Penang National Park, Malaysia

The National park in Penang covers about 1200 hectares of land on the northern tip of the island.  It was set up originally to protect the local flora and fauna.  The park is quite unique as it offers a diverse lanscape of many different habitats as well as a meromictic lake.

The park from the fishing piers
We decided to take a look at what the park had to offer for ourselves.  It was easily accessible by taking the 101 bus to the end of the line.  We were dropped off right in front of the park.  After bypassing all the gentleman peddling boat tours we immediately spotted the fisherman's village and decided to walk the pier out to where you can see all the boats up close as well as the villages out in the water.

Fishing villages out in the middle of the ocean
It was hot, really hot, so after a cool drink break we were ready to just get back on the nice cool bus.  But a poster listing all the animals that lived inside the park peaked the kid's curiosity, well 2 of the kids anyway. So we decided to go for a hike despite the heat -- dragging along the oldest, who was still dreaming of the air conditioned bus and a trip to Hard Rock Cafe to swim.

Tip: Bring in water and some towels.  It's hot, there is lots of water for playing and cooling off in, and no water to purchase once you are inside.

It was free to enter the park, but they ask that you sign in and out when leaving so they know if you get lost and to be sure everyone is out of the park when closing for the evening.  The park is meticulously cared for.  We were completely impressed and couldn't help but compare it to Manuel Antonio Park in Costa Rica.  This park was far cleaner and offered more facilities, such as bathrooms, a level path, and numerous lovely picnic areas.  The groomed pathway does end after a bit and the hike splits off and becomes more strenuous.

We did not make it to many of the attractions, such as the lake or monkey beach, because it was over 1 hour away and the kids were just not up for it.  But we hiked for about 20 minutes after the walkway ended and enjoyed seeing monkeys, beautiful birds, mud skippers, a massive trail of carpet ants, and many, many cats.

For an added cost you could take a boat trip to monkey beach or to simply tour around the park for 80 RM ($27) or so per boat load one way -- split with another family this is quite reasonable.  Just ask the many men at the entrance to the park, trust me they will be happy to help!

Carpet ants
Mud skippers, nature's missing link!
The footprints of possibly the elusive otter??  Yeah probably just a Monitor lizard!
Discovering a horse shoe crab
All in all, Penang National Park is a great spot!  We never did find those sea otters that I was looking for, but I suspect the farther into the park you go the more likely it is that you will encounter some of the more interesting wildlife.  Start out nice and early in the day to try and beat the heat and bring only those willing to hike. I am sure that will increase your chances of advancing as far as you want!

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  1. I had great opportunity to visit Penang National Park in Malaysia. It has beautiful lakes and animals such as monkeys, birds and mud skippers. That was an amazing experience.

  2. The penang national park is my one of favourite places, it consists with many bio-diversities. Therefore the park is eye catching.