Friday, December 14, 2012

Penang Hill Hike

I used to hike up Penang Hill, mostly starting from moon gate, till rest area 84, every weekend. I have tried the asphalt road and also the route from within the botanic garden before but didn't really enjoy the routes as much.

But that was in the late 90s. It's almost end of 2012 now. I can't remember when was the last time I hiked up there. Five years ago? So a few days ago, after my late lunch - laksa and chee cheong fun, I headed for the botanic garden.

From moon gate, which is a short distance before the botanic garden entrance. I started at about 4 pm.
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There are other ways up to but this is one of my favorite routes.

The trail is mostly natural with man made steps like this at certain parts.
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Other parts are mostly like this.
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A centipede I spotted on a moving and wouldn't pose for a shot.
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You can hike at just about any hour and the trail is mostly shaded by the tree canopy.
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This is the toughest part of the hike. Rather steep steps and quite long but feel free to take a break and enjoy the view.
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Enjoy the breathtaking view! Tanjong Tokong area I believe.
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Shortly after this challenging stretch, you will see this sign: Kawasan Rehat 5!
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Reached rest area at about 4:30 pm
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You can do your workout here too!
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You can have a short break here, enjoy some hot coffee or tea, even biscuits, at no cost at all but donation is welcome. You can fill up on drinking water as well here. Not always available though, mostly only in the morning and late afternoon.
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Georgetown view from rest area 5.
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Most people just go to #5 and hang out there for a while before going down.

Shortly after #5, you will see this. A bridge and a giant slanting boulder.
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After #5, the next destination is 84. You will see this sign shortly after passing #5
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To the left, there is another rest area here i.e rest area 39. But it's mostly for those who hike up from Air Itam
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After a while, you will see another big boulder. This is the view you see when you climb up onto that boulder.
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Penang bridge view.
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You will still come across other hikers after rest area #5 but only occasionally.
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Just go slow and enjoy the view, the flora and fauna of Penang Hill.

A nice looking moth I found.
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And finally, I reached rest area 84.
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Mostly quite empty here as this place is normally busy only during weekend and public holiday!

Me and my crocs made it up to 84, in 1.5 hours. I used to be able to clock 45 minutes but that was many decades ago!
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You can take the asphalt road from Penang Hill up here and it will take much shorter time. 30 minutes or less if you are fit.

viaduct route to penang hill top
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A bunch of dusky langurs came
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They are my most favorite monkey in Malaysia. Cute and adorable.
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From 84, you can either use this route to go up to Penang Hill top, or the asphalt road.
If you would like to read what it says on this signboard, click here.

I bet there are tarantulas and trapdoor spiders to be found here!
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I found some giraffe weevil nests too.
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You can find out more about this interesting insect and it's nest building process here.

There's one giraffe weevil
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Lots of pitcher's plants too by the side of the asphalt road.

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A 4WD going up the hill. Yes, there are people living up on Penang Hill too but not many.
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I was told by these foreign workers that some Datuk lives here on Viaduct Road East.
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Another mansion up on Penang Hill. Grace 1927 Dieu.
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There are mountain bikers who cycle up the hill as well.
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Plants seem to grow more beautifully up on Penang Hill due to its cooler weather.
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Shortly after Grace 1927 Dieu, there is another mansion, but abandoned.
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Tunnel Road East. At this point, you are only about 5 minutes from the hill top. I didn't have time to check out what on this road though.
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A nice house, or at least the staircase leading to the house.
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Some quarters built by the British I think.
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Finally, Penang Hill!!! Arrived at about 6:30pm. I started at moon gate at 4pm, arrived 84 at 530pm (1.5hrs nature trail), then hill top, 630pm (1 hour, asphalt road) .
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Nice view from up on Penang Hill
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The owl museum was closed on that day.
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Restaurant too. David Brown.
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To read the text, click here.

Hindu temple
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Plants and trees are covered by these mosses.
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I started walking down at close to 7pm using the asphalt road. After a while, I was basically walking in semi darkness, alone, with occasional trucks, motorcycles and mountain bikers coming up or down.  I reached the hill foot at close to 8 pm.

Departed Moon gate: about 4 pm
Reached Rest Area 5: about 4:30pm
Reached Rest Area 84: about 5:30pm
Reached Penang Hill top: about 6:30pm (asphalt road)
Departed Penang Hill Top: about 7pm (used asphalt road)
Reached botanic garden: about 8pm (in the dark :D)

Note to myself:

1) go earlier next time so I can check out more fun places at the hill top!
2) take the tram down because coming down the steep slope is really hard on the knees. From Ayer Itam tram station, you can take a taxi to the botanic garden.