The International Steam Pages
Selected Penang Walks - Relau to Balik Pulau
This is part of a series of pages on walking the hills of Penang.
This is a Grade 2 walk, with a short Grade 3 element. 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.
The kicking of point is the turning at km 1.2 on the Jalan Tun Sardon on the Relau side, it's served by 502 buses but you'll have to use your common sense and politeness to get a bus to stop near it. Be prepared for some walk back whichever direction you arrive from. The early pictures are composites from other walks as the report on which this is based assumed some previous knowledge.
Go straight up from the turning past the house and follow the road round to the left. Where it more or less finishes, go straight ahead as shown, do not turn right up the hill. Follow the path down to a stream, cross it past a small house and climb up the open hillside.
Soon you will come to this house which is a collecting point for vegetables. Continue past it on the path that climbs most gently, again do not go up a steep ascent. When you come to the last hut, you will see what looks like jungle ahead but is actually a former rubber plantation. It's not a motorbike trail but it's easy enough to follow, however, after rain there may be small amounts of water coming down it.
You will come out between Yuehong and the pump. It's probably a good spot to rest as it's quite shady. Next go a few yards down to the junction and turn right.
This winds down to the 6 way Nanshan Highlands junction. From here take the track which goes straight down in the direction of Balik Pulau until you reach the hut shown below. The trail goes between the green plastic walls.
Ignore a turning up the hill and this becomes a seriously nice path until it finishes in an open area with durians. There is no easy way through the section ahead but the account below, I believe, offers the least awkward approach. When you see the hut on the left, do not go across to it.
Instead. keeping the stream on your left go down through the orchard until you see the key big rock in the streambed by the bamboo. Go through the bananas on the right and then down to and along the smaller rocks until you come out at the other end. It will take no more than 10 minutes.
Along the way there's the encouragement of the sight of the rubber ahead. You will come out at the end of a concrete path.
You'll soon come to a hut and should continue down behind it. Not much further down is a further hut and just beyond it a substantial house and the junction shown below looking up. Take the road to the right in the picture (to your left as you arrive), behind the camera the road climbs before dropping down to the Air Itam to Balik Pulau road - it represents unnecessary effort!
In no time you'll find this junction just before another house and going down to the right you'll soon come to a concrete road.
The road has a very sensible barrier to keep out unwanted visitors, there's no room to turn and once they've reversed out all the way down the hill they won't think of returning. The big smile on Yuehong's face says we have reached the road over from Air Itam.
Just continue down the road which soon turns to the left and takes you to Balik Pulau.
Rob and Yuehong Dickinson