This is my second attempt at the hill, (first attempt here) having turned back after 3 KM because I wanted my legs and joints to gradually get accustomed to the climb, and not have a painful recovery time after. And indeed that was effective, and I didn’t suffer. Now four days after the first climb I intended to climb further, and to the top if possible.
There are various routes up Penang Hill, and Wikipedia tells you more. So my aim is to eventually try all of them, or at least the ones easily accessible from where I live. And to become used to the climb so I can do it quite quickly and maintain an increased fitness level.
The first route I decided to concentrate on was the sealed road from the entrance of the Botanical Gardens. It is 5.1 KM. As it is a sealed road, even if it rains there is no problem with mud. And it seems no problem with mosquitos either.
It is really steep in places, and coming down it can be better to walk backwards, and/or zig-zag across the road. The road is quite shady from trees, so even later in the day one is protected from the sun. This time I started off around 8.00 AM, having parked quite near to the entrance of the road and the Botanical Gardens, although at this time of day it is very full with people who come to exercise in the gardens.
There is a little blue sign every 0.1 KM, so you can easily see how far you have progressed.
And it’s 5 KM – actually 5.1 KM – of windy road.
The photo below shows I have made 100m progress, and can still see the entrance.
The first 1 KM was very steep, with almost no stretches with a gentle incline. At 0.4 KM was the first rest hut.
About 50 metres further on were some monkeys.
After I had been walking 25 minutes there was another rest hut.
And the next monkeys were a bit past 1.5 KM.
At about 2.5 KM there was a bigger rest hut with boiling water for tea and cold water to drink, with adjacent toilet block, and a few people resting.
After the first kilometre there were steep stretches of road, and other stretches of road that weren’t so steep, so it was a bit less of a strain than the first kilometre, and therefore easier.
I made it to 3.0 KM, where I had turned back last time after 52 minutes.
I continued on, passing another couple of rest areas, and then came to a big house, at around 4.1 KM.
At around 4.55 KM the road even has a gentle decline for a little way, but then it is all uphill to the top at 5.1 KM.
It had taken me one hour 38 minutes to climb from the bottom to the top. Now, time for a little look around.
There is a hotel on the left, the Crag Hotel. Apparently it is derelict. I was too thirsty to explore.
Time to head to the hawker centre for a drink.
Food was on the top floor, drinks on the lower floor.
I really didn’t have the energy to walk up to the Indian temple, or indeed to walk anywhere, so I just rested with a drink and looked at the view. Half an hour later I decided to head back down. By the way, the funicular goes down to a quite different area of Penang, so if you came to the Botanical Gardens by car, it is not convenient to catch the funicular back. If you had come by public transport, then you could.
Going down the hill was much easier having done it a few days previously. My muscles were used to it more. I did walk backwards or zig-zag a few times on steep slopes, but mostly I could cope OK.
I saw the monkeys again on the way down.
Two monkeys were quite aggressive, but scared of my walking stick. All the others were no problem, and some were quite tame.
The walk down this time mostly felt quite easy, except for the very steepest parts. Coming down took me one hour 12 minutes.
Sunday had a lot more cyclists than today, a weekday, but otherwise today had about the same number of walkers, motorcyclists and 4WD’s – the exhaust from the older ones was sometimes annoying. The few cyclists were either struggling up in their lowest gear, I suppose – still going at three times my walking pace – or wheeling down the hill quite quickly.
Walking stick, hat, sweat band, paper & pen for notes, camera, comfortable shoes, – water if you wish, but you can get it on the way and at the top, anyway.