This was to be our last full day in Penang so we decided to hit Penang National Park to give ourselves a bit of an ‘easy’ introduction to trekking. Getting there was quite a bus ride but as we were now old hands at it, it was easy peasy – we even managed the problems thrown up by the dangerous Georgetown interchange!
In no time then we were there. At the beginning of the Park there is a fishing village which has a long pier and there were boats there that could take you to where we wanted to go – Turtle Beach – OR you could go by foot, this was our chosen method so onwards and upwards we went, well especially upwards as we were soon to discover!
The route had a wooden path which soon changed to a gravel track but it was still a good start but we soon found that it appeared to be one long continuous trawl uphill! There was not a great deal to see except for the odd colourful butterfly and they did not stop still enough to allow photographic opportunities but I got a couple of snaps.
Also, as Virgin Jungle Trekkers, we were not sure what to expect with respect to the sounds of the jungle – however we soon found out that it was a right racket! Cicadas appear to be the main culprits and these make noises from clicking to something sounding like an old steam kettle boiling away, which stops the minute you get close – also Geckos are noisy critters too, so do not go for a walk in the jungle in order for a bit of peace and quiet! ‘In the jungle the mighty jungle the Lion sleeps tonight!’ – what with bloody earplugs in?
After a long time of walking – mainly uphill – we reached the far side of the national park, the inappropriately named ‘Turtle Beach’ as we soon found the last Turtle to be seen was there was a long long time ago. Next misnomer was the Meromictic ‘Lake’ – this was a dry piece of land really – a bit boggy in places but definitely not ‘lakey’. (Wrong time of year). Anyhoo on the beach we thought we would be able to relax – well not quite as the beach ‘sand’ was more like a fine gravel and it was a brilliant conductor of heat – so too hot to sit or walk on. We did eventually find a tree shaded spot that we could hide under and was considering a bit of a paddle in the sea until we saw the Dangerous Jellyfish sign – a German was already in the water but good English folk are too precious to lose, so we did not venture in the water!
It seemed that all events were conspiring against us until a very small fishing boat turned up – just a couple of fishermen, a small boat and a bit of a net. It was whilst they were landing their catch that a Sea Eagle caught wind of what was going on and started by having a look from overhead before starting in to, as we thought, rob the guys of their catch, however he was actually grabbing the fish that the fishermen were throwing over the side – so everyone was happy. Well almost everyone, the speed the bird was moving made it was impossible to get a photo of him diving in – all I got was him flying off with his spoils!
On the return journey we saw a couple of small brown lizards and more butterflies – it was only when we got almost back to the park entrance that Liz spotted a great big Monitor Lizard – he was wandering about at the start of the park where there was a bit more rubbish – having a nosey for any loose grub about the place. All in all a good time in the jungle.
On the way back home we rounded it off with another bite at the Food Courts thus finishing our trip into Penang – possibly wished we had stayed in Georgetown but still a very nice island.