During my visit to Malaysia I went on an unplanned Trek through the jungle with my Aunt and Uncle! It was only the day before the marathon that I trekked through the jungle in flip-flops!! Not wanting a different pair of shoes to rub so close to the big race I opted to stick with my ‘pro’ flip-flops.
Penang National Park (Taman Negara Pulau Pinang), this amazing park is located in Telok Bahang, at the north west end of Penang Island, it is at the end of the winding coastal road lined with numerous beach hotels and hostels.
The trail itself is free to explore, all you need to do is sign yourself in so staff know how many people are out there incase of an emergency. Soon after walking into the entrance of the park I saw a Spectacled Langur monkey, only wished I’d taken a photo. It is black fluffy monkey with white patches around the eyes and looked so sweet.
One of the best things about the trail is that you can do it at your own pace which makes it idea for anyone of any age and fitness, You can even hire a guide if you need one, we managed just fine without as there is an obvious trail, as it is a jungle make sure you take appropriate footwear and drinks to keep you hydrated. The path to Monkey beach pretty much follows the sea so it would be hard to get lost, the bridges that are along the path are wooden slacks with gaps through the middle, not ideal for me as I have a fear of walking over anything I can see through, never the less I did cross them, I just ran.
Some of the path wouldn’t be suitable for the unfit there are a few parts where a climb under or over tree stumps or branches. At one point we had practically jump from one boulder to another. If in doubt sit on your bum and slide, this motto worked well throughout the trek.
However hard it sounds trekking a jungle in inappropriate footwear it wasn’t actually too bad, except maybe for my uncle who went back for a flop that had fallen off. This only happened once so did nearly falling over so on the flip-flop front I did well. There are a lot of animals and insects to be seen, a lot better than a zoo as they are in their natural habitat, which is wonderful to see. Personal highlights were a baby Macaque monkey and a huge monitor Lizard bathing in the sun. It was nice to see the Macaque not relating humans to food as I’ve seen before at the Batu Caves Kuala Lumpur. There were three or four in a tree that were chilled out and didn’t really notice us being there and I got a photo this time! Yippee. The termite mounds are just fabulous to look at, as are the different sounds just walking through the jungle. So many birds are to be seen I couldn’t name any but still amazing to see.
We estimated the trek to be just less than ten kilometers; it took us around one hour and thirty minutes to get to Monkey Beach and the same back.
On reaching the white sandy beach the Pro flip-flops came of and I took a walk in the sea to cool down. Its very humid in the jungle, I used a leaf to fan myself along the way it was that hot. There were loads of Ghost Crabs running along the beach and I did see a few jellyfish. The trek if definitely worth it just to get to the beach, we walked along to the end and up to the entrance to the lighthouse. You can also get a boat to the beach unless you’re physically not able to walk the trek then I’d consider the boat as cheating slightly. There were a lot of people that had walked there to sunbathe and chill out after the walk, one family were camping there for the night, amazing. There is a small stall at the beach where you can buy crisps and snacks, but would be advisable to take some, as it doesn’t look too permanent. A nice cold drink was just what we needed after the long walk.
The walk back was just as good having to climb up a lot of the time rather than down. On the whole it is definitely worth the visit even if you’re not particularly the outdoorsy type.