It was a steep climb as our funicular train made its slow and steady crawl up Penang Hill. We were on our way to visit The Habitat, a relatively new park that had opened last year which boasts a 1.6 km long nature trail. We were fortunate as it was a quiet Sunday morning and had managed to avoid any queues by arriving early, fresh and ready to start our walk.
Once reaching the top of Penang Hill, which commands 2723 feet at its highest point, we took a deep breath to survey the beautiful surroundings and were instantly rewarded with the most amazing hilltop views. Green leafy forest jungle views together with the breezy wafts from the Andaman sea enveloped us with their sheer and natural beauty.
A quick amble from the station took us to the entrance of The Habitat, where we were met by Kevin Liew, the affable Assistant Manager in Marketing & Sales. He guided us through the main reception area which back in the day used to be a horses stables!
This is just one of the many examples where the creators of The Habitat have lovingly retained and restored existing parts of the landscape and brought it back to its natural beauty with just a hint of modernity!
We were then taken around by one of the Habitat's most experienced rangers, Shakira. They call them "rangers" not guides at The Habitat, which is very fitting, as the guides are essentially keepers of the park possessing extensive knowledge on the flora and fauna that make up this bountiful secondary rainforest. A secondary rainforest is land that has been previously developed, so in this case the land here was used for the purpose of a plantation.
As we started our tour, we noticed that along the walkway there were plenty of water filling stations, where one could refill one's bottle to keep fully hydrated. This is imperative during the long winding walk. The park practices a 'no plastic bottle' policy so we highly recommended you bring your own refillable bottle, but you can also easily purchase some of the Habitat's aluminum bottles on display at the reception area. They have adorable logos and we picked up a few ourselves as gifts.
An interesting feature is the creation of hydromedia pathway which allows water to seep through properly into the ground thereby allowing the soil underneath to not be affected or cause erosion. This is the Habitat's way to ensure that the park interfere as little as possible with the environment. We tested this out our selves and sure enough, the water quickly was absorbed into the ground.
At one point, we came across some trees with red lines, at first we thought that these trees were marked to be taken down! We were quickly told that these red lines were in fact demarcation lines painted by the Penang forest authorities which signifies that anything beyond the lines were protected rainforest reserve and not to be touched!
I was amazed at how well maintained the upkeep of the park was with many gardeners constantly managing the over and undergrowth of the park, so that all the visitors are able to enjoy the sanctity of the natural surroundings.
I may not be the most knowledgeable of botany and plantology but I was able to recognize and truly appreciate some of the foliage that grew bountifully around us. There were numerous types of flora and fauna which were both familiar yet remained truly exotic in nature. I couldn't help luxuriating in the abundance of nature that is so readily available in this glorious landscape.
The park also had a couple of rustic giant swings which the visitor can just sit back and explore the scenery. This is a great focal point to catch sight of wild birds and monkeys!
Below a Dusky Leaf Langur seen at The Habitat Penang ! (Picture courtesy of The Habitat Penang).
Everywhere you looked there was just so much to see and look at. There were so many different shades of colours everywhere and textures so pleasing and irresistible to the naked eye.
Bunga Tahil Ayam is the name of this pink flower - not a pretty name as in Malay this mean's "chicken droppings" probably due to the bad odour that occurs when its leaves are crushed or perhaps it could be due to its look!
We also traipsed through the park and came across the Butterfly Bank, where one could observe wild butterflies nestling around and sipping the sweet nectar in the kaleidoscope of flowers .
We particularly enjoyed the Bromeliad Garden, which has a special seating area with mirrored gold panels which gave a special watercolour effect to any reflection, almost like a painting. I could totally understand the attraction of having this gorgeous backdrop to hold a special wedding or a special photography session! (Picture below courtesy of The Habitat Penang).
The Habitat will be opening its latest attraction, Curtis Crest, which is a 13 metre high viewing platform with a 360 degree view, the highest platform in Penang where visitors can get incredible views of Penang and the Andaman Sea. We also hear that they will be opening a zip line soon, which will be the longest zip line over a rainforest in the world!
We got a glimpse of the construction in progress and look forward to returning ourselves.
We'd like to take this opportunity to thank Frederique Walker for inviting us on this amazing tour and also Kevin Liew and Shakira for showing us around the beautiful gardens.
We are certainly looking forward to visit The Habitat again in the near future and try out some of the new and exciting adventure attractions!
The Habitat Penang is located at Bukit Bendera, Penang. do visit their website at http://thehabitat.my or email at email@example.com. They are open daily from 930am-600pm except for Wednesdays (closed). Tickets are priced at RM 20 (adults) and RM 10 (children 3-13 years old).
Yiga's elegant and striking Lannie clutch can be found at frankitas.com or call 0173787070. Her outfit is from Instagram @coffeeandcovet or call 019 2113858,