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Posted: 24 Nov 2012 09:11 PM PST

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Taman Negara <b>Pulau Pinang</b> - Penang National Park

Posted: 21 Nov 2012 05:00 AM PST

Written by Shirley T   
Wednesday, 21 November 2012 00:00

If you're in the mood to immerse yourself in an off-the-grid adventure in Penang, Taman Negara Pulau Pinang or Penang National Park is a must-visit. Occupying a size less than 3 hectares on the north-western tip of Penang island, it is the smallest national park in the world. I had been in-and-out no less than a couple times when it was still known as Pantai Acheh Forest Reserve.
taman negara pulau pinang
Taman Negara Pulau Pinang map
Teluk Bahang fisher's jetty
This national park is truly one of Penang's greatest eco-tourism asset - a natural resource to trumpet on its wondrous natives from mangroves, wetlands, mudflats to a bizarre geographical characteristic - meromictic lake. Aside from Jellyfish Lake in Palau and Zigetangcuo Lake in Tibet, Taman Negara Pulau Pinang Pantai Kerachut is one of the three spots in Asia to witness a natural meromictic lake - a spot that has layers of unmixed water for years, decades, or even centuries! Amazingly, this one that sits adjacent to Pantai Kerachut (Kerachut Beach) is a seasonal meromitic lake unlike Dead Sea - the world's famous meromitic lake that is permanently filled up, 365 days every year. If you happen to arrive during the change of monsoon particularly in April to May or October to November, this exact spot is full of water, whilst the other time of the year, the so-called meromictic lake is dry like a land of Savannah.
Wheels accessible zone
Arrow guiding the official hiking trails
In the past, the entrance was very brief - just like a backyard into woods. Today, the same place is a total face-lift. You can see a Taman Negara Pulau Pinang office built on stilts at the cul-de-sac. Parking bays are aplenty within the premise of Fishery Office on the opposite. We were charged RM3 per entry. If you choose public transport, hop on Rapid Penang 101 as this bus takes you right to the Penang National Park's visitor center.
Pasir Pandak Suspension Bridge
Breathtaking moment
Trail to Monkey Beach
With boat agents, tour booths, this spot is precisely more touristy. Visitor's center is next to the office, sit a few steps from the waterfront adjacent to the stone arch entrance. Unlike most national parks in the world, you can explore Taman Negara Pulau Pinang Teluk Bahang at no cost. However to access the canopy walkway, an adult has to pay RM5, a child for RM3 and this activity is optional. Despite the flexibility, it is wise to sign-in and sign-off at which you can do it at the visitor center for safety reason. You can obtain the Taman Negara Pulau Pinang map and trail guide here. Bathrooms, surau, benches and a sink are also provided at this post.

Offering more than a handful of hiking trails, Taman Negara Pulau Pinang features two primary trails. The popular coastal trail leads to Muka Head light house at which one will pass Sungai Teluk Tukun, USM CEMAC, Teluk Aling Beach, Teluk Duyung or better known to many as Monkey Beach before the final destination - Rumah Api Muka Head. Total trekking distance is 4.7 km and it is estimated to about 1 hour 45 minutes for an averagely fit, consistent hiker.
USM CEMACS at Teluk Aling Beach
Monkey Beach
If you wish to view the unique meromitic lake, then take the Penang National Park's hiking trail (3.4 km one-way, estimated time: 1 hour 20 minutes) that leads to Kerachut Beach. Signposts are erected at forks and junctions, so look out for Pantai Kerachut or Teluk Kampi. Not a complex terrain, hiking trails are mostly easy to moderate, foliage and wild creatures to accompany in the woods until one arrives at Kerachut Beach. Beside turtle nesting sanctuary, Pantai Kerachut or fondly known as Turtle Beach provides the most complete facilities among all the sites including a campsite, shower/bathroom, a sizable sheltered hall and a jetty.
Trail to Pantai Kerachut
Kerachut Beach of Penang NPMeromictic Lake Penang NP

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