Penang National Park or Taman Negara Penang (Malay) may be Malaysia’s smallest national park at only 23 sq km! But it is not without its treasures!
The forested park sits close to the coast and is teaming with all sorts of tropical wildlife! Like silvered leaf monkeys, monitor lizards and many species of birds!
Hike through Penang National Park to reach the beautiful coast! Or take a boat trip! Definitely one of the best nature-related things to do in Penang!
Table of Contents:
- Penang National Park Map
- Entrance Fee & Opening Hours
- Penang National Park Hiking Trails
- Boat Trips For The National Park
- Popular Stops At Penang National Park
- One Day In Penang National Park
- Penang National Park Review
- Where To Stay Close To Penang National Park
- How To Get To Penang National Park From George Town
Penang National Park Map
Don’t underestimate the park even though it’s small!
Penang National Park Entrance Fee
It’s free for all visitors to enter Penang National Park. You only need to register at the entrance!
The information they require is your departure date and number of people in your group.
However, there is a small fee for the canopy walkway – RM5 for adults and RM3 for children.
Penang National Park Office Opening Hours
The park is open for most of the day when it is still bright!
Do allocate more time than you think you will need to avoid having to rush through the park!
Penang National Park Hiking Trails
There are three routes to go trekking in Penang National Park starting from the entrance:
You can take the right fork to head to Monkey Beach and Muka Head Lighthouse!
Or you can go left to see the turtle sanctuary at Pantai Keracut, Teluk Kampi, and further on to Bukit Batu Itam!
If you start early, you may be able to see everything in one day!
Route 1 – Penang National Park Office – Pantai Teluk Aling – Monkey Beach – Muka Head Lighthouse
Of the three trails, this is the easiest. As it is mostly flat and just follows the coastline with parts of the trek in the jungle until you get to Monkey Beach (Teluk Duyung).
If you continue the walk for 30 more minutes, it will take you to Muka Head Lighthouse at the other end of the beach.
There will be stairs to get up to the lighthouse (240m above sea) for views of Penang and the canopy!!
Route 1 Distance: 5.2km
Route 1 Duration: Approximately 2 hours, 45 minutes
Highest Elevation Change: 230m
Route 2 – Penang National Park Office – Canopy Walkway – Meromictic Lake – Pantai Kerachut – Teluk Kampi
Well-marked but steeper than the other trail (to Monkey Beach), this shaded trail has an unavoidable uphill climb across the headland and down to Pantai Kerachut (Turtle Beach).
The total duration is roughly an hour.
From Pantai Kerachut, you can make your way to another beach, Teluk Kampi.
The starting point of this 45-minute trail is on the left of a campsite kitchen close to the pier. The trail will go around the meromictic lake.
There will be a grueling 15 minutes of uphill climbing during the trail to Teluk Kampi. But this lovely secluded beach is worth the effort!
Route 2 Distance: 5.5km
Route 2 Duration: Approximately 2 hours, 10 minutes
Highest Elevation Change: 170m
Route 3 – Penang National Park Office – Pasir Pandak – Meromictic Lake – Pantai Kerachut – Teluk Kampi – Bukit Batu Itam
Be prepared to hike for the better part of the day if you want to do this 11km loop trail!
Beginners are advised to try another trail as this one will take you to the highest point in Penang National Park!
The jungle trail starts the same as the Pantai Kerachut trail. At least for the first 30 minutes before it branches out and gets very steep! Thankfully, with rest points along the way!
Look out for the vantage point for views of the surrounding hills and the Teluk Bahang valley!
Duration: Approximately 4 hours
Highest Elevation Change: 450m
Boat Trips For The National Park
At the park entrance, there are plenty of boatmen offering boat rides to the following beaches:
- Monkey Beach (Teluk Duyung) – RM100
- Pantai Kerachut – RM200
- Teluk Kampi – RM220
You can arrange for a boat to pick you up at any of these beaches at a particular time so you don’t have to hike back to the entrance.
However, if you are physically capable, you should attempt to hike at least one-way to appreciate the national park up close!
Interesting/Popular Stops At Penang National Park
1. Pantai Teluk Aling
You can stop at this quaint beach midway on the Monkey Beach trail.
The noticeable landmark here is the long pier that belongs to the Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies (CEMACS) who maintain a turtle sanctuary within the national park!
2. Penang National Park Monkey Beach (Teluk Duyung)
An inviting stretch of white sand at Monkey Beach brings many visitors during the weekends!
It may not be as peaceful during these busier days because of food hawkers and motor sports out on the water too!
It is possible to camp here as there is a proper campsite by the beach.
3. Muka Head Lighthouse Penang
At 227 meters above sea level, expect panoramic views from this lighthouse that is an extra 30 minutes after the Monkey Beach trail!
You can climb up into the 14m tall lighthouse!
Opening Hours: 9am to 3pm
4. Canopy Walkway
For a fee of RM5 per adult (or RM3 for children), you can access a 210m-long canopy walkway at Sungai Tukun. 15 minutes’ walk from the main entrance.
