The International Steam Pages

Penang's Top Ten Walks - Penang Hill to Air Itam via the Tiger Hill Valley

This is one of my 'Top Ten Walks' in Penang, click here for the full list. This is a superb Grade 3 walk, mainly based on length although there is a some climbing involved too.

This is a summary of the original report which appears elsewhere on these pages - Tiger Hill Loop (Part 2), part of a series of pages on walking the hills of Penang, click here for the index. 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.

Take the 204 bus to the Lower Station of the Penang Hill Railway and ride the train to the Upper Station. Take the Summit Road towards Tiger Hill (and Western Hill), enjoying the splendid views as you go:

Mind the buggies careering along but soon they will all be left behind and after some considerable time the road will reach a PBA building and start to descend (it terminates at Western Hill). The first road on the left leads to Tiger Hill proper with its transmission mast; carry on down till you come to the main valley trail, it's impossible to miss.

For a short while it is a broad concrete path but then that finishes with an abandoned concrete mixer. From then on most of the trail has been laid with narrower concrete but some time ago so that much is now almost totally degraded and is returning to its natural state. Ignore the warning notices and keep going down.

Tiger Hill dam is just off to the right, it is fed by the head waters of the stream that emerges at Titi Kerawang. There's a small pump house here as well too. 

Vegetation like this splendid tree fern soon gives way and the valley floor appears to be not much more than a giant ginger plantation. After a couple of small houses in use here and as you neared the stream, you will find a few rubber trees being actively tapped.

The trail continues into a forested area and after crossing a small wooden bridge starts a long but not over steep climb up to a small col where the the original ridge path crosses - clearly not much used now. Soon you will reach a 5 way junction above the Air Itam dam. If you are short of time, turn left here for a shorter sharper descent on a concrete road, but I would suggest carrying on with the small path which offers a more gentle but significantly longer descent around the side of Bukit Elvira. (The wider roads to the right lead respectively to Bukit Elvira and Titi Kerawang, don't take them unless you have read the linked reports first!) The suggested path is mainly shaded but there is one open spot with this glorious view:

After some time you will come out on a concrete road, turn left and you will soon come down to the shelter at the col on the well known Air Itam - Balik Pulau road. Turn left and follow the road down to the Air Itam dam. At that point you can either (preferably) cross the dam and follow the path on the other side (to the right) that goes down to Air Itam or go down the main road. The two routes join together at the bottom and just after you pass the stalls at the bottom of Kek Lok Si, you will find a customary bus stop from where you can catch the 502 or 201 bus to George Town (do NOT get on a 203 or 204 bus here). Start at the pink square on the map below.

Air Itam Dam Area
(Showing parts 1 and 2)


 ____ = Concrete Road

 ____ = Path

 ____ = Easy 'Off piste'

 ____ = Seriously 'Off piste'

 (Not all paths are shown, there are many more
which are seasonal or just go to houses.)

Click here for information on the maps.

Rob and Yuehong Dickinson