[Malaysia] ~ Off to Penang’s Beaches

The day I went somewhere a little bit off-town (and off-character) -11.17.15

I am into walking but not trekking but for this day trip knew that I had to survive one for about two hours on my way to a place in Penang called MONKEY BEACH. As the name suggests, I was expecting more monkeys on the beach but to my surprise was ‘ambushed’ by two on my way there. Nothing special water- and sand-wise but seclusion was perfect that it got me teary-eyed (I am sad to say though that upon reading more recent reviews, the place is not as secluded always and when crowded, can get dirty.)

When it started to drizzle on my way back from the LIGHTHOUSE  (called MUKA HEAD) nearby, I took a boat ride back and stopped over BATU FERRINGHI for beer, bite and people- and yes, horse-watching.

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Monkey Beach / Teluk Duyung

Located in Penang National Park, this beach is only accessible via a hike or a boat ride from the park entrance. While I knew prior to trip that I wanted to try that hike just for a change, when I got to talk to a local regarding options, I almost backed out and thought of hiring a boat for a roundtrip instead. And when I decided to hike one-way, I was again faced with the dilemma whether I want the shorter but steeper, undefined route or what is otherwise. Having known myself as far from athletic, of course I chose the latter.

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A bus ride takes you to a stop very near the entrance to the national park

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Park entrance where guests need to register

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On the right side while facing the entrance is take-off point for boats headed to beaches in the national park

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Walk to where I would not go

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Map while I assess possible routes 

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Taking the road more traveled

The entrance to the trail is located on the right side beside the registration hall. While it kicked off with a defined paved walkway, this would be in some parts inconsistent but the view of the sea was an assurance that I won’t get misplaced in the forest.

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Path kicked off like this

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And will eventually turn to like this

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Some portions even required rope for safety

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After about 15 minutes of walking, I started to feel tired that I would take some time to rest, specifically where there’s a nice view.

20151117_090436At one of my rest stops, this view of some past or future port

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Then all this blue

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Despite view of the coastline and not being totally surrounded in forest, I had my moments of creepy as I could hear some rustling – probably from falling leaves and twigs or animals moving somewhere. Imagine then the heightened panic when two monkeys approached me and tried to grab my white plastic bag containing my beer and water for the beach. As in the rule to not run when dogs run after you, I remained calm, raised the bag before they get to grab it and walked briskly straight ahead.

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And this monkey and his/her buddy tried to get my plastic bag of drinks

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On the bright side, that encounter with the monkeys temporarily distracted me from the pain of hiking. After which came back this voice as if saying “are we there yet?”. I consequently felt more drawn to distance markers.

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Oh 2 kms. Tsk. This lazy

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It even came to a point when the path opened to a beach, I had seconds of daydream I have reached my destination.

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When I saw this sign, I thought this was the beach itself. But okay, there was a not-so-obvious arrow

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Okay, there is indeed an arrow

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Not my destination but a decent beach still

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Oh hello there, stranger

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Nope. Not Monkey Beach but a sign that leads to it

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My feet don’t say but man, I was tired at this point

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There, there

After almost two hours, I was finally at my destination. There was no one else at the beach but some abandoned stalls suggest that maybe at some other time, this may have its fair share of visitors.

As I walked further, I will see two women at a stall and after a few minutes, a boatload of locals will settle someplace near a spot I have chosen for sitting.

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Not-so-hidden Mickey

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Deserted

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What the ‘stalls’ look like

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Some locals

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A little later, some other tourists came (a group of 4 if I remember right). for a while, I just idled from a chosen spot watching boats and small groups of people come.

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Where I settled

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From there, I just watched the locals enjoy the low tide

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Bird

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More guests coming

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Locals continue their business

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Fine sand

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The low tide has created that mini-sandbar

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I would sometimes take a dip in the water 

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I didn’t see where it came from also but while I was settling at a hammock, I saw a local guiding a tourist riding a horse.

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More meters up the lighthouse

After minutes of lazy at the hammock, I decided to burn more calories by checking out the lighthouse. It was another trap I set for myself as I ended up walking for 30 minutes or more and the ‘road’ was steeper. (Upon reading now, lighthouse is apparently 227 meters up but interestingly is an old one built by the British around 1900 that okay, it was worth it).

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Things abandoned there

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Even a decent pair of slippers

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And okay. how do I get through that :/

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What I came up for

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From the inside

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It started to get cloudy while I was at the top of the hill so I decided to go back immediately before it rains. Luck was on my side because it started to drizzle just when I was a few steps back to the beach. As I knew there is no way I can walk for two more hours back, I decided to ask around and look for a boat to take me back.

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Boat to self

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Batu Ferringhi

To make most of trip out-of-town, I went to see this more popular beach in between the national park and Georgetown. Being the most accessible beach from town, I thought it would be an unpleasantly crowded one. Compared to Monkey, it was definitely more commercial, but to my surprise, it was not as bad as I imagine.

Sand was good, water clean and while sea is for water sports, the ocean seemed wide enough to take a reasonable enough of such.
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Just one of many beachfront restaurants and inns

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After checking out the beach, I did some walking to get something to eat. I was craving something heavy after all the walking so I went for carbs.
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More carbs I got as I went back to the beach for some beers. I was there until it was about sunset – watching people, and this time two (who are) horseback-riding.

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Not an intense sunset but still a calming one

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Practical details

Rapid Penang buses run to several destinations from Georgetown. Details can be found here.

There are also hop-on/hop-off tours if you do not prefer DIY.

 

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