30 November 2009

Island-hopping to the Prince of Wales Island

An Island, secluded beaches, a close encounter of the second kind, riding high the tidal wave and baked my feet in the sandy-golden sand were some of the attractions that really awaken my restless soul recently. I am a strong believer that this kind of activities and place are always a good place to unwind oneself from the hustle and bustle of a big city madness. It is also a splendid place to put away dark episodes of my life, if there is any, behind. I am always captivated by the island tranquility, sheer crystal-clear water, gentle but salty air that blow on my face and its total isolation from the civilization.

Recently I found this heavenly sanctuary unexpectedly just a peek away from my doorsteps. Yes, Penang was also known as The Prince of Wales Island once, by the British colonial . More than 200 years ago, Sir Francis light declared to the world that he was the founder of this island. I am a little bit confused and skeptical though. I am sure this island was roamed earlier by Pak Pandir and Mak Andeh way before the British know how to build their ship. As usual and more often than not history is written by the victors.

I've always thought Penang is full of nasi kandar, pasembok and few mamak trading spices from Kerala. This was however turned out to be another version of urban legend as I found out later. A recent social trip and a short break to this beautiful island in the North with a group of OIC delegates has revealed some of the hidden treasures this island kept for centuries. Well at least from my little knowledge.

One of the many interesting places we visited while on this island was Pantai Kerachut. It is situated at the North East of Penang island and not very far away from the tourist-infested beach of Bt. Feringhi. This beach is one of the few beaches in Penang where you can spot the green turtle (Chelonia mydas), where between June and July they they will come ashore to lay their eggs. The abundance of algae around this island has lured this beautiful creature to frequent this isolated beach. To go there from the main entrance of Penang National Park you have two options. You can either walk and do the 1-2 hours jungle-trekking along the trail (this trail will lead you to other interesting places as well - Monkey beach, old Muka head light house etc) or take a 30 minutes jolly-boat ride. As most of us (excluding me :) are quite veteran, the boat ride seem the best option.

It is advisable to bring our own food and drink as there is no shop or restoran nasi kandar operated on the beach. You can of course eat turtle eggs in the hatchery site if you has the appetite for it, but this of course is not allowable. You can camp on this beach too but you are not allowed to have a camp-fire ala the new year eve as this will scare away the turtle. With all the restriction, even the tourist are scared to spend longer time on this beach.

To me this island and its beaches are so surreal. Unlike a virtual one I normally embraced in the blogosphere this island metamorphosed into a montage of sense, gesture and a moment utterly unfamiliar to my conscious mind. At serene moment like this, word is pretty much unnecessary. Nothing more left for me to do cause I am totally lost of word so I surrender and just let the photos do the narration.

The entrance to Penang National park, a gateway to Kerachut beach. For safety reason, visitors has to register with the office (app. 100 m from this gate) before embarking on any journey, jungle trekking or other fun activities in this park. This park is huge and I like their concept of keeping the surrounding as natural as possible - which is what the national park is for in the first place. This place was formerly known as End of the World - the name of a popular restaurant that used to operate on the site.

This peaceful jetty where nature lovers and eco-tourists take their boat ride to their blissful journey to the paradise. On a normal sunshine day, the Kerachut beach will take 20 - 30 minutes boat ride from this jetty. We took slightly more than 30 minutes to reach our destination. You see, scientists are curious creatures by nature, they will investigate everything that fancy their eyes even the floating "selipar Jepun".

This is one activity you have to avoid at all cost if you are classified as a hydrophobic. Water won't repel you until you start to learn the secret of its surface tension and able to walk on it. My newly-found friend from Senegal, Dr. Malick (standing with great poise) just about to learn the nature of water and later almost wet his entire pants in the process.

If you look close enough, this rock resembles the head of a crocodile. There are many more similar sighting like this along the rocky part of the island, especially on the way to the Kerachut beach by boat. I was told, these natural rock formation were caused by the tectonic activities and larvae flow of the volcanic eruption in the vicinity (didn't know long long time ago Malaysia used to has her own Volcanoes - no wonder many are still living in the Jurassic period, backbiting each others)

An invasion of the first kind. We finally landed on this beautiful and isolated beach after a smooth boat ride. The guide told us that tourist seldom comes to this spot, making this Kerachut beach an ideal place to rest one's soul.

As it is out of their breeding season, I can only catch this stuffed green turtle on display in the hatchery center on the beach. Just like their close cousin the leatherback, the best time to spot this magnificent reptilian live in action is between June and July each year.

Unlike their nemesis, the mamalian of the first kind, these turtles seems know how to read and respect the signboards. They don't smoke in the non-smoking area and they will give way for you if there is zebra crossing around.


ASH said...

That turtle looks so innocent!!

You must be so excited to know this hiding place of Taman negara Pulau Pinang.
It's good to know that there is still a place like this in Penang.

Abd Razak said...

Salam DrSam...

Nice place to visit...:)
Bercuti ke sana ker Dr?

zino said...

cantik tempat tu...

Memorable trails... said...

