Penang National Park
Planning a trip to Penang National Park? How to get there, what to take, what not to miss.
Penang National Park is an absolute must - see whether you are staying a few days or a few weeks on the island. Mike and I and the kids had to return several times for a fix in the 'wild' before our stay in Penang was over.
How to get to Penang National Park:
1/ Public bus route 101 for 4 Ringit (70 pence). Check out the route and stops here:
You can also take bus 501 if you are setting off from Battu Ferringhi.
2/ Hop on hop off bus- a 5 minute walk north of the Gurney Paragon mall . The cost is 45 ringit, (just under 8 pounds) for a 24 hour pass.
3/ Grab Taxi- about 27 Ringit (4 pounds 70 pence) each way.
On arrival you will be required to sign in but there is no entry fee. This is just for own safety in case you get lost. You have the option of taking a boat ride, or walking through the parkland. Taking a boat may be the more relaxing option but may require some waiting around as the boat managers tend to wait for a well-filled boat before setting off. We tended to walk to Turtle beach and take the boat on the return journey, (and my husband would sometimes run the whole circuit as he is a keen trail runner).
Walking or hiking, there are two main stop off points: Monkey Island and Turtle Island. Sadly, Monkey Island was closed to us each time we visited due to land slides blocking the route. If it's open, this is is your sea-swimming option.
The walk to Turtle Beach with young children took about 1 1/2 hours. It is a little steep and slippery in parts but the path is well cut, quite well signed and it is a lovely, shady route in the heat of Penang's sun. It is a great opportunity to spot wildlife and insects.
After approximately 5 km walking, you will come out from under the leafy canopy and onto a suspension bridge leading to Turtle beach. There is no swimming at the beach due to jellyfish. We never saw a jellyfish though. If you do want to swim, maybe bring some vinegar to help the stings, just in case.
The turtle sanctuary provides an enclosed area for endangered Hawkesbill turtles to lay their eggs, which are then incubated. Entrance to the sanctuary is free and it is open from 8 am -5 pm.
You can arrange with the boat captains for the next departure time and depending on whether they are pre-booked to pick up more passengers from Monkey Beach, you can negotiate a ride back to the piers at the entrance of the park. The longest we waited was about 1/2 hour for a boat.
Why not enjoy a fresh coconut or a cold soda after your walk! Penang National Park was definitely one of our highlights on the island.