The Accidental Waterfall: Exploring Sungai Pinang Barat (Titi Kerawang River) via the Mount Elvira Pass

In my 13 year hiking journey through the hills of Penang, 2017 has been a particularly eventful year, exploring the great unknown and untamed corners of the island’s hills. This particular hike was a good catch up from the fun and excitement we had in early 2017, when me, Rob and Peter formed a unlikely alliance to explore the last untamed portions of the island.

This particular hike was in mine and Peter’s minds for some time, and intended to explore the upper regions of the Titi Kerawang stream (where I’ve been previously and offered to bring Peter up, albeit failing “this mission” miserably as you will find later in the story) and also his kind offer to show me “new hiking territory”, the Mount Elvira pass.


Looking down at Balik Pulau midway to the Elvira Pass


A Trilobite Beetle

The Mount Elvira pass is a small pass which goes between the 700+ meter peak of Mount Elvira and its shorter sister peak, Batu Itam (A <700 meter peak, not to be confused with Bukit Batu Itam in PNP). This pass can be spotted from the Balik Pulau market, where we began this hike. A trail up to this pass from Air Itam area has been in existence since the mid 1800s and continues (albeit in much less use), to be used by  hill dwellers who call parts of Mount Elvira home. It was our intention to join up to this trail (which has now been tarred over), from the Balik Pulau side.


We were just talking about the voodoo lily while hiking, when, guess what we stumbled upon a dozen on the trail!


Voodoo Lily (Armophophallus prainii)


Steep Ascend up to the Pass. Tired or not, we are always in for a selfie!


That “M” indicates that this trail was surveyed by Charles Jules Moniot, a surveyor who resided in Penang in the 1840s-1850s

We went up to this pass and came down to the well known Iron Cross Junction (Tiger Hill Junction) and continued down along the trail to Titi Kerawang.


Mr Millipede!

As I promised Peter, I was to take him on a trail to a well hidden campsite along the Titi Kerawang valley, however our plans took a twist when all by accident, we took a steep right turn down into an “unknown” trail, meters away from where I really intended to show him.


Looking up to the peaks of Laksamana and Penang Hill

And guess what we stumbled upon! Yet another beautiful waterfall which forms part of the puzzle in Sungai Pinang Barat’s (Titi Kerawang stream) marvelous downhill journey! All by accident, we stumbled upon a simply amazing find!


Another puzzle in Sungai Pinang Barat’s (Titi Kerawang river) journey downstream


And down she goes, into a bottomless pit!


What do you do when you stumble upon a new waterfall? TAKE A PHOTO POINTING AT IT!


Grizzly find at the river, a python devouring its prey. We assumed it was dead, but soon realized it was not!


Magnificence in the forest!

Penang’s Voodoo Lily (Armophophallus prainii, കാട് ചേന)

On a recent hike in the greater Penang Hill region, I stumbled upon rather alien looking plant. A long tongue sticking out of a lily like vase. A whole clump of about a dozen of them in full bloom!  On a quick internet search and a tip from my friend Peter, I was  found out that it was the Voodoo Lily (Armophophallus prainii). Not too sure how common they are in Penang, but this was my first time seeing them in about 13 years hiking the hills of Penang! They are related to a more well known cash crop, the Elephant Foot Yam (ചേന) which is a tropical tuber crop grown across South Asia.

It is not often that you come across something as alien as this, so enjoy the photo of these uniquely shaped flowers.




Don’t normally take photos with flowers, but when I do, its a Voodoo Lily!