We were in Melaka when we met a couple of young Swedish guys that just got back from Penang who told us about this beach where you could see little turtles coming out their eggs to make their way to the sea.
That was enough for me to make a decision: we were going to Penang next.
I was super excited about the idea of getting so close to an event like that and possibly help in any possible way if needed – you might have already heard me talking about my desire to volunteer with animals.
After a quick and unsuccessful search online about the possibility of volunteering in Penang, we decided to go personally and see by ourselves if we could do anything.
This is how our adventure hiking in the Penang National Park, known locally as Taman Negara Pulau Pinang, started.
First of all we needed to register before stepping in for security reasons, so if somebody doesn’t get back after the closing time they should look for them, which is quite reassuring in a way, but at the same time it made me feel a little worried, not knowing what to expect and how difficult the hike would be. I kept saying to myself that there is nothing better that a bit of adventure, don’t you think so?
A quick look at the map for ANGLO/Dale is enough to memorize where we are going. There are two main trails in the Penang National Park with different secondary paths, we decided to take the Pantai Kerachut one for obvious reasons, in fact this path leads to the beach where the sea turtles nests are.
Well equipped with plenty of water, off we go ready for our 1 hour and half trekking (one way only) without thinking how we would get back or if we’ll have any energy left.
The first bit of the pathway was paved with concrete, ‘easy trek’ I thought, but as soon as we got more into the National Park the concrete disappeared and we were immersed into the wild, humid and sticky rain forest.
I needed to watch my steps – especially considering how clumsy I am – to make sure I didn’t trip over the stunning roots of the big trees scattered everywhere along the way
We were completely surrounded by different kinds of exotic plants, flowers and trees of which I had never knew of their existence or seen before then.
I felt free, relaxed and happy to be away from the busy traffic roads. The only sounds I could hear came from the inhabitants of the forest. There were loads of birds that we couldn’t see but only hear their singing, I’m pretty sure I spotted something similar to a squirrel jumping from one branch to another, a couple of monkeys chilling on the trees ignoring us completely and plenty of insects calling to each other.
Every now and then I could feel the sound of running water and after few steps bumped into little streams cutting our way. Walking into spider webs wasn’t very pleasant , but made everything looks untouched and left to be, like if nobody had been walking through the same path for some time.
Needless to say that we took a bit longer than expected to reach our destination, in fact we stopped along the way to admire and listen to the undisturbed wildlife but eventually we made it to the Pantai Kerachut beach.
There was supposed to be a meromictic lake which unfortunately was very shallow and dry, so not much to look at.
The white coarse sandy beach instead was lovely, the water was super clear and we almost had it all to ourselves. Such an hidden paradise!
The only animals I could see on the beach though were crabs, nothing against them but you know why & what I was there for. We went to the Turtle Conservation Centre, we asked for information about the baby turtles and learnt that they were there just the night before and moved to another beach.
We were one day late, noooooooooooo! So sad!
It’s not something that happens everyday and we managed to miss it.
You can imagine our disappointment 🙁
A local man approached us and offered a boat ride back with a stop at the Monkey beach. With our sad faces on and feeling a bit drained (mainly because of the heat and high humidity) we accepted and jumped on the boat.
Usually tickets must be purchased in advance, we were lucky enough to share the boat with other people and pay only 20 ringgit each (approx $6.50, £4.20 and €4.85) instead of the full price.
The ride was fun and it was nice to see the Penang National Park from the coast line. Despite being the smallest in Malaysia and in the world, it seemed quite vast and widespread to me.
Our last stop before getting back to the main jetty was a nice alternative consolation to the missed little sea turtles. The beach was stunning with many palm trees, again very clean water, only few locals and, for my happiness, plenty of monkeys.
Simply loved them! I know they can be quite cheeky at times, but so far none of the ones I met have done anything to me. They were quite approachable and comfortable with us standing very close observing them.
Even if I didn’t get to see the sea turtles crossing, I enjoyed the whole day very much and I definitely recommend going to the Penang National Park, even if for its peaceful atmosphere alone.