Monkey Beach Penang

Named after the macaques that hunt for crabs along the beach, Monkey Beach Penang goes by a few other names too – Penang National Park Monkey Beach, Monkey Island or Teluk Duyung in Malay.

While not easily accessible from Georgetown, the fine white sand makes it one of the best beaches in Penang!

It’s a popular attraction, with plenty of locals during weekends and public holidays. Even though there’s not a whole lot to do here. As you will see in this post!

Table of Contents:

How To Go To Monkey Beach Penang

You’ll need at least 40 minutes (or 1.5 hours for the bus) to get to the entrance of Penang National Park in Teluk Bahang from George Town.

Note: Entry to the Penang National Park is free.

Entrance To Penang National Park
Entrance To Penang National Park – Photo by Travelswithsun

Step 1: Getting To Penang National Park

There are a few ways to get into the Penang National Park, namely:

  1. By car – simply park next to the entrance in a guarded open-air lot for only RM4 or RM5.
  2. Local bus service, Rapid Penang 101 and 102 have routes from Weld Quay Jetty Bus Terminal or KOMTAR to the entrance to Penang National Park in Teluk Bahang. It costs just under RM3!

Step 2: 2 Ways To Get To Monkey Beach From Penang National Park

  1. Boat – Once you reach Teluk Bahang, there are plenty of boatmen offering their services to take you to Monkey Beach directly by boat.
  2. Hiking – Your other option is to hike through Penang National Park to Monkey Beach!
Stunning Monkey Beach In Penang National Park, Teluk Bahang
Stunning Monkey Beach In Penang National Park, Teluk Bahang – photo credits to matka_unelmia (Instagram)

Monkey Beach Penang Hiking

Note: As of July 2022, the direct trail to Monkey Beach is closed and the only way to get to the beach is to take a boat.

If you’re moderately fit, it can take you about 1.5 to 2 hours to get to Monkey Beach.

Be sure to bring along plenty of water, as the humidity and weather along this jungle trail can wear you down quickly.

It’s a tricky trail too. So do watch your footing as the tangling tree roots can make the surface harder to traverse through.

But you’re also just as likely to stumble across various wildlife such as monitor lizards, monkeys, and birds during your trek;

However, keep your distance even if you’re tempted to approach them for a photo or a closer look!

  • Route: Penang National Park Entrance -> Pantai Teluk Aling -> Monkey Beach
  • Distance: 3.5km
  • Duration: about 2 hours

After you’ve reached Monkey Beach and had a good look around (including a quick splash in the shallows):

You can take the trail to Muka Head Lighthouse! Which requires another 30-45 minutes (one way) to reach! Depending on your level of fitness of course. Coming down is a lot quicker (~30 minutes).

Start Of The Muka Head Lighthouse Trail On Monkey Beach At Penang National Park
Start Of The Muka Head Lighthouse Trail On Monkey Beach At Penang National Park – Photo by Travelswithsun

The start of the trail is at the left end of the beach (if you’re facing the sea). There is a signboard in front of the trail along with a man-made path.

Muka Head Lighthouse - Accessible From Monkey Beach At Penang National Park
Muka Head Lighthouse – Accessible From Monkey Beach At Penang National Park – Photo by Travelswithsun

Muka Head Lighthouse:

Muka Head Lighthouse is Malaysia’s second-oldest lighthouse!

Muka Head Lighthouse - Accessible From Monkey Beach At Penang National Park
Muka Head Lighthouse – Accessible From Monkey Beach At Penang National Park – Photo by Travelswithsun

While you can’t access the main or back buildings of the lighthouse, visitors can climb the spiral staircase up to the tower for some decent views at the top of the lighthouse.

Views Of The Sea From Muka Head Lighthouse At Penang National Park
Views Of The Sea From Muka Head Lighthouse At Penang National Park – Photo by Travelswithsun

Don’t expect a 360-degree view though as the surrounding shrubbery is quite overgrown.

Note: The toilet is dirty and not usable.

Opening Hours: 9am–3pm

Monkey Beach Penang Boat

Whether you’re taking a boat to Monkey Beach or back or both:

A boat trip saves considerable time compared to hiking there, so you can spend more time exploring other beaches in the national park.

On The Boat To Monkey Beach At Penang National Park
On The Boat To Monkey Beach At Penang National Park – Photo by Travelswithsun

That being said, hiking does allow you to appreciate the local topography and rainforest a little better, plus the chance of spotting some native animals!

