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Selected Nature Trails of Penang Island


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TRAIL 9: CHIN FARM TO BUKIT LAKSAMANA AND WESTERN HILL


(c) Forest Ang

Length: 13 km 9 hours
Recreational grading : 4
Condition: natural - little or no disturbance
Use: light to rare
Status: Bukit Laksamana forest reserve

This trail is probably the longest and toughest forest trek on the island. It takes 9-11 hours to complete and follows steep up-and-down terrain. It is advisable to bring along a first aid kit, 3 litres of water and ample food.

The trail begins at the entrance to the Chin Farm waterfall, just opposite the Bay View Beach Resort on Batu Ferringhi Road. Walk towards Chin Farm. You will cross a small stream. Take the wider path on your right. After 5-10 minutes, the trail leads you along beside a stream with pools and small cascading waterfalls. Keep the main stream on your left. The trail will lead you to the small Batu Ferringhi dam and reservoir. (Note: Recent development has completely destroyed the trail to the reservoir. You should follow along beside the main stream to reach the reservoir.)

There are several trails around the reservoir. Follow the trail that goes up on your right. After 35 minutes of steep ascent you will reach the first of four rain gauges on the trail. You are now walking through the Bukit Laksamana Forest Reserve. The second rain gauge is about 18 minutes away. After about 2 hours of trekking from your starting point, the third rain gauge will appear. From here, the trail curves inward towards the heart of Penang Island. The terrain becomes steeper. Brace yourself.

The fourth rain gauge is the last before Bukit Laksamana. After another 30 minutes you will be the conqueror of the second highest peak on Penang Island. Here, a deep valley separates you from Western Hill and Tiger Hill to the east. Weather permitting, you will be able to see the entire north-western portion of the island, including the newly-built Telok Bahang dam. To the east rises the dome-shaped summit of Western Hill. Take a good rest at this Bukit Laksamana summit.

To reach Western Hill, (the highest point on Penang Island), take the path on your left. You will find yourself descending for about 12 minutes and passing a rain gauge before coming to a junction. Take the left turn. From here you must descend again for about 300 metres. At the bottom of the steep slope there is another rain gauge that is not well maintained.

Continue until you see a notice to warn you that you are entering a restricted area. Thus you hike on at your own risk. About 50 minutes after the last rain gauge you will emerge at a drain. At this point there is an opportunity to discontinue the hike if you wish. If so, you can find your way along the right-hand side of the fence to the Summit Road and then on to Penang Hill and the funicular railway. That walk will take about 45 minutes.

However, if you are going to carry on with the hike (Trail 9), you should take the left turn and continue on along the fence. Walk as far as possible from any of the installations. Do not take photographs. Do not stop at the viewpoint. The path that leads away from Western Hill is behind the towering antenna. There is a junction after about six minutes of steep descent from Western Hill. If you have not taken a rest, here is a nice place to do so. Then take the left descent, passing a junction and a rain gauge before coming to a small river. Hike across the river and follow it downstream. The beautiful and historic Batu Ferringhi Aqueduct will greet you. Follow the road all the way down to reach the Batu Ferringhi main road.

WARNING : Both Western Hill & Batu Ferringhi Aqueduct are restricted areas. You need permission to enter.

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