Mounting the heart of the island, Penang Hill was a colonial hill station. It is the best place to explore the nature of Penang now. Hikers will love bequeathing George Town to spend hours, if not days, trawling the dozens of trails that encircle the hill.
For those who want to have a trip to the top, a funicular train whisks visitors up in a few minutes.
Enjoy Penang Nature at the Botanic Gardens
At the bottom of Penang Hill, and within walking distance from Moon Gate, are Penang Botanic Gardens, established in 1794. They are said to be the closest gardens to a city centre. It is only about a 10-minute drive away from George Town. It is a perfect place to walk and observe some of the region’s and the world’s diverse flowers and trees.
A circular paved road goes around the Gardens and is famous for local joggers. You can take a walk and spend time in the many gardens and greenhouses that host various endemic plants. For those who want to experience the forest quickly, a staircase leaves the gardens to Station 46. This is a popular rest stop for hikers. It’s a climb, and you’ll get drenched in sweat for sure, but the views of the trees are superb.
Fly across Penang’s Oldest Forest on a zipline
Penang Hill has a very cool zip line, the 5-course Flight of the Colugo zipline. They were developed to give guests a feel for one of Penang’s oldest rainforest canopies, a staggering 130-million-years old. This new attraction sends visitors gliding above the thicket like flying lemurs (the “colugo”, as the name suggests).
The full Flight of the Colugo experience consists of a five zipline course. These can be completed in about an hour. The cost is RM105 per person and includes equipment rental and guides. The “Honeymoon Zip” is a quick teaser on a single tandem zipline and costs RM32, including tax. It’s an exciting 80mt-long single tandem zipline over a 5mt-high drop that gives guests one first look at the beautiful rainforest.
Take the famous Funicular Train up Penang Hill
The original trains have whisked passengers from the bottom to the top station of Penang Hill since 1923. But there has been an upgrade in 2011. But getting up this hill station by train remains one of Penang’s prominent attractions.
The train takes less than ten minutes to go up. They sometimes stop at the Middle Station en route, where it was necessary to switch trains in the past. The views over the scrub, Air Hitam and George Town in the distance are unique from this rail track.
Check out the Habitat
Still, in brief, it has Penang’s highest viewpoint at the Curtis Crest walkway. And a 230-meter-long canopy walkway, the Langgur Way. It soars 40-meters above the forest floor underneath. It’s been built entirely tree-friendly, without using any direct rigging of the steel cabins on the tree bark.
Have a power hike to Station 5 via Moongate
There’s nothing better than hiking to feel the mesmerising power and sounds of Penang Hill’s forest. A popular Penang Hill hike starts at Moon Gate, the former entrance to a millionaire’s home. You can follow a concrete staircase up to the hill. We don’t recommend or strike off on an exciting side jungle path called Wild Boar Trail.
Moderately fit people should complete the hike in 30–45 minutes one way. Take the time to rest and enjoy nature and the free gym machines at Station 5. It’s best not to strike off later than 5.30 pm to return to Moon Gate before dark.
Take the Penang Hill Hiking Trail that Only Locals Know About
The trek is wholly paved as it’s possible to do also by bicycle or small motorbike. But we believe that walking is the best way to go. The views from the top are astounding. We travelled from Kek Lok Si Temple to George Town and across the Straits Sea to Bukit Mertajam and Kedah.
Find a slice of Myanmar on Penang Hill
Take a side path on your right, and you’ll soon find yourself on the side of the hill filled with dozens of golden Burmese stupas. They are part of a small Buddhist Temple here and are a nice hidden spot to visit on Penang Hill. And tell your friends you have been to Burma instead!