It is the smallest national park in the country with a size of 2,562 hectares. It was gazetted in 2003 and is home to 46 species of birds such as the stork-billed kingfishers, white-breasted waterhens and great egrets.
A 2000 expedition led by the Malaysian Nature Society recorded 417 flora and 143 fauna species. Before the area was designated as a national park, the locals knew it as Pantai Acheh Forest Reserve. Some of the activities carried out are fishing, swimming and hiking
The pure, sandy stretch of Pantai Kerachut is also a favourite nesting place of Green turtles from April to August, and the Olive Ridley from September to February. The turtle hatchery set up in Pantai Kerachut in 1995 is now managed by the State Fisheries Department along with the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) and the Forestry Department. They also manage the upkeep of the park, which is in pristine conditions.
Some of the best hardwood trees can be found here, especially from the shorea species, such as Meranti and Merawan Baru. In fact, the area is the only known place in Penang where the red, paper-like barked Gelam trees grow.
The bio-diversity of the park is also impressive, with 1,000 species of plants including five different species of the Bintangor tree.
Besides this, the park is the only one in Malaysia that contains six different types of habitat – a meromictic lake (a lake that occurs seasonally, where there is a distinct layering of waters), wetlands, mangroves, mudflats, coral reefs and turtle nesting beaches. There are also various plant pitchers, wild orchids and funghi, and medicinal plants.
Be sure to bring a jumper. The jungle can get surprisingly cool at night, partly because the sunlight rarely reaches the jungle floor through the canopy.
How to get there
Car or Boat
There are two entry points to the park, one is at Kuala Sungai Pinang via boat or the other entry point is Teluk Bahang, which is easily accessible by car. Penang National Park is less than 45 minutes by road from the capital, George Town. The journey passes through urban and rural settings along the northern coastal road of Tanjung Tokong, Tanjung Bungah, Batu Ferringhi and Teluk Bahang towns. The first entrance to the park is at Teluk Bahang, or you can take a boat from Kampung Kuala Sungai Pinang. Trails through the park are well-paved with ample signages.
For camping, visitors are requested to seek permission from the management. Camping and weekend programmes organised by the National Park are also available for students who are interested in this activity. However, accommodation is not provided in the National Park. Visitors are recommended to stay at the nearest hotels around Batu Ferringhi and Teluk Bahang.