Ayer Itam to Tiger Hill

Hi guys,i’m finally back blogging after a hectic semester in Curtin this year. Well soon after my arrival on the island I was back in the wilderness of Penang.

This  time it was Tiger Hill,one of the many peaks in the Penang Hill Range. Well there are many places we can embark from to reach this hill,but today I’m gonna focus on the one of the more popular routes from Air Itam. Starting point for this hike is just a 200-300 metre walk away from the Lower Kek Lok Si Car Park .

You will see the signboard below at this point.Take the road and continue along  the wider left path after the signboard

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This is where you begin!

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Part of the map up to Tiger Hill.

Continue along this path straight up and in about 15 to 20 minutes you will come across a shed beside a Chinese Temple.

Take a rest here and continue on along the same cemented track for 5 minutes until you come across another turning to the left leading to Air Itam Dam.

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Kek Lok Si

In 5 to 10 minutes after taking this turn you will be at the Ayer Itam Dam playground.Continue down to the dam and take the right turn which skirts the dam.

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The Air Itam Dam

In 10 minutes you will come across a small bridge which crosses the point where two streams meet.I call this place “Beth Nahrin” which in Aramaic means the land between two rivers.

We usually take breakfast in this spot before continuing.This time around we had a sumptuous meal at home so it was only an R and R pit stop.

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“Beth Nahrin”

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Dad’s friend soaking up the beauty at “Beth Nahrin” 

So yeah once you’re done refueling in “Beth Nahrin”,continue along the road for 5 minutes and you’ll be at yet another junction with a path that winds off to the right.

It’s cemented all the way, but that wont make you’re journey any easier.Continue up this steep road for the next 50 minutes,till you come across the next junction.

Do keep your eyes wide  open as this is one of the more interesting stretches along the whole hike.You might be suprised as to what you’ll see along the way!

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A forest reserve sign board along the way

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“Brain Flower”

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Mount Elvira Waterfall.A sight to behold along this stretch 

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Flowers strewn across the trail.Not the average thing you come across in Penang

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The cemented path finally ends at a four way junction.There would be an empty yellow signboard erected by the forestry department,where you could take a short rest (You’ll probably be really exhausted once you reach this point).

Take the path that diverges to the extreme right(goes in the opposite direction as the cemented path/parallel to it),just beside the path you took.

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Dad and friend having a short rest at the 4 way junction.At this junction,you should take the far right turning.

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Pitcher Plants are found in abundance here

For the next 20 minutes continue along this laterite trail which winds down into a small rubber estate.Take the right turning and continue  for 5-10 minutes till you reach a bridge crossing a stream.Here the trail parts into two separate paths.

I call this place the “Wadi”, a valley of farms in the middle of the tallest peaks in Penang. Take a deep breath,soak in the cool ambient air and enjoy the breathtaking scenery along this stretch.

As for the trail,take either one (i suggest the left trail as it is more scenic and exciting) and in 20 to 30 minutes you’ll reach the next junction.We were lucky to find the orchards in full fruit,with durians precariously dangling over our heads.

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Heading for the “Wadi”

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Some of the tallest peaks in Penang.

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The hill on the right is Bukit Laksamana.

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Ginger Flower

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Looking into the forest.

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Farm House in the “Wadi”

At the junction turn to your right if you wish to continue on to Tiger Hill.The left turning leads you to the colonial era-Tiger Hill Resevoir.

We made a pit stop at the reservoir.From the reservoir there is actually a series of steps beside the pipeline which leads you all the way up to the Tiger Hill Peak.There might be lots of vegetation covering the pipelines,but it’s generally quite clear to follow.

Follow the pipeline up for 30 to 40 minutes and you’ll be able to reach the 800 meter peak of Tiger Hill.

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Looking down from the upper reaches of the “Wadi”. The “Wadi is filled with Bunga Kantan plants,a key ingredient in the famous Penang Asam Laksa 

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The “Bunga Kantan”

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Was lucky to see this along the hike. The temptation was strong to take it back                         but the New Testament teaches us not to steal,so I left it there. You feel better when you know you did the right thing.

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Owh those durians!!

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A steep ascent in the “Wadi”

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Upper reaches of the “Wadi”

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The “Wadi”,a treasure trove of wonders

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Entering the Restricted zone.You’re own your own bro!

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Tiger Hill Reservoir.

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At the Tiger Hill Reservoir 

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The Colonial era Pump House

Once you reach the top of Tiger Hill,follow the tarred road beside the small shed till you connect to the main Penang Hill Road.Take the right turn, and from this point it would be another 45 minutes before you come to the Top Station.Happy hiking!

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Spathaglottis Plicata,a terrestrial orchid common in the Tiger Hill area.

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5 thoughts on “Ayer Itam to Tiger Hill

  1. Incredible and beautiful. The forest here is really primary hill dipterocarp forest. Quite different from elsewhere in Penang.

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