Welcome to Monkey Beach – a pristine park of Penang’s northern National Park! And yes, there are actually monkeys here! For now.
It starts off with a nice civilised pathway, but wait until you get slightly deeper.
The trail to Monkey Beach is about a 3km hike across semi-forested areas and short stretches of sandy beach.
And there’s actually signage! Huzzah!
Now before you head in, you’ll most likely be accosted by some of the salespeople at the entrance claiming there is a landslide blocking off the passageway to Monkey Beach after the USM campus. This is a bold-faced lie.
They will also insist you need a boat to access the beach, and will insist you pay a deposit to ensure you have a boat ready to take you wherever you need. You do not need a boat.
But it’s still nice to take a boat ride on the way back after you’re exhausted from all that hiking. However, you can easily get a return trip by boat from Monkey Beach itself, or wherever there is a jetty.
Access to this National Park is also entirely free! That’s right – FREE!
All you need to do is list down your personal details in case you run away with the monkeys and they need some names to put in the news.
Watch out for the little critters!
You’re bound to meet plenty of wildlife in here, as long as you keep your eyes peeled and your wits about you. Just make sure the wildlife doesn’t make off with your sunglasses.
You can even go for a swim in the relatively clean (but still murky) salt waters of Monkey Beach!
Just watch out for the watercraft and jetskis and banana boats.
The best part is after you spend the better part of an hour trudging up to the beach, you can easily hail a speedboat back to the starting point. All for the cheap, cheap price of RM50 per boat!
I wouldn’t bother booking them beforehand, which the salespeople are wont to encourage you to do before you step foot into the park.
There is this wonderfully picturesque park in the core of Sungai Ara on Penang Island named Taman Jajar.
It is a surprisingly sizeable and well-equipped park. Taman Jajar has a fenced-off football field, stage area atop a hill, 2km loop walking path, children’s playground, exercise machines, and neatly cultivated flowerbeds lining the walkways.
And the lush greenery is nicely carved up by a curvy creek that snakes its way through the entire park.
What a hidden gem in a heavily populated neighbourhood such as Sungai Ara, which is right next to Bayan Lepas and Relau and all the high-rise apartment buildings.
Just look at how perfectly picturesque this park is!
A well-kept park that the local residents are clearly immensely proud of. Let’s hope they continue to keep it that way.
So if you’re ever in the area, go drop by Taman Jajar (Linear Park) in the south side of Penang Island!