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“Hard trip a 3.5 hike in the tropic is challenging”

Penang National Park (Taman Negara Pulau Pinang)
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Penang National Park Half-Day Trek
Ranked #12 of 209 things to do in Penang Island
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Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
53 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Hard trip a 3.5 hike in the tropic is challenging”
Reviewed November 30, 2012 via mobile

I thought it was going be like a normal trail with pathed walks........... It started off that way until it gets more native and that turned really into a nature walk literally climbing through trails going up and down with roots and rocks to climb through. Took me an hour and a bit to get to lonely beach and it was worthwhile. However it was getting hot and I was too tired so I paid 60 ringgit to get a boat back..... May be a not of a cop out but the boat ride itself was a great experience as the guide tool me over to the lighthouse

1 Thank fred L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Karlsruhe, Germany
Level Contributor
28 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Camping over Night at Monkey Beach”
Reviewed November 23, 2012 via mobile

We hiked to the monkey beach and stayed there one night. You can rent a tent for 15/ if you bargle for 12 RN. Before you get in, take some food with you , get it from the very friendly people at the little restaurant directly at the bus station (4 RN for the bus 101 from Chinatown) . And bring enough water with you.
Beware of the cheeky monkeys at the monkey beach. they know how to get your food when you are inattentive.
WHEN YOU STAY OVER NIGHT, STEP INTO THE WATER OR GO SWIMMING. when you are lucky millions of glowing stars will cover you and your movings will shine when you stir the water (glowing plancton). It's amazing.
During your trail you can see big warans near the little beaches.

Free entrance

20 Thank levisch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chumphon, Thailand
Level Contributor
65 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
“A genuine hike....like being in a movie”
Reviewed November 18, 2012

As other reviewers have noted, it is about 3.5 km from the entrance to the Monkey beach. After about 300m, there are no guardrails or restrooms. Other than the occassional platform or rope, If there is a cliff or ledge, you must be careful. It felt like what you see in the movies where people have to walk in jungles, no safety nets or guide rails. For every 1 place that did have safety rope, there were easily 10 or 15 other places that 'needed' it (from a western safety standpoint). It made the walk (hike) real, but make sure younger kids stay near. I don't have a problem with nature, and I found the hike interesting.

There is a lot of up and down walking in fairly rugged terrain, so those out of shape or have medical impairment are in for a workout; you may want to consider taking the boat directly to monkey beach and back. I bought a boat ride for 40 ringgit (the whole boat is yours) right inside the entrance (make sure you go inside the gate and ask). But three things you should be aware of:

1) about 1/2 or maybe of the journey, there is a beach University or Marine / Naval research center. You continue walking along it (beach sand mostly) and at the end you see a very faint sign that points you to where you continue the trail. It is not so obvious, and the park officials have not repainted the sign to make it obvious and easily identifiable (its very faded).

2a) at monkey beach, there are plenty of boats that can take you back. You can hop on with someone and split the fare, OR ask one of the fisherboats to take you.....maybe 10-15 ringgit or so, OR ask the jet ski operator to let you ride in or let them take you. 50 ringgit. Had I known, I would have opted for that one. But I had already bought the ticket. I cannot say that every stop (or monument) on the map has vendors; the other places before monkey beach had no vendors or bathrooms. But monkey beach has vendors for boats/jet skis and food...so you don't have to pack too much or worry about whether you should have reserved a boat.

2b) I did do a jet ski ride for 15 minutes (70 ringgit) or 30 min for 140 ringgit, or 280 ringgit/hr. The guy insisted that it was fixed by the govt because before no licenses were required, but some of the local pricing was very creative (500-900 ringgit per hour). So gov't cracked down and required 3k ringgit licenses PER jet ski and fixed pricing.

Anyway, the jet ski was fun. Not a lot of rules like western tour companies. You wear your life vest, and then you can go out as long as they can see you, or you can see them enough to make out when they wave you to come back. No rocks to run into, just be mindful of the shuttle boats and fishers. You could go out a few kilometers out if you really want to, and the jet ski I used was very fast; easy to get carried away on full throttle. So for those who like water sports, I think 15-30 minutes is worth the money.
They should use a flag instead of wave their hand to let you know time is up. Much more visible and obvious.

The water at monkey beach was clean. Not as clear as other beaches, but good enough and warm enough to take a nice dip. It gets deep pretty quickly (maybe 15 meters or so its already nearly 2 meters deep). The beach is not packed with people, but the reports that suggested that they were the only ones at the beach either went really early or on a very slow day. I counted about 30-70 people at the beach at any given time. Not a lot, but enough for a few mom/pop food vendors to make a living :)

3) What others wrote earlier that there is no food/beverages inside the park isn't entirely true. I cannot speak for other monuments in the park, but Monkey beach has at least 2 vendors that are selling mineral water, fresh coconuts (5 ringgit), and fried noddles and malaysian fried rice (4 ringgit without egg, 6 ringgit with egg). Not sure if they have distilled water; again, bring that with you. The prices were 'touristy', but not rip off, which was nice. The coconut was the only thing that was a bit pricey (for malaysia), but it was quart/liter size and coconuts are one of those things that a tourist will pay a little extra for the 'experience'

The second lady who sold rice was tastier in my opinion, and she did NOT put ketchup or msg (or whatever that funny taste was) in the rice. I really liked that rice. The first lady had two teenage daughters who I initially bought a coconut from. they had 2 hammocks that they let guests lay on for free; but their fried rice was less tasty imo. The coconut was refreshing after the hike.

There was someone grilling steaks and shrimps, but when I inquired the man insisted "for hotel guest only". I'm guessing those hotels that had packages.

I took the 101 bus from Chulia St in Georgetown (opposite the 7-11) and it takes you right to the front gate for 3.70 ringgit one way, but I saw the 102 from the airport seemed to also go there. They run about every 15-20 minutes or so. And it takes about 1 hour - 1 hr 15 minutes. Good idea to go ahead and buy your 1.5 liter water right at the 7-11. You may want to catch the bus no later than 10am so that you can spend at least 5 hours in the park. You sign in at the front gate and go inside.

Do not mistaken the Butterfly farm for the National park. Check with the driver first to ensure you are in the right place.

On the way back, I stopped at the big tesco, which is about 20 min away from the park. The caught another 101 back to chulia st. 2.70 + 2.00 ringgit for the two stops.

Did I forget to mention that I did see the monkeys? they will run away when scared, but they come close, especially if they think you will give them something to eat. So lock up your bags and hold them tight; and do not leave your bags or especially food unattended. They were cute otherwise,

This guide is a bit out of order as I tried to recall everything. I hope you still found it useful.

Visited November 2012
21 Thank awarenessforex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Durban, South Africa
Level Contributor
43 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“A "Must-do" for nature lovers”
Reviewed November 7, 2012

A real gem - natural, unspoilt, well run and maintained, with lots to see and do so take your time if possible. Our time was limited so we hiked to the Meromictic lake and had arranged for a boat to fetch us from there, stopping at Monkey beach on the way back which was great fun. More than a "Must-see" as you need to experience the jungle, beach and sea to really enjoy it.

Visited December 2011
4 Thank KarinL65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fuzhou, China
Level Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“best part of my stay in Penang”
Reviewed October 31, 2012

nice view,nice beach,naughty moneys,and beautiful butterfly,the most important thing is few people there,not a tourist place,even for local people,they don't go there often.there are 2 ways for trekking,one way is to monkey beach,the other way is to the turtle beach.If you like nature,it worth your time to explore it.the local bus 101 will take you directly to the gate of this national park.very convenient.

Visited November 2012
2 Thank QinYin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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