Nature Attractions Penang Bird Park

Penang Bird Park

The Penang Bird Park is situated at Bandar Seberang Jaya and is built with a garden concept where beautiful landscaping takes priority in creating such a place of tranquility. The 5-acres bird park is just a five minute drive from the Penang Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in Asia.

Being the first of its kind in Malaysia, the Penang Bird Park was opened to the public on 8th August 1988. This park is made out of many beautiful aviaries with imitated natural environment, including two huge 'walk-in' aviaries, Geodesic domes, and more than one hundred cages in various sizes which houses more than 300 different species of colourful birds from Malaysia and other parts of the world. The various birds you can find at the park are swans, pelicans, storks, herons, and other playful waterfowls of which roam freely on and around the two natural ponds and the cascading waterfalls. Other birds such as the macaws, parrots, pheasants, hornbills, birds-of-prey, finches, sunbirds, soft-bills, kingfishers and many others, formed part of the vast varieties of birds being kept at the park for exhibition and breeding purposes. Penang Bird Park is well-praised for its excellent collection of more than 150 Malaysian bird species.

Penang Botanic Gardens

The Penang Botanic Gardens, more popularly known as the "Waterfall Gardens", was established by the British way back in 1884 from an old quarry site. The beautiful grounds and the tranquility of the gardens have long been enjoyed and admired by millions of visitors. Besides being the arboretum living plants specimens, it is also the seat of botanical conservation, education and training. The Gardens also play an important role in the field of horticulture and landscaping development.

The Gardens were founded in 1884 by Charles Curtis from the Gardens and Forests Departments Straits Settlements. As the first Curator, Curtis was a devoted plant lover who tirelessly transformed the granite quarry into a garden, and greatly contributed to the botanical and horticulture development of the Gardens.

Walking around the Gardens, one cannot miss the Cannon Ball Tree (Couropita guanensis) and the large buttress roots of the Sengkuang Tree (Dracantamelon dao). Look out for the Pinang Palm (Areca catechu) that lent its name to the island of Penang, and the Black Lily (Tacca integrifalia) with its unique purplish-black coloured flowers. The endemic Slipper Orchid (Paphiopedilum barbatum) and the ginger, Geoctachys penangensis, can also be found here.

Look out also for the wildlife inhabiting the gardens. Commonly seen are the long-tailed Macaques, Dusky Leaf Monkeys, Black Giant Squirrels and a myriad of insects and butterflies.

Penang Butterfly Farm

Get in touch with nature at the Penang Butterfly Farm and experience their set of their new attractions such as The Tree of Life, Swing of Love, Cave of Mystery, Aqua Fun, Kingdom of Frogs, Biodiver-City Hall and more. Apart from dealing with butterflies, the Penang Butterfly Farm also showcases other animals and insects such as beetles, lizards, frogs and even snails.

Opened in March 1986, the Penang Butterfly Farm is presumably the first butterfly house in the Tropical Region. Today, they house an average population of 4,000 Malaysian butterflies of 120 species, along with other insects and small animals. They pride themselves in being a living museum to educate the public as well as a conservation and research centre to develop breeding methods.

Batu Feringghi

Batu Feringghi is the most popular beach destination for tourists and locals on the Penang island. This long stretch of golden sand is the center to a wide range of resorts, water sports, leisure activities and shopping.

On a relative scale, the beach may not be as gorgeous as those found on some islands off Peninsular Malayisa, but you get a wide mix of conveniences and facilities that make staying in Batu Feringgi a highly-accessible and relaxing vacation.

Also, the beautiful scenic backdrops of large granite boulders, fine sand, lush vegetation and calm waters make this the perfect place to enjoy the peace and serenity. The charm and appeal of Batu Feringghi still continues to mesmerize amounts of people.

Batu Feringghi was believed to have been named after the Portuguese word for 'Foreigners' Rock', as the Penang Island was once fought over by many colonial powers including the British, Dutch and Portuguese.

What gives Batu Feringgi its irresistible appeal is the atmosphere; scores of restaurants, watering holes, resorts and recreational places give the beach a 'never a dull moment' feel.

