Charcoal Kiln Trail

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Charcoal Kiln Trail, Ridge Top Trail, Penang Hill Forest Challenge

 

The following trails listed below all start from a common point and then divert onto different points within the forest reserve. Hikers need not worry about getting lost because the trails are marked with clear signs giving short explanations or story lines at 21 stops. In addition, forest rangers provide free tours and useful tips. The fifth trail is a separate product because of the distance covered and stamina required. We start with the easiest and work upwards:

 

o     Level 3. Charcoal Kiln Trail: 2,980 metres, 3 to 4 hours, 10 station stops.

This trail is described as requiring some strenuous uphill walking and is recommended for physically fit trekkers. It takes you up to an altitude of 150m above sea level. Some of the plants hikers get to observe and learn about are the bayan, a species of palm which is used as food, the famous tongkat ali, gajah beranak, kacip fatimah, selaganilla, petai (a pungent pod), a big climber, commercially viable trees and a charcoal kiln built in the 50s.

The tongkat ali, also known as the local ginseng is taken as a health supplement, lowers high-blood pressure, and also serves as an aphrodisiac. Both gajah beranak and kacip fatimah are taken by women during post-natal recovery and for general good health. Petai is a popular ingredient in Malay and Nonya cooking. It can be eaten raw or cooked and is widely believed to have cleansing properties.

 

o     Level 4.

Ridge Top Trail:
4,280 metres, 4 to 5 hours, 10 station stops.

This trail is categorised as demanding. This means that unless you are physically fit or have lots of stamina, you should not attempt this. Like Trail 3, this trail includes some steep hill climbing, described as requiring some strenuous uphill walking and is recommended for physically fit trekkers.

It follows Trail 3 until you pass the bayas palm, ascend upwards to 150 metres, then branch off eastward and ascend some more until you reach an altitude of 400m, or the ridge of the hill. You pass some pitcher plants before reaching an open area which overlooks a panoramic view of Telok Bahang. Then you head back towards the
Forest Park via a buffalo logging trail.

 

o     Penang Hill Forest Challenge, Trail 5: 11.3 kilometers, 8 hours, 10 station stops between Recreational Forest and Penang Hill.

This forest trail, called the Penang Hill Forest Challenge, is developed by the State Forestry Department. It starts at the
Forest Park, winds through eight stops before reaching Bukit Laksmana and the permanent forest reserve. After reaching Western Hill, you continue your hike on a tarred jeep track until you reach the Upper Railway Station. From there you can use the jeep track to descend to the Botanical Gardens or Air Itam town (via Hye Keat). If you are too tired to walk down, you can always use the funicular railway. Apparently there are two ways of tackling this challenging trail. One is the tough version, which starts from the Forest Park and involves an uphill climb all the way. The other is the easier version, which starts from Western Hill and goes downhill until you reach the Forest Park. The distance between the Forest Park and the Penang Hill Top Station is approximately 11 kilometers.

 

Forest hikes are undeniably the best way of enjoying and appreciating natural wonders. Any number of people can participate and it doesn't cost very much. If you want to set up camp, it may be advisable to organise a team as heavy loads need to be carried over long distances. Don't forget to inform the friends/relatives before embarking.

 

For further enquiries, contact:

Pejabat Perhutanan Negeri Pulau Pinang

Tingkat 20, Menara KOMTAR, 10000 Pulau Pinang

Tel: 604-262 5272, 650 5250   

Fax: 604-263 6335

Pejabat Renjer Hutan Telok Bahang: 604-885 1280

 

Museum Perhutanan Hutan Lipur Telok Bahang

Taman Rimba, Telok Bahang, 11050 Pulau Pinang

Tel: 604-885 2388

Email: jabatanp@sukpp.gov.my

The Forestry Museum is opened every day except on Eid-al-Fitr (Hari Raya Puasa) and Eid-al-Adha (Hari Raya Haji).

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