Occupying an expansive 1213 hectares, sprawling Penang National Park holds the distinct honour of being the first legally protected nature reserve in all of Malaysia. Formerly dubbed the Pantai Acheh Forest Reserve the venue situated on the north-western edge of Penang was declared a national park as recently as 2003. Spread out across a large landscape that covers both land and sea the Penang National Park is a hotbed of activity all year round as it is frequented by researches, scientists and naturalists from around the world.

Home to more than 417 species of flora the park is littered with secondary forests with herbal plants and rocky bonsai dominating the landscapes. Other dominant plant varieties in the park include screw pines, Casuarina trees and cashew nut trees while sea almond trees and Pelawan trees are also found along side Tongkat Ali, Meranti Seraya, Bintangor, Chengal, Gaharu and Jelutong plants. The chief animal inhabitants in the venue include long-tail macaques, Hawksbill turtles, Dusky leaf monkeys and otters while dolphins also occupy the waters of the park’s beaches. Mouse deer, wild cats and sea otters also occupy the pristine landscapes of the national park as do monitor lizards, civet cats, wild boars and snakes. Birdlife in the park is dominated by kingfishers, Brahminy Kites and White Bellied Sea Eagles while the locale’s lake boasts a unique concentration of snails, nearly 6700 in every square meter.

The 0.4km long Canopy Walk is another special feature at the locale as it’s suspended 15m above ground level and offers visitors unparalleled views across the parkland and its tree tops. Towering above the rainforest the walkway is a rope laden path flanked by dipterocarp trees that has been constructed without the use of nails or screws. Two nature trails are also available for hikers with one heading towards the Muka Head lighthouse and the other ending in Pantai Kerachut. The challenging hike is virtually bereft of human construction with ropes and a few concrete steps being the only intrusion on an otherwise natural landscape.

Beach lovers can also explore the park’s stunning beachscapes including coveted Monkey Beach and Pantai Mas. Other popular beaches in the park include Tanjung Ailing, Pantai Kerachut, Teluk Tukun and Teluk Bahang Beach while Teluk Kampi and Teluk Duyung are equally breathtaking.

Travellers in search of a stylish Tanjung Bungah hotel will be more than pleased with the luxurious Copthorne Orchid Hotel Penang. Offering guests the best in modern amenities this Penang hotel pulls out all the stops when it comes to unforgettable holidays.

Pushpitha Wijesinghe is an experienced independent freelance writer. He specializes in providing a wide variety of content and articles related to the travel hospitality industry.