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Safer Hiking Trails For All

Blessed with lush greenery and exotic plantations, Penang is one of many places in the country with picturesque hiking trails enjoyed by many. Throughout the years, many hiking groups were formed out of their passion for hiking and one such group is ‘Happy Hikers’ led by group leader and businessman Eddie Lim.

Happy Hikers
‘Happy Hikers’ consists of 20 trekkers from all walks of life, from company director to teachers, who all shared the same love for this outdoor pastime. While most of their hikes are focused on places like Penang Botanic Gardens, the group also organises hiking trips in Bukit Jambul. ‘We would meet at Youth Park around 4.30pm and from there we will decide on the hiking trails to cover that day,’ explains Tony Lim, an avid trekker and member of ‘Happy Hikers’. On most hiking days, their 1.5 hour trail kicks off from Moongate near Penang Botanic Gardens to Point 5 rest area, where most hikers take a break with a few cups of tea before making their way down.

Nothing Stands in Their Way
What sets ‘Happy Hikers’ apart from other hiking groups is their effort in clearing up fallen trees that obstruct hiking trails they explored. When an obstructed hiking path is spotted, members would raise the matter in their WhatsApp group and members will take action. ‘The last session took us three hours to chop down a big fallen tree. Smaller ones took us half an hour to clear,’ Tony says and adds that they use only non-motorised equipment such as a saw and machete. ‘All of the equipment was sponsored by our group leader Eddie Lim.’

‘The condition of hiking trails here are generally safe because there are a lot of responsible groups who help out with the damage. Some also built steps on these trails,’ says Tony. 

‘After a thunderstorm and heavy rain, the paths tend to be too soft for hiking. As far as I know there are responsible hikers who will help to level the soil,’ quips Tony. Although there are many people who contribute in making the trails safer for all, he adds that further assistance from the Botanic Gardens authority or state government are much appreciated.

Heritage Passage on Penang Hill
In recent days, improvement and upgrades on several hiking trails are seen across Penang and it includes the newly upgraded trail Heritage Passage or Laluan Warisan on Penang Hill. New facilities include the placement of wooden railings and concrete steps. ‘Depending on hiking trails, the railing might be costly and maintenance will be difficult but Happy Hikers will organise a trip to Heritage Passage soon.’

Other Hiking Trails
Depending on your fitness level, there are numerous hiking trails in Penang to encourage your sense of adventure. If you’re new to hiking, join ‘Happy Hikers’ from their Youth Park meeting spot and walk along the gentle slopes to Point 5 rest area. The trail is about 1.4KM hike and will take you less than an hour to complete. For adventure seekers, a more challenging Moon Gate Highway awaits and it begins from the Botanic Gardens to Penang Hill. During the two hour hike that spans about 3KM in distance, the Moon Gate Highway is also filled with side trails as well.

Leisure and experienced trekkers are welcome to join 'Happy Hikers' without any charges. Spot them at Youth Park in Penang Botanic Gardens at 4.30pm and find yourself with new found friends.

Images courtesy of Tony Lim