The International Steam Pages

Penang's Top Ten Walks - Pekan Genting (Balik Pulau area) to Sungai Ara

This is one of my 'Top Ten Walks' in Penang, click here for the full list. This is a Grade 2 walk. There is a sketch map at the bottom showing the route followed.

This is a summary of the original report which appears elsewhere on these pages - Malihom Eastbound, part of a series of pages on walking the hills of Penang, click here for the index.

Please visit my Penang buses page for information on accessing the starting point.

The Malihom Estate ( belongs to the descendants of Yeap Chor Ee, one of the famous names of early 20th century Penang, see for more information. His house in Lebuh Penang in George Town is open to the public and a road off Green Lane (Jalan Masjid Negeri) is named after him. Malihom is an amazing place, well beyond our budget, this article is probably better than their own website in giving the background to it - (link broken by December 2021). (But what they say about the durians was totally contradicted by the glut in November and December 2012!)

Get to Balik Pulau with an infrequent 501 bus from Teluk Bahang - check the bus guide for the times - or a 502 bus from Komtar. Take a 401 / 401E bus through Pekan Genting and up the climb towards Bukit Genting. There are signs for Malihom to the left just at the end of the first new viaduct and the driver should be happy to set you down here. I have my doubts whether a driver coming down the hill would be quite so co-operative but you can always try and catch a bus back up if he won't stop! These are the views looking downhill along the old road and where the Malihom road leaves it on the first bend. Starting here saves at least 100 metres of vertical climbing from near sea level.

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. You can safely ignore them for the time being and carry on following the Malihom signs.

Looking back you may be able to see this view of Pulau Betong.

Keep climbing as the view develops...

Eventually you will see this bit of art work at the road side on a bend. Go behind it through the palms and follow the path below Malihom on the hill top 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, you will find yourself at a newish Thai style Buddhist temple, Samnaksong,. It's a good place to take a break.

Continue down the road turning left at the bottom and you will soon find yourself at another resting point at a major junction. Follow the road next to the stream down to the point where it finished in Sungai Ara next to a new Indian temple in Jalan Kenari. Walk down to the main road, there are a couple of coffee shops here for refreshment.

Just to the left of the traffic lights is a bus stop from where you can take a 302 bus to Komtar. If a 308 bus comes first, take it and ask the driver to put you down in a suitable place in Bandar Bayan Baru where you can transfer to one of the many buses which go from there to Komtar (including 302, 303, 304, 401E).

Sungai Ara Valley


 ____ = Concrete Road

 ____ = Path

 ____ = Easy '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