The International Steam Pages
Penang Hills and Trails - Bukit Genting
This is one of a series of pages on walking the hills of Penang, click here for the index. This is a Grade 2 walk with elements of Grade 3. There is a sketch map at the bottom showing the route followed.
Please visit my Penang buses page for information on accessing the starting point.
Note that the path shown on the map with alternate green and orange squares had several trees down in December 2016 and was passable only with some care.
Today was going to be when I showed Yuehong my newly discovered trails to the top of Hakka Hill from Teluk Kumbar and possibly I would investigate the ridge path from there to Bukit Genting. As so often happens, things turned out slightly differently, the first section is a near 'copy and paste' job from the 'Hackka Hill Humbled' report and I need only add that we had to walk from Teluk Kumbar to Kampung Masjid as it takes considerably less time than the average wait for a 308 bus.
The start was always going to be straightforward as it was the reverse of our Bukit Genting descent in 2013. We walked through Kampung Masjid and immediately after the turkey farm ('Ayam Belanda') struck up left. It's an old concrete trail but in good condition. The key landmark is this metal shed, turning sharp back right would have taken us eventually to Bukit Genting, straight on would take us to the ridge where we wanted to be. The path went past a wrecked hut and then there was another, rather better maintained.
There was no doubting the ethnicity of the original occupants. We paid our respects and walked on.
The path continued and where I chose the left fork at the next junction as being more important before, this time we went right. The path was not well used but easy enough to follow, we went along and up and got a good view of the Teluk Kumbar monstrosity. Across the valley, some merchant of greed has started to carve a hole in the hillside above the round-the-island road.
We weren't making much progress in getting to the ridge at all, eventually we came so far round that we entered a well maintained rubber estate, below we could see water tanks but no clear path. I later realised that we must have been at almost exactly the same point on our previous visit to the Genting masts.
I would have liked to strike out for the ridge. However, it was something of an unknown quantity as far as the climb was concerned and the ridge path itself similar. It was time for thought...
I never like to turn back, the estate to the left was overgrown, up ahead was probably not a good idea and so we went through the rubber below until we came to the path up to the masts. When we hit the access road we turned left, went through the restaurant area and headed for the track up to the fourth mast. Obviously no-one drives up here much. As expected, we soon came to the fenced off area at the top of the hill. The one thing people seem to be able to do in forest reserves is to build telecommunication masts. I would find it hard to oppose the proposition that 'The forestry department officers in Penang rarely leave their air conditioned offices; they know nothing and care even less about their area of responsibility beyond the National Park'. The forest reserves have very few active friends and defendants, almost no-one appreciates their valuable role in storing and controlling the release of rain water.
A quick look left and right suggested that the remains of the ridge path would be found on the right - this route had been followed by a two day mass cross island hike not very many years ago. Beyond the end of the fence there were a number of trees which had fallen (naturally) across where I wanted to go. We had to go a little way down the slope before following the contour back around to the ridge. To get there we had to cross yet more fallen trees. It was hard going for Yuehong and not for the first time I got the wrong side of her tongue for daring to bring her to such a place. However, as always we soon got onto a reasonably track and in what to me seemed like no time we were out on the Hakka Hill path, it was just 30 minutes since we had passed the barrier above, so the traverse will have taken no more than 15 minutes. .
When trees fall it is almost always in the downhill direction, for this reason the only obstructions on disused ridge paths are vines and scrub in open places, that is why it is such a problem when they are blocked by masts as this one has been. Still people must have their electronic toys, what did they used to do with their time? Soon the smile was back, we had a stop at what is rapidly becoming a traditional Tiger watering hole and we set off down the excellent path towards Teluk Kumbar.
It's a very pleasant walk in the afternoon, not too steep in general, often no concrete is needed which is good on the knees.
'Look at the view', but unfortunately the average camera can't cope with the contrast, hence the second shot.
And so we went down past the wrecked red car to Jalan Kampung Masjid from where we had 15 minutes walking we could have done without to the round-the-island road. The 401 kept us waiting for a while but there was still just enough time for dinner and the inevitable Tiger before catching the 501 bus home. I doubt Yuehong will relish the thought of that scramble again but it's definitely a 'no pain no gain' situation and another piece has been slotted into the Penang hills jigsaw. And, yes, that's a big gap in the middle of the map below, but it's smaller than it was in 2014!
Rob and Yuehong Dickinson