoon, two floors of learning exhibits, and indoor activities all dedicated to insects and bugs. It’s a great place to visit in Penang with kids but is unquestionably educational for people of all ages.
Enjoy the Rainforest at Taman Rimba
Hikers prepare to enter the trails at Taman Rimba Penang. Right next to ENTOPIA is Taman Rimba, a 32-hectares natural park that serves as a great introduction to Penang and Malaysia’s rainforest. The park is equipped with all sorts of picnic areas. A forestry museum and a decent number of hiking trails connect with other hiking circuits via Laksamana Hill until Penang Hill.
The beauty of Taman Rimba is certainly its lush forest, some of the deepest in Penang. You can go swimming in one of the many holes here, or bring a tent and camp overnight. Arrange your stay at the park headquarters.
Relax at one of Penang’s Best Beaches
Penang is an island, of course. Penang beaches are not the best in Southeast Asia. But there are a few clandestine gems worth visiting. On the southern side of Penang island, Balik Pulau and Teluk Kumbar have some quiet, long beaches. Such as Pantai Pasir Panjang and Gertak Sanggul with its attractive fishing community great seafood.
On the northern side of Penang, Batu Ferringhi beach was once a hippie hangout and today harbours most of the island’s high-end hotels and resorts. Penang National Park at Teluk Bahang has more amazing views. And a few well-known beaches like Monkey Beach and Pantai Kerachut.
Visit the Tropical Spice Garden
Set in a beautiful location between the sea and a forested hill, the award-winning Tropical Spice Garden is a compilation of tropical plants curated by local artist Rebecca Duckett-Wilkinson. The garden is not only excellent as a location for pre-wedding photography. But also to take your kids on an exploration tour of some of Malaysia, and Southeast Asia’s, rarest species of plants.
Their Poison Garden is an instructive walk among poisonous plants, whose uses and misuses are richly described with educational panels. We suggest you get an audio tour for yourself and your kids to maximise your fun and learning experience. You can also participate in their guided day or night walks.
Hike to Penang’s second tallest peak, Bukit Laksamana
You have reached the top of 805-meters-high Bukit Laksamana, congrats! Soaring between Penang Hill and Penang National Park at Teluk Bahang, 805-meters-high Bukit Laksamana is the second highest peak in Penang and a hiker’s enjoyment.
You can start your hike at Taman Rimba, Chin Farm in Batu Ferringhi, or Penang Hill itself. If starting from the northern side of the island, you’ll have to endure a steep incline up to the Laksamana peak. The views from Eagle Point are incredible and worth the sweat and sore muscles.
Chase Supertrees at Cherok Tokun Nature Park
Right across the bridge in Bukit Mertajam is Cherok Tokun Nature Park. It is an expanse of wilderness with a bunch of less trawled hiking trails. One of the best reasons to come here is to look for one of the four giant trees hidden away in reserve. On the contrary to Penang Hill, Cherok Tokun has some of Penang’s most prominent and oldest trees. An outstanding natural sight that any nature lover wouldn’t want to miss.
Don’t forget to check out the other great hiking in Penang Mainland, also called Seberang Perai. Want to explore it more? Stay at one of Bukit Mertajam’s best hotels. And if you want to know more, our ultimate guide to Cherok Tok Kun has everything you need to know to hike this beautiful nature reserve.
Adventure at Balik Pulau
By far, the island’s most natural and unspoilt area remains Balik Pulau in the southwest corner of Penang. This is where you will find fishing villages, unspoiled beaches, many nutmegs, durian and banana trees, some of Penang’s best and most famous laksa, and a pace of life opposite to hectic George Town.
Balik Pulau is also ideal for cycling and relaxing and also has a couple of hiking trails, such as the 3-mile circuit at Kalan Pondok Upeh. It’s a good idea to base yourself here if you are looking for a quiet and more natural experience of Penang island.
Marvel at Frog Hill
Also called “Bukit Katak”, Frog Hill was an offbeat place in Seberang Perai, the mainland chunk of Penang State, that got popular thanks to the everyday work of Instagram hype. Also named Lombong Kampung Guar Petai, Frog Hill Tasek Gelugor, or Guar Perahu, Frog Hill is an old tin mining site where water is collected into a series of pools crisscrossed by red earth moraines.
It’s an abstract scenery of jagged red rocks emerging from viridian pools. Some people said that Frog Hill is like the “Jiuzhaigou of Penang”. Quite an overstatement, but let the locals be proud of their backwoods.