Penang National Park is located on the northwestern corner of an island located along the coast of northwestern Malaysia. The national park area covers an area of 9.9 square miles (25.4 sq km) making it the smallest national park in the country.
The national park encompasses both a portion of land and sea providing a spectacular place to discover the richness of the natural wonders of the area. The wealth of this natural habitat goes beyond drawing visitors by also attracting researchers as well.
The park extends beyond the preservation of expected natural facets to also include archaeological, ethnological, and historical features. The natural features are abundant including sandy beaches, mangrove forests, dipterocarp forests, and various elevation changes. It has one of the more unique arrays of biodiversity in all of Malaysia.
A truly unique aspect of the park is the meromictic lake which features a collection of fresh and saltwater species that live together in the same body of water but on different layers. The warm saltwater lays along the bottom with the cooler freshwater sitting along with the upper level. This only occurs between the months of May through November when the rains are heavier.
There are over 415 species of flora and over 140 species of wildlife dwelling in the boundaries of the park. Mangroves are found along the coastal beach areas with secondary forest rising up off the coast. The slopes are often blanketed with orchids creating one of the more aesthetically pleasing scenes for visitors.
Much of the popular wildlife is found in the seas featuring dolphins, green turtles, hawksbill turtles, and sea otters. Dusky leaf monkeys and long-tailed macaques roam the secondary forests of the park. Other popular wildlife includes boar, wild cat, mouse deer, monitor lizards, squirrels, and varied bats with a total of 36 different species of mammals.
Green turtles visit and nest through the months between April and August.
The remote nature of the island and national park create an amazing place for those who love beaches. The most popular and preferred beach is Teluk Duyung, affectionately known as Monkey Beach. This beach is void of much of the pollution found on some of the other beaches. One of the highlights is the crab-eating macaques.
Trails of Penang National Park
Monkey Beach: This is a one-and-a-half-hour long hike traveling along the island coast taking visitors to the pristine Teluk Duyung beach. After the 1.5 hour journey, visitors can look forward to a refreshing swim in the ocean which is void of jellyfish found in other locations.
Pantai Kerachut: This is a trail through the jungle taking visitors to the Pantai Kerachut beach. It features a meromictic lake which is a rarity in all of Asia. This features a suspension bridge as well. Caution is warranted for those interested in going in the water; jellyfish is a possible encounter.
Canopy Walking: This is a (250 m) trail that travels in the canopy of the trees about 45 feet (15 m) off the ground. This provides views of life in the treetops while also delivering unique views of the natural wilderness below.
The remaining trials in the park are constructed naturally protecting the natural aspects of the park. They are well marked allowing visitors to explore the national park on their own. Most of the trails feature resting huts along the way.
The remote nature of the island and national park create an amazing place for those who love beaches. Here is a list of the leading beaches:
- Pasir Pandak
- Pantai Mas
- Pantai Kerachut
- Teluk Bahang
- Teluk Tukun
- Tanjung Ailing
- Teluk Duyung
- Teluk Ketapang
- Teluk Kampi
- Capture the Atlas, Penang National Park, https://capturetheatlas.com/penang-national-park/, retrieved February 2020.
- Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Penang National Park, https://www.wildlife.gov.my/index.php/en/public/2016-05-10-02-34-43/peta, Retrieved February 2020.
- Lonely Planet, Penang National Park, https://www.lonelyplanet.com/malaysia/teluk-bahang/attractions/penang-national-park/a/poi-sig/1218854/1322048, Retrieved February 2020.
- Malaysia Travel, Penang National Park, https://www.malaysia.travel/en/my/places/states-of-malaysia/penang/penang-national-park, retrieved February 2020.
- Malaysia Traveller, Penang National Park, https://www.malaysia-traveller.com/penang-national-park.html, retrieved February 2020.