Walking up Penang Hill is a really good way of getting to the top, as the road takes you through 5 km of shaded forest and its a good way to spend the day, rather than paying the high prices that tourists have to pay to use the Penang Hill Funicular Railway Train.
There are two routes that can be taken from the Penang Botanic Gardens.
The first route uses the road which is used by residents to drive up the hill.
The entrance to this road is just to the left of the entrance to the Botanic Gardens. It starts off quite steep for the first kilometre, then its a little less strenuous for the next 4 km to the top. This route should take 2 to 3 hours.
The second route starts from inside the Botanical Gardens. It is not that easy to find as it is just a small path that leads off from the gardens into the forest and there is no signpost.
If you enter the gardens, keep to your left past the office and keep heading up the hill.
When you see a couple of white "ghost trees" on your right, the trail is just a little distance on the left past these trees. If you can't find it, just ask one of the locals.
This path is a seriously steep hiking trail, with hundreds of steps straight up, as you can see in the picture below.
Eventually, after the steps, the path joins up with the road leaving you another 3 1/2 km to get to the top.
At about the halfway point, you will see a rest area and just behind here is an alternative path to the top.
This path was one of the original bridal paths (heritage trail) made by the British in 1823 called Miniot Road.
It is just a dirt track and a much longer way of walking up Penang Hill, but offers some good views along the way, unlike the road.
Make sure you know where you are going before you use this track as it is easy to get a bit lost along this old pathway.
You could always catch the train to the top from Air Itam and walk down to the Botanical Gardens or vice versa.
Don't forget to take plenty of water with you if walking - you can get some more drinks and food in the restaurants at the top of the hill.
To get to the base of either of these routes by bus, please see our Penang Botanical Gardens page here >
Another route that starts from just before the Botanical Gardens at Moongate, is much more of a jungle trekking experience.
They also have a good list of other trekking trails you can take around Penang island.
For those that are a bit more adventurous and want a bit of a challenge, there is another well-marked pathway that consists of 10 kilometres of jungle track and jeep tracks that goes up to Penang Hill from the other side of the island at the Teluk Bahang Forest Eco Park.
To get there take the 101 bus to Teluk Bahang.
The entrance to the park is a couple of minutes walk past the Butterfly Farm.
Related Pages on our Site:
If you would like to do more trekking in Penang, you may also want to visit the National Park where there are miles of jungle treks and beautiful beaches to visit, as well as a turtle sanctuary.
Click on one of the pictures below for more information.