Tucked away inside Taman Negara National Park, you will find the world’s longest canopy walk, which is the top layer of vegetation in the forest. Originally built for researchers, the suspended paths are now open to the public for local and international tourists.
Taman Negara (Penang National Park) is located at the northwest corner of Penang Island. The park is about 390 km from Kuala Lumpur and about 42 km from Georgetown. At 130 million years of age, Taman Negara is the oldest rainforest in the world. Covering 4343 sq km, the national park with thick jungle and fast-flowing rivers pull thousands of tourists every year come to jungle trekking, camping, fishing, wildlife and bird spotting, or just relaxing.
The park is an abundance of natural beauty with a diverse ecosystem. It is the home to 414 species of plants and 143 species of animals including mangrove swamps, mudflat areas, coral reefs and nesting areas for some endangered turtle species such as the Leatherback and the Hawksbill turtles. The park has nine beaches considered as the best beaches in Penang. There are proper facilities provided by the authorities for camping in the area. Bird watching should not be missed here. There are also boat rides available which take you to the different beaches of the park. This place is certainly a destination for nature lovers.
This is one of the scariest rope bridges in the world
The canopy walk is located just over 1 km from the main entrance. It stretches for 500 meters and consists of 10 different bridge sections. The structure spans across the trees and connected by trunks from start to end. While suspended 100 feet above the jungle floor, only about 4 or 5 people are allowed on a section at a time, and everyone is spaced about 5 meters apart. You have to hold on with both hands at all times, and only take photos at designated points.
The canopy walkway allows you to view the rich and diverse flora and fauna at the very summit of the forest. It takes you just half of an hour to finish the walk and if you have not completed the canopy, you have not completed Taman Negara. This is a must do activity in the park and one of the most memorable memories for you to bring home.
Excepting for rainy days, the canopy walkway is opened from 11 am to 2.45 pm on Saturday to Thursday and 9 am to 12 am on Friday. Tickets have to be purchased at the registration office with the cost is 6RM ($2) for adults and 3RM ($1) for children. It can be reached after 20 – 45 minutes by trekking or 5 – 10 minutes by boat. The canopy walkway is under the full supervision of wildlife department. Rules and regulations are imposed to ensure the safety of the tourists.
To arrive at the National Park, you can catch the bus 101that runs from the jetty in Georgetown every 10 to 15 minutes then get off at the last stop where the bus turns around. The trip takes around one hour, depending on traffic. Entrance is free, but you have to register at the office to get a permit.
The best time to visit the park is from November to January as the weather is very pleasant and conducive for sightseeing. You should avoid coming here in the wettest season (May to October).
Let your spirit of adventure take you to the Canopy Walkway and feast your eyes on the myriad of plants and animal species!