My new found hobby for 2008 is hiking. After years of running on the threadmill like a lab rat, I woke up one day and decided to find greener pastures in the great oudoors. This revelation led me to discover some great places to explore.
In Penang, Malaysia
Penang Hill is the highest point in Penang. It offers several trails depending on your fitness level and is accessible by car. I have tried out 2 trails starting from the botanical gardens. I suggest parking your car by the batik centre/juice bar.
For the easy trail 1 1/2 hours – walk towards the botanical gardens and head left past the guard house. This trail takes you to the top of Penang Hill on the tarmac road. There is a pit stop at the halfway point called 84 and at the peak you can get a drink from one of the food stalls. Take some time to soak in the fantastic view of Penang. If you want to take a longer rest, search for David Brown’s restaurant and tea terraces for a bit of Penang nostalgia.
If you hate walking downhill, you can try to hitch a ride from one of the truckers. It saves you time and your knee caps.
For the not so easy trail 2 1/2 hours – head towards the ‘moongate’ – it literally is a gate in the shape of a round moon, and follow the steps up. There is a little outdoor cafe about 20 mins into the walk. This marks the last of the steps. Beyond the cafe, the trail leads you into the forest. It is not recommended to trek here after it rains as the soil is clay based and can become very slippery. The trail will take 1 hour to reach 84, where it joins with the tarmac trail. This is the halfway point of Penang Hill. If you are really fit, it takes another 1/2 hour to reach the top, but I took another 1 hour before I crawled my way up to the peak. It was ugly. Then it takes 1/2 hour to go down by the tarmac road.
Drinks – The best place to go after the trek is the juice bar next to where your car is parked. I highly recommend the pineapple and beetroot juice, and take it from me – I do not like betroot except for this drink.
In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Bukit Gasing, located just outside the city offers about 10 trails that lead you into the forest, including one great one which takes you across a suspension bridge. The highest point is 160m.
You have to drive there. Parking is just along the side of the road. Read the map at the entrance or you will get lost!
Food and Drinks – After the exercise, get ready to refuel at Raju’s banana leaf just down the road.
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve offers several trails that are suitable for all ages. Bukit Timah Hill is the highest point in Singapore at 163m. The trails here are not very difficult. There is a tarmac road option which is the easiest and several trails that take you into the forest. The most challeging trail is called ‘Dairy farm’ which I totally struggled with. The trails here are well marked and if you are lucky you may spot the elusive flying lemur.
You can take the taxi or drive there. If you drive there be carefull where you park as there are a lot of resident monkeys around and they enjoy a little rest on top of car bonnets!
Drinks – There is a little shop at the base which sells all the essentials like mosquito repellents, plasters, drinks and ice cream.
I suggest bringing the following just to be safe:
1. Your mobile phone
2. Mosquito reppellent
4. Some money
5. Do remember to wear comfortable shoes!
As I am still new to trekking, please do let me know where your favourite places are and how to get there. Thanx!