9 Ultimate Hiking Trails in Penang for your Adrenaline Rush in Malaysia

If street food and murals pop into your head at the mention of Penang, you’re gonna want to think again! We’ve shared awesome supper clubs that do private home dining and workshops by traditional artisans, but really the island is a treasure trove for nature too, especially if you are a hiking enthusiast. Here’s where we suggest to go if you feel the itch to conquer Penang’s hiking trails.

1. Penang National Park, Telok Bahang

The smallest national park in Malaysia sure packs a punch! There are two routes in Penang National Park. The easier coastal option takes you to Monket Beach, leading you to a pristine stretch of beach. It covers 3.5km and takes about 2 hours to complete. With another half an hour to spare, you can take a steep climb to reach Muka Head Lighthouse, where you can climb up the spiral staircase to enjoy the beach panorama.

The second route takes you to Pantai Kerachut, home to the Penang Turtle Sanctuary. You can either get here by walking for 500m along the coast and over the hill, or through the Canopy Walkway.

Duration (to and fro): 3 hours
Level of Difficulty: Moderate. The route to Kerachut Beach is steeper and has more adventurous pathways compared to Monkey Beach
Highlights: Forest reserve, Monkey Beach, Kerachut Beach, Muka Head Lighthouse

It may take you longer to complete if you are not familiar with the routes. If you would like someone who knows it like the back of his hand, Roslant is a local expert on LokaLocal who hosts guests on his Walk with Nature to Kerachut Beach (2.5 hours, RM50 /USD 12 per pax) and Hike a Trail to the Lighthouse (3 hours, RM50 /USD 12 per pax ). He’ll even have his camera, videocam and drone ready so you can have memories of the trip!


2. Penang Hill (Bukit Bendera)

First developed as a colonial hill station, Penang Hill is now a popular tourist attraction as it is cooler and has some gorgeous views of George Town. The most common way of going up to Penang Hill is by the funicular train.

The Moon Gate 5 trail is no stranger to avid hikers. Named after the moon-shaped doorway at the very start of the trail, the route snakes through protruding tree roots, rocks, boulders and vines, meaning that certain paths would be more challenging! To avoid getting lost, look out for the number 5 painted on the rocks along the trail.

Moon Gate 5 station is a lively rest stop, along with many exercise machines. Tea is prepared here voluntarily by other fellow hikers in Penang, so you can refresh yourself with a cuppa. On the way down, you will be greeted by scenic views that span across George Town, the Straits of Melaka and as far as Gunung Jerai in Kedah.

Duration (to and fro): 2.5 hours
Level of Difficulty: Challenging
Highlights: Temple, Multiple routes (starting from Botanic Garden, Moongate, Kek Lok Si), funicular train

For a local’s perspective along the Moon Gate 5 trail, you can book a tour with Goh, a local expert on LokaLocal. He runs the Fantastic Scenic View of Moon Gate Trail (2.5 hours, RM60 /USD14.50 per pax) which takes you from Penang Youth Park to the peak of Penang!


3. Mount Cendana

Mount Cendana is a popular hiking area accessible by Penang Botanical Gardens and Moon Gate 5 Trail. That said, it has its own charm, with many wildflowers and Seraya trees along the slope.

From Moon Gate 5 Trail, it takes another 50 minutes along the winding paths of the Highlands Permanent Forest Reserve to conquer the uphill slope of Mount Cendana.

Duration (to and fro): 2.5 hours
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Highlights: Cityscape view, fruit farmland, honey cultivation centre

This hiking trail is a lot more secluded, hiding many scenic vantage points overlooking the cityscape that most people don’t know about. If you are interested in going to photogenic spots that few have been to, you can book a hike with Dominic, who runs the Adventure Hike to the Hills of Penang (2.5 hours, RM50 / USD12 per pax). Further ahead there is also a fruit farmland, a honey cultivation centre, and other beautiful attractions.


4. Youth Park

While the urban park itself isn’t a hiking spot, Youth Park has been frequented by locals during the weekends since the 1970’s. There are mountain biking paths, pools, fountains, skating rinks, a reflexology path, playground and graffiti park. There is also a small cafe in the middle of the park.

