We’ve had several days of intermittent very heavy rain, but the night and morning had been dry.
7.20AM: I started at the bottom
7.56: had reached the halfway point and rest area 35 minutes later.
This is the start of Moniot Road.
I really had no idea of the route it took, whether it went to the top of the hill at all, and how long it would take if it did. So I started off. There were absolutely no helpful signs at all for the whole walk, as it turned out.
8.00: At first it was an easy, if narrow, track through bush land. It undulated a bit, but was mostly uphill, of course.
8.02: Then the centre of the track became a narrow concrete path.
8.05: I continued on, until I came to a fork.
On my left was a “Beware of the Dog” sign,but the path on the right looked very rough, so I took the easier left hand path – both headed uphill anyway. This track was again a narrow concrete path, and somewhat slippery. Unfortunately it ended at a house, so this was the wrong path – as I was also told by the owner. So I retraced my steps carefully, narrowly avoiding slipping, back to the fork.
8.10: Now on the right hand path I soon reached a muddy bank I had to clamber up.
There was worse to come. Mostly it was a dirt track – read mud, but not particularly bad – with the occasional mud bank to climb up.These were somewhat treacherous.
8.20: I crossed a few small bridges over mini-ravines.
8.24: This continued on
8.28: with some more mud banks to climb up
8.34: until I came up to a concrete sealed road.
With no sign to help, I turned left as that was uphill.
I think now that the road to the right would intersect with the normal Penang Hill road, as I later found out that this road was Viaduct Road East, and I think I passed it on the way down.
8.35: I continued until I found myself under the Penang Hill track more or less at the Viaduct Station.
8.48: Indeed, the road I had been on was Viaduct Road East. I couldn’t see any alternative to continuing along that road – and did so, taking the uphill choice at any intersection.
8.54: Later the sealed road ended at a Buddhist retreat, but that was actually slightly downhill
8.56: and taking the uphill fork I was now back on a dirt / mud track, but wide enough for a car.
9.03: Later again it became a concrete sealed road, winding upwards.
9.05: So far, so good – but then I came across a road blockage.
Several huge trees with all their foliage had fallen over the road, blocking it for about 30 metres. But there was no way I was going back – scrambling down mud banks and down muddy tracks is a lot more precarious than going up. There was nothing for it but to get across. One motorcycle rider turned up, saw the problem, and turned back. No one else was around. No one had tried to remove the trees. It could have been a very recent fall.
I tried to walk along the trunks, but they were slippery, and I did slip and almost fall. There were also some fallen palm trees with nasty thorns in them, some of which I had to extract from my skin.
I did a combination of walking along and across tree trunks, and across some foliage, and finally I managed to traverse the obstacle. It took about 10 minutes.
9.19: After this it was easy walking, just uphill, even if I had no idea where I was. At another junction I turned right randomly, but there was a road crew there who told me I should go the other way.
9.21: A little later at another intersection I randomly turned right,
9.28: and later found myself walking past a few houses.
9.32: There was another road crew, and a few people walking the other way,so I asked if I was on the correct road to Penang Hill, and I was. Lucky. Even a post box.
9.39: Later a nice view over the Penang Straits appeared,
9.43: and not long after I finally recognised something – I was approaching the Penang Hill hawker centre.
So, about one hour 45 minutes, with stops for photos, backtracking when I had made the wrong guess on the road, etc. it’s about 45 minutes for me if I just go up the main road.
All in all, not a good walk, and especially after heavy rain. The banks one has to scramble up wouldn’t be so bad if dry. But mostly it wasn’t good because I had no idea where I was. If you decide to try it, best to have some water with you, a mobile phone in case of injury – although a signal is very patchy, and a companion in case of injury or whatever.