Located on the North-Western tip of Penang island is the world’s smallest national park – Penang National Park (Taman Negara Pulau Pinang in Bahasa Malaysia). Measuring 1,213-hectare, it may be small be it packs a punch hosting a collection of habitats not found in other national parks in Malaysia: meromictic lake, wetlands, mangroves, mudflats and turtle nesting beaches.The park is breathtakingly beautiful at dusk, thus earning its nickname as the Bay of Glowing Amber.
Camping is allowed but you need to register with the park headquarters first. There are toilet facilities and cemented floors for camping at Teluk Bahang beach (about 20 minutes from the main park gate). But we recommend you take your tent further to the other beaches, where the beaches are nicer (warning, some beaches do not have toilets).
There are 8 beaches in the park, and due to its remote location, they are among the best beaches in Penang. They are:
1. Teluk Bahang
2. Teluk Tukun
About 20 minutes of clear and easy walk from the park entrance, camping is possible here with several small swimming pools built for campers.
4. Teluk Duyung (Monkey Beach)
A 1.5 hrs walk or a 15 minute boat ride will take you to Teluk Duyung – better known as Muka Head or Monkey Beach.
It is the most popular beach among tourists and if you have a group of 8 or more, you can even have your boatman prepare a sumptuous bbq lunch at around RM35 per pax.
The Muka Head lighthouse is accessible via the far end of the beach. At 227 metres (794 ft) above sea level, it takes approximately 30 minutes to hike up, the hike is rather strenuous so you need to be reasonably fit for it. Built in 1884 at a cost of £37,929 by the British, visitors are allowed to climb up the lighthouse and savour it’s magnificent view. You can even catch glimpses of White-Belied Sea Eagles soaring above the sky if you’re lucky.
5. Teluk Ketapang
6. Pantai Kerachut
Located about 2 hours walk from the park entrance, this is a popular picnic and camping site with beautiful sandy beaches, but is rather dangerous to swim in. There is an undercurrent present, where the top looks calm, but the current swirls underwater causing the beach to suddenly drop down deep. Be aware of this if you attempt to swim, as there are cases of people drowning. Pantai Kerachut boasts the only meromictic lake in Malaysia and also the only beach in Penang where the Green Turtles (Chelonia mydas) nests from April to August and the Olive-Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) between September and February.
7. Teluk Kampi
It is the longest beach in the park. There are apparently old remnants of WWII trenches used during the war.
8. Pantai Mas
Also known as Golden Beach, Pantai Mas was once a coconut plantation. Due to the difficulties accessing the beach caused by mangroves and mud, dwellers abandoned their homes and Pantai Mas is now an overgrown wasteland.
Penang National Park
Jalan Hassan Abbas
11050 Teluk Bahang
Tel: 604-881 3530/064-881 3500
Fax: 604-881 2016