After a rather eventless day yesterday in shopping malls where the only achievement was that Ilinca bought a replacement backpack and some other items, today we went trekking in Penang National Park. In up to 33°C and lots of humidity, this was a physical challenges, but the experience of the dense jungle and the beautiful remote beaches were worth the physical effort.
About Penang National Park
With only 2300 hectares, Penang National Park is the smallest national park in Malaysia. And it only achieved National Park status in 2003. Nevertheless, it offers quite a lot on this small areas: dense jungle, waterfalls, various animals, remote beaches, and most important on Penang Island: a retreat from the busy streets of George Town. There are not a lot of trails in this national park, but the ones we used were in good conditions and marked well.
Trekking in Penang National Park
Because it often rains in the afternoons here in the tropics, we decided to head out early. After a 45 minute ride by car we reached the entrance to the Penang National Park at Teluk Bahang. The admission is free, we only had to register at the entrance.
The beginning of the trail was flat and in perfect conditions, so not really a jungle trek, but after roughly 500m the path split. We were going uphill to reach Turtle Beach on the other side of the hill. In the steamy hot temperatures, we were really glad that we could walk in the shadows of the forest. Nevertheless, we were both sweating a lot.
On the way we met some monkeys in the trees, birds, tiny spiders and an unidentified rodent. Unfortunately we did not get to see any lizard for the whole day.
Turtle Beach at Penang National Park
As the name suggests, turtles lay their eggs on this beach at night. To protect the species, there is a Turtle Sanctuary located at this beach in Penang National Park. Apart from that however, the beach was very calm, amazingly beautiful and remote. We met around 15 people on that beach today. It is a picturesque tropical beach how you usually see it in travel magazines! Only problem with this beach (and others in the national park): they are overrun (overswam?) by venomous jellyfish, so swimming is strictly forbidden. What a shame, especially after the 2 hour hike through the jungle.
On the beach I continued looking for lizards, but I could not find any. However, I met a much cooler creature that I had no idea it exists: A Hermit Crab. These are crabs that borrow shells of snails and hide inside them for protection and carry them around as if it were their own shells. It seems we humans are not the only ones who use other animals’ skins to feel more comfortable and safe.
Back to George Town
From Turtle Beach we took a tourist boat that was stopping at turtle beach back to the park entrance. Once back in George town, I rewarded myself with a massage, and when I got back, got news arrived to Ilinca: They found her backpack at Milano airport! It took them 7 days to do that. And of course we bought yesterday a replacement backpack, so now after they deliver the backpack to her, she will have two backpacks. But we have a good friend in Singapore… Maybe we could deposit one of the backpacks there for a while? (Chris, are you reading? ;))
So a fantastic days comes to an end. Tomorrow we will enjoy a bit more George Town before flying the day after tomorrow directly to Singapore to meet Ilinca’s luggage and maybe Chris…