There are a few seafood and international restaurants that serve delicious food, while you mix and mingle around with locals and international visitors alike.

A lot of water sports such as jet-skiing, banana boating and parasailing are readily available, and visitors can engage in such activities through the many vendors situated on the beach with their laid-back shaded stalls.

A daily night market takes place in Batu Feringgi, a commercial popularity among crowds, which is another major attraction besides the beaches.

Firefly Watching

Witness one of nature’s many marvels while on a romantic sunset view cruise towards the river mouth of the Sungai Kerian, Nibong Tebal. It is also at that very moment that romance begins as the fireflies of Sungai Kerian glow in a symphony of lights as they try to attract their mates.

You will be amazed by with the synchronised flashes of light gently hovering over mangrove trees that lined the river bank. The specific species of mangrove tree which attracts these fireflies is the berembang (sonneratia caseolaris).

The beauty of nature, which in here presents itself in colonies of flickering fireflies along Sungai Kerian, is a natural heritage of Penang that is worth preserving.

Fireflies watching at Sungai Kerian have also been lauded by many visitors as a ‘must visit’ tourist attraction. In fact, the fire fly is an icon of Nibong Tebal.

The fireflies emit light at the lower abdomen not only to attract mates but also to scare away predators. Their abdomens are filled with a chemical called lucibufagens which in fact tastes pretty nasty.

For the avid photographer, you may want to challenge yourself and try to capture the beauty of the moment through your lenses. But be warned not to use your flash as it would 'frighten' the fireflies and they might just call it a night and 'turn off' their 'light'!

For most people, the sight of nature's 'fairy lights' flickering in the night along the serene Sungai Kerian will remain etched in their memory as nature’s gift which one must experience for oneself.

However do remember not to catch these nocturnal winged beetles as it would pose threat to its population. Do dispose of your rubbish at proper rubbish bins and not into the river. Pollution will affect the growth of firefly larvaes along the river.

Plan your trip beforehand. There are fewer fireflies on rainy nights and during full moon nights. Do take note that the best time for fireflies watching would be one to four hours after sunset.

Aside from the relaxing sunset cruise, you should stop for a sumptuous seafood dinner at the HK Restaurant at the double-storey fisherman's wharf and wholesale market at Sungai Udang while enjoying the fantastic riverfront view.

The small fishing town is famous for its' fresh daily catch and is located near the river mouth of Sungai Kerian.

Penang Hill

Penang Hill is one of Penang island's featured attractions. Well known for its cool and fresh climate from the tropical heat of George Town, it is a popular holiday retreat to the locals as well as tourists. Penang Hill is also known for its magnificently spectacular panoramic view of George Town, the mainland, the Penang Bridge and the Straits of Malacca which can be viewed from the Penang Hill Summit. The hill, also known as Bukit Bendera or Flagstaff Hill, is 833 m (2,723 ft) above sea level and stands out prominently from the lowlands as a hilly and forested area.

Access to the hill is most enjoyable by the Penang Hill Railway, a two section funicular railway which climbs Penang Hill from Air Itam. The railway was opened to the public on October 21, 1923 and the total journey takes about half an hour, with passengers changing cars at the mid-point station. The train may also stop at other intermediate stations upon request or the alighting of residents living around the hill.

*Update: The Penang Hill Furnicular Train service is currently undergoing a major upgrade and will be functioning as normal by the end of October 2010. Alternative transportation up to Penang Hill is available from the Penang Botanic Gardens Quarry.

Alternatively, there is a 5.1 km (3.17 mile) tarred road popularly known as the "jeep track". It is open only to the vehicles of hill residents. The "jeep track" is also a popular hiking route. It begins at the quarry of the entrance of Penang Botanic Gardens and it takes a two or three hour leisure hike to reach the top.

The sights on Penang Hill itself is a nice relaxing view. Because of its cool weather, beautifully landscaped flowers of all colours bloom in full glory in the gorgeous flower garden.
Write your comment now