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  • Vivian Teo

Heading to The Habitat at Penang Hill? Here are 10 things to know

The Habitat is a lovely rainforest trail that gives you a bird's eye view of Penang Hill's beautiful surroundings.

The Habitat Penang Hill Malaysia Curtis Tree Top Walk

When I was looking up on attractions in Penang, I had come across The Habitat at Penang Hill, Malaysia. Initially I had thought The Habitat and Penang Hill are the same and was really confused on how to get to The Habitat. But after some reading and asking around, I managed to figure things out. So I felt obliged to write this post in case there's anyone (like me!) who is not familiar with Penang and wants to go to The Habitat or Penang Hill was as confused as I am😅

Anyway, The Habitat is located at Penang Hill and is a rainforest trail with attractions like Curtis Crest Tree Top Walk. We made our way to Penang Hill on a weekday morning and despite my family not being the hiking sort, we enjoyed our time there. Here's our review of The Habitat and 10 things to know if you plan to visit the attraction in Penang.

1) How do you get to The Habitat?

To get to The Habitat, you'll first need to make your way up to Penang Hill. The most common way is to get to Penang Hill is to take the funicular train from the Penang Hill Lower Station located at Air Itam. I say most common because there are other options like an hour-hike up the hill (according to Klook) or hiring a private jeep (RM160 for 4 passengers from Penang Botanic Gardens according to Penang Hill's website). I can't advise on these options as we didn't go for them, but anyway, the funicular train at Penang Hill is supposed to be quite iconic, so we wanted to give the train a try as well.

2) How much are the funicular train tickets?

The Habitat Penang Hill Malaysia train station

Standard return tickets cost RM30 for adults 13 years old and older, and RM15 for children 4-12 years old. Fast lane passes which saves you the hassle of queuing for the train are available at almost 3 times the price of the standard tickets.

Tickets can be purchased at the train station or pre-purchased at Penang Hill's website. You're encouraged to buy the tickets online to avoid having to queue at the station. However, we got our tickets at the train station rather than booking online as we wanted to see how the weather was before deciding if we should go to Penang Hill. We were also visiting on a weekday and I had reckoned it wouldn't be as crowded as going on a weekend.

3) Is there a long queue for the train?

Penang Hill is a very popular attraction and my understanding is that it is always crowded on weekends such that you could be stuck in the queues for the train for hours. If you're visiting on a weekend, I read that it's best to get the fast lane passes.

We visited on a weekday and we queued for about 30 minutes for the train, which I thought is reasonable compared to weekend queues.

Do note that you might not get a sit in the train and may have to stand for the 5-10 minute journey as staff will pack the train before sending it off.

4) What's the best time to go?

Weekdays, of course. If you are an early riser, you can try going earlier so it's not so hot. The trains operate from 6.30am till 11pm while the train ticketing counter operates from 6.15am to 9.15pm, daily. (At the time of writing, I saw from Klook that the trains will be closed for maintenance during 2-11 January 2024. So, do double check Penang Hill's website for operating hours and scheduled maintenance before you go.) Otherwise, I think it's nice to go in the evening to see the sunset as well.

However do note that The Habitat is open daily from 9am to 7pm with last entry at 5:30pm and you have to exit by 7pm.

We reached The Habitat around 1040am. Though it was a sunny day, it didn't feel very hot to be walking in the rainforest as the weather is comfortable and a bit cooling at the top of Penang Hill. It also rather quiet in The Habitat itself when we were there despite the train queue.

5) How do you get to The Habitat once you reach Penang Hill?

The Habitat Penang Hill Malaysia

Once you exit the Penang Hill Upper Train Station, turn left and walk 5-10 minutes to the entrance of The Habitat. There are not many signs that show where The Habitat is but you can just ask around when you reach there.

6) Do you need tickets to enter The Habitat?

Yes. You can purchase tickets at The Habitat's entrance or pre-purchase them at Klook. I read that buying on Klook costs less than buying at the door. At the time of writing, the tickets at Klook cost S$14.85 for adults and S$9.89 for children 4-12 years old and are open dated for 90 days from your date of purchase, so you can still have some flexibility planning your trip according to the weather.

You can also check out the Klook Penang Pass which covers many attractions in Penang including Escape theme park with one pass and is cheaper than buying attraction tickets individually. Chances are you'll probably be visiting more than one of these attractions when you are in Penang.