This 20-minute trail via the canopy walkway cuts the time needed for the two main trails.
Opening hours for the canopy walk: 10am to 1pm and 2:30pm to 4pm (Closed on Friday)
5. Meromictic Lake Penang
A bizarre lake that is made up of fresh water and sea water. The water doesn’t mix because of the different densities and temperatures between them.
Other such unusual lakes in the world like this one are Bababu Lake in the Philippines or Lake Fidler in Australia.
Sometimes, the lake at Pantai Kerachut is not visible (e.g. in February).
6. Pantai Kerachut Penang
Also known as Penang National Park Turtle Beach, this beach is closest to the meromictic lake. And at one end of the beach is a small turtle sanctuary.
Sunsets are lovely at this beach.
7. Penang Turtle Sanctuary
The Turtle Conservation Centre at Pantai Kerachut is where you can see two species of turtles, the green sea turtle and the Olive Ridley turtle.
Opening Hours: 8am to 5pm
8. Teluk Kampi Penang
Further up from Pantai Keracut is a tough climb to Teluk Kampi and its wonderfully fine sand.
This quiet beach is one of Penang National Park’s best kept secrets!
9. Bukit Batu Itam
Less people take this newer trail so you can expect it to be overgrown with forest undergrowth.
Descent can be treacherous due to some portions of the trail that are steep! Especially the last leg as this Bukit Batu Itam is the highest peak in the park!
One Day In Penang National Park:
Want to see all the main highlights in Penang National Park but don’t have enough days?
There is a way to see both trails (Monkey Beach and Pantai Keracut) in the same day if you take some time to plan ahead!
First, take the trail for about 1 to 1.5 hours to Pantai Keracut where you will pass the Meromictic Lake.
After checking out the turtle sanctuary, you can take a 15-minute boat to Monkey Beach.
Take a 30-minute detour up to Muka Head Lighthouse!
And then, you can hike back to the main entrance from Monkey Beach! Which is another 1 to 1.5 hours, depending on your fitness!
Penang National Park Review
What You’ll Like:
- Beaches are more beautiful than Batu Ferringhi
- Opportunities to see lots of local flora and fauna
- Free entrance!
- Shaded trails
- Not too far from the main tourist areas in Penang!
- Most of it can be explored in a day
Good To Know:
- Poorly maintained in some places
- Expensive boat fees
Activities At Penang National Park
There are a lot of things to do at this national park!
- Hike the nature trails
- Spot and observe local wildlife
- Have a picnic at a secluded beach
- Swim (at your own risk) at the beach
- Visit the turtle conservation centre
- Climb up to a lighthouse
- Take a boat tour to see the other beaches in the park
- Watch the sunset from Pantai Keracut
- Go fishing (only where allowed)
- See a meromictic lake
- Have a BBQ (only where allowed)
- Camp (advanced booking is required)
Tips For Visiting Penang National Park
Your visit to the Penang National Park will be better if you’re prepared:
- If you go swimming, beware of jellyfish. It is at your own risk too as there are no lifeguards!
- Bring more water than you think you’ll need – the jungle trails are extremely humid
- Mosquito repellent and sunscreen is necessary!
- Pack snacks but keep any food out of sight from monkeys
- Wear trainers or similar
- You can hire a guide or boat at the entrance of the park!
- A towel will come in handy for sitting on the beach
Where To Stay Close To Penang National Park
Visitors who have their own tents can register with the Penang National Park to camp (for free) at one of the designated campsites (at Pantai Kerachut and Teluk Kampi) within the park.
There are limited spots per day.
Except for the designated campsites, the beach is off-limits for camping so nesting turtles can be left alone.
Contact number for the Penang National Park: +604-881 3530 or +604-881 3500
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How To Get To Penang National Park From George Town
Getting To Penang National Park By Bus
Bus route 101 (via Teluk Bahang)
Look out for Bus 101 that goes to Penang National Park from central George Town at Lubuh Chulia (Chulia Street).
First Bus: 5:30am
Last Bus: 12:00am
Alternatively, you can take either Rapid Penang 101 or 103 from KOMTAR in George Town. The last stop is conveniently just before the national park’s entrance.
Read more: 4 Best Ways For Getting Around Penang (With All Penang Transport Options)
Getting To Penang National Park By Car
By car, it’s a ~40-minute drive to Penang National Park from George Town.
Instead of taking the bus or a taxi, you can take a private tour service like RayTheTour:
- Comfortable and private transport from your hotel and back
- Flexible/ customizeable Penang itinerary from morning to evening
- Local insight from Penang-born guides that are experienced
- Easy booking process
- Tours to Ipoh and Cameron Highlands are also available!
- How To Get From Penang Airport To Georgetown (4 Easy Ways)
- How To Get To Penang Island From Kuala Lumpur (KL)
You just need one day (or two) to explore Penang National Park. Albeit small for a national park, it’s bursting with wildlife!
And visitors have more than just tranquil beaches and jungle trails to discover at this park, including a rare meromictic lake!