Botanical Gardens to the Old Crag Hotel

Not many are familiar with the Old Crag Hotel on Penang Hill.It was built in the 1890’s by  well known Armenian hoteliers,The Sarkies.Today it stands derelict,crumbling in the sands of time.Even though its a mere shadow of its former glory, its still remains a sight to behold


The Old Crag Hotel,opened its doors in 1895.Today it continues to stand albeit weathered by the elements

There are a few ways to reach the Crag Hotel.The trail we are using is a moderately hard trail which goes up the northern ridge of Penang Hill and cuts into the Crag Hotel Area.

The trail starts at the well known Point 46 trail inside the Penang Botanical Gardens.For those of you who may not be familar,at the Botanic Garden Gate take the road which leads straight into the garden followed by a left turn.Continue uphill and you’ll soon see the trail head on your left.


Trail Map


Starting Point

Hike up this trail and soon you’ll be at a leveled area within 15-20 minutes.We decided to break for a short rest here,as we were exhausted after the steps up to this point.


Continue right and follow the path straight into the Water Catchment Area.You’ll hear the sound of gushing water as you approach this area.Continue along this trail into the restricted area(Jangan Cemar Ayaq kat sini tau!!Nanti Kena Tangkap plak!!) and you’ll meet a river in two minutes.


Cross over it and continue going on for 5-10 minutes and you’ll come to a junction.Along the way,you’ll pass an overgrown rain gauge too.At the junction take the left turn.

ImageIts steep uphill and most of the way there is little tree cover.Brace yourself for the heat.

In 10-15 minutes you’ll come up to a rain gauge, Rain gauge 3 to be precise.Take a short rest here and continue on.Image

In another 15 minutes you’ll come to the next rain gauge, Rain gauge 4.If you haven’t taken a rest along the way,be sure to take a rest here,as the path continues uphill after this rain gauge.After Rain gauge 4.Its almost 45 minutes to 1 hour to the next rain gauge.Terrain can be tough for some so do rest along the way if you feel like doing so.

ImageWithin 10-20 minutes leaving Rain gauge 4 you’ll come across a junction with a turning forking off to the right and another going straight ahead.ImageTake the trail straight ahead.The path which goes right leads you down to Tanjung Bungah and along the way you’ll see an interesting abandoned house. The story of the house recently caught the attention of the press.To know more,do follow this link,

Anyway back to our trail.Continue on straight and you’ll come to Raingauge 9.We were planning to break for lunch at rain gauge 9 but we decided instead that we’ll have a small snack and continue on to Penang Hill.Penang Hill may seem very near from here,but infact its still an hour away.Image

At rain gauge 9,you’ll notice two paths.One goes down to the left and another goes straight ahead.Take the left turn and continue down.Within 30-40 minutes you’ll be at the bottom of the small,damp valley.Image

Be sure not to spend too much time here as this is “leach territory”. An army of leaches are waiting round the clock to pounce on you and attack you 🙂 Oh well,we tried our best to go fast but even then,these little slimy creatures soon found their way and stuck like sticky tapes to our body.


Back to the trail.At the bottom of the valley you’ll notice a small rocky outcrop with an underground stream gushing underneath it.Cross over these rocks and continue up.Within 20-30 minutes you should be standing at a drain just below the Crag Hotel.Take the right turn at the drain and you’ll be able to come up to the Crag Hotel.

Be sure to spend a few minutes to appreciate this beauty as it slowly fades into the annals of history.




8 thoughts on “Botanical Gardens to the Old Crag Hotel

    • Hi Tan! It takes about 4-5 hours to complete this trek. Well it is steep at some parts, and provided that you are wearing good shoes, have some snacks along, and have a moderate amount of fitness, this trail should be relatively fine. It is also eroded in many parts especially after the first rain gauge, but it is safe

  1. Hi there,

    Would you then retrace your track from Crag Hotel or is there another way to get down?

    Thanks a mill! Your blogs have been very helpful.

    • Hi Esther, well you can, but it is always simpler to continue from Crag Hotel to Penang Hill before heading down by train. To reach Penang Hill, follow the cleared path right in front of Crag Hotel (you won’t see any clearer path in front of the main Crag Hotel building) and it will lead you to across a bridge and a small tar road. This tar road connects back to the main jeep trail up Penang Hill and its only about 20 minutes to reach the Penang Hill Train Station and food court. Alternatively, you can return to Botanic Gardens using the jeep track as well. Thank you for your compliments. Will be returning to active hiking blogging mid this month. Stay tuned and follow my blog as I will be coming up with more comprehensive trail guides (maps and time taken would be included) in the coming weeks. Happy Hiking!

  2. Hi and good day to you! A not-to-be-missed opportunity for ex-Uplanders to re-visit and relive memories of their former school located at the former Crag Hotel on Penang Hill. Students of Uplands are invited to take this opportunity to discover the roots of their alma mater.
    On 29 July 2018, 9am-12pm at Crag Hotel Penang Hill. For more information, contact us at or 04-8288880 and do visit our website at

  3. Pingback: Adventurous Hike from Botanical Garden to Penang Hill through Old Craig Hotel – NICK CHAN DOT NET

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