But do note that I read some reviews that said phone and wifi reception can be bad on the hill, so you might want to download or screenshot your Klook voucher before reaching Penang Hill, just in case you're unable to access your online Klook voucher when at the entrance.

7) What do you see at The Habitat?

Here is a map of The Habitat and what you'll see at the attraction.

The Habitat Penang Hill Malaysia map

One of the notable sights along the way is the Langur Way Canopy Walk.

The Habitat Penang Hill Malaysia Langur Canopy walk

Here's the view while on it.

The Habitat Penang Hill Malaysia Langur Canopy Walk

We also saw lovely swings along the way.

The Habitat Penang Hill Malaysia swing

The biggest attraction at The Habitat is probably Curtis Crest Tree Top Walk.

The Habitat Penang Hill Malaysia Curtis Tree Top Walk

Here you'll get a 360-degree panoramic view of Penang Island from the highest publicly-accessible viewing point of Penang, that is 800m above sea level.

The Habitat Penang Hill Malaysia Curtis Tree Top Walk

Here's another view from Curtis Crest.

The Habitat Penang Hill Malaysia Curtis Tree Top Walk

We took about an hour to walk from the front entrance to the back entrance of The Habitat, including the time we spent at Curtis Crest. So it's not very long really.

The Habitat Penang Hill Malaysia

We had detoured halfway through Langur Way Canopy Walk to see the other sights. I would have liked to backtrack and walk the entire 230m canopy walk, but like I said, my family is not the hiking type, so they were quite done when we reached the back entrance.

The Habitat Penang Hill Malaysia

At the back entrance, you can wait for a complimentary buggy ride to take you to the Penang Hill Upper Train Station. You'll need to show your The Habitat ticket in order to board the buggy. If not, I read that it's a 10-15 minutes walk to the station.

The Habitat Penang Hill Malaysia

8) Is there dining at The Habitat?

There is a cafe and shop at the back entrance of The Habitat. So if you start off from the front entrance of the The Habitat (which is the nearest entrance when you arrive at Penang Hill Upper Train Station), you'll need to finish your walk of The Habitat before you can go to the cafe. I had a quick look at the cafe menu and it serves simple drinks and food there. There is not a lot of variety. So it might be better to look for other dining options outside The Habitat.

9) What else is there to see at Penang Hill?

I probably can't advise much on this because we only went for The Habitat and then we left Penang Hill. But I believe there are other worthy attractions there judging from the number of people headed up Penang Hill. If you find some worthy attractions, do let me know!

10) What else is there to see in the vicinity of Penang Hill?

We planned our trip to The Habitat with our visit of Kek Lok Si Temple, which is also in the Air Itam area and is arguably the most famous temple in Penang.

Kek Lok Si temple Penang Malaysia pagoda

Here are some snaps of the temple.

Kek Lok Si temple Penang Malaysia

I probably won't be writing a blog on the temple as it's a rather straight forward visit where you can tour temple grounds for free (mostly) other than for a few where you need to pay a nominal fee to take the inclined lift to see the bronze Kuan Yin statue...

Kek Lok Si temple Penang Malaysia Kuan Yin statue Guanyin

...or enter the pagoda.

Kek Lok Si temple Penang Malaysia

There are some nice dining places at Air Itam and one of the highlights of our Penang trip was also cafe hopping and discovering nice cafes. If you're also going to do Penang Hill and Kek Lok Si on the same day, I'd highly recommend this cafe, Coffee Elements, which is on route when you travel between these two places.

Coffee Elements cafe Penang Air Ayer Itam Malaysia

I discovered this on Google when I was looking for places to dine in the vicinity and saw that it's highly rated on Google.

Coffee Elements cafe Penang Air Ayer Itam Malaysia

Our food and drinks were all really good and prices reasonable for cafes in Penang (in fact extremely reasonable if you're from Singapore due to exchange rate differences!).

Coffee Elements cafe Penang Air Ayer Itam Malaysia

I'm thinking of also writing a blog on the many nice cafes and restaurants we visited in Penang. Will see how that goes!

Coffee Elements cafe Penang Air Ayer Itam Malaysia

Disclaimer: We paid for our tickets and food, and my opinions and reviews here are strictly my and my family’s own.

©Vivian Teo. All content and photos are copyrighted to Vivian Teo unless otherwise specified.



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