The International Steam Pages
Penang Hills and Trails - Hakka Hill Hike
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.
This was our last hike before a short side trip to Taiwan which Yuehong had long wanted to visit and I was seduced by the prospect of a live narrow gauge Shay steam locomotive at Alishan, I won't say working as it is scheduled to do three 6 minute tourist out and back trips.
Normally we would come via Teluk Bahang but this was the day when the round-the-island road was closed in the morning for a triathlon. So we came via Komtar instead, the saving grace being that it was Sunday morning when the traffic in town is much lighter. When we got off the 401 at Teluk Kumbar we had to walk along the road to the Sekolah Rendah Al-Itqan, Pulau Pinang on the corner. We went down the 'Jalan Kampung' opposite almost immediately bearing round to the right. After a while we came on this landmark and turned left along what looks like a domestic driveway but in fact leads to the base of the hill and a footpath up (this was no accident, we had previously come down this way).
The lady was not totally convinced that 'one last walk' was a good idea and the long bus journey through some of Penang's best concrete had done little to alter her view. This is not the most obvious of turnings so for the record the electricity pole is JKM 20 24. I hung back as we climbed into the durian estate.
At the first hut, the owner was away and there was just one token dog to bark at us, on up we went.
It's pretty, I agree, but you need some creative composition to make the most of the views, only if you have been up here will you understand what this means.
It was all second gear stuff until the original path ended and we entered the extension put in when motorcycles had more power. For a couple of hundred metres it was seriously steep.
This is the last hut, at this point the concrete ends but the trail continues to the right, it makes for very pleasant walking.
Ahead is tempting, but it's a dead end despite the water pipes. Instead we had to follow the path up to the right as it zig-zags up and gets increasingly shady.
This is old rubber, very little is being tapped even allowing for it being the dry season, the path was covered in leaves and barely used. Never mind, very soon we were on the ridge and for the first time today I got a genuine smile. Me too, as it was Tiger time.
We could have turned left for the concrete path down to the Hakka Centre, but right is a classic 'on down'. a gentle shaded descent. I offered Yuehong the chance to repeat our ridge path walk to the Bukit Genting masts in reverse but for some strange reason she declined.
Yuehong was purring and even when the locals had part blocked the path to discourage the mountain biking community, it was no problem for us to step around the obstruction.
To prolong the pleasure for as long as possible we carried on straight ahead, this is our view of Pulau Betong.
We were running with more than an hour to spare before the next 403 bus, so always looking for new routes we turned right at the first junction, the path roughly followed the contours through the durians.
After a while it got rather less well used and started to descend steeply. We came to what might loosely be described as a cross roads. To the left we could see a path leading back towards the hut above the Hakka Centre Road, that was of no interest (left picture below). Ahead looked ever steeper, so at Yuehong's insistence we turned right again following the contour albeit the path was underused.
Not a bad idea, as we soon entered what was clearly a different fruit orchard which was much better maintained. We could have gone down the orchard trail but slightly above we could see a hut and to absolutely no surprise on our part we found a concrete path - the one we had used to climb to the Bukit Genting masts from Kampung Perlis a long time ago.
So we now had a further very pleasant descent in prospect. This chameleon posed for us and then this friendly dog showed us the way down what was now a concrete road.
Once we came to the flat area, this junction was festooned with 'Giant' plastic, the mountain bikers clearly have as much environmental sensitivity as the Penang Rainforest Hash (PH4) as we had seen similar in quantity along the road past the Balik Pulau cemeteries just two days earlier. Continuing we came out on the minor road at electricity pole KGD 55.
If we had gone down to Kampung Perlis on Jalan Pulau Betong to wait for the 15.00 403 to come past on its outward journey we would have had at least a 40 minute wait. Instead, we spent a very hot 20 minutes walking along the road to Pekan Genting. It was not the best conclusion to what had been an extremely pleasurable walk with the bonus of a completely new link section. However, we found a 502 ready to depart and with the benefit of traditional refreshment, the couple of hours wait for the 501 flashed past. In fact, so comfortable was I that I almost missed the bus, as for the first time in living memory, it turned up on time.
Rob and Yuehong Dickinson