Walking in Penang for the non-suicidal – Walk 5 – Air Itam Dam

Air Itam, Ayer Hitam etc.- or some combination of these spellings – means black water.  Hmm, a great start for a dam that supplies drinking water.

The address: Jalan Balik Pulau, Pulau Pinang.  Without a car it is a very long walk from near the entrance to Kek Lok Si Temple. I do see people riding up on bicycles, however.

air itam dam Penang

The parking area is very small, so you may need to park your car a little further down the road.

This is a relatively easy walk of 2.8 KM around the lake.  Unusually, there are no shops or vendors, so if you want anything to eat or drink you would need to bring it.  There is a morning market and shops before you turned onto Jalan Balik Pulau, so it is easy enough to buy something before or after. Mobile phone reception up here is also a bit spotty.

Of course, being a circular walk, you can go clockwise or anti-clockwise. I happened to go clockwise. And you would have to try really, really hard to get lost.

This is more or less where you start, with the car park in the background.


Looking the other way you have a nice view

view from starting point

First you are warned about snakes…

beware of snakes

then, right on cue…

Mr. Snake

Mr. Snake goes by in a stream. You get glimpses of the dam as you proceed around.


No one warned me about turtles…

turtle sunning itself

they were also swimming…

swimming turtle

The road is a bit up and down…


Looking into the sun, and with a hazy atmosphere – but you can make out George Town in the background.  It could make a good photo at the right time of day.

George Town in the distance

Almost completed the walk, now…


Looking along the dam retaining wall…

dam retaining wall

And looking down the other side of the wall…

retaining wall

Having crossed the causeway, and back near the car park…

end of the walk

That’s it – a quite short, but very pleasant and natural walk not far from the city centre.



  1. I have read your blog with great interest – have recently travelled to Penang and found many points of correspondence with your own observations. Could I get into contact with you?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s