Penang Hill is one of the island’s landmark and a popular place visited by locals and tourists alike, a great escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
In recent years, we have seen Penang Hill undergo a revival of sorts. The Habitat is the latest addition – a world-class eco-tourism facility committed to conservation and environmental awareness.
Set on the fringes of a 130-million-year-old virgin rainforest on Penang Hill, The Habitat is an eye opening, fun and educational rainforest experience. One can easily spend the entire day atop the “lungs of Penang” with nature trail, tree-top walk, canopy walkways to explore and guided tours by experienced guides. If you’ve had too much delectable local food in Penang, spending a day at The Habitat would definitely give your laden stomach a break.
Nature Trail marks the starting point of The Habitat. This 1.6km trail is easy to navigate with educational signs located along the trail to educate visitors on the flora and fauna in The Habitat. Complimentary guided tours are also available and are conducted by experienced naturalists. We highly recommended you go on one especially if it’s your first time. We were lucky enough to have Mr. Nazirul Musidi, a friendly local from Penang to bring us around. Graduating from Jordan and an expert in forest survival, Nazirul is an experienced guide fluent in English, Malay and Arabic who shared his insights on the flora and fauna in the locale.
Be greeted by beautiful themed gardens along the nature trail in The Habitat such as the Fragrant Garden, Ginger Garden and Purple Garden. We think that these gardens are perfect Instagram-worth places! Butterfly Bank is designed specially to attract not only the beautiful butterflies but moths as well and great for you to just relax and watch the butterflies play.
Tired from all the walking? You can also take a breather on one of their Giant Swings along the trail. 2 of 5 giant swings in Penang can be found in The Habitat where one is located near the Canopy Walk and the other is located in between the Drongo Circle and the Squirrel Circle.
Canopy Walk (also known as Langur Way) is an extension to the trees and stretches out to 230m in length with the highest point standing at 30m in height. Here, you are able to enjoy unobstructed views of the rainforest and on clear sunny days, you can see the beautiful Andaman Sea, Gunung Jerai and even the Langkawi Island from this bridge!
Be sure to check out the Tree Top Walk (also known as Curtis Crest) during your visit here. The Tree Top Walk is located 800m above sea level and it is also the highest public viewing platform in The Habitat. It offers a breath-taking 360-degree panoramic view of Penang Island. A Sunset Walk is also available at 7.00pm where visitors are able to witness mesmerizing sunset view. The floor also lights up with fibre optic lights which mimic the look of the galaxy.
When in The Habitat, don’t forget to pop by the terrarium workshop and learn how to make your own terrarium from scratch. By paying only RM10, you can learn and make your own terrarium with guidance from the friendly staff stationed here.
We ended our visit at The Habitat Café to fuel up after our long walk. This café serves a good selection of pastries, cakes, pies, pastas, toasts and coffee at a reasonable price. If you’d like some memorabilia, ‘Shop on the Hill’ offers a variety of gifts from merchandise, soft toys to a terrarium, paintings, jewellery and bathroom essentials. They even sell small seedboxes for you to grow your own herb garden at home.
Did you know?
- Heavy machines were not used nor allowed in the process of building the Canopy Walk. Only manpower and tree-climbing system were used to build this canopy bridge in order to be “tree-friendly”.
- Located at a flat surface in The Habitat, the area that the Tree Top Walk now stands was once used as a tennis court back in the 1890s for people that stayed over in Penang Hill for holidays. It was also used as a military parade ground by the East India Company troops to keep watch for approaching enemy ships – since this area is the highest viewing point in Penang Hill.
- Giant Black Squirrel builds more than 10 nests and are scattered on random trees within the forest. The Giant Black Squirrels do this to protect the babies from preys such as snakes.
- Bright coloured flowers or plants are labelled as poisonous plants in animal nature.