The International Steam Pages
Selected Penang Walks - Genting to Balik Pulau via Malihom, 'Fig Tree Hill' and The Carpet
This is part of a series of pages on walking the hills of Penang.
This is a Grade 2 walk. There is a sketch map at the bottom showing the route followed.
In November 2016, the only suitable 501 departure from Teluk Bahang is at 10.30 (and the last bus back from Balik Pulau is at 17.30), check the Penang buses page for possible updates.
From Balik Pulau take a 401 / 401E bus towards Bayan Lepas - the bus drivers coming the other way would not be able to stop at the Malihom turn which is on the left coming up just after the first viaduct, you'd be blind to miss all the signs.
The instructions for the first half of the walk are very simple "Simply climb the Malihom access road until...." Take care to keep left at the first two junctions and you will know you are on the right road if you pass this small Chinese shrine as it starts to climb.
After a while you will pass this house with a better than average view before coming to a fork, the left side is the Malihom access road, full of even more than averagely threatening signs. By all means read them but ignore them, turn left and follow the road up!
Not far up you'll probably find the main gate closed but never mind, everything on less than 4 wheels uses the side gate. It's a stiff climb but well shaded and you don't have to go to the main property at the top. At the end of one of the zig-zags is an unmistakable marker. Your path onwards is behind Yuehong.
This is Durian country and when we were last here, the recent rains had brought the trees into flower in quantity.
Follow the path below Malihom on the hill top (above and to the left) until you cross a col and start descending. You shouldn't hurt anybody's sensibilities if you do as I have suggested. Thereafter it is just a question of following the trail down to the point where it becomes a road, this landmark is of course totally tasteless but is used for the industrial scale harvesting of swifts' nests. The road is well shaded.
Eventually after one junction where downhill is obviously to the right, (there is a Chinese temple not far to the left) you will find yourself at a newish Thai style Buddhist temple, Samnaksong. It's a good place to take a break.
Turn left at the bottom, this resort is now branded 'Fig Tree Hill'. Soon you will be at the bikers' resting place, on down follows the valley to Sungai Ara (Jalan Kenari), but instead go left up the hill.
By 2015, the climb upwards had been significantly altered by a new concrete road to the right and associated clearance. This can be safely ignored, just keep left and ignore the new junction (right picture below) and take the original shown in the following section:
Just follow the 'main' road up (ignore two small roads to the left) until you get to this junction. It's possible to continue up the road to the left and over the top, but today take the right fork and just before the road becomes a motorbike trail at a small concrete bridge, take the left fork upwards.
This is mountain biker country, each one of the bends is numbered.
There are views of one of Penang's most recent landmark, the second bridge.
When you get to '12A', you are just below 'The Carpet' where the bikers gather to rest up and no doubt catch up on the world through their mobile phones. Turn sharp right, curve around and you will come out on the path to the left shown in the picture below. Opposite the birds' nest farm to the right, take the (new) concrete trail that heads left Follow it up into the rubber until it reaches the ridge. Go straight down, the path becomes a road.
At the bottom, find your way round the side of the gates, turn right and in 5 minutes you will be on Jalan Tun Sardon, just beyond the electrical sub-station is a large bay where we always manage to persuade a downhill 502 bus to pick us up. Even if you want to go to George Town it is best to go down and take another bus back up.
If you are coming from (and returning to) George Town, it might be better to try it in the opposite direction as it will be easier to stop the 502/401 buses that way.
Rob and Yuehong Dickinson