Journey To The Isle of Mice (Pulau Tikus)

There exists a rocky island off the coast of Penang (which itself is also an island) that legend claims used to be infested with mice.

Early settlers from Thailand used it as a base, and the little furry rodents kept them company on lonely nights (no, not like that). And that is where the name Pulau Tikus came from – literally translating in the local language to the Isle of Mice.

It’s not hard to get there – you just need to think unconventionally.

First you start at the Water Sports Complex just north of the Floating Mosque of Penang in Tanjung Bungah.


Penang Tikus Island Open Water Swim

Penang Tikus Island Open Water SwimPenang Tikus Island Open Water SwimPenang Tikus Island Open Water Swim

Penang Tikus Island Open Water Swim

Some people choose to swim, while others kayak or catch a little fishing dingy. Whatever floats your boat.

Penang Tikus Island Open Water Swim

The island itself is actually relatively devoid of rodents, but lots of other little critters now inhabit it. There are lots of little crabs and crustaceans that line the large crusty boulders that protect the island. Oysters and shellfish find shelter between the rocks and just under the surface.

In turn, seabirds and crows flock here to feast on the abundant seafood. As do the fishermen and random passersby.

Penang Tikus Island Open Water Swim

And believe it or not – the Isle of Mice comes with some man-made facilities!

There is still a working jetty, although I’ve yet to see an actual boat dock there.

Penang Tikus Island Open Water Swim

Penang Tikus Island Open Water Swim

There is also a concrete structure that houses a shrine of sorts, accompanied by a tall steel watchtower that is sturdy enough to fit a football team!

Penang Tikus Island Open Water Swim Penang Tikus Island Open Water Swim Penang Tikus Island Open Water Swim

During low tide, there is also a nice stretch of beach on Tikus Island.

It has relatively little shade though, and no cooling coconut trees, so I’d recommend coming early in the morning or later in the evening.


Penang Tikus Island Open Water Swim Penang Tikus Island Open Water Swim

And here is footage from above:

This is quite possible the first time Tikus Island has been documented and photographed from above in such detail (no, satellites don’t count)!

Perhaps a small part of Penang history was made today.

I can tell this guy is excited.

Penang Tikus Island Open Water Swim

Now if you ever want to take a trip out to this island, your best bet is from one of the beaches along Penang Island’s northern coast.

The Water Sports Complex in Tanjung Bungah has a little beach from which you can launch out to reach the Isle of Mice (Pulau Tikus).

Penang Tikus Island Open Water Swim Penang Tikus Island Open Water Swim

So feel free to visit the Isle of Mice and experience the real Pulau Tikus (there’s a suburb named after it on Penang Island itself)!

The Water Sports Complex rents kayaks of all sizes, or if you’re a member of the lofty Penang Swimming Club, then you can easily take off from there.

And since you made it this far, you get the exclusive privilege of watching this not-too-corny video!

Go check out Tikus Island!

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