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Penang's Top Ten Walks - Paya Terubong to USM (Sungai Dua)
This is one of my 'Top Ten Walks' in Penang, click here for the full list. This is a Grade 2 walk.
Please visit my Penang buses page for information on accessing the starting point.
Start from Paya Terubong where the buses (502, 201, 202) do a loop in the flats - get off at the last bus stop in Tingkat Paya Terubong 2 before it goes back down the hill. Walk up Tingkat Paya Terubong 1 into Lorong Bukit Kukus which becomes Jalan Bukit Kukus. Admire the well maintained flats and Bukit Kukus itself above on the left. Some of the flats will have a fair view across the old Lee Rubber Factory to Air Itam and Penang Hill.
Continue into the open area which looks like an unused car park when the road swings left and look for the path shown in the pictures below. The trail starts with 3 fairly stiff zig-zags but the fourth is less steep.
As the climb eases, there are a number of branches. The first left fork leads to a hut, the second minor left we didn't follow and the third fork has a sign that is an unintended indication as to which way (left) one should go!
In almost no time, you will be at the col. Going down the path links with a number of (new) concrete roads. Straight down would lead to Jalan Bukit Gambir behind Glugor village. Instead turn right past the house shown and carry on down the short distance to the next junction, where you should again turn right. Almost immediately there is a path off on the left which was a real gem, a Penang rarity in that it more or less followed a contour for the best part of half an hour's very pleasant walking through a mixture of rubber and fruit trees. There was just one house and even here the dogs just yapped and watched us walk past.
There were more than a few glimpses down to the east side of the island, which frankly is not a pretty sight (or site) these days Slap bang in the middle of this picture are the best (=oldest) of USM's buildings which I could easily recognise from 40 years back although the bridge and none of the tower blocks existed then.
All too soon, it was time to go down and being a 'mature' path it was not too steep at all. We joined a larger path which I suspect did not go far.
The few houses in this area had been abandoned, their garden plants often thriving despite being neglected and we passed one last junction (take the left fork if coming up): The trail passed behind what turned out to be USM halls of residence and nearby was an anything but wild animal enjoying some grass.
We finally emerged through this barrier just off Jalan Bukit Gambir. You will need to walk some way towards George Town to the first bus stop which is under the pedestrian overbridge that connects USM's campus and student residences. Take a 302 bus back to Komtar.
If it suits you, this is easily done in the opposite direction. Take a 302 bus and get down where it stops next to a pedestrian overbridge between the USM campus and halls of residence. Cross the road and carry on through the traffic lights. The road with the barrier is just after the end of the USM development on the right side. Follow the track up, taking care to turn right at the top of the first rise before the water tower. Thereafter the trail is very easy to follow, the only place where you might be tempted off the right route is where it leaves the concrete road above the empty houses, there is a picture of the junction above. Enjoy!
Rob and Yuehong Dickinson