Frog Hill is the nickname for this abandoned tin mining site.
A hidden gem that’s surprisingly close to Penang. Its existence is only starting to become known among locals through word of mouth.
Those Instagram photos probably help drive up its growing popularity too.
Actually, this place has a few names:
- Lombong Kampung Guar Petai,
- Froghill Tasek Gelugor or Guar Perahu.
Some people have even claimed that it resembles Jiuzhaigou in China.
It is located in North Seberang Perai which is on the mainland rather than the island of Penang.
We made this trip from Ipoh one weekend since we happened to have a wedding to attend in nearby Bukit Mertajam too.
Did I mention?
There is NO entrance fee.
With that, you can’t expect any proper facilities either. Make sure you prepare accordingly.
- How to go Frog Hill, Penang
- Frog Hill Penang map
- Preparing for the hike at Lombong Kampung Guar Petai
- How to avoid getting lost at Guar Perahu
- The right track to Lombong Kampung Guar Petai
- Hiking at Frog Hill Penang
- After the hike – lesson learnt
- What to eat at Bukit Mertajam
- Where to stay in Bukit Mertajam
So how do you get there?
We started early in the morning, checking out from our hotel in Bukit Mertajam. Yes, the mainland and not actually from Penang although you could still do that if you wanted to.
so let’s get started: how to go to Frog hill?
Bukit Mertajam to Frog Hill – roughly 30 minutes drive
Penang to Froghill – around 40 minutes’ drive
You have to drive on through a kampung (a.k.a small village in the local lingo) area.
How about a map?
There are apparently two ways to enter the site. The signboard is not too obvious and we had to rely on coordinates that we found online through other blogs and Facebook posts.
Also, beware of rain:
If you’re going in the rainy season (like us), avoid having your car washed the day before. Because it’s only going to get dirty again with the red clay that is prevalent and unavoidable when you enter the tin mining grounds.
We’ll do you one better:
Here are the exact coordinates to the entrance –> 5.442677, 100.473271
and here are the coordinates or address of Frog Hill Penang –> 5.435507, 100.484705
Why 2 different coordinates? Read on to find out.
You see, the site of the old tin mining grounds is further in, past a red brick factory.
You can either opt to park your car a little way off the brick factory and walk to the mining site, or drive in through the mud and clay and everything until you reach the foot of the hill (frog hill penang).
Scroll down for pictures.
We chose to leave the car and walk in. It’s about 15mins walk from here.
You can see the entrance from the picture below – the track goes in between all the vegetation.
At this point, our GPS signal was not strong anymore.
The question of shoes:
If you’re wondering whether it’s better to bring hiking shoes or flip flops, we would suggest flip flops unless you have an old pair of sneakers you don’t mind getting dirty.
If you happen to have wellingtons, that might be a great option instead of flip flops.
Other must haves:
Slap on some sunscreen before you go.
What about…bugs? >.<
I worried about bugs too (like I normally do because I’m a mosquito magnet) but I think the water chemical composition is too high in iron and other minerals for them to breed.
In fact, we hardly saw any insects, let alone frogs.
What if nature calls?
Make sure you use the bathroom before you go to Guar Perahu – there are NO toilet facilities here. Eat ahead of the trip or bring something (just don’t litter) to eat.
Don’t get lost:
You know you’re going the wrong way when the path becomes gross.
The mud is sticky and thick. The clay is slippery. There are cow hoof prints and cow poop. More pictures below.
It gets worse:
We turned around when we realized we hit a dead end. We kept moving because we could see people climbing the hill from where we were.
Felt such despair that time!
We had started our drive from our hotel in Bukit Mertajam early in the morning at 8am but it was almost 10am and we still weren’t there.
If you take the correct path, you will not be so close to the ponds.
Nothing to lose:
We proceeded to backtrack the way we had come.
Read more: Penang Hill – Must-Visit Penang Attraction With Panoramic Views
Here’s a big tip for you:
Again, if you refer to the picture above (with two cars parked), go straight in and you will reach a fork in front of an old structure (pictured below) that goes over a small river.
Walk straight past the landmark which is on your left. Keep going straight.
Prefer a map? Look no further.
After the landmark (landmark on the small river as shown in picture above-green circle), we chose the other path this time.
You know it’s the right way when:
This path was much easier than the previous path we had taken. Less mud but still a lot of wet clay.
Soon enough, we came across an old uncle on a motorcycle who assured us that we were going the right way.
Don’t be discouraged!
Presently, a four wheel drive full of people were coming up on the opposite lane. As they passed us, they said we should turn back cause the road was much worse closer to the hill. We just nodded and smiled at them.
