Curious, adventurous, and solemnly swearing that he is up to no good.
Published January 4th 2017
Scenic views in Penang, for FREE
Pantai Kerachut and Teluk Kampi (Kerachut Beach and Kampi Bay respectively in Malay) are two attractions that make up the Penang National Park. Located at the northwestern tip of the island in Teluk Bahang, those without your own transport can take Rapid Bus 101, which runs from Weld Quay in Georgetown. With a frequency of 10 - 20 minutes, the route should run through Chulia Street and the Komtar Bus Terminal, before treating you to the Batu Ferringhi coastline during your one-hour journey there. If you are coming from the south of the island, you can get on to Jalan Tun Sardon, an undulating stretch of road which takes you through the backbone of the island, and past the Teluk Bahang Dam, a good spot for photo-taking.
After you arrive, formalities include registration at the front office, and stating your intended destination, to facilitate transport and emergency services should they be required. After that, you're good to go.
The hike to Pantai Kerachut can be roughly broken down into two parts, an uphill climb preceding a slightly more gentle descent. For me, it was a challenging, yet soothing experience, particularly when you are in the middle of a dense forest on a largely overcast morning.
Just as you arrive at Pantai Kerachut, you will come across a natural rarity: a small meromictic lake, where the fresh water does not mix with the seawater during high tide. A short walk leads you to the Penang Turtle Sanctuary, where a bit of luck may grant you the chance to meet a baby turtle or two.
The beach itself was serene and peaceful, just the right getaway from the hustle and bustle of civilization. A word of caution though, swimming is not advisable due to the steep drop in the sea bed should you wander too far. Also, the beach is home to jellyfish, and you do not want your hike to end with a sting in the tail.
If you are still up for adventure, take on the hike directly from Pantai Kerachut to Teluk Kampi, a trail that cuts through the reserve. The journey here is more arduous, with steep uphill and downhill sections. You would want to check with the ranger on directions before this hike, as the trail is not clearly marked.
Should you accept this challenge, the reward at the end justifies the hike, as you come to the most secluded and isolated beach in the park. Facing the west, it is the ideal spot to catch the sunset and camp over for the night.
Those not keen on the idea of trekking all the way out may ask for a boat to ferry you back to the entrance of the park. It would be ideal to make your decision on this beforehand, because once you go in the park, telephone reception will be hit-or-miss.
If you are looking for a mix of recreation, exploration, and getaway rolled into one, Pantai Kerachut and Teluk Kampi, and as an extension, the Penang National Park, makes for a natural, picturesque choice. Showcasing a more eco-friendly side to the tourist hub that is Penang, a trip back to nature wouldn't go amiss the next time you come round to the Pearl of the Orient.