Okay, we all know Penang for its second-to-none gastronomic offerings. But did you know that besides drool-worthy dishes, it’s also got beautifully verdant green lungs that are the perfect antidote for the city-weary?
Penang Hill is among the most popular haunts for local nature lovers, and nestled on top of the hill is The Habitat. The ecotourism attraction not only has world-class facilities and pockets of pristine rainforest that’s home to a wide range of flora and fauna, but it’s also committed to environmental conservation and education.
You can easily spend an entire day there, as there’s plenty to see and do. Here’s a rundown of what The Habitat Penang Hill has to offer:
The start of The Habitat’s 1.6 kilometer-long nature trail is a short stroll from Top Station of Penang Hill’s funicular railway. Snaking around the hill’s oldest colonial bungalows and stretching throughout the park, the trail has educational signs scattered along the way and lookout points that highlight the best views.
Along the way, you can wander through the vibrant gardens that follow a single color theme, like the Red Garden and the Purple Garden. There’s also the Fragrant Garden, featuring plants with a unique or captivating scent, and the Ginger Grove, displaying both wild and cultivated culinary ginger plants.
You can either wander along the trail on your own at your own pace, or you can opt to join a complimentary guided tour led by one of The Habitat’s resident nature experts.
Walk through a magical, fluttery wonderland at the Butterfly Bank. Specifically designed to draw butterflies of all sorts of species, this area is filled with plants that butterflies like, be it to drink nectar from or to smell.
Stand extra still and you may even attract butterflies to land on you!
Curtis Crest Tree Top Walk
The Curtis Crest Tree Top Walk is named after well-known botanist Charles Curtis, the first superintendent of the Penang Botanic Gardens that lie at the bottom of Penang Hill.
The Tree Top Walk is the highest public viewing platform on Penang Hill, standing at 13 meters above ground. Shaped in a circle, the platform can hold up to 120 people at a time and offers spectacular 360-degree views of Penang island. On a clear day, you can even catch a peek of Langkawi island in the distance.
The plateau where the platform sits was formerly used as a tennis court by holidayers in the 1890’s and was also used by the ruling military as a lookout point.
Langur Way Canopy Walk
One of the latest additions to the park, Langur Way Canopy Walk lets you walk among the treetops and has one of the best unobstructed views of the surrounding rainforest.
The walkway was designed to be “tree-friendly”, meaning that there is no steel rigging built directly into the trees, and spans about 230 meters in length and stands at 15 meters above ground at its highest point. There are multiple viewing platforms that allow you to catch your breath and savor the stunning vistas.
Want to catch one of the best sunset views in Penang? Enter The Habitat after 6pm and you’ll be taken on the guided nature walk before ending your visit at the Curtis Crest Tree Top Walk in time to watch the sun sink below the horizon. Afterwards, you’ll also be able to experience the jungle at night.
Do note that there’s an additional charge on top of the entrance fees.
Opening Hours: Open daily from 9.00am – 7.00pm (closed on Wednesdays)
Student/Child (4-13 years old)/Senior Citizen: RM30
Family Package: RM130 (2 Adults + 2 Kids)
Kids aged 3 and below: Free
Persons with a disability: Free
How To Get There
Funicular Train: The quickest way up Penang Hill is on the Funicular Railway. Board the air-conditioned train from the Air Itam station and you’ll reach the top in minutes. The train leaves the station every 20 to 25 minutes. For Malaysians with a MyKad, an adult ticket costs RM10 for a return trip and RM5 for a one-way ticket. For children aged 4-12 years old, it’s RM5 (return) and RM3 (one-way).
Car: This method requires a four-wheel drive vehicle. The road to the top of the hill starts near the entrance to Penang Botanical Gardens. There are private four-wheel drives available for hire, just ask the attendant sitting in the booth next to the entrance to the road. However, there’s no set price, so be ready to negotiate with the driver.
Hike: For the adventurous, you can opt to hike up Penang Hill, as there are several trails that lead to the top. The most popular route starts at the road near the entrance to Penang Botanical Gardens, which takes around 2 hours. Another popular hiking route is from the Moongate, along Waterfall Road. It’s a proper hike though, so be sure to wear appropriate footwear, slap on some sunscreen, and carry enough water.
Work off all those calories you consumed in Penang by spending the day at The Habitat Penang Hill, a hidden jewel amongst ancient virgin rainforest. Book your hotel and flights on Traveloka today!