Truth be told:
We were already dirty from ankles to calves so we just went on despite their warning. Turns out, the path was not nearly as bad as what we had encountered earlier. We walked on the grass instead.
It looked like it was about to rain though. We hadn’t brought an umbrella with us – debated about it for a bit and pressed on.
Our hopes increased the closer we got to the hill.
Luck at last:
The drizzle stopped. In about 20 minutes or so, we had finally made it to the hill.
Read more: Penang National Park (Complete Guide) – Spend A Delightful Day Hiking In Nature
The start of the hill is loose red clay which gives way to rock as you go higher. It’s a short but steep climb to the top.
The view is worth it:
The pools range from a forest green to a dark aqua and even something close to turquoise on that cloudy day.
The water is clear enough at the shallow parts that you can see some metal scrap pieces, probably remains of the previous tin dredge.
We could see more people making their way to the hill. It was a nice cloudy day with a little bit of drizzle.
From up here, you can see a bit of the highway, a train track and maybe catch a glimpse of the water buffaloes ( the “cows”) too.
We stayed until the next group came up. Plus, we were starving and hadn’t had breakfast yet.
Continue down this post if you want to see what to eat in Bukit Mertajam.
Read more: 27 Best Things To Do In Penang
First, I want to share a lesson learnt that day:
Happily made our way back to the car. We saw a couple turning in with their little MYVI.
What did they want?
They asked us if we had come back from the hill. We told them to keep going but I think they got discouraged, looking at our filthy shoes. They turned their car around and left the site. Maybe that’s a good thing. Since it started raining again soon after.
As we got into the car, I realized my phone was missing. It was a hand-me-down from dad but I was sad that I was so careless to have dropped it.
It was starting to rain quite heavily by then and the phone was definitely not in the car or on me. I distinctly remembered taking a photo standing on a cliff at frog hill using my phone though. Must have dropped it on the way back to the car. Called the phone and there was a ring, which was somewhat hopeful. But no one would be able to hear it because my phone is on silent with no vibration mode.
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I asked a car of people that was just exiting the hill if they had seen my phone but they said no.
Seeing how distressed I was, my travel partner kindly offered to walk back (in the rain) and look for it. He even asked me to wait in the car.
We ended up going together. Didn’t have much hope of finding it. It was likely stolen or soaked by now.<
Did we find it?
Eventually found the phone midway to the hill, faced up in the grass (the screen was reflecting the sunlight) at the side of the road. Only someone walking along the soaked path could have found it.
To my relief, the phone was still functioning too. Protected from the rain by its cheap plastic cover. The wet grass likely broke the fall too.
Lesson learnt? Leave the phone in the car (out of sight, of course).
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Our next question was where to go for our much needed breakfast/ lunch.
Yam Rice At Bukit Mertajam
Okay, so now we could go back to town and find the reputed BM yam rice we had been thinking about the whole morning.
Here is the meal we had (it cost us RM 17 for everything).
Rice with yam, pork soup with pork meatballs, a hard-boiled egg braised in light and dark soy sauce and tofu. The restaurant has a somewhat commercial feel to it and the portion of yam is somewhat small. But the food is really delicious.
Note: this restaurant has changed location before so make sure you go to the new location. Google “BM Yam rice”. Of course, there are other people trying to leech off the success of this original restaurant. Do be careful of similarly named stores that are also nearby.
After our meal, we headed back to the hotel to shower, pack up and check out and make our way back to Ipoh.
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By the way:
We chose Chariton Hotel Alma as it was close to the wedding venue.
This boutique hotel shares the ground floor with a non-halal coffee shop called Brava. You can have breakfast or lunch here (But there are many places to eat around this hotel too).
Where to park?
Just walk in the shop from the front after parking your car at the corner lot which is reserved parking space for hotel guests. The counter should be at the back of the coffee shop.
Need something for your trip?
AEON is not far away if you need to pick up something. I forgot my heels at home at had to pick out a cheap pair of shoes that looked decent with my dress -.-“.
We paid about RM130 for one night in the king standard room (breakfast not included). Got RM20 ringgit off from an Agoda coupon.
What we thought about our stay:
The room is small but clean, well equipped with basic facilities and has free WiFi. We did not use the TV as we had brought a laptop to plan our upcoming Hanoi trip in December 2017.
Try and find the time to visit this hidden gem before it becomes mobbed by tourists or before the owners realize the money-making potential of this rather unique and enchanting place.
Helps that it isn’t too far from Penang (Or Ipoh) too. It’s not everyday that you see an abandoned tin mine. =)