Also known as the City Park, it’s a good spot for exercise routines or family day outs, especially if they aren’t as hard core! From Youth Park, you can find several hiking trails leading towards Penang Hill, Western Hill and Mount Cendana.

Opening Hours: 6am – 5.30pm (weekdays), 6am – 7pm (weekends)
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Highlights: Recreational park, skating rink, water park, street art. landscapes


5. Batu Ferringhi

While better known for its white sandy beaches, Batu Ferringhi does have its share of natural hidden gems. With its legacy of colonial history interwoven in the landscape, you can find routes that take you to the Batu Ferringhi dam and aqueduct that is still in operation today.

Duration (to and fro): 3-4 hours
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Highlights: Waterfall, dam, aqueduct

For a leisurely hiking tour here, you can book with Peter, local expert on LokaLocal. He runs the Hike to the Hidden Gems of Batu Ferringhi (4 hours, RM116 / USD28 per pax), bringing guests from Chin Farm to the dam, aqueduct, and a waterfall, ending with a dip in the river.


6. Titi Kerawang, Balik Pulau

The most popular hiking trail in Balik Pulau connects you to the cascading Titi Kerawang Waterfall, a great spot for picnics and relaxing in the cooling waters.

From here, there is a hidden hiking trail that leads you to a closely guarded and lesser known waterfall. It winds through exotic farms with pink ginger flowers (commonly used for the famous Penang laksa), and fruit orchards.

Duration (to and fro): 4 hours
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Highlights: Waterfalls, exotic farms, fruit orchards

Peter brings guests to The Secret Waterfall of Penang (3 hours 45 minutes, RM125.28 / USD30.20 per pax) on his tour, which is easy enough suitable for those aged 10 and above.


7. Bukit Jambul

Bukit Jambul is an easy climb with a staircase leading up to gratifying views of the Penang Bridge and the surrounding cityscape. Refreshments like ginger tea and longan drink are often available for hikers at the rest area here, prepared by local hikers who volunteer to carry water and equipment up to Bukit Jambul.

Duration (to and fro): 40 minutes to 1 hour
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Highlights: Penang Bridge views, refreshments at the rest area

8. Air Itam Dam

Photo: NST

Air Itam Dam is the first dam in Penang and an important water reservoir located between Paya Terubong and Penang Hill. It is less crowded that places like Youth Park, but you can find a handful of joggers and trekkers making their rounds.

You can choose to go around the dam, or take a longer hike towards Balik Pulau. It’s easy for all walks of life with average fitness level, and there are many viewpoints with majestic views of George Town.

Duration (to and fro): 1.5 hours to 2 hours
Level of Difficulty: Easy, the track is well-paved
Highlights: George Town views, water dam, tranquil environment#LokaLocal Tips for Hiking in Malaysia

9. Bukit Mertajam Recreational Park

There are also places to hike beyong Penang island! Along the mainland, there is Seberang Perai, home to the Bukit Mertajam Recreational Park. SPanning across 37 hectares, the recreational park is popular for picnics, forest hiking excursions and nature outings. Look out for the suspension bridge and take in the lush environment as you sip on tea at the tea kiosk.

#LokaLocal Tips for Hiking in Malaysia

  • Mornings and evenings are recommended hiking times as the weather would be cooler
  • Avoid hiking on rainy days especially in the jungle as the paths can get slippery and muddy
  • Bring water and cap as the weather in Malaysia is generally hot and humid
  • Hiking trails in Penang are generally easy to moderate level, but if you would like guidance on more adventurous routes (or meet a new friend), you can join a local hiker who can bring you about
  • For more hiking ideas in Malaysia, here’s our list of 50 Hiking Trails to Conquer in Malaysia.

Discover beautiful hiking trails with locals on LokaLocal

LokaLocal connects you to fun activities, tours and workshops hosted by locals. It’s a great way to explore a destination in an insightful way, and connect with the people who matter most in the community. These local experts are familiar with the hiking trails and are happy to host you for your meaningful, memorable trip in Penang.

Discover and book local activities in Malaysia.

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