Teluk Bahang Forest Reserve


This 873-hectare forest reserve contains a chunk of Penang's virgin rainforests. Guides are rarely available, so pick up a hiking leaflet at the ranger's office at the park entrance or at the Penang State Forestry Department in George Town; the leaflets have trail maps and some information on plant identification. Also ask at either of these offices about camping in the reserve. There's a small forestry museum near the ranger's office.

There are five mapped trails in the park, although some were temporarily closed when we were in the area. The best-known is the 15.5km Penang Hill Forest Challenge, the longest trail in Penang, which leads all the way to the top of 821m Penang Hill. This walk is less strenuous in the downhill direction; from the Teluk Bahang end, expect the trek to take at least eight hours.

One of the better walks is the easy 800m Monkey-Cup Forest Trail, where you can search for carnivorous nepenthes (monkey cups), more commonly known as pitcher plants.

Intermediate trails are the 1.2km Simpoh Gajah Trail, which passes through virgin jungle; the 2.9km Charcoal Kiln Trail, which has some gnarly uphill sections through lovely forest to an old 1950s charcoal kiln; and the much more difficult 4.2km Ridge Top Trail, which branches off the Charcoal Kiln Trail to reach a ridge 400m above sea level. This last trail has some fantastic views over Teluk Bahang, as well as pitcher plants to look out for along the way – if you don't have too much blinding sweat stinging your eyes.

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