Get the best of both worlds by hiking in and taking a boat back! Or vice versa!

Monkey Beach Penang Boat Price

You shouldn’t have any trouble finding a boat at either Teluk Bahang or Monkey Beach! As we said before, the boatmen are all too eager to sell their services.

Scan A QR Code To Register Before Entering Penang National Park
Scan A QR Code To Register Before Entering Penang National Park – Photo by Travelswithsun

It can cost RM100 (for Malaysians) for 2 pax to take a return trip to Monkey Beach via boat. The boats can take a maximum of 12 pax.

Tip: If you want to save on this cost, see if you can find other visitors at the carpark to split the cost with before you approach the boatmen. Act like you’re from the same group.

Boat Duration: 10 minutes

Type Of Boat That You Can Take To Monkey Beach At Penang National Park
Type Of Boat That You Can Take To Monkey Beach At Penang National Park – Photo by Travelswithsun

Monkey Beach Penang Activities

Even if you don’t plan to do much at Monkey Beach, it’s a good idea to bring along a towel, water, snacks, and some change, as you might find yourself staying there for longer!

Keep a close eye on your belongings as monkeys will always take advantage of a bag that is left alone. Especially if there are things that are made of plastic (e.g., bottles, containers, bags, etc).

1. Spot Some Local Wildlife

You’re more than likely to bump into some of the local wildlife, especially if you take the hiking trail to the beach or Muka Head lighthouse.

Just keep quiet and be on the lookout for squirrels, insects, birds, monkeys and monitor lizards!

Macaque Seen At Penang National Park
Macaque Seen At Penang National Park – photo credits to piastaric (Instagram)

Note: Sunscreen and mosquito repellent is recommended; do also refrain from feeding or touching any of the animals!

2. Go On A Picnic At The Beach

While you’ll definitely have to bring water if you’re hiking, you can also bring along some food and a blanket for an impromptu picnic on the sand!

Sumptuous Picnic At A Beach In Penang National Park
Sumptuous Picnic At A Beach In Penang National Park – photo credits to julielondons (Instagram)

There are some F&B vendors along the beach though the food vendors may not be open on weekdays.

3. Try Some Water Sports

The main section of the beach is less than ideal for relaxing on weekends, due to all the activity going on in the water.

Water Sports At Monkey Beach In Penang National Park
Water Sports At Monkey Beach In Penang National Park – photo credits to coolmingchu (Instagram)

It is possible to rent water sports equipment and even quad bikes if you want! There are boats frequently coming and going to drop off and pick up passengers too.

Note: If you are taking a dip in the ocean, be wary of strong undercurrents and the presence of jellyfish!

4. Find A Quiet Corner

If you’d like to avoid the busier areas of the beach, you’ll find some rope swings and hammocks on the farther ends of the beach.

Then, you can proceed to do nothing but just relax!

Monkey Beach In Penang National Park, Teluk Bahang
Monkey Beach In Penang National Park, Teluk Bahang – photo credits to matka_unelmia (Instagram)

5. Go Fishing (Only Where Permitted)

For larger groups:

Fishing trips (and a BBQ lunch for extra cost per pax) with Penang Nature Tour Guide Association include a boat for up to 6 pax!

You can contact them via this phone number: +604-881 4788

Grilled Seafood At Monkey Beach In Penang National Park
Grilled Seafood At Monkey Beach In Penang National Park – photo credits to coraliewickens (Instagram)

6. Camp On The Beach! (Advanced Booking Required)

As long as you have your own tent and other camping supplies, it’s only RM5 to camp on Monkey Beach and other designated campsites on Pantai Kerachut (turtle beach) or Teluk Kampi.

Tents On Monkey Beach At Penang National Park
Tents On Monkey Beach At Penang National Park – Photo by Travelswithsun

Just let the staff at the park entrance know that you intend to camp before filling up the register.

Do ask for the location of the Ranger’s Station too, so you can get more information on where to camp as well as the camping rules.

Note: The camping areas are restricted to avoid negatively affecting turtle nesting sites, so there’s a limited number of people per day allowed for these camping sites!

6.1. Monkey Beach Penang Camping (Lazyboys Campsite)

It does cost RM5 if you want to camp at Monkey Beach! But you will have access to a kitchen, toilet and shower facilities!