Salam Doc,
Since no motel,no nasi kandak around the place,that means visitors have to find accomodation at other places and trek there.That s why it is less frequented n polluted ,nature is preserved.
Happy holiday doc.Going anywhere with the kids?

Hunny said...

Salam Doc,

Syioknyerrr cuti...:P Enjoy your trip ek!

Fly said...

cuti2 malaysia ye doc..cantik sangat tempat tu...

yohteh said...

comel piyung tu Dr... ija mata macang zamrod...
'turtle crossing'? bimbang kut jjirék je...!

catz said...


wahh...saya suka gambar-gambar dlm entry ini..sooooo cantik!!
Dulu catz rasa penang ni mcm takde apa..now bila dah banyak tgk banyak benda, rasa terlalu banayk yg catz tak tgk lagi di Malaysia..especially penang..dah banyak kali pegi tapi mcm baru tgk 15% je benda yg ada di penang...
cuti-cuti malaysiaaaaaa...

NanaDJ said...

Dr Sam,
And I thought I know Penang! Even lived there once upon a time. Thank you for the info, will certainly go there on my next visit. Was in Penang only last week.

Zendra-Maria said...

Waah Dinda, nice jaunt you had on Kerachut. The beach looks beautiful indeed and the sea so inviting. Fortunately, or unfortunately may be, you had no encounter of the bikini kind hahahaha.

Actually I've always wondered where the pokok pinang are on pulau pinang.

Adliff said...



Pantai Kerachut sememangnya terkenal sebagai pantai pendaratan bagi penyu di Malaysia. Bagi pelajar Biologi dan sekufunya di USM, kerap kali mereka menjalankan kajian di pantai ini, Muka Head dan sekitarnya. Terdapat tasik air masin di Muka Head kalau tidak silap(ini sangat jarang berlaku di dunia). Sudah lupa istilah geografinya.

Sudah pusing Pulau Jerjak?

kucingorengemok said...

hehehe... i've a friend yang kena campak dalam tasik dayang bunting (with a life jacket on) by the banana boat man, menjerit kuat sangat, rasanya boleh dengar kat main island, hehehe

hazeleyed lady said...

Salam Doc
Jauh perjalanan...luas pandangan...kumpul pengalaman.
Enjoy yer vacation.

DrSam said...

The one who took that photo is innocent too :)

The experience was so euphoric. Nature will always attract me like a magnet.

Abd Razak,
Salam. Bercuti sambil belajar sambil melihat keindahan di negara sendiri.

masih belum tercemar dan ternoda lagi tempat tu.

madam gold,
I think schoolchildren would have loved to visit such a place. Many wonderful thing to learn and see.

This Wednesday, Insyaallah I am off for another honeymoon rendezvous and sample some Bali charms. I will have to compensate the kids with another Island or beach escapade.

How about you madam?

Nak kata cuti pun bolehlah juga. Sebenarnya lawatan kerja tu. lapuran lawatan perlu disiapkan seperti kebiasaannya.

DrSam said...

Kalau kat Uni dulu dipanggil Lasbela (lawatan sambil belajar). Tempat macam tu memang banyak tembakan cun boleh dilakukan.

Nok buat guane stabok ame yohteh. Piung kat Rantau Abang lame dok napok batang idung doh, piung kat 'roundabot' ladang pun lesap jugok. Kalau tidok buleh gok tumpang gok 'posing-posing'.

Monsoon cup dok 'joing' ke yohteh?

Apa lagi Catz, jom pi mai penang sekali lagi no. Memang betul tu. Dah banyak kali pergi tapi masih banyak tempat menarik yang belum dilawati. Sesetengahnya tak pernah tahu pun sebelum ini. Itu baru Penang, negeri sendiri pun agaknya begitu juga tak?

probably we don't normally treat ourselves as an over-excited tourist whenever we visited our own domestic states. The reason why I managed to visit many interesting places was because we engaged a travel company that scheduled all our travel itinerary. Will probably do the same in the near future.

besi said...

dr sam..bila cuti nie?..ya la lama dah tak pegi penang.....
cuti2 malaysia

DrSam said...

Ha...ha...actually I was half expected to see those under-dress species as normally you would have encountered in any secluded beaches (like in Tioman etc). Probably during the monsoon it was not their sunbathing season.

Unexpectedly, there are some pokok pinang close the Gurney drive (on the way to the Feringhi beach). There are also quite abundance among other greeneries in The Spice Garden (will write another story on this)

aliff muhammad,
Salam. Memang betul tu terdapat, USM mempunyai stesyen penyelidikan berdekatan pantai Monkey Bay. Berhampiran Pantai Kerachut juga memang terdapat satu tasik istimewa yang dikenali sebagai 'meromictic lake' dimana kejadiannya boleh dilihat hanya 6 bulan setahun dan airnya mempunyai 2 lapisan berbeza - air masin panas dibawah dan air tawar (fres water) sejuk diatasnya.

Pulau Jerjak belum sempat pusing. Hanya sempat melihat dari kejauhan aje.

kawan tu timbul ke tenggelam?

