Thursday, April 13, 2017

Moon Gate to Penang Hill via tea stalls 5 and 84 and Moniot Road


This is one of the dozen or so trails that lead to Penang Hill and it is a good and popular one. It shows you a little bit of everything, a bit of natural heritage, urban heritage, agriculture, jungle and some excellent views.

Moongate

The trail can be started at both Moon Gate and the Youth Park. In this description, I will use both the Moon Gate trails. 

Moongate trail

 The bus (#10) from Komtar stops right in front of Moon Gate. Pass the gate to the left and start using the steps. The trail swindles slowly up. After a minute or 2 the path turns sharply to the left and back and climbs up. This is the junction for the forest track. 

Junction in the Moongate trail

You can follow both trails to reach tea stall 5. Continuing straight, following the chicken wire leads into the forest. Keep an eye open for the signs to 5, mostly painted on the rock. Alternatively, stay on the main trail with the steps. It’s more open, so it will be hotter.

Steps of the Moongate trail

Both trails are popular and it's more than likely you will meet other hikers on them, so there's no need of getting lost.

Teastall #5

You will reach the tea stall 5 within 30 minutes (either way). In the early morning and late afternoon, tea and coffee is available for free (although a donation is appreciated). 

Behind the Teastall #5

The continuing trail is laid out behind 5. In fact there are two trails. The main trails is clear visible after #5 and leads more moderate up along the slope. Should you decide to do Bukit Cendana (I will add later an article about this hill), turn after #5 directly to the right where you will see a trail leading into the forest steep up.

View to Paya Terubong

It’s a moderate climb to 84. The trail is degraded but not difficult to walk. There are several junctions on the way, some lead back to the Youth Park, two others to tea stall 39 and Air Itam and another one to Bukit Cendana. 

Teastall 84

Stay on the main path. It takes 50-60 minutes to reach the Jeep Road at tea stall 84. The tea stall was partly destroyed a few years ago in heavy rain. It's no longer possible to use this as a resting area. It is however the moment to continue using the Moniot Trail which branches off the asphalt road. In case you're tired, follow the jeep road down and walk back to the Botanic Gardens.

Moniot Road

There are two parts of Moniot Road: East and West. When you are at 84, Moniot Road start right next to it. There’s a signboard with some of the history of the road. Moniot Road East is primarily natural heritage. The trail is at first nice and wide but later becomes steeper. There are parts of cement trail but most is forest track. 

Steep up at Moniot Road

At the first junction turn right and steep up (continue straight leads to a farm and dogs will chase you). It’s only for short part very steep, after that the path levels but will continue ascending in a very moderate way.
At the next junction you can choose either to continue straight or go right. Eventually both paths come together. Should you take left, at the end of the trail you have to climb steep up for a couple of minutes before the trail joins with the trail you just ignored (the right trail). 

Moniot Road

Just above this point Viaduct Road greets you. From this point you can see the Viaduct Station. You have now 2 options. You can follow the signs Top Station, directly up to Penang Hill or take the nicer way via Moniot Road West.

Half way east and west Moniot Road

Walk under the bridge for the sign board to the top station. It's a little steep but not really difficult. 

Junction to Top Station (Penang Hill)

Continue after the railway station straight forward. The road is called Viaduct Road.  It’s a wide asphalt road. The first junction shows Viaduct Road West and Brother Bungalow boards, follow the Brothers Bungalow.

Viaduct Road junction

The forest opens and you're having now some spectacular views to Air itam, George Town and Paya Terubong.
Spectacular views to Air itam, George Town and Paya Terubon

Follow the ongoing road which now again starts ascending. About 7 minutes later you will pass the junction to the Brothers Bungalow and a bit further, now the road gets steeper, there is the junction to Mon Sejour. Ignore them both and walk further up to the now quite steep road.

Almost up to the jeep road

In about an hour after passing the railway you will come St. Brelas and the Summit Road. Turn right for going to Penang Hill. Here you can take the train down to Air Itam and bus 204 back to George Town. 

Heritage bungalows at Penang Hill

This trail will show you Penang Hill is much more than going up and down with the funicular railway.


Moongate - Penang Hill via #5, #84 and Moniot Road


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