Note: The “facilities” are very rustic and basic

6.2. Monkey Beach Resort

Not a resort per se, but a private property on Monkey Beach you can stay at A-frame huts or the campsite.

They have outdoor showers, hammocks, and space to have a barbecue right in front of the sea!

Note: They have no number or Facebook page – you will have to make bookings directly when you arrive at the beach.

7. Swimming At Monkey Beach

This is purely at your own risk as there are no lifeguards or first aid on the beach. Despite this, you may still see many other people hitting the water.

Swimming Is At Your Own Risk At Monkey Beach In Penang National Park
Swimming Is At Your Own Risk At Monkey Beach In Penang National Park – Photo by Travelswithsun

But while the sand beneath the waves is generally soft, jellyfish can lurk close to the shore. And it’s hard to spot them because the water is murky.

Café Or Bars At Monkey Beach

Being the most touristy beach at Penang National Park has its perks, such as the variety of food and drink vendors on offer!

It is possible to get a beer from one of the vendors along the beach.

Note: Many stalls have closed since the pandemic

1. Tiger Monkey Bar & Leisure

This is where you can get a beer or mojito after making a detour to the Muka Head Lighthouse or after your hike to Monkey Beach!

If you’re hungry, their fried noodles are delicious too!

Opening Hours: 8am–12am

2. Lazy Boys Café

Lazy Boys Café has a laidback atmosphere and a friendly owner running it.

This is another recommended place to get some cheap chilled beer or a fresh coconut juice!

Fresh Coconut Juice At Monkey Beach In Penang National Park, Teluk Bahang
Fresh Coconut Juice At Monkey Beach In Penang National Park, Teluk Bahang – photo credits to matka_unelmia (Instagram)

3. Jungle Café

Another simple beachfront food and drinks stall just next to Lazy Boys Café, they offer a variety of drinks to sate your thirst!

Jungle Cafe On Monkey Beach At Penang National Park
Jungle Cafe On Monkey Beach At Penang National Park – Photo by Travelswithsun

4. Mermaid Cafe

Mermaid Cafe sells food as well as drinks.

Mermaid Cafe On Monkey Beach At Penang National Park
Mermaid Cafe On Monkey Beach At Penang National Park – Photo by Travelswithsun

Their food menu includes local favorites like nasi goreng (fried rice), laksa and bihun soup among others.

As for drinks,  they don’t carry alcohol but have chilled canned drinks as well as fresh coconut (costs ~RM10 for a coconut).

Read more: 17 Best Cafe In Penang With Great Coffee (Includes New Cafes)

Monkey Beach Penang Review

If you only intend to spend an hour at Monkey Beach, then you might want to rethink your plans because the high price of the boat trips is not worth it.

The beach is sadly not as well maintained as it should be too. Manmade trash can be seen and has encouraged the local monkeys to become a nuisance (please don’t feed them).

But if you have a spare day in your Penang day tour itinerary, Monkey Beach is still a neat spot to chill for a few hours.

What You’ll Like:

  • Beautiful bay (but small) with very soft white sand
  • Doable hike for those with moderate fitness
  • No entrance fee required
  • Easy to get a boat
  • Less crowded than Batu Ferringhi beaches
Monkey Beach At Penang National Park
Monkey Beach At Penang National Park – Photo by Travelswithsun

Good To Know:

  • Busy on weekends
  • Poorly maintained – many parts of the beach are victim to litter
  • Swim at your own risk (there can be jellyfish and the water is murky)
  • The hike is not recommended for young children
  • A guide is needed for groups of more than 10
  • Arrange boat transfers in person as there is poor phone signal reception (Celcom works better than Digi) in the national park
  • Before entering the park, you must register with your intended destination and activities
  • Last boat leaves at 6pm
  • Limited facilities (toilet and surau) and in poor condition
  • There is a place to wash your feet once you come back to the jetty from Monkey Beach
  • Speed boat trip is very bumpy despite calm waters
  • Jungle trails are not well maintained or free from debris

Read more:

Conclusion

Monkey Beach Penang is one of the prettiest beaches in Penang. Reason enough to make a trip to Penang National Park if you like being outdoors!

Hike through the scenic jungle trail and chill by the quaint beach afterward, or simply take a boat there to just enjoy the surf and sand!

Consider going to Monkey Beach if you’ve already been to Penang Hill and want more nature-related things to do in Penang.

Read more: 4 Best Ways For Getting Around Penang (With All Penang Transport Options)

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