Salam. memang satu perjalanan yang memberi banyak pengajaran dan membuka minda.

DrSam said...

perjalanan tu 2 minggu lepas menemani delegasi OIC. Kira cuti-cuti Malaysia juga lah kot.

Sally said...

Hmmm..Penang..or Tanjung like the locals call it..brings lots of dejavu to me..spent 5 years on d island in a mission to get the scrol..

Happy holiday Doc..

laki cikgu kimia said...


Pn Kartini said...

Lam banyak2 gambar...pic turtle gak yg cute:):)...
Mesti bestkan sesekali bercuti:):)

DrSam said...

dejavu d'kayu ke che gu?

Happy holiday to you too.

laki cikgu kimia,
seronok hidup udara segar

Pn. Kartini,
Salam. Penyu pun pandai 'posing'.

en_me said...

sonoknyerr cuti cuti ghitewww.. ehehe

Naddiea said...

Doc,it was a good experience indeed!

Doc cakap pasal telur penyu ni kat Pasar Payang bersepah mokcik2 jual telur penyu.heran pulak sebab mcm x dilindungi pulak telur2 penyu ni.dari mana dorang dapat supply telur2 penyu tu pun x tau lah..satu hari nanti bila balik ganu saya nk pergi siasat la mana mokci2k dpt telur2 tu semua.*wink*

ckLah @xiiinam said...

Sangat alami....

Selamat Hari Raya Dr Sam..

Anonymous said...

Can some take me there pls?

Faisal Admar said...

ah doc, i didn't know penang got other name than pearl of orient or food heaven. the info is good for me as a citizen who doesn't read much of history.

i've been to pantai keracut when i was form 2 with traffic cadet, camping there. a lot of starfish there.

i've been to lighthouse tower too. with my current company for jungle tracking. i was so tired, and when i reached at the top, i felt so good. satisfied. but then, it wasn't that good when everybody wanted to go home! first, i need to go down from the top which was very tiring. second, i had to walk down the hill! i won't do it anymore :P

did you go to the usm research there?

DrSam said...

en me,
esok cuti lagi :)

Telur piung kat Pasar Payang tu kalau tak silap saya memang dikhaskan dan ada kuota yang diberi oleh kerajaan kepada sesetengah penjual tempatan - melalui lesen khas.

Tapi kalau Pn. Naddiea nak buat siasatan lebih lanjut apa salahnya. Mungkin ada maklumat tambahan yang terlepas pandang atau perubahan peraturan.

p/s: masa kecil-kecil saya makan juga telur piung tu. Tapi sekarang dah tak lalu pula.

alami dalam bahasa Arab ke cklah?

Selamat berkorban kita.

Anybody out there pls?

Faisal Admar,
During the trip, I was also told Penang is no more the Pearl of the Orient - it is now dubbed as The land of the betel nut (sempena nama pokok pinang. The reason is the beaches around the island are no more clean and pristine as it used to be. But I find Kerachut for example is exceptionally clean.

We just passed the USM marine research station because it was not in the itinerary. We went to USM campus to meet the VC on Friday (remember...you were probably there to at that time finishing your assignment :)

Fadhil said...

Salam Doc,

Didn't know about Pantai Kerachut in Penang until this post of yours. Thanks for the info. Maybe I'll try the jungle trekking route if I can find the time.

DrSam said...

Salam. Me too. If not because of the trip the gomen organised for the OIC delegates, I would have just settled for Nasi kandar and pasembok only.

I will take the jungle route too the next time I visit the place again.

Meen Eunos said...

Happy holiday DrSam.


MariaFaizal said...

Reading your blog is also a splendid platform to put away dark episodes in life, if there is any, behind :)

It's a compliment Doc! As i'm captivated by what you've written.Faizal & I are in dire need of tranquil, isolated place - away from everything, just to have a decent conversation.

Thanks Doc for sharing this.As Penang is nearby my hometown, the said beach's our next destination.Thanks again.Regards to Sis Zayda & handsome princes of yours.

arsaili said...

salam..wahhh nice place la...pernah sampai penang masa kecik....cant even remember many thing except the expensive nasi kandar hehehe

Sir Pök Déng said...

Ah, Chelonia mydas. I did multiple paternity test on this species based on molecular marker method (microsatellite DNA). But then again, the rest is just a story.

I wonder why turtles have repelled themselves from Rantau Abang shores for nearly ten years.

Encik Ariff said...

gambar cantik.
entry pn bagus.

DrSam said...

Meen Eunos,
Baru je balik, beg pun tak 'unpacked' lagi :)

I hope the blog therapy works for others too :)

Yes Maria, I think after all those hard work, you and Faizal are deserved for a short and quite break on a deserted beach, surrounded only by the sound of the waves. Time for a little self-pampering.

No nasi kandak this time bro.

Sir Pok Deng,
I am convinced that many has wondered the same, that include me on why the leatherback are shying away from Rantau Abang. Something has changed for sure.

encik ariff,
buat dikongsi bersama.

PerantauSepi1306 said...

pasemboq sepinggan.. hehehehe...

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