By now you probably already know that Penang is second to none when it comes to gastronomical offerings. From the all-time favourite Nasi Kandar to the mouthwatering Asam Laksa, the island has always been top-of-the-list for tourists and foodies alike.
But Penang has more to offer than just its food. The island is home to acre upon acre of verdant rainforests that nature enthusiasts can’t seem to get enough of.
Take for instance, Penang Hill. With its highest peak towering 833 metres above sea level, Penang Hill is one of the most popular destinations for nature lovers, going all the way back to colonial times when British officers would converge at the peak to escape the blistering heat below. In fact, it is the oldest British-built hill station in all of Southeast Asia.
It has retained this attraction, as city folk and urbanites also look to Penang Hill as a much-needed retreat from the fast-pace of city life.
Nestled on top of the hill is The Habitat – the first-of-its-kind world-class ecotourism adventure in Malaysia.
Located on the fringes of a 130 million-year-old virgin rainforest, The Habitat is known to be home to a wide range of flora and fauna.
Look out for the Black Giant Millipede, Paper Kite Butterfly, Giant Black Squirrel, Dusky Leaf Langur, Asian Fairy-Bluebird, Giant Pandan, and so many more, that it’s quite impossible to list it all down here.
With stunning facilities and a well-constructed trail, The Habitat is an exciting and educational experience affording the curious traveller a delightful glimpse into all the Malaysian rainforest has to offer.
Here’s a quick rundown of what The Habitat at Penang Hill has to offer:
The starting point of the 1.6 km trail is just a few minutes away from the Top Station of the Penang Hill Funicular Railway.
Once you spot the sign saying, “The Habitat”, you’ll know you’re about to transform into a adventurous wanderer – one who doesn’t freak out at the sight of the not-so-friendly-but-not-harmful-either snakes slithering in the bushes.
Already used to “welcoming” guests every single day, these snakes simply get on with their business without hardly a look in your direction.
However, if the sight of a snake sends you bolting in the opposite direction, you can rest assured the many rangers on duty will take good care of you.
You have the option to either wander along by yourself at your own pace, or join a complimentary guided tour led by one of The Habitat’s resident nature experts (you might want to opt for this as their naturalists are super informative and friendly).
Tree Top Walk
The Tree Top Walk offers spectacular views. After all, you’re walking on a 13 metre-high viewing platform located on the plateau just above the Mid-Point Rest Area and Museum, making it the highest public viewing platform on the island.
The platform is also designed to hold up to 120 people at any one time. Its circular shape gives a 360-degree view of Penang Island and if you’re lucky, on a clear day, you can even see Langkawi Island in the distance.
If you’re there at the right time and under the right weather conditions, you’ll be able to witness the most mesmerising ever sunset.
Another attraction is the newly-opened Langur Way Canopy Walk, that gives you a spectacular view of the hills right up to the state of Kedah. With multiple viewing platforms spanning approximately 230 metres in length, it towers at 15 metres at the highest point.
Although the canopy is built in spaces between the trees, it is designed and engineered to be “tree-friendly” without rigging any of the steel cables directly onto the tree trunks.
The spacious and sturdy platforms provide a safe and unobstructed view of the 130 million-year-old virgin jungle.
You have to see it for yourself to believe it, so come on over.
The Habitat Penang Hill
Address: Bukit Bendera, 11300 Penang, Malaysia.
Operating hours: 9am to 7pm daily
Tel: 04 – 826 7677
Email: [email protected]
This article first appeared in uppre.com