The Penang National Park is the smallest national park in the country with a size of 2,562 hectares. It was gazetted in 2003 and is home to 46 species of birds such as the stork-billed kingfishers, white-breasted waterhens and great egrets.
A 2000 expedition led by the Malaysian Nature Society recorded 417 flora and 143 fauna species. Before the area was designated as a national park, the locals knew it as Pantai Acheh Forest Reserve. Some of the activities carried out are fishing, swimming and hiking.
The pure, sandy stretch of Pantai Kerachut is also a favourite nesting place of Green turtles from April to August, and the Olive Ridley from September to February. The turtle hatchery set up in Pantai Kerachut in 1995 is now managed by the State Fisheries Department along with the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) and the Forestry Department. They also manage the upkeep of the park, which is in pristine conditions.
Some of the best hardwood trees can be found here, especially from the shorea species, such as Meranti and Merawan Baru. In fact, the area is the only known place in Penang where the red, paper-like barked Gelam trees grow.
The bio-diversity of the park is also impressive, with 1,000 species of plants including five different species of the Bintangor tree.
Besides this, the park is the only one in Malaysia that contains six different types of habitat a meromictic lake (a lake that occurs seasonally, where there is a distinct layering of waters), wetlands, mangroves, mudflats, coral reefs and turtle nesting beaches.
There are also various plant pitchers, wild orchids and funghi, and medicinal plants.
A 250 metre walkway allowing you a view of the tree tops, set 15 metres above the ground. The canopy walk is located just over 1 km from the main entrance. Tickets have to be purchased at the registration office at the entrance.
Ticket Cost: 5RM for Adults – 3RM Children.
There are plenty of free camp grounds set up around the reserve. Camping is free and should only be done in the designated camp sites.
Please do not camp on the beaches as this stops the Turtles coming on shore to lay their eggs.
You should telephone the park headquarters in advance if you want to camp, as there is limited space
By far the most popular stretch of sand in the park, it is about a 3.5KM walk (between 1 1/2 – 2 hours) through the jungle following the coastline, up and down over the many headlands.
Entrance to the park is free. You do have to register at the office at the entrance and get a permit. If you wish to use the canopy walk, you have to buy your tickets at the office.
The Penang National Park is open every day. The official opening times are from 8.00am until 5pm.
These are the opening times of the park registration office, where you have to register to get your permit, although the park itself is not closed off by any gates.