A Peek from the Peak of Penang
Conquering Penang Hill is bound to be a truly invigorating experience for those who wish to take a short respite from the hustle and bustle of humid Georgetown (Penang, Malaysia). Towering at 830 meters above sea level, higher and cooler than any point on the island, Penang Hill is the choice location to view the city of Georgetown in all its grandeur.
Reaching the summit is a delightfully effortless feat entailing a mere half-hour ride on a funicular train, which leisurely traverses the slope of the hill as it flaunts the magnificent stretch of emerald smudging its tracks. Take a trip down memory lane and trace the path of old colonial settlers on a railway that has been servicing the route since 1922.
For the more adventurous souls, scaling the hill on a 4-hour trek along a picturesque nature trail should be quite an escapade. Indulge in the luxurious serenity that only nature can provide while sauntering along the gently rolling slopes as you feast your sights on the treasure trove of flora and fauna. You may be fortunate enough to come face-to-face with the local reception committee - a band of carefree monkeys - out to warmly welcome guests to their humble abode.
Once at the peak, the first sight of the breathtaking panoramic view of the city is bound to cast all worries asunder. The cool mountain breeze will do wonders for the weary soul. Drink in the spectacular expanse of the island and breathe in that delightfully fresh air for instant rejuvenation. To quell that voracious appetite you've worked up while hiking, roadside stalls offer enticing treats, as well as a hodgepodge of souvenir items to gratify that insatiable shopping bug. Feel free to roam around, you'll find tons to tickle your curiosity - from exquisite gardens to a Hindu temple and a Muslim mosque to a bird sanctuary and the absolutely delectable local cuisine available at the hilltop restaurants.
The journey, however, does not end once you reach the top of the hill. More amazing sceneries await you down the road. You simply cannot pass up the opportunity to walk along yet another charming trail dotted with quaint little cottages, palatial colonial bungalows, multicolored flowers amid refreshing greens, different species of birds fluttering about, and more of the friendly neighborhood monkeys at play.
The backdrop of chirping birds and insects coupled with the pleasant highland climate make the trek a truly recuperative excursion. The captivating sights will keep you well-entertained that you wouldn't realize an entire 1.7 kilometers had passed until you come across the Canopy Walk - a majestic walkway of netting, wood, and ladders strung high up through the trees. Making your way through the rickety path and looking down on treetops from 200 feet the above ground is quite a unique and exhilarating experience. Jeep rides are also available for a meager fee to take you to and fro the Canopy Walk if you think you've done enough walking for one day.
After a long day of exploring the hill, you deserve a break. Claim a bench, sit back, and sip a hot cup of tea while enjoying the island's beauty stretched before your eyes.
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Published on 10/11/07