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Ecosites to visit in Penang

Penang Hill
Rising more than 2,000 feet above sea level, Penang Hill offers a panoramic view of George Town with a 15-min funicular train ride up to the top. Enjoy the cool climate while you explore and learn the history, flora and fauna of this prominent hill in Penang. Audio guide sets are available for rent at a reasonable price, and this enables the convenience of having your tour around, including other attractions up the hill at your own pace. Penang Hill holds a record of a 10-million-year-old rainforest ecosystem. It offers a dipterocarp forest and oak-laurel forest that houses a plethora of endemic and endangered species, such as the Exorhopalia Ruficeps, Maingaya Malayana or even the Penang Slipper Orchid! Wildlife such as Dusky Leaf-Eating Monkeys, squirrels, wild boars and tree shrews can be seen there too!
Address: Jalan Stesen Bukit Bendera, Air Itam, 11500 Penang
Contact: +604-828 8839 / 828 8880 / 828 8861 / 828 8862


The Habitat
The place to visit for the most complete, exciting and educational Malaysian rainforest experience. With world-class facilities, dramatic natural beauty, and a commitment to conservation and environmental awareness, soak into the genuine beauty of this magical natural kingdom the moment you enter. The first of its kind in Malaysia, rolling hills, pristine rain forest, lush flora, enormous granite boulders and distant views makes this place a world-class and must-see ecotourism site in Penang!
Address: Penang Hill, Jalan Stesen Bukit Bendera, Air Itam, 11500 Penang
Contact: +604-826 7677


Bukit Panchor State Park
A well-developed state recreation park that is brimming with wildlife, a flowing river and lush greeneries. A suitable place for an adventurous nature escapade, be sure to explore the unique mangrove life forms, bat caves and the wetland boardwalk while here!
Address: Nibong Tebal Recreational Forest, Seberang Perai, Penang
Contact: +604-593 2977


Penang National Park
Known as the smallest national park in the world, the Penang National Park is home to a massive family of flora and fauna. The park includes a rare meromictic lake where fresh and sea water meet; and eight beaches with the popular one being the Pantai Kerachut that has its very own turtle sanctuary. There are well-marked trails for trekking here, leading into the meromictic lake, jungles and bays and an old lighthouse from the 19th century in Mukah Head; which was used to warn ships of dangers around the waters.
Other eco-attractions in the Penang National Park:

·       Mangrove Forest and Dipterocarp Forest

·       410 flora species and 143 fauna species like snakes, macaques, leaf monkeys, otters, hawksbill turtles, dolphins and more

·       Pantai Kerachut – rent a boat for the day and get to the beaches for a picnic!

·       Bukit Batu Hitam – the tallest peak, slopes from the eastern boundary between Penang National Park and the Teluk Bahang Dam

Address: Jalan Hassan Abas, Teluk Bahang, 11050 Penang
Contact: +604-881 3530


Tropical Spice Garden
Spanning over eight acres of secondary jungle and dotted with more than 500 species of tropical flora and fauna, discover the enchanting paradise of the Tropical Spice Garden in Penang. Tucked within a natural valley facing the Straits of Malacca, explore the diversity of nature through the hills, natural streams and jungle terraces or just sit back and unwind with some food or tea at the Tree Monkey Restaurant.
Address: Lone Crag Villa, Lot 595 Mukim 2, Jalan Teluk Bahang, Penang
Contact: +604-881 1797


Pulau Jerejak
An eye-opening insight into the beautiful tropical island, Pulau Jerejak is set amidst rich diversity of flora and fauna, making it an absolute nature lover’s dream! Rich in historical background topped with a variety of activities such as abseiling, rock climbing, mountain biking, fishing, jungle trekking or even a camping session, your adventure starts right here!
Address: Daerah Timur Laut, Pulau Jerejak, Bayan Lepas, 11900 Penang


Penang Botanic Gardens
Over a hundred years’ old, the Penang Botanic Gardens is where you can ‘escape’ to for a dose of greenery! It is famous for its flora and fauna namely the long-tailed Macaque monkeys who roams freely in the gardens. A popular spot for joggers and those who enjoy brisk walking, it's manicured lawns and pockets of nurseries boast hundreds of species of flora. There are many walking paths and tracks here, including forest paths that lead to Penang Hill.
Address: Jalan Kebun Bunga, 10350 Penang
Contact: +604-227 0428


Entopia by Penang Butterfly Farm
The world's first live tropical butterfly sanctuary featuring a nature park with live butterflies of various species & small reptiles living in their natural habitat. With its recent rebirth as ENTOPIA, experience nature’s largest classroom and discovery hub, where the butterflies and insects are free to come out to play - an Entomological Utopia.
Address: 830, Jalan Teluk Bahang, 11050 Penang
Contact: +604-888 8111


Air Hitam Dalam Educational Forest
A fresh water swamp spanning over approximately 10ha, the Air Hitam Dalam Educational Forest is located to the north of Province Wellesley (Seberang Perai Utara). Its name ‘Air Hitam Dalam’ refers to a river nearby that is deep and dark. Housing an ecosystem that has many plants and animals, especially birds, there are two observation towers here that is linked by a 210m suspension bridge. Birding is possible here, where the sites for birding are canopied and connected by a 1163m boardwalk.
Address: Sungai Dua, Butterworth, 13310 Penang  


Firefly Nibong Tebal
Be amazed by the synchronised flashes of lights gently hovering over mangrove trees lining the Nibong Tebal river bank. Attracting these pretty fireflies is the berembang (sonneratia caseolaris), a specific species of mangrove tree. Firefly watching at Sungai Kerian has been much lauded by visitors as a must-visit attraction. Indulge further by viewing the twinkling fireflies on a sunset cruise. It’s not all about the fireflies.  Visitors here can also engage in some octopus catching, bat cave exploration and fit in a visit to Penang’s largest sea fish cage farm.
Address: 2938, Jalan Teluk Ipil, Nibong Tebal, 14300 Penang.


Located within the Fisheries Research Institute complex in the southeast tip of Penang Island, Batu Maung, the main attraction at the aquarium is the large tank measuring 15ft by 10ft, set in a room. It feels like a big theatre showcasing big fishes including snappers, huge green turtles, tudung periuk, nyior nyior, and many more including a display of corals and sea anemones.
Address: Batu Maung, 11960 Penang
Contact: +604-626 3925/26

Image credits: Buletin Mutiara, Malaysia Nature Society, Penang Global Tourism